How to play as a Frost Mage in PvE (7.1.5)

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Post Posted: 25-06-2018, 02:11:48 [Valuable post] | Translate post to: ... (Click for more languages)

Hello Kuro here, and welcome to my PvE Frost Mage Guide for the 7.1.5 Patch. Here I’ll be showing you guys the correct way to freeze and shatter fools’ minds with the power of frost. Frost mages excel at single target damage and can dish out decent constant AoE as well.
In this guide, I’ll be going over your basic spells, procs and passives. I’ll also cover your artifact, stat priority, relics, and rotation in both single target and AoE. Hope you enjoy it and learn something from it.

    - [Frostbolt]: Launches a bolt of frost at the enemy dealing x amount of Frost damage and chilling target, slowing it by 50% for 15sec.
    - [Ice Lance]: Flings a shard of ice at the target dealing x amount of Frost damage. Its damage is tripled against Frozen Targets.
    - [Flurry]: Unleash a flurry of ice, striking the target 3 times for a total of x amount of Frost damage and slowing it by 70%. When casted from an instant [Brain Freeze] Proc, it causes your target to also get affected by [Winter’s Chill].
    - [Frozen Orb]: Launches an orb of swirling ice up to 40 yards forward which deals up to x amount Frost damage to all enemies it passes through and slows them. Grants 1 charge of [Fingers of Frost] when it first damages an enemy.
    - [Ebonbolt]: Artifact ability, Throws a huge bolt of shadow-frost dealing x amount of Shadowfrost damage and procs [Brain Freeze].


    - [Shatter]: Multiplies the critical strike chance of your spells against frozen targets (either [Fingers of Frost] procs or targets afflicted by [Winter’s Chill]) by 1.5 and adds an additional 50% (That’s why we want 33.34%, (33.34%*1.5) + 50% = 100%)

Tier 15:

    [Ray of Frost]: This talent hasn’t seen much love in legion, being quite weak compared to the other 2, and almost never working out due to not being able to stay still for 10sec in most raid encounters and even then, the damage is too low to be worth it.
    [Lonely Winter]: This straight up gives a damage buff to most of our important spells ([Frostbolt], [Ice Lance], [Flurry], [Frozen Orb]) but in return you sacrifice your water elemental to the water overlords.
    [Bone Chilling]: Causes you to get damage buff from chilling effects like [Blizzard] ticks and [Frostbolt], stacking up to 6% damage buff.

TL;DR: By default, you should pick [Lonely Winter] over the other 2 cause it offers much more output, however if you need the ranged Freeze from pet, [Bone Chilling] is not that far behind.

Tier 30:

    [Shimmer]: This spell is the default pick, gives you 2 charges of blink (now named [Shimmer]) and makes it out of the GCD and usable while casting other spells.
    [Ice Floes]: Makes our next cast, castable while moving. Used to be baseline for mages, now it’s turned into a talent.
    [Glacial Insulation]: This gives you armor during [Ice Barrier], that can be nice for additional physical damage reduction through armor, yet you rarely come across physical damage as a caster.

TL;DR: Preference here, I prefer [Shimmer] for its utility, you can go for [Ice Floes] if you’d like, however strongly recommend [Shimmer] here.

Tier 45:

    [Mirror Image]: This talent didn’t get any love from Blizzard this expansion, Cannot see where it can be useful in PvE instances and it offers the lowest damage compared to the other 2.
    [Rune of Power]: This is an interesting talent at least for me. It has some potential when used in near perfect conditions, but we all know bosses love targeting you with mechanics when you’re standing on RoP. Overall, it offers almost the same damage as [Incanter’s Flow], but a bit more burst.
    [Incanter’s Flow]: Pretty passive talent, nothing to see here, just a damage buff, doesn’t take much management and it offers the best damage between the 3 choices.

TL;DR: By default, [Incanter’s Flow] should be picked. It offers the highest output out of the 3 options and requires the least management.

Tier 60:

    [Ice Nova]: gives you an extra AoE spell if you need a bit extra burst and freezes targets for 2sec, yet frost mages are so proficient at slowing/rooting mobs already, I don’t see it as a big addition to the toolkit.
    [Frozen Touch]: Increases your chance to generate [Fingers of Frost] by 40% (multiplicative, additively it’s closer to 12%).
    [Splitting Ice]: Increases your [Ice Lance] and Icicle damage by 5% and makes them cleave for 80% of the damage.

TL;DR: [Frozen Touch] and [Splitting Ice] for single target are dependent on your gear, it’s better to sim your character with both talent setups and compare. [Splitting Ice] for AoE is much better however.

Tier 75:

    [Frigid Winds]: makes all your chill effects slow by an additional 15%.
    [Ring of Frost]: a ring that incapacitates up to 10 targets for 10seconds, breaks on damage.
    [Ice Ward]: Frost Nova has now 2 charges.

TL;DR: [Frigid Winds] might be the most useful for PvE at least. Other options are much better for PvP and have nearly no place in PvE.

Tier 90:

    [Frost Bomb]: Should be avoided really because it does not synergize with how frost mage works.
    [Unstable Magic]: Best talent for ST, equals out to be 2% increase in damage.
    [Arctic Gale]: Should be used for 2+ targets.

TL;DR: [Unstable Magic] is the best for pure single target (2% increase in damage), however if the fight has 2+ targets, [Arctic Gale]’s going to fair quite better.

Tier 100:

    [Thermal Void]: Extends Icy Veins duration by 2sec every time an [Ice Lance] is shattered on the target.
    [Glacial Spike]: Conjures all 5 icicles you have into a major spike dealing a sum of damage + damage stored in the icicles.
    [Comet Storm]: Currently has no use in most PvE raids, might be a possible pick for Skorpyron maybe. But in my opinion, not worth over the other 2 talents.

TL;DR: There is 2 builds competing at this patch, [Thermal Void] and [Glacial Spike] and they both can work out great with the right stats. [Comet Storm] is not worth over the other 2 talents.

Recommended Talent Setup:

    Critical Strike: A chance for your spells to do double damage and for your [Ice Lance] to do 6x damage.
    Haste: Faster casts, and GCDs.
    Versatility: A straight up damage buff, damage taken reduced.
    Mastery: Your [Frostbolt] stores x% of their damage as icicles above your head for 1min, can be thrown with either [Glacial Spike] or [Ice Lance].

Ice Lance (Thermal Void) Build:
Crit (up to 33.34%) > Haste > Versatility > Mastery.

Glacial Spike Build: Roughly keep mastery, versatility and haste ratings similar with mastery, versatility a bit higher.
Crit (up to 33.34%) > Mastery > Versatility > Haste.


Notable Artifact Traits:

I’m only gonna talk about the ice lance build here because it’s a bit more versatile and has better output than the Glacial Spike build for this patch.

Single Target:
Opener: Pre-Pot > [Ebonbolt] (Pre-cast at 2sec left) > Burst Macro (TW if your raid leader instructed to do so) > [Flurry] > [Ice Lance] > [Ice Lance] > [Frozen Orb] > Regular rotation.
Regular rotation:
Can be summed up as a priority list as follows:

We basically don’t want to let [Brain Freeze] procs expire nor overcap on our [Fingers of Frost] procs. Then, we want to prioritize the latter procs over [Brain Freeze] procs when we have 3 stacks of [Chain Reaction] because we want to shatter as many [Ice Lance] as possible. Example: assuming we stacked up chain reaction to 3, if we had 2 [Fingers of Frost] procs and a [Brain Freeze] proc, we want to consume the 2x[Fingers of Frost] procs and then shatter another 2 [Ice Lance] with [Winter’s Chill] coming from [Brain Freeze] (Double Ice Lancing, more on that in a bit). That is instead of Casting Instant [Flurry], [Ice Lance], [Ice Lance]. Only 2 shattered [Ice Lance].
Usually, we want keep using [Frozen Orb] and [Ebonbolt] on cooldown because they give us [Flurry] and [Fingers of Frost] procs and finally fish for procs and build up [Chain Reaction] stacks with [Frostbolt] and NEVER hard-cast [Flurry], and never [Ice Lance] without procs.

Maximizing Damage (Double Ice Lance):
Simply put, Double Ice Lancing is the act of fitting a [Frostbolt] and 2x[Ice Lance] into a single [Winter’s Chill] window. And because the latter only has 1 sec duration, you would need a lot of haste (ie. Faster GCD’s) to pull this off. And by a lot of haste I mean a lot, you’re gonna need Icy Veins or Time Warp + at least 23% haste on your gear.
It should look something like this: [Frostbolt] > [Flurry] (from [Brain Freeze]) > [Ice Lance] > [Ice Lance]. Your [Flurry] hits first, shattering [Frostbolt], and the 2 [Ice Lance] that follow. Should be done from 15 yards at least so you’re able to shatter [Frostbolt], and remember the further you are, the more haste you need on your gear. Also, keep in mind you can [Frostbolt] > [Flurry] (from [Brain Freeze]) > [Ice Lance] > [Shimmer] > [Ice Lance] to get a bit closer to target allowing you to do it a bit more reliably.

For AoE (3+ Targets), your rotation is pretty simple (Icy veins can be used to annihilate a pack fast):

We wanna keep [Frozen Orb] and [Blizzard] on cooldown because they hit the most number of enemies and give us procs to use. Spam [Ice Lance] as long as you have [Fingers of Frost] charges. After that, Cast [Flurry] if you have a [Brain Freeze] proc. Finally [Frostbolt] if nothing else can be used (probably won’t meet this much on bigger pulls).


    1- [Shard of the Exodar]: allows for a second Time Warp, remember I said frost mage needs haste, yeah….This gives that.
    2- [Magtheridon’s Banished Bracers]: Empowers your [Ice Lance] by up to 18%, perfect during times where you get a lot of procs.
    3- [Lady Vashj’s Grasp]: gives you an extra few procs during Icy Veins, allowing you to benefit a bit more and smooth out the RNG of frost mage a bit.
    4- [Prydaz Xavaric’s Magnum Opus] (stat stick): none of the other legendaries benefit the mage’s single target rotation, so we take a stat stick for a bit more stats for raiding and the shield isn’t that bad too.


Ice Lance Build: I would go 1 [Frozen Veins], and mix and match the other 2 relics.
+3ilvl: Let It Go.
+3ilvl: Clarity of Thought.
+2ilvl: Frozen Veins.

Glacial Spike Build: I would go 2 Icy Caress, 1 Clarity of Thought.
+3ilvl: Icy Caress.
+3ilvl: Clarity of Thought.
+2ilvl: Ice Age.

Burst macro:

#showtooltip Icy Veins
/cast Icy Veins
/cast Berserking or Blood Fury (if you’re Troll or Orc in order)
/cast 13 or 14 (if you have [Gnawed Thumb Ring] in upper or lower slot in order)
/cast 15 and/or 16 (if you have on-use effect trinkets)

Shimmer + Ice Block macro (to simultaneously move and immune something):

#showtooltip Ice Block
/cast [url=][Shimmer][/url]
/cast Ice Block

Block and Cancel Block in 1 button:

#showtooltip Ice Block
/cancelaura Ice Block
/cast Ice Block

    ElvUI: Makes your UI cleaner and more modern looking. Allows you to move stuff around too.
    WeakAuras2: Allows you to track cooldowns, buffs, debuffs…etc to maximize your output.
    BigWigs/DBM: Your trusty boss mod to get timers for deadly boss abilities, to completely ignore them ofc, I mean who cares about soaking…..Oh.
    LittleWigs: Same as BigWigs but for dungeons. Yay!!!!
    Skada/Recount/Details: Allows you to brag in fights, make sure it’s in the middle of your screen.
    AngryKestones: Allows for a more custom keystone timer, if you’re more into that kind of thing.

    - Use your utility in dungeons, you have strong slows and roots, help the tank kite with them.
    - You can use Ice Block to soak mechanics without taking damage (Empowered Fel Bonds @Gul’dan with Shimmer+IB macro, Ice Block on top of Euphoric Orb @Ellisande….etc)
    - You can save up some of your [Fingers of Frost] procs to use while moving or annihilate high priority kill targets that need to be bursted in seconds, sacrifice your own DPS to make everyone’s job a lot easier.
    - If you have a boss with adds that aren’t important around it, use your single target rotation and throw in [Blizzard] to get even more [Frozen Orb] resets, so more procs.
    - A newbie mistake is moving from mechanics while you have [Shimmer] usable. You can easily keep casting and [Shimmer] out of mechanics not to lose out on DPS.
    - When gearing up, make sure you keep as close to Shatter cap if not a bit above it (33.34% Crit), Make sure you have 20-26% Haste, and stack up a bit of versatility 5%+, mastery is quite weak in ice lance build and shouldn’t really be focused on.
    - Enchants: Rings should be enchanted with whatever stat you lack the most, neck piece with Mark of the Claw atm due to low Mark of hidden satyr proc rate.
    - Gems: 1 Saber’s Eye of Intellect, and gem the rest for whatever stat you’re missing the most.

And that’s it folks, I tried to include most things, but mage is vast, feel free to read more about it

Note: if you have any suggestions to better improve this guide. Feel free to comment it below <3. And shout out to @Vouchery (Cho) for letting me use his guide for inspiration and making me the banners.

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