How To Improve As Frost Mage — Shadowlands 9.0.2
On this page, you will find out how you can improve at playing Frost Mage in World of Warcraft — Shadowlands 9.0.2. We list the common mistakes that you should try to avoid and the small details that can greatly improve your performance.
Having Low Downtime
As a Frost Mage, Frostbolt casts feed almost everything you do. While you always have access to unempowered Ice Lance spam to cover movement, you also have access to a fair number of methods to avoid resorting to such suboptimal gameplay. You are a caster, you should always be casting if at all possible.
Firstly, all your procs are instant cast. Depending on how far you have to go, and how quickly you have to do it, try and think about how to minimize your time spent not casting. If a very short movement event is coming up consider not immediately using that Fingers of Frost proc, instead using it to cover the movement time, at least partially. If the movement required is not immediate, consider inching towards your destination between any of your instant cast spells. The Global Cooldown is simply downtime that can be spent moving.
Having said the above, do not allow yourself to sit on Brain Freeze, or 2 stacks of Fingers of Frost. Munching the proc by not utilizing them properly will very likely be a larger loss than slight movement downtimes, as that is a full lost cast of a powerful spell.
Secondly, you have Blink. If you need to get 20 yards, or further, Blink will almost always be a top answer. The Global Cooldown incurred by casting it is almost always less downtime than manually running those 20 yards. If you are talented for Shimmer, you have no penalty Global Cooldown, and you can cast it while casting other spells. This seems obvious, but a great many Mages do not utilize Blink properly, or at all.
If talented for it, Ice Floes is ridiculously powerful. It takes a bit of practice, and a comfortable keybind, but Ice Floes can cover a lot of fight movement requirements by itself. You can cast it while casting, allowing you to cast that spell while moving. Now, given Frostbolt's fast cast time, this might not seem like a great thing to cast in the middle of a cast because you would theoretically lose the charge on half a cast's worth of time. Ice Floes is actually set up to not consume the charge if activated in the last 500 milliseconds — half a second — of a cast. This can be utilized to get a cast and a third out of a single charge! This also has an interesting implication on refreshes. For example; if you were casting Frostbolt and activate Ice Floes near the end of the cast, starting another Frostbolt while moving with that charge, and activating a second Ice Floes at the end of that Frostbolt, neither charge would be consumed at that point. You have now gotten 3 spells out of 2 charges! This definitely takes a lot of practice to perfect the timing, but is something many top Mages take advantage of, and it helps a lot in reducing downtime due to movement. Also remember, you still have access to Blink to cover large movement requirements.
Properly Utilizing Winter's Chill
This is a common mistake. Brain Freeze makes the next 2 spells within 6 seconds of Flurry's impact act as if the target is frozen. Naturally, this follows that you should cast an unempowered Ice Lances after your Flurry so that they benefit from the frozen state, gaining triple damage and Shatter.
What is not obvious, is that you can actually Shatter the spell cast before the Flurry as well. Unlike every other spec in the game, Frost's spells calculate Critical Strike on impact, rather than on leaving your hand at cast time. Flurry's travel speed is actually faster than all of our cast time spells; Frostbolt, Glacial Spike, and Ebonbolt. Since the Global Cooldown has finished by the time you have gotten through a cast of one of those three spells, you then instantly fire Flurry afterwards. Functionally both spells leave your hand at the same time, but due to Flurry's faster flight speed, it will impact first and apply Winter's Chill to the target, and consume one of the first two bolt's debuff applications, rather than the last one's. The cast time spell you cast previously will then impact the target and gain the benefit of Shatter afterwards. Notably, this allows Glacial Spike to Critically Strike, which will also cause all the included Mastery: Icicles to Critically Strike as well, drastically increasing the output of Glacial Spike. When not talented Glacial Spike, you should always preface every Flurry with either Frostbolt or Ebonbolt.
Not Putting Yourself Above The Raid
This is applicable to all classes and specs. If there is something your spec is great at, and you can provide that utility at the cost of your own personal DPS, you should do it. Killing the boss with minimal issues should be the goal of all, personal DPS should come secondary.
Frost Mage specifically has the best AoE slow in the game, assuming a stacked group of mobs. Frost also excels at killing one singular low health add very quickly. For example; Mythic Varimathras has an add that has to die within about 3 seconds, or the raid will wipe. Saving a Brain Freeze to throw Flurry and the follow-up Ice Lances will do about 40% of its health in 3 simple instant spells from one player. Yes, you hurt your own personal DPS by saving Brain Freeze procs for them, but you also save your raid the trouble of wiping when the add does not die on time. Sometimes sacrifices are needed.
Knowing How To Sim Yourself
It is impossible to correctly play and optimize any class without using Raidbots to sim your own character, there are simply too many variables involved to intuitively figure out what gear to wear and so on without simming it first. Generally speaking, a simulation should be the first and final say in the gear you end up wearing for any given situation.
On top of this, simming is now very easy with no need to understand SimulationCraft APLs or installation yourself. All you will need is the in-game Simulationcraft Addon , and the Raidbots website. Below you can find a video on how to sim your own character using the website.
Analyzing Your Mistakes As A Frost Mage
When it comes to identifying and improving your mistakes, we strongly recommend the website WoWAnalyzer—it will analyze your logs and give you a report detailing how you did on the problems above and more.
- 23 Nov. 2020: Updated for Shadowlands.
- 12 Oct. 2020: Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
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