Xandyn has gotten many Rank one titles, played with all the big name players on both EU and US realms. He has played in many online tournaments as well as Blizzard Battle.net regionals in 2011. Recently he won the Yaspresents 3v3 tournament playing RMP.
His highest rating playing Warrior/Mage/Priest (Barburas/Zunniyaki) has been 3185 in the Vicious season, RMP (Khuna/Zunniyaki) – 3100, and MLS (Flubbah/Inflame) – 2800.
What to expect in the guide:
- Useful guidelines for both beginner and veteran Frost Mages
- Tips and tricks how to use your abilities and spells correctly
- Procs management and efficient damage dealing
- Common misconceptions of the Mage class
- Some tips for all classes, not only Mages (section 1.5)
(1.1) Talents and glyphs
(1.5) General playstyle
2/8/31 is the standard Frost Mage talent specialization that is applicable to most comps and is strong against most setups, however there are some tweaks you can make if you know what kind of teams you're going to be playing against:
If you are certain that you are facing a team that will tunnel you, especially Hunter/Warrior/Rogue comps, take a point out of Impact and get 2/2 Blazing Speed instead.
If you know you will face a team where you will have to Spell Steal a lot (MLS, Shadowplay, etc), you should put 2 points in Master of Elements and go only 1/3 in Burning Soul.
I strongly advice against using Shattered Barrier talent no matter what the case is, a controlled root will always be better than a somewhat RNG root. Piercing Chill is waste of talent points as well.
Glyph of Frostbolt (IMPORTANT: If you are facing a wizard cleave such as Shadowplay or MLS, it’s a very good idea to swap Frostbolt glyph for Mage Armor glyph, since you should rarely cast Frostbolt vs these comps. Spell Stealing is very important vs Shaman wizard cleaves, thus the extra mana regen is amazing. Read more on that later on in the guide. In particular, I have used the Mage Armor glyph vs Team EG's Shadowplay in the Yaspresents tourney, and it helped me a lot.
Glyph of Frostfire
Glyph of Ice Lance
Glyph of Polymorph (Swap this to Glyph of Evocation, if you know you will be tunneling one target entire game, or if every bit of survival will help you against certain burst comps like RMP/KFC, etc.)
Glyph of Frost Armor (Swap this to Glyph of Blink, if you are against a wizard cleave setup, or you can swap this to Glyph of Evocation if you want to keep Glyph of Polymorph, either Evocation/Polymorph/Ice Barrier or Evocation/Blink/Ice Barrier if you don't need to sheep.)
Glyph of Ice Barrier (DO NOT swap this, this glyph is necessary.)
Glyph of Slow Fall
Glyph of Armors
Glyph of Arcane Brilliance
In this section, I'll describe how to use your abilities correctly/efficiently, and what are the best situations to use them. A lot of important Mage gameplay is described in this part of the guide, so don't skip this!
Arcane Brilliance – Though often overlooked, is an extremely powerful buff that gives you extra damage, and should be recast a lot once dispelled. Get a comfortable bind for this and be able to rebuff it quickly when it gets dispelled from you or even your teammates.
Counterspell – This spell is mostly used as an interrupt, however I do not feel that is the correct way to use it in the current meta game. You’re mostly better off on using this ability to silence someone for 4 seconds at a time of your choosing. Even a lot of Rank 1 Mages are always so eager to CS someone on cast, but rarely do they think beforehand if it’s going to change anything in the game pace. Consider holding your CS in examples such as these: if the enemy Mage is casting a non-shatter Frostbolt, everyone on your team is 100% health, or the enemy mage is casting a Polymorph on you, which can be easily dispelled by your healer. Why would you waste the CS? Hold it and thus save the cooldown of CS and allowing you to use it in a time of your own choosing).
Usually it’s much more powerful/beneficial to use the Counterspell in order to blanket silence. For example when Warlock pops Demon Soul/trinket macro, you silence him and dispel it before he can get any dots off or soulswap, rather than counterspelling on cast. Silencing the enemy Mage once he Deep Freezes someone in your team to prevent any Ice Lances/instants is also a very strong tactic. Silencing a priest/paladin after a CC chain is much better than saving it for an interrupt, and the list goes on. Do not think of this as an interrupt with a situational silence, it’s a silence with a VERY situational interrupt. (I can easily say that only 30% of my CS’s are used to interrupt an actual cast).
Evocation – When glyphed, use this if you’re about to die and got nothing better to cast (i.e. nova, deep freeze). Keep in mind the first tick is instant so you can abuse this to get a free heal at a crucial situation.
Invisibility – You should use this when gates open, to get the opening Pet Freeze – Frostbolt combo. Good players will CS you on your Frostbolt, even if you cast it out of invisibility by using the Arena1/2/3 CS macro. If you are playing with a stealth class, you can prevent this by casting invisibility shortly before the gates open, so they can’t know which Arena target you are, so they won’t be able to spam the macro. Note that you can outrange Felhunter counter spell, as your Frostbolt has 40 yards range, whereas Felhunter has only 30 yards range. You can also use line of sight creatively not to get CS’d on your opening shatter. It’s very important in the current meta-game to get the first shatter, as it can drop someone to 30-40% with it’s ridiculous burst damage. Remember to use the on-use effect Trinket before your first shatter combo.
Mage Ward – Spam cast this against any caster teams, helps out your healer loads by absorbing damage.
Mana Shield – I can’t tell you how much this ability is underrated and overlooked! This is just as good as Ice Barrier, but I don't see many Mages using this correctly! You should be SPAMMING this spell whenever someone is on you. Learn to use your novas/ice lances as well as spamming this spell meanwhile, as long as someone is going for you, you should be using this ON cooldown. It absorbs almost as much damage as Ice Barrier does, if used on cooldown. If you use Mana Gem/Evocation correctly, you will never have mana issues even when spamming this spell. Your mana pool on live servers is too large to go OOM with the armor mana regeneration you get.
A lot of people ask me, how I manage to survive more than other mages, when having so little resilience, and this spell is the answer, use it!
Mirror Image – I use this 99% of the time with my Ring of Frost. Say if you’re going for an enemy healer and you use RoF + Mirror Images, it’s going to be very hard for him to escape all the slows/snares and whatnot, I also like the fact that Mirror Images + RoF equals a mess on the enemy screen and it can confuse the enemy, even the advanced players. The extra slow from the Mirror Images can also act as dispel protection for Ring of Frost.
Polymorph – Do not attempt to cast this if you know the enemy team has an interrupt ready (Grounding, CS, Spell Lock, Wind Shear, etc). Cast this on the healer if you know they have no interrupts available and can’t LOS (line of sight, pillar) it either. I usually use it together with Deep Freeze, wait until the enemy team uses counter spell, Deep Freeze their healer, and Sheep him.
Alternatively you can also use Pet Freeze/Nova and Blanket CS on the healer to keep him in place as you sheep, just do not attempt this if the enemy team has an interrupt ready for you, or you will waste your CS.
I see a lot of Mages casting a Deep Freeze on my healer, then proceeding to fake cast a Polymorph, but you are supposed to fake my counter spell before you use the Deep Freeze, or you waste the cooldown without getting your Polymorph off.
Also use Polymorph a lot when you want to get Cross-CC/Double CC (for example a healer is in a stun, while his teammate is polymorphed, or vica versa). Your job in RMP/MLS/FMP is to do a lot of damage AND setup double/cross-CC chains.
In competitive play, I have to setup a lot of cross-CC for my team, we lock down the enemy Healer, as I sheep or Deep Freeze someone else in their team. You can even create double CC situations alone, on your own: Sheep/Nova the DPS and then quickly Deep Freeze the Healer (use Deep Freeze Arena1/2/3 macros for this) before he can dispel the sheep! Double CC/Cross-CC is extremely strong vs good teams and is the key in getting ahead.
Slow Fall – Though you rarely have the globals for this, it is useful to toss on yourself before you use second Icy Veins, so it’s less likely to get dispelled as Slow Fall is a magic buff. You can also cover your Ice Barrier/Mage Ward/Mana Shield with it, but I rarely use it because of the global trade-off.
Spellsteal – This is probably my most used spell after Ice Lance. This spell actually deals damage against any Shaman/Priest team, and you have to realize this in order to be a good Cataclysm Frost Mage. Riptide does a ridiculous amount of healing over time, and Power Word: Shield also absorbs 30k~ damage. Getting those spells dispelled is often equivalent to doing damage.
A lot of the time you have no Fingers of Frost proc to cast an Ice Lance, that’s where you use Spellsteal. When dispelling a Riptide or a Shield, you are actually 'dealing damage'.
Avoid casting a cast a Shatter combo/FoF Ice Lance into a shielded target. If the enemy doesn’t have many trash debuffs, just try to steal their shield. It’s generally a good idea to clean off somebody from buffs against Priest/Shaman teams using Spellsteal, so that later on, when you are dealing burst damage and creating pressure, you will be able to dispel Riptide/Shield much easier.
My games usually go like this: Open with Pet Freeze Shatter combo and use the Frost Fire Orb, use up the FoF procs from the Frost Fire Orb, Frost Nova and Cone of Cold as many targets as possible, use up FoF procs again if any, and then proceed to strip their buffs off.
Fire Blast – Create a focus macro for this, when you are riding/tunneling a healer and your teammate gets juked or faked, it’s very effective to use Impact stun to prevent the next cast from going off. Use it after stuns too, to create a longer lockout and holds targets in place.
Sometimes you can Frost Nova a healer, put RoF around them, and if they are slow to dispel/don’t dispel, or are stuck in GCD, you can count on using Impact on them before to get them stuck in a full Ring of Frost.
I also use this spell very often on Shadow Priests. Say it’s a Shadowplay and you’re training the enemy Shaman, Focus cast this on the Priest whenever available to interrupt his casts, Shadow Priests have the largest damage dealing spells in the game (Mind Spike, Mind Blast), so a simple focus Impact can save your team 50k health. Huge!
Frostfire Bolt – Use this proc whenever you have Brain Freeze up, HOWEVER, it is very important to never cast this if you know it won’t benefit from Shatter. And what I mean by this is that you should only cast this if target is Frozen by a Nova or you have FoF proc up, otherwise it’s a huge damage loss, since it scales so well with mastery/crit modifiers.
Frostfire Orb – This is hands down your highest damage ability. It’s very important to utilize this spell correctly in order to deal more damage than any other Mage out there. This gives you INSANE procs (both FoF and Brain Freeze). Use this every 60 seconds, if you delay the usage of this, spell you lose TREMENDOUS amounts of damage, it’s more important than anything else damage wise.
Make sure to use it on something that will give 100% uptime, because it’s possible to run away from it, often the best target is an enemy pet. Use it on Water Elementals, Fel Hunters, or on rooted/stunned targets. You can Frost Nova a Warlock's pet, then use this on it. Also use it together with Ring of Frost to prevent enemies from kiting it. Don’t forget to use it as soon as it’s up! This spell lets you do an incredible amount of damage.
My first Frostfire Orb is cast on the healer if we open on him, because healer will be stuck in Cheap Shot, Kidney and Garrote, therefore he won’t be able to run out from my Orb. I cast it on enemy pets otherwise, or when we Deep/Kidney someone, you can use also this sometimes to slow down/kite melee for a long time too.
Cold Snap – Try and time this ability intelligently: make sure you use Ice Barrier/Icy Veins/Novas and most importantly Frostfire Orb before using Cold Snap, but obviously don’t die without blocking due to this. Ice Block is the priority for Cold Snap usage.
If you used your first Ice Block, try using all your cooldowns that you have left in the Frost tree, and then Cold Snap to reset them, then instantly use the cooldowns once again. That's the best management you can have, and that way you can get 2x Frostfire Orb, 2x Cone of Cold, 2x Deep Freeze, many Novas, crazy control and damage! Double Deep Freeze? Not only in Gameking movies. I’ve had countless of situations where I Deep Froze the enemy healer, then Cold Snaped and Deep Froze their DPS to save my teammates.
Don’t get in a situation where you are very low health, and have to Cold Snap for a block, you risk of getting globaled or risk not being able to press the two buttons at once. Just use it before that situation occurs as there is no point saving it after cooldowns + first Ice Block has been used.
Cone of Cold – Also a very high damage ability (proc based), however mostly only used for kiting by Mages :(. Don't!
You can use this to get one Shatter Ice Lance on a Healer, or you can use this to and try catch as many targets with it to get massive Fingers of Frost procs (my style).
You should aim to use this ability on cooldown when slaying healers. Go on top the enemy healer, their DPS/pets will most likely be stacked together, and then Cone of Cold as many targets as you possibly can. This is very good vs pet classes especially.
One Cone of Cold can actually proc 2x Fingers of Frost if you hit many targets. The cooldown on it is ridiculously low, this spell and Frostfire Orb is how I manage to deal insane amounts of damage without casting, proc management using these spells is insanely important.
Try to always position yourself in melee range of your kill target. Even if it’s a class such as a Rogue, you want to be in close range so you can Frostfire Orb/Cone of Cold without much effort. Of course you can play more defensively and stay back, but I rarely do this, simply because it’s quite easy to kite/survive against melee if you know how.
Deep Freeze – If you’re using this ability on someone offensively, to kill him, try your best to use it when the enemy lockouts/interrupts are down and you have a fast Frostbolt availible. Early Frost - Frostbolt is devastating in a Deep Freeze, the most damage you can do is Icy Veins – Early Frost Frostbolt & Frostbolt & Lance/Lance. But be cautious, you should try and make sure that you can actually cast before using it, or you will lose a lot of potential damage if you get locked out along with the Deep Freeze cooldown.
When I Deep Freeze, it is actually one of these rare situations where I do go for a cast, however I always make sure that the enemy has little ways to interrupt me. Force or fake their lockouts/interrupts before, then use the Deep Freeze, pop some Icy Veins and pew pew! Your teammates will be surprised as you kill a target by yourself.
You can of course use this ability and only spam Ice Lance into it, but it is way less damage and only good if you can’t get the interrupts used easily and need the damage desperately. Ice Lance doesn’t do that much damage without Fingers of Frost (FoF increases Ice Lance damage).
If you’re using this ability to CC, you should still make sure that they can’t interrupt you, so you can get the Polymorph off. It's NOT the time to fakecast during the Deep Freeze, do it beforehand unless of course you’re just Deep Freezing without the intention to actually cast a Polymorph. (Deep Freeze & Ring of Frost or Deep Freeze & Fear is very good vs RMP or Shaman Teams).
A very efficient playstyle to master when you play RMP/MLS and go for the enemy DPS is to make sure your Priest/Warlock is somewhat close to the enemy healer (communicate), and then Deep Freeze their healer. This will ensure your Priest/Warlock can get an easy Fear on their healer without wasting his time, getting kited or dodged. This is very strong, and requires no casting whatsoever for a 13 second CC chain. You can do every 30 seconds, cool stuff.
Frost Nova – nothing to add here really, just make sure that you spam this ability on cooldown when training a Healer, Frost Nova and Ice Lance = free damage if Nova is not broken.
Frostbolt – I pretty much only cast this when Early Frost is ready, either in Deep Freeze or to get a FoF proc/slow the target from range. Don’t bother with this spell too much, if you are rotating Frost Novas, Frostfire Orb, Cone of Cold, Spell Steal and Deep Freeze well, you should almost never have any GCDs/time free to cast this.
Ice Barrier – just use this on cooldown when someone is on you, nothing else to add here.
Ice Block – try to use this when you're at around 30-40% health, when someone is on you or you heavy DoTs on you.
You can also use it to avoid/prevent damage, however you have to be certain that the damage will actually come. For example if a rogue is using Cloak + Shadow Dance on you, it means that the damage will be pretty much unavoidable, unless you get Leaph of Faith by your Priest. If your healer wants to save cooldowns/mana, you can Ice Block the Shadow Dance, however ONLY if your healer is doing bad on mana/cooldowns, and there are of course more situations like this, not only Shadow Dance.
Don’t use this to break CC, unless you are 120% certain that you won’t get swapped to later on in the game and suffer badly because of it.
Ice Lance – this is your most important spell by far. I spam this forever and ever. Sometimes it’s even worth to cast this when you have no Fingers of Frost or Shatter benefit available, imagine this in a situation:
You try to cast Frostbolt and you get interrupted by Wind Shear or you fake it.
You try to cast Frostbolt again, you get interrupedt by Warlock CS or you fake it.
You try to cast Frostbolt again, and it goes to Grounding.
You finally cast Frostbolt, you deal 10,000 damage.
This process takes a very long time, meanwhile in that time, you could have casted non-crit/non-shatter Ice Lance 4-5 times, and do around 25-17k damage, way more than your one Frostbolt would do. The moral of this is don’t attempt to cast when it’s not efficient to do so, especially if the enemy team has a lot of interrupts ready, unless of course you are trying to 'bait' or 'force' the interrupts so that your Healer could cast freely after.
I sometimes cast Frostbolt on the sole purpose of getting interrupted, so that I can after easily cast a Polymorph or so that my healer could heal without being afraid to get locked.
Icy Veins – 99% of the time I find myself using this out of Invisibility to deal early damage, simply because it saves so much time with the global cooldowns (global cooldown - a short cooldown on all your spells after you cast any spell, so you can't cast another one immediately after, usually it's 1.5s long).
Most likely at the start of a game you will find yourself casting a lot of instants, Ice Lance, Frostfire Bolt, Novas, Spellsteal (to clean buffs), this will likely cost you a lot of globals and time. Icy Veins reduces your global cooldown time, thus making it a great spell to use even when you don’t plan on casting. The second Icy Veins (the one after the Cold Snap) is usually used when a kill situation is coming.
Ring of Frost – I use this in these situations:
- When we open on enemy healer, and I manage to catch their DPS in Novas/Pet freeze. I use Ring of Frost around the Healer once he’s opened on, because he will have a hard time escaping the ring, and the DPS will have a hard time entering inside of the Ring to peel/help their healer using AoE CC such as Howl of Terror, Warrior fear, etc. Sometimes at the start of a game, I catch all the DPS/some DPS in roots next to their Healer while the healer is sapped/stunned, then I lay down a Ring of Frost on the DPS who is rooted and we proceed to kill their Healer. Chances are RoF will freeze the DPS and will prevent Healer from escaping fast.
- I am a big fan of using Frost Nova on a Healer, into Silence - Improved Counterspell, and laying down a RoF on top of them so it hits them, this results in 12 second CC, and the only possible way to escape it is to get Freedom or with Gnome racial. (Well, you can get dispelled as a healer by Shadow Priest too, but that’s all).
- I also use it just to Deep and RoF the healer for 5+4 second CC chain, cool stuff, useful, but not as strong as Nova + Improved CS & RoF.
- I use Ring of Frost on top of a Smoke Bomb, to prevent people from entering it.
Summon Water Elemental – make sure to cast the first when you enter Arena, to have the lower cooldown on it, in case it gets killed.
I will talk about some good macros that a Mage should use in this section. Strongly suggest you to read this section, macros are very important to a good Mage’s playstyle.
First off, I highly suggest to find binds for Targeting and Focusing arena1/2/3. This is extremely important, no matter what the case is, pressing a key will always be faster than clicking, and changing your Target/Focus fast is EXTREMELY important in Arena. I’d say it’s completely necessary to bind Focus arena1/2/3 and VERY important to bind Target arena1/2/3.
Here’s the macro I use for Target/Focus management:
/focus [mod:alt,@arena1] %f /target [nomod,@arena1] %tMake three of these macros, change arena1 to arena2 and arena3 on each. Change [mod:alt] to your preferred modifier: [mod:ctrl, mod:shift, mod:alt].
I prefer to use binds: 1, 2, 3 to Target arena1/2/3 and binds: alt 1, alt 2, alt 3 to Focus arena1/2/3.
If you are going to bind/use both Target and Focus arena1/2/3, make sure you use the same bind with a modifier for Focus and Target. I highly suggest to use a very comfortable/fast and horizontal bind setup for this, such as 1 – 2 – 3. F1/F2/F3 is crap unless the F’s are close to your numbers (on some keyboards). Invest time in configuring your binds so that you have the space for this.
I am a big fan of Arena1/2/3 macros, which I will list below, in an importance order.
Deep Freeze – Arena 1/2/3
Polymorph – Arena1/2/3
Counterspell – Arena1/2/3 (it’s very important to have this to be able to Counterspell an opener cast from a Druid or a Mage. Say a Druid casts a Cyclone out of his Stealth or a Mage casts a Frostbolt out of Invisibility, if you spam CS arena1/2/3 you will get his cast locked.
The way this works is like this: when the game starts, you will see 3 frames, then Mage goes invisible, and you see that Arena 3 frame is gone, so that’s is the Mage's frame. Spam your Arena3 CS and you will get his first Frostbolt locked instantly, because the first spell he will cast is a Frostbolt!
Fireblast – Arena1/2/3 (okay, this is hardcore, but I like to be super efficient, I have trained my binds very well and use them all with great comfort, I don’t suggest using this one).
The reason why you use arena1/2/3 macros:
- It’s easier to execute cross-CC or double-CC. I’ve talked about before, when you press Polymorph - arena3 and then spam Deep Freeze arena 1 as you do it, you will end up sheeping one person and Deep Freezing the other guy instantly after that!
- Sometimes you can’t afford to swap your Focus to somebody you want to Sheep/Deep/CS, because you need to look out for some particular debuff/cast on your current Focus. For example, you don’t want to lose your focus on Shadow Priest vs Shadowplay, because in the case Shadowpriest pops his burst (wings, trinket, orb) you want to be able to Deep Freeze/CS him and Spellsteal his wings as soon as possible, but you might not notice this happening at all if you swap focus to the Warlock of Shadowplay to sheep him. You just gain more controlled awareness if using arena1/2/3 macros.
/cast [@arena1] Polymorph /cast [@arena2] Polymorph /cast [@arena3] Polymorph
Change Polymorph to Deep Freeze or Counterspell for the other spells.
My binds for arena1/2/3 spells are setup like this:
My caps lock is modified (using http://code.google.com/p/keymapper/) to work as CTRL, so my CTRL does nothing, and my Caps Lock works as CTRL instead. I love Caps Lock position more than CTRL position on keyboard.
Caps Lock QWE – CS Arena1/2/3
Caps Lock ASD – Deep Arena1/2/3 (notice how close Caps Lock is to ASD)
Shift ZXC – Fireblast Arena1/2/3
Shift ASD – Polymorph Arena1/2/3
There is one more important macro that works kind of like arena 1/2/3 macro: Remove Curse player/party1/party2. This is to dispel your Curse of Tongues/Bane of Agony, and to dispel Hex from your teammates quickly!
/cast [@player] Remove Curse /cast [@your healer name] Remove Curse /cast [@your DPS name] Remove CurseAvoid using Party1/2 in the macro and use the real name instead, as the party number gets swapped around randomly when you join arena, so it’s not always the same.
My binding for this is similar to the arena1/2/3 binds – it’s Caps Lock 1/2/3.
Ice Block macro, you will want to have set up just like this:
/stopcasting /cast !Ice Block^ for the actual Ice Block
And then to cancel Ice Block quickly, have this:
/cast Ice Lance /run UIErrorsFrame:Hide() /dismount /cancelaura Invisibility /cancelaura Hand of Sacrifice /cancelaura Ice BlockThis is used because you want to be able to cancel your Ice Block fast sometimes. However it’s a VERY bad idea to put the cancelaura Ice Block macro in the actual Ice Block macro, because if you are a button basher like 99% of WoW players you will accidentally cancel it and get yourself killed.
#showtooltip icy veins /use icy veins /use 10 /use 13Just typical stuff really, 13 = trinket slot 1, 10 = your gloves engineering enchant. I have a separate bind for the on-use trinket, gloves and Icy Veins, however I also have a bind for all-in-one, new mages or mages who lack binds, can easily use the all in one macro above :).
Make a Focus Fireblast macro for stunning the heals/big burst casts:
/cast [@focus] Fire Blast
Pet freeze / summon pet macro:
#showtooltip Freeze /dismount /cast [pet] Freeze /cast [nopet] Summon Water Elemental /petattack
I have my pet set on passive, and whenever I shatter someone my pet will attack it. This is a very efficient/easy way to control your pet. I also have pet follow and pet move bound. Pet follow to call my pet back in case of CC, and pet move to take Hunter Traps with my Elemental or to LoS/kite with my elemental if it is getting killed. Some new Mages may want to put /petfollow in their Polymorph macro so the pet stops attacking automatically once you Sheep to prevent any breaks on it. I prefer to just have a separate bind for pet follow though. It just became a habit for me to mash my pet follow whenever Khuna calls a Blind or whenever I sheep someone.
You can use this to unsummon your pet
/script PetDismiss()It’s not very much useful anymore, however,before some patch, you were able to resummon your pet to reset Pet Freeze cooldown. Can I mention how much I loved this? A lot! Yeah :(. It set a very good Mage apart from a good Mage, rotating your cooldowns along with resummon of the pet was a huge damage increase. Using this technique I would never run out of FoF procs, it was insane, damn you Blizzard! (for nerfing the skill-cap, however the damage nerf was deserved :D)
However that put aside, this is STILL useful to have sometimes when;
- Your pet is stuck in some bad position and someone like a moonkin is charging an eclipse on your pet
- Your pet is stuck in some bad position and warlock is dotting him up for a soulswap
Spellsteal macro & Spellsteal Focus:
/cast Spellsteal /cancelaura Hand of Sacrifice /cancelaura Mana Shield
/cast [@focus] Spellsteal /cancelaura Hand of Sacrifice /cancelaura Mana Shield
And then lastly Focus sheep, Focus Deep macros:
/cast [@focus] Polymorph
/cast [@focus] Deep Freeze
My guide to gearing a mage in S11 - click to view.
My offensive RMP gear on live armory.
My offensive RMP gear on live different char armory.
offensive RMP gear on Arena Pass, Undead, armory.
Offensive RMP gear on Arena Pass, Human, armory.
DEFENSIVE RMP gear on Arena Pass, Gnome, armory. I’m only Gnome to counter KFC. Notice the Blazing Speed 2/2. For defensive gear just use Human and change medallion for on-proc resilence trinket.
It’s a no secret that I’m a huge fan of PvE gear and offensive gearing for Mage. This is because I feel like for RMP you only need the Resilience to survive during the time of Hypothermia debuff. If you don’t die without getting to use second Ice Block, then you all good resilience wise for RMP. It’s of course very situational, I just prefer to run low resilience.
This depends a lot on your healer, you can’t run low resilience with an average Healer, you can’t run low resilience with average RMP with little CC, or an average Rogue. You need a very good team to pull it off. You also need to be an experienced Mage player to run low resilience. Practice your survival with higher resilience before you dip lower.
HOWEVER, for MLS/FMP I strictly recommend only using full resilience gear, similar to my Gnome gear on Arena Pass setup. You want to be tanky for MLS and you want to have long games and win by outlasting the enemy team.
1.5 General playstyle
Now that you’ve got a solid understanding of your abilities, your macros are set, and you have a good idea on how to gear, I may as well give you few tips on general playstyle, I can’t tell you much however, because most has been covered in the abilities (1.2) section. Knowing how and when to use your abilities contributes a lot to your playstyle, hence why a lot of it is written there.
Remember one thing when playing Mage; the way Cataclysm is and the way Mage talents/mastery scaling is – your role is OFFENSIVE caster DPS. Even when gearing defensively, you are only doing that so that you can play more offensively without taking as much damage/being more safe.
You contribute the most to your team by dealing incredible burst damage. Damage is the most important aspect of this expansion, the more you can do the better you are. Remember every CC you cast, every spell you cast, should be directed towards offensive play.
There are situations where you have to peel to save your teammates, but it’s not your primary role. Taking spells like Avenging Wrath (Paladin wings) is super important, but don’t forget the fact – the more offensively you are able to play, the more of an use you are. Spend the least amount of time possible peeling for your teammates.
Be efficient with your peels/defensive play. Don’t just Polymorph when it will get dispelled instantly, that’s just wasting your time. There is huge difference between effective and useless/wasted CC. Don’t waste your time casting useless CC that will get dispelled, when your team needs a peel/help your first job is to CC the enemy healer, then peel with sheep/novas on the DPS. Use Deep Freeze/CS on the healer to prevent dispels when you have to help your teammates in emergency situations.
The only times that you should peel without CCing the healer first is when you know 1 second free window will save your team mate.
Let’s say Warrior is using Recklessness on my Priest and my Priest gets Throwdown at 30% health. I would sheep the Warrior even if it’s get dispelled. It helps my priest survive right there, whereas if I went to CC the Healer first and then after went for the Sheep on the Warrior my priest probably would have died during that time.
However the most effective peeling/control you can have is double CC/cross CC. Utilize this, remember to Deep/CS the healer and then Sheep/Nova the DPS. Blind/Fear the healer, Sheep /Nova/Deep Freeze the DPS. Work on your double, even triple CC. Control is the key in getting ahead if you can’t do enough damage.
Don’t fall too much into the casting business. The less you cast the more effective you are. A Mage has a lot of tools and abilities that allow you to almost never have to cast in order to deal damage. Use this to your own advantage as instant damage is unstoppable/unpreventable damage and can’t be expected as easily.
Remember – the closer you are to your kill target, the more damage you will do because you will able to use Cone of Cold and Frost Nova offensively to get extra Fingers of Frost procs or Shatter Ice Lances. You will also be able to pull off better Frostfire Orbs, and that’s your primary damage ability.
If you play with a Rogue, Cone of Cold root is A LOT of help for your Rogue, especially when he is getting kited by the healer. It can give him enough time to catch up on him.
Therefore we can sum up that the closer you are to your enemy, the more offensive and effective you are. And offensive is the key to playing Mage.
If you have nothing to do, just Spell Steal your kill target, it’s extremely helpful when you have all your cooldowns down / are out of procs / can’t cast due to interrupts.
During any free globals make sure you clean yourself from Curse of Tongues, even if you’re not planning to cast, the GCD (global cooldown) reduction is far too heavy and you need to dispel them.
Be unpredictable with your Counterspell, CS the very start of the cast, later, CS at the very end, after that CS in the middle of the cast, then blanket CS even, just to confuse the living hell out of your enemy. Tthis will give you an advantage if you are facing the same enemy over and over again, or having a long game.
Don’t bother fake casting too much, it’s overrated. Cast spells if you have to until you get locked, after you get locked spam instants on the school you didn’t get locked on (so if you’re locked on Frost – spam Spellsteal, if you’re locked on Arcane – spam Ice Lance/Novas). Most average/good players are too ready for fake casting anyway and you can sit and fakecast for a really long time.
Look at this way: you are facing a good player, you fake cast and he falls for it, you win some time because of this. You fake cast again, he doesn’t fall for it anymore, then you fake cast again, he doesn’t fall for it again, then you go for real cast and he CS’s you full, and you’re doomed, and you've wasted so much time. I can almost assure you if we were to do an analysis about which player will cast more spells during a game, the one who fakes or the one who just goes for the casts – the one who just goes for the casts will win by far.
Only fake cast if you are certain you will get CS’d. Always let your team know that you got spell locked. Let your healer know he can free-cast. Even if he’s using Interrupt Bar or another similar addon, sayiing it out loud is still bringing it to his awareness.
Use your Deep Freezes to allow your Priest or Warlock to get an easy Fear on the Healer, Deep Freeze the Healer, let your Warlock/Priest walk up to him and Howls/Fears him. Ask your Priest/Warlock beforehand if he’s able to get to the healer fast enough though, as you don't want to waste a Deep Freeze.
Make sure to use your Novas, Deep Freezes, Counterspells, Rings of Frost to create a window for your teammates to get easy crowd control, don't use use them for yourself.
Communication is a big key of Mage gameplay, so be able to communicate well. Call out only stuff that’s important, talking nonsense or irrelevant stuff just makes your teammates ignore you as time goes by. Your teammates will react much more to your words if you call out only important/useful stuff, but if they realize you call crap and random stuff all the time they will just ignore it and their brain won’t even pay attention to your voice anymore, because it’s just useless information.
I can’t tell you how much mentality/communication changes as well. Play cheerful music, music that gets you pumped when you play. It helps a lot!
Always have a game-plan down. Say you are playing on a Battlegroup and only facing certain comps, so talk to your teammates and find out what’s the best way to beat those said comps. KNOW beforehand the game what you have to do. If you know what to do before the game starts you can spend less time trying to figure things out and more time actually playing the game well.
The biggest issue beginners in WoW Arena face is brainlag, or not knowing what to do. Find out before the match starts what’s your plan, if the said plan doesn’t work, change it and keep trying stuff out. Losing is not bad as long as you improve your strategy, so just have an open mind, if you don’t know what to do at all, Google for strategies or check Arenajunkies.com. Trial and error works well, but the important part is to have a gameplan/target choice down as soon as the game starts.
If you don’t want to be confused with your spell rotation in arena, I’ll tell you what I cast the most:
Frost Nova, Cone of Cold, Pet Freeze, Deep Freeze and Cone of Cold all are spells that generate you procs or allow you to shatter someone with an Ice Lance or Frostbolt, rotate these spells well to do instant damage.
I use Ice Lance and Frostfire Bolt the most as they are my primary damage abilities, however I do use Frostbolt too when I Deep Freeze, Pet Freeze combo or when I have absolutely no novas/snares left at my disposal and there is nothing to Spellsteal either.
Just rotating your Pet Freeze, Cone of Cold, Frost Nova, Frostfire Orb and Deep Freeze can allow you to cast only instants for a long while, but still do insane damage. Once you run out of procs, go for some Spellsteals or some Sheeps/Frostbolts.
Don’t get lost in the game, that’s by far the most important thing.
I can’t suggest/tell you much more, it comes down to practice and experience as well. 2v2 is the best way to learn the game if you're a totaly new player. Play with a chill team mate you enjoy spending time with, and practice your stuff, then move on for 3v3. That’s how I started, played 1600-2000 or so 2v2 games. It really isn’t that hard playing WoW, it doesn’t require immense talent - it requires determination and good attitude.
Addons are VERY good if you aren’t a top notch, Rank 1 player. Even if you are one, AddOns like Gladius and OmniCC should be used. Do not follow what the Tournament Players do, we use no AddOns because of LAN tournament rules. If you don’t intend to be in a LAN tournament any soon, play with AddOns as they enhance your awareness or at least allow you to be more aware without losing your gameplay ability.
Later on, as you improve take off 1 by 1 AddOn, because they should only be used as you improve, when you feel like you’re competing with Rank 1 players, take them off and you’ll become even better.
Debuff Filter – This is a very good addon if you’re having trouble seeing important buffs/debuffs on your focus/target. What it does? It creates 4 anchors on your screen with your target buffs/debuffs and focus buffs/debuffs, you can place the anchors anywhere, and you add debuffs/buffs you want in there by typing in /dfilter. Here’s a screenshot on how it looks/works, click to view.
Bartender4 – A very good way to improve your cooldown management is to have only the spells that have a cooldown shown on your actions bars, and then making your action bars as small as possible so that your eye can capture cooldowns with less.
PitBull4 – They're pretty looking frames, definitely my favorite.
Aloft – The best name plates addon out there.
Gladius – This is a necessity until you are a tournament player, GET THIS!
OmniCC – This is a necessity for Mage until you are a tournament player, GET THIS!
TellMeWhen – you can track your party cooldowns with this, pretty good if your team communication sucks, which is likely :D
ShieldMonitor – I LOVED this one for such a long time, shows your ice barrier/mana shield/mage ward absorb, you will never waste your shield absorb with this by overstacking it. GET THIS! Here’s how it looks like, click to view.
Afflicted – I prefer this to Interrupt Bar because it does the same, but has a better UI and lets you track more stuff than just interrupts. Setup one anchor for interrupts and another anchor for important cooldowns, though don’t overdo it, use it for only the most important stuff.
LoseControl – This is good if you aren’t that good at watching your debuffs. It creates a big anchor on your screen so you can see easier/clearer when you get CC’d.
Power Auras – GET THIS! Necessity, until you become a tournament player, you want to make an aura for Fingers of Frost, and include the STACK and TIMER on it, original Blizzard Power Aura doesn’t show the time left OR the stack count on Fingers of Frost. This is very, very useful for damage/proc management. Create an aura for Brain Freeze too.
Also make 2 auras for Hex on both your mates, put your healer Hex icon to the left of your screen, your DPS hex to the right of your screen. Helps you Decurse faster.
You can also make an aura for when you healer is Deep Frozen and Scatter Shot, to easily interrupt the Sheep/Shatter or to be more aware of Scatter into Trap to take it for your healer better. Those are just some cool ideas of what you can do with this, but I like the stack/timer display on Fingers of Frost proc the most. Use my contact info at the bottom of the guide if you need help setting up this AddOn, or just read How To Use in the AddOn page.
That’s all for addons. I know you’re going to ask if I use them, the short answer is: no I don’t.
The long answer is, I use Gladius sometimes. It depends on how important my games are. In regionals I used insane amount of scripts to manipulate what all of these AddOns do, it’s possible, just requires a lot of scripting.
I feel like I should do whatever I can to enhance my LAN tournament play, however I can also play flawlessly without any AddOns or scripts, and if you intend to play LAN tournaments any time soon, you should learn to as well.
1.7 Mage streams
I can only suggest one stream if you want to learn more or if you want to see what I describe in this guide being done in action.
Watchmeblink – US Mage stream click to watch.
I can’t recommend any other streams of Mage at this point, since I don’t see any good Cataclysm Mages around anymore, at least not ones that stream.
I will start streaming competetive Arena very actively upon June 1st, so look forward to that, it will be on AtheneLive own3d.
About the author:
I'm Xandyn, known as the Mage in Khunas/Zunniyakis RMP. This guide guide for Frost Mage PvP was written as a way to give back to the community.
I’ve acquired various rank one titles, played with big names all over the EU and US realms, also played in many online tournaments, as well as Blizzard Battle.net regionals last year. Recently I've won Yaspresents 3v3 tournament, playing as RMP.
My highest rating playing Warrior/Mage/Priest (Barburas/Zunniyaki) has been 3185 in the Vicious season, RMP (Khuna/Zunniyaki) – 3100, and MLS (Flubbah/Inflame) – 2800.
Skype: xandynx – I check this Skype everyday from 6 to 9 PM CEST/CET, so add me if you have any questions or just want to chat, I love talking to people that aren't annoying.
You can also PM me on AJ.
I am not a fan of elitism and I respond to everyone as much as my time allows me to do so, that being said make sure to contact me if you have any questions!
I hope you liked the guide and can find an use for it. I tried my best, English is not my first language however, but I just felt like contributing a little to the community. If you have any criticism or suggestions, again PM on AJ or add on Skype. I will update this Frost Mage PvP Guide as soon as Mists of Pandaria, the new expansion is out, so keep this bookmarked.