Raiding as Frost? You could say its… *shades* … cool.
Fancy yourself as a frost mage? Are you tired of hitting arcane blast over and over again? Does the Firelands make you cringe at the thought of even using another fire spell in that instance? Consider trying out a frost spec! Its what all the hipsters are doing these days.
For ages, frost has been regarded (and compared) to the subtlety spec for rogues, being that people only use it for PvP. And they are correct in this matter, it is the best spec to run with (personally) for PvP over the others. But the way talents have been redesigned for mages in frost spec to subspec into arcane or fire, gives new life for frost to make a comeback in raiding.
Lets take a look at the frost tree talents for do’s and dont’s in raiding as a frost mage, as well as some optional talents you can move around to better fit your playstyle:
The Do’s: (It is worth mentioning that Frost has 29 required/strongly suggested talent points to take, leaving you to place 2 optional points anywhere.)
For tier one in frost you have Early Frost, Piercing Ice and Shatter.
Early Frost (2/2)- Decreases the cast time of your Frostbolt spell by 0.3/0.6 seconds. Becomes inactive 15 seconds after use. The wording on this can be a bit confusing for some, especially one just starting out a mage. What this talent does, is every 15 seconds, your frostbolt will cast 0.3/0.6 seconds faster if you have talents in it. Pick this up.
Piercing Ice (3/3)- Increases your critical strike chance by 1/2/3%. A no-brainer, this talent is a staple in ANY mage spec.
Shatter – Multiplies the critical strike chance of your all your spells against frozen targets by 2/3, and increases the damage of your Frostbolt on frozen targets by an additional 10/20%. This means if your base critical strike is 20%, on frozen targets it becomes 40/60%. This talent is key because it applies to the Fingers of Frost (read later) talent and benefits from Mastery (later). Grab this as well.
The first tier of talents provides some very useful abilities, which not only will help to level, but be very beneficial in a raid setting. Onward to Tier 2!
Ice Floes (3/3)- Reduces the cooldown of your Frost Nova, Cone of Cold, Ice Block, Cold Snap, Icy Veins, and Ice Barrier by 7/14/20%. Although in a raid setting you are only going to get the full effect of the talent on about half of your abilities (Cold Snap, Ice Barrier, and Icy Veins being those 3), they are the more important abilities in the group to have their cooldown reduced. Grab all 3 points.
Permafrost (1/3)- Your chill effects reduce the amount of healing the target receives by 4/7/10% and its movement speed by an additional 4/7/10%. In addition, whenever you deal damage with frost spells, you heal your pet for 5/10/15% of the amount of damage dealt. Nice talent to put 1 point into for raiding, helps keep a steady hot-like heal on your pet so it doesn’t die from effects, unlike hunter pets, it gets hit by a lot of environmental damage.
Ice Shards (2/2)[My Optional 2 Points here.]- Your blizzard spell now adds a chilling effect, reducing all enemies speed in the radius by 22/44%. In addition, increases the range of your Ice Lance by 2/5 yards. This talent really shines on a fight like Beth’tilac, allowing you to slow the little spiders greatly, but since the blizzard now has a chill effect on top of it, each strike has a chance to generate a fingers of frost charge. The added 5 yards onto ice lance helps on mobility fights when the boss runs out of range of frostbolt and you have a fingers of frost charge to burn.
Icy Veins (1/1)- Hastens your spellcasting, increasing spell casting speed by 20% and reduces the pushback suffered from damaging attacks while casting by 100%. Lasts 20 sec. 3 minute cooldown. Faster casting! And it benefits from the Ice Floes talent! Yoink!
Fingers of Frost (3/3)- Gives your frost spells with a chilling effect a 7/14/20% chance to generate a charge of fingers of frost, making your ice lance and deep freeze spells act as if the target were frozen, and increases Ice lance damage by 25% when used as a finger of frost. Fingers of frost can accumulate up to 2 times. Last 15 seconds. This is the bursty/proc part of your arsenal. Primarily using frostbolt (and other sources include Frostfire Orb, Frostfire Bolt and Freeze from your water elemental), this ability allow you to generate some burst and add some variety to your rotation to keep things interesting, not picking this talent up not only blocks Improved Freeze, but drops your damage a ton and limits you to nothing but frostbolt spam. All 3 points, no exception.
Improved Freeze (3/3)- Gives your water elemental’s Freeze ability a 33/66/100% chance to generate 2 charges of Fingers of Frost. THIS IS AWESOME! FREEZE ALL THE THINGS WITH 3 POINTS HERE!
Enduring Winter (3/3)- Reduces the mana cost of all spells by 3/6/10%, and in addition your frostbolt spell has a 33/66/100% chance to trigger Replenishment, granting up to 10 party or raid members mana regeneration equal to 1% of their maximum mana over 10 seconds. Lower mana cost of all spells. Using evocation and mana gems less frequently. Providing additional passive mana regen? Sign 3 of my points up!
Cold Snap (1/1)- When activated, this ability reset sets the cooldown on all frost abilities you have recently cast. 8 minute cooldown. Wishing you could recast another deep freeze since your trinkets are up? Did your Frostfire Orb or Icy Veins just expire? Do you want EVEN MORE burst? Your prayers have been answered. BAM! Benefits from Ice Floes.
Brain Freeze (3/3)- Your spells no longer trigger Arcane Missiles. Instead, your Frost damage spells with chilling effects have a 5/10/15% chance to cause your next Fireball or Frostfire Bolt spell to be instant cast and cost no mana. When Frostfire Bolt is instant, it can benefit from Fingers of Frost. Brain Freeze cannot be triggered by Frostfire Bolt. So instead of having to use arcane abilities, you now get to use a frost-based spell to complement your talent specialization. When using brain freeze, ALWAYS, use Frostfire Bolt over Fireball so you can get the effect of the 25% additional damage to frost spells from Frost Specialization. Frostfire Bolt can hit hard when brain freeze is active with at least 1 charge of fingers of frost. It is almost guaranteed to be a crit, and since it also has fire as a base, will leave ignite on the target. The Points, spend them!
Ice Barrier (1/1)- Instantly shields you, absorbing a decent amount damage. Lasts 1 min. While the shield holds, spellcasting will not be delayed by damage. This talent is required to unlock Deep Freeze, but your healers wont mind having 20000 damage absorbed every time, if its used on cooldown.
Frostfire Orb (2/2)- Your Frostfire Orb gains a chill effect, slowing targets damaged by the Frostfire Orb by 0/40% for 4 sec. In addition, reduces the speed of targets slowed by your Frostfire Bolt’s chill effect by an additional 10/20%. Additionally, this talent makes the orb benefit from frost specialization, so it gains another 25% damage. Combine that with the added chill effect to proc fingers of frost, and you have a winner.
Deep Freeze (1/1)-
Stuns the target for 5 sec. Only usable on Frozen targets. Deals a high amount of damage to targets that are permanently immune to stuns. 30 second cooldown. Primary nuke when available with a fingers of frost charge. Best used when trinket and/or intellect procs are active.
Improved Cone of Cold (0/2)- Your cone of cold now freezes the target for 2/4 seconds. Great for PvP, but no boss can be frozen. Skip.
Piercing Chill (0/2)- Your frostbolt criticals apply the chilled effect to 1/2 nearby target(s). If having the chilled effect on a mob increased your chance to <insert something beneficial here> it would be a nice talent, but it doesn’t. Skip.
Shattered Barrier (0/2)- Gives your Ice Barrier spell a 100% chance to freeze all enemies within 10 yards for 2/4 seconds. You are standing ~30 yards from the boss, who as we also know, happen to be immune to freezing! Skip.
The Optionals (aka: I have 2 points left in frost before I can subspec, HALP!):
I particularly like Ice Shards, but other abilities can be picked up with benefit:
3/3 Permafrost -Maxing this out is not a bad idea, you are certain to keep your pet alive and not have to possibly use Cold Snap to resummon it. And if the boss heals, and you happen to be the only person who has a Mortal Strike ability in the raid, the extra points here will serve some use.
2/2 Reactive Barrier -Gives the caster a 100% chance for the Ice Barrier spell to automatically cast with no mana cost upon taking damage that lowers the caster’s life below 50%. This effect obeys Ice Barrier’s cooldown, and will trigger the cooldown when activated. If you find yourself having too many things to manage while taking damage, reactive barrier will take one of those things out of the equation for you by automatically casting barrier when you fall below 50%. Strongly recommend for first time mages raiding as frost, as you don’t have Cauterize or instant Invisibility to save you.
Congratulations! You now are ready to subspec into arcane and fire talents! There isn’t much flexibility left with the 10 talent points, you have to go down in fire to grab Ignite, and the last 2 points go into Netherwind Presence. You want to grab Ignite so when your Brain Freeze crits either naturally, or with a Fingers of Frost proc, you can gain an additional 40% more damage from the spell. Here is what my spec looks like:
Enter the Inscriptionist…… err… Scribe!
Glyphs are almost straightforward, however there are a bit more frostcentric prime glyphs than others, so you want to make sure you take the right three for your playstyle.
Glyph of Frostbolt – Increases the Critical Strike chance of your Frostbolt spell by 5%. 5% more crit on your primary nuke. Taken.
Glyph of Frostfire – Increases the damage of your Frostfire Bolt by 15%, and leaves a debuff which deals an additional 3% of the spell’s damage over 9 seconds. Stacks 3 times. However, your Frostfire Bolt no longer slows enemies’ movement speed. Increased Brain Freeze damage, which means increased Ignite damage, at the cost of not slowing the boss who you aren’t tanking down. Taken.
Glyph of Ice Lance - Increases the damage of your Ice Lance spell by 5%. Good to use if you find you are getting a bunch of Fingers of Frost procs without having Deep Freeze or Brain Freeze to use them on. Lower levels of gear (< T11 heroic) will go for this as the third.
Glyph of Deep Freeze - Increases the damage of your Deep Freeze spell by 20%. Being the big nuke of frost spec, this glyph starts to take off at T11 heroic levels of gear, and does not look back. Higher levels of gear will use this because of the huge scaling bonus. I use this glyph over Ice Lance.
Glyph of Evocation -Your Evocation ability also causes you to regain 40% of your health over its duration. Nice perk in addition to regenerating 60% of your mana.
Glyph of Ice Barrier – Increases the amount of damage absrobed by your Ice Barrier spell by 30%. Yay for more damage absorbed.
Glyph of Icy Veins -Your Icy Veins ability also removes all movement slowing and cast time slowing effects. Nice if you find yourself in a slow (not daze) you need to get out of, choice for majors are sparse for a raid setting.
Minors (Head out of the gutter!):
Glyph of Slow Fall – Your Slow Fall ability no longer requires a reagent. Hell. Yes.
Glyph of Conjuring – Reduces the mana cost of your conjuring spells by 50%. Nice having cheaper food and mana gems.
Glyph of Armors – Increases the duration of your armor spells by 30 minutes. Not having to refresh buffs, woo!
You are now ready to begin your raid life as a frost mage! At first, your contemporaries will be shocked! They will ask you to change out of that PvP spec and to give them things like
Focus Magic and whatnot, as you laugh to yourself. You have not the time to be bothered with such things! For randoms, frost scales very well with the 15% dungeon finder buff, making all your abilities that much sweeter. But you can’t just go into an instance and roll your face over your keyboard! There are burn and downtime periods for the frost mage in his or her arsenal, you need to plan accordingly! Enter the rotation: Now that you have all of these spells to use at your disposal, lets put them to the best of their use so that that lone 5 man of estranged elitists doesn’t kick you for not being arcane or fire.
Enter the Rotation:
There are two phases in the rotation of a frost mage: The Burn Phase and The Lull(lulz) Phase.
The Burn Phase:
This is where you lift the kitchen sink up and scream that YOU ARE MAD AS HELL AND NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE! Having the herbalism profession myself, I get to weave that into my burn phase, engineers can also do this as well with glove enchants. The burn phase occurs at the start of the fight and every two minutes after that. This is where you will pop you profession cooldowns (if you have them), Frostfire Orb, Mirror Images and Icy Veins. You will be generating a lot of Fingers of Frost and Brain Freeze procs, so watch for moving away from Frostbolt into Ice Lance or a Brain Frozen Frostfire Bolt. Once you have all of these abilities active, watch for Deep Freeze to become active and hit it. As soon as your deep freeze becomes grayed out, use your Cold Snap to reset the Deep Freeze, Frostfire Orb and Icy Veins cooldown instantly. Once Icy Veins and Frostfire Orb dissipate, use them again. It is worth noting to NOT use your water elemental’s Freeze ability here, otherwise you will be wasting some valuable charges of Fingers of Frost. Recast Frostfire Orb when it comes off cooldown, and same with Icy Veins, these act as mini Burn Phases, until your cold snap comes back off cooldown…… 6.4 minutes later….
The Lull (Lulz) Phase:
This happens when you cant cast anything besides Frostbolt in order to generate Fingers of Frost charges, eg: all your abilities are on cooldown. This is where you save your water elemental’s Freeze ability for. You will get you use it twice before your Frostfire Orb comes off cooldown, and 5 times before Icy Veins is back up. Remember to spend all charges of Fingers of Frost before you use Freeze. After you use Freeze, try and always keep one charge of Fingers of Frost active in case your Frostbolt also happen to cause a Brain Freeze. This is so you can maximize the effect of picking up ignite. You are pretty much spamming Frostbolt here aside from the few charges you may get naturally or via your elemental.
A quick breakdown of the stat values for a raiding frost mage:
Intellect > Spell Power >Hit (17%) > Crit (33.33% Raid buffed)* > Mastery** > Haste > Everything Else
*I currently have 22.13% Crit unbuffed on my mage in Molten Armor, with a flask and food + stat buffs, you should be around 23.33%. Factor in 5% crit from a warrior/druid/shaman/rogue and another 5% in spell vulnerability from a warlock or fire mage, and you have hit the crit cap for frost mages and the shatter talent(33.33% x 3 =100% for Fingers of Frost Spells to crit).
**Mastery – Frostburn – Increases the damage of your Frostbolt spell by an additional 15%, but reduces your mastery by 6. Increases the damage of your spells on frozen targets by 2.5% per point of mastery. Frostbolt does not act if the target were frozen ever, unless the target can be effected by (and cast on) a Deep Freeze or Frost Nova. That is the only time it gains effect from mastery. Mastery does effect every other spell on a single target fight (Ice Lance, Frostfire Bolt, Deep Freeze), when they gain the bonus of fingers of frost effect. Mastery is going to become increasingly powerful the higher the level of gear you obtain.
Have fun using these tools at your disposal in a raid and 5 man setting, they are certainly different and fun from the traditional fire and arcane specs.
I improved my MS paint abilities. Score!
I don’t always raid on my mage…
But when I do, I prefer frost spec..
Stay hipster, my friends.