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Mage FAQ

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#1 Pyrilus

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Posted 11 August 2009 - 01:50 AM

Thanks to Watlok for this guide. Let me know if there are problems with it.

WotLK Frost Mage FAQ 3.2 edition

Table of Contents

I. Stat Weighting
II. Glyphs
III. Talents

I. Stat Weighting


It is possible to eliminate all misses in WotLK. Mages have excellent CC and should prioritize not missing that CC.

Hit caps
  • 4% - Normal players, absolute minimum
  • 6% - Racial hit cap, what you should aim for
  • 10% - Single race/class

Most players aim for 6% because it is common to encounter players of varying races. At 7% hit you will never miss an arcane skill.

Spell Penetration

If you are not spell penetration capped you are losing out on massive amounts of damage and control. Not only do resists lower damage, but they also add a chance for spells to completely miss.

Spell penetration is now passed to pets at a 1:1 rate.

Spell Penetration (spen) Values of Importance:
  • 75 - Improved Mark of the Wild
  • 130 - Resist auras/totems
  • 140 - Mage with Arcane Shielding talent (rarely seen)

Aiming for 130 is a safe bet. Getting close to or at 140 as a side effect is not a bad thing, but is hardly neccesary.

With epic gems Mysterious Dreadstones (12sp/13spen) have a higher stat value than Runed Cardinal Ruby (23sp) or Stormy Zircon (25spen.) It is best to gem Mysterious, even in red sockets, until you hit spen cap.

If you are an engineer the +27 sp cloak enchant is worse than the +35 spen cloak enchant unless the cloak enchant takes you over 135 spell penetration with no spell pen gems. Blizzard hates you.

If you are a tailor lightweave is worth using over spell penetration. However, it is only worth ~41 spellpower while other professions are worth 45-48. If the proc were controllable it would be worth taking, but tailoring is now a terrible pvp profession post 3.2.


Haste is an excellent pvp stat because it reduces the global cooldown and decreases your cast times. Haste also adds more damage per second to your spell casts than crit does at most gear levels.

A lot of people wonder how much haste they need to execute certain shatters on a deep freeze. This is not a good metric to measure haste with, but if you have ever wondered yourself the answer is in this math:

Posted Image

Where f is the number of frost bolts, n is the number of ice lances (or brain freezes) and H is your current haste. Note that this assumes you have empowered frostbolt.

You should aim for around 380 haste minimum.

Reslience, Crit, Haste and all that

It is every player's goal to maximize their consistency, output, and survivability. The gear and talents you choose to do those things is largely based on what is available to you.

There are right choices and wrong choices when it comes to gemming and gearing.

Using rawr for pvp

Rawr is a WoW simulation program for pve nerds. It is not an entirely accurate pvp model, but you want to use it anyawy.

Configuring Rawr for pvp:

1. Load your character from the armory. Make sure you are wearing your pvp gear.
2. Click "Buffs", Uncheck all non-mage non-arena buffs.
3. Click "Options"
4. Under Spells & Buffs uncheck automatic armor and then uncheck all the things you can't use in arenas. Make sure to uncheck mana potion.
5. Under Fight Set Target Level to 82. A level 82 monster requires 6% hit. Set Frost/Arcane/Fire Resist to 130.
6. Create a custom gem set that involves spell penetration gems
7. Set the default gem set to your custom set

Fight Duration is under the Options->Fight tab. Set it to different times using your hypothetical gear sets to understand which talents or pieces of gear are going to be most useful to you. I reccomend using 20 seconds, 45 seconds, and a time approaching game length.

Rawr is not the end all be all of pvp gearing. Do not use Rawr to pick out the "best" pvp orientated pve items from its ranked loot list. Make intelligent choices that aid your pvp ability and weight those against each other.

Don't just look at dps. Consider your resilience as well. Resilience is huge after patch 3.2.

Do use rawr to compare pvp sets you think are the best possible.

II. Glyphs

Which glyphs you pick depend on your current bracket and team composition. For example, Icy Veins is a popular third glyph for dueling because it allows you to escape a snare. Polymorph is a popular glyph while playing with a warlock, rogue, or priest because it removes any damage over time spells on the target.

Top tier Glyphs:
  • Ice Barrier - Absorb more damage
  • Icy Veins - Get out of snares
  • Evocation - Your evocate now heals
  • Polymorph - Strips damage over time spells from the target before polymorphing.

Good Glpyhs:
  • Mana Gem - You get more mana from a mana gem
  • Water Elemental - Reduces Water Elemental cooldown by 30 seconds
  • Blink - Allows you to blink farther

III. Talents

Cookie Cutter 20/0/51 spec

Which points can I move around?

Talent Name (movable amount) - Description

  • Arcane Fortitude (3) - Armor isn't as important as mana in certain situations.
  • Focus Magic (1) - This is one of the biggest dps gains from a single talent point, but it is often null in pvp due to dispells and mage synergy with classes that would proc it at a reasonable rate.

  • Chilled to the Bone (2) - 1% damage increase and an extra 2% slow per point. Even in duels this is the weakest link.
  • Piercing Ice (1) - 2% damage increase for one point is valuable, but if you really want frost channeling then something has to give. Most other talents are far too important to drop.
  • Frostbite (1) - Fingers of Frost now properly procs without frostbite. This talent is a double edged sword, because it can put melee on Ice Barrier nova DR when you do not want them to be. I don't reccomend dropping a point from it, but it is much better to remove 1 from here than from something like Icy Floes.

What could I possibly want that isn't in the cookie cutter build?

  • Arcane Concentration (3-5) - reduces mana consumption by quite a lot if you intentionally use the proc on cone of cold and other expensive spells. In 3s/5s it can be seen as a straight 2% mana consumption reduction per point.
  • Spell Impact (3) - The last point makes fireball, ice lance, and cone of cold do 2% more damage.

  • Enduring Winter (1-3) - Enduring Winter allows your pet to last longer. A longer lasting pet adds considerably to your overall damage output but has no impact on your controlled burst.
    1 point: Replenishment is up most of the time.
    2 points: >90% replenishment uptime, third nova in situations where you are applying constant offensive pressure
    3 points: third nova most of the time, replenishment all of the time
  • Frost Channeling (1-3) - Mana is the mage's second worst enemy. The drinking nerf has made it nearly impossible to drink against teams who aren't mentally deficient. This talent reduces mana consumption by 4%, 7%, and 10% respectively.
  • Improved Blizzard (1) - Blizzard now slows people and procs all kind of cool things, like fingers of frost. Increases blizzard dps by an obscene amount. Useful in duels (rogue/warr/lock) and battlegrounds.

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#2 Grilldarksorrow

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Posted 16 August 2009 - 02:45 AM

Could't we just not copy affixs specc and say what stats to go for? ;o

Anyhow its a good guide.

should get any idiot to understand mage.
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#3 Kubuss

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Posted 16 August 2009 - 11:25 AM

Frostbite and Frost Nova don't share DR btw.


In response to:

''# Frostbite (1) - Fingers of Frost now properly procs without frostbite. This talent is a double edged sword, because it can put melee on nova DR when you do not want them to be. I don't reccomend dropping a point from it, but it is much better to remove 1 from here than from something like Icy Floes.''
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#4 That'dBeMe

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Posted 16 August 2009 - 04:07 PM

frostbite and pet nova does though if im not mistaken?
nice post overall though, good job!
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#5 Adetter


Posted 16 August 2009 - 04:38 PM

I think pet nova and frost nova share DR, correct me if I'm wrong.
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#6 That'dBeMe

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Posted 16 August 2009 - 06:34 PM

Subject: Nova DR

I wrote the guide and there are 3 revisions that Pyrilus has yet to edit in:

1) Add blink to good glyphs
2) Change spellpower from lightweave to 41 to compensate for the 15s icd nerf
3) Change wording of frostbite to say Ice Barrier DR.

Frostbite only shares DR with ice barrier. Peta nova and frost nova are on the same DR.

I'd appreciate it if you could quote this and post it for me in that thread.

doing as he wishes, sad to see that someone able to write such a guide yet misses the ability to post
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#7 Witness

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Posted 17 August 2009 - 10:45 AM

Shattered barrier and frostbite share dr, frost nova doesn't.
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#8 pburris17

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Posted 13 September 2009 - 02:29 PM

got through part 1 and looked around and realized i wasnt at school so i stopped reading =D
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#9 Hidden

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Posted 13 September 2009 - 08:16 PM

I have yet to see a top mage
a) go for Frost Channeling
B) not go for 5/5 Chilled to the Bone

In ~100 3on3 games on my Mage this week I can't remember going OOM while it was still 3on3 and CttB is awesome to kite those cleave teams.

The points I consider discussable in an arena spec are:
Frost Warding
Piercing Ice
Imp. CoC

I also don't see how Tailoring would be a terrible profession if it's on average ~6 SP worse than other professions. In an RMP I find it quite nice to have an additional ~300 SP in the opening burst.
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