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Frost Mage DPS Rotation, Cooldowns, and Abilities (WoW 4.3.4)

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Contents


In this article, we list your Frost Mage (WoW 4.3) core abilities and how they should be used together (rotation). We also explain when to use your various cooldowns. Then, we go deeper and present all the subtleties that playing a Frost Mage will face you with. The other articles of our Frost Mage guide can be accessed from the table of contents on the left.

1. Basic Single Target Rotation↑top

The rotation of a Frost Mage can be summed up by the following priority list:

  1. Deep Freeze Icon Deep Freeze (Fingers of Frost Icon Fingers of Frost must be up)
  2. Flame Orb Icon Flame Orb
  3. Freeze Icon Freeze (from your Water Elemental)
  4. Frostfire Bolt Icon Frostfire Bolt when Brain Freeze Icon Brain Freeze and Fingers of Frost Icon Fingers of Frost are up
  5. Ice Lance Icon Ice Lance when you have 2 charges of Fingers of Frost Icon Fingers of Frost
  6. Frostfire Bolt Icon Frostfire Bolt when Brain Freeze Icon Brain Freeze is running out and Fingers of Frost Icon Fingers of Frost is not proccing
  7. Ice Lance Icon Ice Lance when you have 1 charge of Fingers of Frost Icon Fingers of Frost and it is running out
  8. Frostbolt Icon Frostbolt

1.1. Cooldown Usage

Icy Veins Icon Icy Veins and Cold Snap Icon Cold Snap are your two DPS cooldowns. Icy Veins should be used whenever possible. Cold Snap provides you with extreme burst damage once or twice per fight (depending on the duration of the fight).

Mirror Image Icon Mirror Image provides you with a small DPS boost and should therefore be used on cooldown. It can also be used at the pull to lower the threat given by your first cast of Deep Freeze.

Evocation Icon Evocation is your main mana regeneration ability and should be used whenever your mana drops below 35%. If glyphed (Glyph of Evocation) it will also regenerate your health. Similarly, Mana Gem should be used as soon as you are more than 12k mana below your maximum mana.

2. Basic Multiple Target Rotation↑top

Frost Mages only have two AoE abilities: Blizzard Icon Blizzard and Cone of Cold Icon Cone of Cold, so they sometimes have to rely on abilities from other schools, namely Flamestrike Icon Flamestrike and Arcane Explosion Icon Arcane Explosion.

  • When the targets remain stationary, the best strategy is to use Flamestrike Icon Flamestrike and Blizzard Icon Blizzard alternatively. The idea is while you cast Blizzard, the targets are still getting damaged by the over time effect of Flamestrike.
  • If the adds have very little life, the best spell to use is Cone of Cold Icon Cone of Cold as it has an instant cast.
  • If you are aiming for mana efficiency, Arcane Explosion Icon Arcane Explosion is the way to go.

3. Armors↑top

Your two viable choices of armors are Molten Armor Icon Molten Armor and Mage Armor Icon Mage Armor. Ideally, you should keep Molten Armor up at all times. Mage Armor should only be used as a last resort means of replenishing your mana.

4. Optional Read: Mastering Your Frost Mage↑top

While the rotations we gave in the previous sections will yield very good results, there are many things you should be aware of, in order to play your Frost Mage to its full potential. In particular, we detail how Fingers of Frost Icon Fingers of Frost, the central proc of a Frost Mage play style, works.

4.1. Abilities in Details

Frostbolt Icon Frostbolt is your main spell and highest source of single target DPS.

Deep Freeze Icon Deep Freeze is an instant cast spell that deals a lot of damage to targets immune to stuns. It can only be cast on frozen targets; in a boss fight, it means it can only be cast when Fingers of Frost Icon Fingers of Frost is up.

Ice Lance Icon Ice Lance is an instant cast spell that should only be used on frozen targets, because in that case, the amount of damage it deals is doubled.

Frostfire Bolt Icon Frostfire Bolt should only be cast when Brain Freeze Icon Brain Freeze is up, as otherwise it provides a lower damage output than Frostbolt.

Flame Orb Icon Flame Orb is modified by Frostfire Orb Icon Frostfire Orb into a Frostfire Orb. This gives every tick of the spell a chance to proc Fingers of Frost and Brain Freeze.

Your Water Elemental pet has two abilities that you will need to use:

  • Freeze Icon Freeze, that grants you two charges of Fingers of Frost, thanks to Improved Freeze Icon Improved Freeze;
  • Water Bolt Icon Water Bolt, which should always be set to automatic by right clicking it.

4.2. Trash Mobs Inefficiency

Deep Freeze Icon Deep Freeze, your main nuke, only deals damage to targets immune to stuns (dungeon and raid bosses, as well as certain trash mobs). In most cases, it will simply stun trash mobs and deal no damage to them, greatly lowering your damage output outside boss encounters.

4.3. Procs: Brain Freeze and Fingers of Frost

Watching out for Brain Freeze Icon Brain Freeze and Fingers of Frost Icon Fingers of Frost is a crucial part of playing a Frost Mage. These two procs will dictate when you must cast your abilities.

Brain Freeze Icon Brain Freeze gives you a free Frostfire Bolt Icon Frostfire Bolt with an instant cast. It has a 15% chance to proc whenever you cast a Frost spell, with the exception of Frostfire Bolt.

Fingers of Frost Icon Fingers of Frost is your most important proc. The idea is that most of your spells are more effective against frozen targets but bosses can unfortunately not be frozen. So Blizzard came up with a substitute: whenever Fingers of Frost is up, some spells act as if they were cast on a frozen target. These spells are:

Fingers of Frost stays up for 15 seconds. It is consumed whenever you cast one of the aforementioned spells.

To give you some flexibility in your usage of Fingers of Frost, it can stack up to two charges. This means that whenever you have accumulated two charges, further procs will only refresh the 15 second cooldown but will not give you additional charges.

4.3.1. Managing Charges of Fingers of Frost

The rule of thumb is to always try to keep exactly one charge of Fingers of Frost Icon Fingers of Frost so that you have it available when Deep Freeze Icon Deep Freeze is off cooldown or when Brain Freeze Icon Brain Freeze procs.

You should not keep two charges of Fingers of Frost as subsequent procs will be lost. To remain at one charge only, simply use Ice Lance Icon Ice Lance whenever you have two charges. The only exception to this rule is when you there is only one or two seconds left on the cooldown of Deep Freeze; in that case, you should wait for Deep Freeze to be up and use it to consume a charge.

If you only have one charge of Fingers of Frost and Brain Freeze is up, but Deep Freeze is almost off cooldown (a few seconds left), you should definitely wait a bit and consume that charge with Deep Freeze, hoping that a new charge of Fingers of Frost will come before Brain Freeze runs out or is refreshed. From a probabilistic point of view, it is the safer bet as Fingers of Frost procs more often than Brain Freeze.

The Freeze Icon Freeze spell from your Water Elemental should be used whenever possible. You might have heard that it should be kept for Deep Freeze. The problem with that advice is that Deep Freeze has a 30 second cooldown while Freeze has a 25 second cooldown. If you are looking to maximise your DPS (we are talking of about 1 extra charge of Fingers of Frost every two minutes, so it is a small DPS gain), you need to use Freeze whenever possible. It also has the advantage to force you to properly manage your charges so that you always have one available for when Deep Freeze is up.

Your Flame Orb Icon Flame Orb (now a Frostfire Orb) deals damage every second. These ticks behave like normal Frost spells regarding Fingers of Frost and Brain Freeze: each tick has a chance to trigger them. You should always expect these procs to happen when Flame Orb is up, and be ready to cast Ice Lance to avoid remaining at two charges of Fingers of Frost.

4.4. Brain Freeze Subtleties

Brain Freeze Icon Brain Freeze is usually consumed when one of the two following situations occur:

  1. Fingers of Frost Icon Fingers of Frost is up, or
  2. when Fingers of Frost Icon Fingers of Frost is not up and Brain Freeze Icon Brain Freeze is about to run out.

This gives very good results but the second situation (where you wait for Brain Freeze to be running out before using it) can be optimised. In this situation, you run the risk of wasting Brain Freeze if it procs again before you had a chance to use it.

What you should do is wait for a few casts of Frostbolt Icon Frostbolt (about 4 or 5) and then consume Brain Freeze with a Frostfire Bolt.

4.5. Burst Damage: How to Make Good Use of Cold Snap

Frost Mages are very good when it comes to doing a great amount of damage in a very short time. This comes from Cold Snap Icon Cold Snap which resets the cooldowns of your frost spells. Here is how you should proceed. Cast Deep Freeze Icon Deep Freeze and Flame Orb Icon Flame Orb first, then pop Icy Veins Icon Icy Veins. If you cast Cold Snap Icon Cold Snap, you will be able to immediately recast Deep Freeze Icon Deep Freeze and Flame Orb Icon Flame Orb and you will have Icy Veins Icon Icy Veins ready to be popped again as soon as it runs out. To sum it up, in a burn phase, you should cast the following spells in the order given:

  1. Flame Orb Icon Flame Orb;
  2. Freeze Icon Freeze;
  3. Deep Freeze Icon Deep Freeze;
  4. Icy Veins Icon Icy Veins;
  5. Cold Snap Icon Cold Snap;
  6. Deep Freeze Icon Deep Freeze;
  7. Flame Orb Icon Flame Orb;
  8. Icy Veins Icon Icy Veins 20 seconds later, when the first one runs out.

Note that Icy Veins, Freeze, and Cold Snap do not trigger the global cooldown.

Depending on the situation, you might want to simply cast two Deep Freeze Icon Deep Freeze in a row because the fight requires that you do a maximum amount of damage in a minimum amount of time:

  1. Freeze Icon Freeze;
  2. Deep Freeze Icon Deep Freeze;
  3. Cold Snap Icon Cold Snap;
  4. Deep Freeze Icon Deep Freeze.

Remember to use Mirror Image Icon Mirror Image if doing burst damage causes you to gain aggro.

4.6. Kiting

A great strength of Frost Mages is their almost unrivaled ability to kite a target (or a group thereof) around. Frost Mages have a whole arsenal of abilities to slow and freeze their targets:

Do not forget that Ice Shards Icon Ice Shards adds a slowing effect to Blizzard Icon Blizzard, making it very efficient for kiting. Similarly, Improved Cone of Cold Icon Improved Cone of Cold adds a freezing effect to Cone of Cold Icon Cone of Cold. If you want to spend points in either of these talents, make sure that you really need to do so since even without these talents, Frost Mages have a rather impressive list of kiting abilities.

When kiting, you should try to move in a circular manner. To achieve that, you should always be moving sideways (left or right) and use the camera control (by default, the mouse right button) to try and rotate around a fixed point. The idea is that it enables you to target the adds you are kiting and it makes it easier to group the adds together.

To get initial aggro on the adds, cast Ice Lance Icon Ice Lance on them once or twice, that should be enough if no one else attacks them. While you are kiting them, the spells you will use should suffice to maintain aggro.

In theory, using only spells with freezing effects (Frost Nova, Freeze, and Ring of Frost), in combination with Blink Icon Blink to move away from the adds when they get too close, should be enough. If you are having trouble kiting the adds using only spells with freezing effects, you can always throw in a Cone of Cold to slow them down. Only when that last advice still is not enough should you consider investing talent points in Improved Cone of Cold or Ice Shards.

Finally, use Mage Armor Icon Mage Armor when kiting. The amount of damage you do to the adds does not really matter. However, it is imperative that you do not run out of mana.

4.7. Tier 13 4-piece Set Bonus

With 4 pieces of the Mage Tier 13 set, each time you cast Frostbolt Icon Frostbolt or Frostfire Bolt Icon Frostfire Bolt, you gain a stack of Stolen Time Icon Stolen Time (up to 10 stacks). Whenever you use Tauri Veins Icon Tauri Veins, these stacks are removed. In addition, each stack of Stolen Time Icon Stolen Time reduces the cooldown of Tauri Veins Icon Tauri Veins by 15 seconds.

Note that stacks of Stolen Time Icon Stolen Time do not reduce the remaining cooldown of Tauri Veins Icon Tauri Veins, so if you cast Tauri Veins with no stacks of Stolen Time, you will have to wait for its full 3-minute cooldown. Therefore, you should always try to cast Tauri Veins with 10 stacks of Stolen Time.




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