3.3 Frost Mage Raiding Cheat Sheet

Spec

17(+1)/0/45(+8)

All talents highlighted above increase your DPS,  and are not negotiable.  However, you will need a certain amount of points to access the next tiers of a particular talent tree.

You need 1 point in the arcane tree to access Torment the Weak, 1 point to access Winter’s Chill, 2 points access Arctic Winds, 1 point access Summon Water Elemental, and 3 points to access Chilled to the Bone.

Here is a list of Talents you might want to take.

Arcane
Magic Absorption – A good defensive talent for fights that deal a lot of AoE damage.

Frost

Frostbite – No longer a necessary talent to enable Blizzard to proc Fingers of Frost, but still a good defensive talent nonetheless.

Precision – Mandatory if you are not hit-capped.  I listed this as optional, since there is a large amount of Hit on higher tier gear.  Adjust the number of points on this talent based on the amount of Hit that you get naturally from gear.

Improved Blizzard – Enables Fingers of Frost and Winter’s Chill, thus increasing your AoE damage.

Cold as Ice – Allows you to cast Ice Barrier more frequently, making it useful for fights that are intense on AoE damage.  Also lets you summon Water Elemental sooner in the case it gets killed early in the fight.

Brain Freeze – With 3.3.3, this talent actually becomes a DPS gain thanks to the awesome talent-boosted Frostfire Bolt, so it’s just as good as mandatory!  I’ll try to update the talent tree picture above.

Glyphs

Major:
Glyph of Molten Armor
Glyph of Eternal Water
Glyph of Frostbolt

Minor:
Glyph of Slow Fall
-
-

For major glyphs, these 3 glyphs provides the highest DPS increase, and are non-negotiable.  For minor glyphs, there are no glyphs that provide a significant DPS increase.  Glyph of Frost Ward and Fire Ward can be useful in Fire and Frost-based AoE damage fights.  Glyph of Slow Fall is the most convenient as it frees you from the spell’s reagent requirement.

“Spell Rotation”

Frost does not have a rotation per se, but follows more of a simple priority system, which is as follows.

Single-target, standing still:
1.) Deep Freeze when the spell is not on cooldown and if you have an available charge of Fingers of Frost.
2.) Frostfire Bolt when you have a Brain Freeze proc (Fireball! is the name)
3.) Frostbolt

If you have the two-piece T10 bonus, casting Frostfire Bolt during Brain Freeze procs will result in a temporary haste buff called Pushing the Limit.  If you have another proc during this buff, wait until the buff wears off before casting Frostfire Bolt again, to maximize the uptime of the buff.

Since Frostfire Bolt benefits from Ice Shards and Shatter, it is ideal to use its instant-castability immediately after the second Frostbolt during a Fingers of Frost proc.  Since the last Fingers of Frost charge is not consumed until the second spell hits the target, both the Frostbolt and the Frostfire Bolt will benefit from Fingers of Frost, resulting in what is commonly known as a Shatter Combo.

Single-target, moving:
1.) Deep Freeze if it’s off cooldown and an available charge of Fingers of Frost.
2.) Frostfire Bolt if you have a Brain Freeze proc.
3.) An appropriate damage shield (Ice Barrier, Fire/Frost Ward) if you’re anticipating incoming damage (ie, running out of fire and other hazards).
4.) Ice Lance

Multi-target (at least 3 targets):
1.) Blizzard

Water Elemental

Your water Elemental is a significant source of damage, and will account for around 10% of your total damage on a particular fight.  It is important to make sure that it stays alive, otherwise you will suffer a DPS loss.  It takes significantly reduced AoE damage, but will take normal damage from targetted attacks.

Normally, you can simply set it and forget it, but its autocast of waterbolt is affected by your own latency.  Manually queuing its waterbolt spell will result in a DPS increase compared to simply leaving it on autocast.  See this post for more details.

Consumables

Flask: Flask of the Frost Wyrm
Food: Fish Feast/Firecracker Salmon/Tender Shoveltusk Steak
Potion: Potion of Speed and Potion of Wild Magic

If you plan on using your potion during Bloodlust/Heroism, you may find your frostbolts drop down to below 1 second casts, depending on your Haste.  If this is happening, you may be not be using the potion to its full effect.  Alternatively, you may want to switch to Wild Magic.  Potion of Speed is still useful when used moments
before the fight starts, as you will be able to use another potion later on in the fight.

Stats to Stack

The stat priority system generally is as follows:

Hit until capped > Spellpower > Haste > Critical Strike

Point for point, Hit provides the most DPS until you are hit capped.  Each point beyond the hit cap will not contribute to an increase in DPS.  Your hit cap will depend on the Hit % bonuses you receive from talents and raid buffs.  You get 1% Hit for each point in Precision.  You You get 1% Hit from Heroic Presence by having a Draenei in your party.  You get 3% Hit if you have a Balance Druid OR Shadow Priest in your raid applying Improved Faerie Fire or Misery to the
target.  Add up the total percentage provided by your particular talent and raid setup, and consult the table below for your Hit Cap.

Haste also has a soft cap, where your spell casts will go below 1 second, the minimum time of your global cooldown.  This cap is very difficult to reach through gear, so don’t worry about hitting it.  However, there is a soft-soft cap, where your spell casts will go below 1 second when all your Haste abilities are active at once (i.e., Icy Veins, Heroism/Bloodlust, Beserking, Potion of Speed, Black Magic Procs).  Be aware of your cast time when you have multiple haste effects active at once, and be sure not to stack all of them at once if you know that your frostbolt cast time will drop below 1 second.

Professions

The two best Professions for a Frost Mage, due to their profession-only enhancements are Tailoring and Engineering.  However, both professions overlap as they both have cloak-specific enchants.  Pick one of the two, then choose for your second profession one of Enchanting, Blacksmithing, Leatherworking, Alchemy, Jewelcrafting.

[EDIT: forgot to mention Inscription!  Inscription is fine, too!]

Enchantments

Unless your profession provides an upgrade over each particular slot, use the following enchants:

Head – Arcanum of Burning Soul
Shoulders – Greater Inscription of the Storm
Chest – Powerful Stats
Wrist – Enchant Bracers – Superior Spellpower
Hands – Enchant Gloves – Exceptional Spellpower
Belt – Eternal Belt Buckle + Runed Cardinal Ruby
Legs – Brilliant Spellthread
Feet* – Tuskar’s Vitality or Enchant Boots – Icewalker
Weapon – Enchant Weapon – Black Magic for 1H, Enchant Staff – Greater Spellpower for 2H

* In fights where constant movement is required, Tuskar’s vitality will provide a greater DPS increase over Icewalker, as you spend less time running and more time casting.

Gemming

Meta: Chaotic Skyflare Diamond
Red: Runed Cardinal Ruby
Blue: Purified Dreadstone
Yellow: Reckless Ameritrine

2 Purified Dreadstones are a must for activating the meta socket.  Reckless Ameritrine is used if there is a socket bonus that provides spellpower.  Whether or not the socket bonus outweighs the use of an orange gem depends on your gear, and you will have to consult rawr or an equivalent program to determine your gemming choice.

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30 thoughts on “3.3 Frost Mage Raiding Cheat Sheet

  1. I think you might be forgetting Inscription as a profession for a frost mage. The spellpower benefit is as high as what you get from Blacksmithing/Enchanting/Alchemy (or within 1 SP), plus the shoulder enchants are significantly cheaper.

  2. I know that Frost Warding is a must have for IA Arcane mages, but do you think it’s ever worth it for frost when mana is not an issue and you don’t get SP from wards?

    • IMO, It’s an optional talent at best. With 5/5 Arcane concentration (you can get away with 3-4/5 even) you should have no problems with mana, outside of fights that require a lot of usage from your Blizzard spell. And from memory, none of those fights have any sort of Frost based damage for that talent to be of much use.

  3. Please tell me I’m not the only person out there who keeps wanting to turn “Fingers of Frost” into some sort of terrible Your Mom joke.

    …don’t you love how mature I am?

  4. Thank you! I’ve specced frost, but not come around to try it out, not even once! I felt sort of lost. This will provide me enough security and inspiration to give it a go – not in raids, but for questing and maybe some elite-soloing.

    • if you wish to solo as frost via quests and such, i would suggest a different spec/glyph setup altogether that trades off a bit of damage for more survivability/control. for instance, you might want to omit glyph of frostbolt if you want to take on mobs that are snarable. Shattered barrier is also a very good talent for that.

      The deal about solo spec + glyph of frostbolt is that the removal of the snare will not activate negate torment the weak, effectively gimping your damage provided by it. I’ll look into possible solo alternatives in a later post!

  5. This may be a nub question…but, if you remove the slowing effect of Frostbolt with the Glyph of Frostbolt, doesn’t that mean that Frostbolt will no longer be able to proc Fingers of Frost?

    • very valid question. what it does it reduces the slowing effect to zero. it still exists as an effect though, which means it will still allow fingers of frost to proc.

  6. Ok this is making me want to level my little baby mage. How would you rate Frost vs. Arcane as far as soloing and raiding? (Meaning, is one easier than the other for soloing/leveling, and which current has the highest dps output assuming equivalent gear?)

    Del

    • Arcane is by far superior to Frost in terms of DPS potential, but that depends on the player’s playstyle and comfort level with the rotations. Arcane has a simpler “rotation,” but a bit more complex with regards to mana management. You can adjust the rotation to suit your mana needs at the cost of DPS, due to the Arcane Blast Mechanic.

      With the glyphs and spec above, the Frost raid spec isn’t really that well-suited for soloing, as it has most of its snares and slow effects removed. But something as simple as removing the Frostbolt glyph will make it much easier to solo with. Hope that helps del!

  7. I am no longer on the Frost train, though I still have much love for the spec.

    There’s also a warlock trick that works with the Water Elemental that will up your dps.

    A macro that uses the water bolt same time as your frost bolt.

    #showtooltip Frostbolt
    /cast Frostbolt
    /use Waterbolt

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  9. You may like to point out under either the Professions or Enchants section that engineering’s Nitro Boosts provide 24 crit if you’re hit capped, this would be superior to 12h/12c from Icewalker. Oh, and the 1min CD 340 haste ‘on use’ from the engineering gloves enchant. Just a thought, I’m an engineering whore.

    • While the damage effects from differently ranked Flamestrikes do more damage than using one flamestrike only, the spell itself does not benefit from any of the frost talents. Particularly, the synergy from Improved Blizzard and Fingers of Frost provide a DPS boost that stacked Flamestrike could never achieve. I’d suggest going for those instead! :)

  10. I knew this post would be here somewhere. I haven’t done much PvP lately so I’m going to drop the PvP spec for a Frost raiding spec and give it a shot. I’ve always leveled as Frost and then sadly watched it fade away in the distance once I reached level cap, so I’m excited to give it a shot in some serious content.

  11. I love this post simply because it gives me hope for my beloved frost spec. The difference in the amount of fun I get from frost versus the other two specs is hugely measurable, personally. I recently picked up Arcane for my dual spec so that I could get into ICC stuff, but maybe I can talk my GM into letting me try to go as frost. I’ve got this permalinked for backup!

  12. After some detailed reading, i found a few flaws in your spec, if u could clear them up for me it would b nice, i might understand it wrong but o well. Ok first of all, the Improved Blizzard should have alteast 1 point into to so you can get Fingers Of Frost to proc while ur trucking. Spirit is pew pew for mages so why do u have Student of the Mind? and last, NO BRAIN FREEZE?!?!?! How u do instant Frostfire and firebolts?

    • You are absolutely right about Improved Blizzard, I must have missed that. Thanks!

      Unless they changed the spell, spirit should contribute towards critical strike rating via Molten Armor and its glyph.

      I mentioned Brain Freeze being mandatory after the picture; I simply haven’t updated the picture to reflect that. I will get that done eventually, I apologize.

  13. the build isnt valid… there are only 24 points spent up to cold snap with no way to get the 25th if we follow the build pic at the top of this article…

    • I think you may have mistook cold snap for arctic winds, and I already mentioned underneath the picture that you will need to add an extra point to reach the next tier.

  14. Hi man. Have a question, it may be noobie but w/e.
    I wanted to ask you, when do I exactly get hit capped. Also, I wanted to give you more information. Almost all my equipments give me haste, now I have 376. I use furious set, but the: wrist, back, waist, feet and neck are relentless. I have the honor points now for “Battlemaster’s (name)” one gives haste, another one hit rating, another one critical strike, and another one spell penetration. Which one do you recommend? Also, I have a dagger Relentless Gladiator’s Blade of Celerity which also gives me haste. I want to buy, on my server with vote points an off hand (book) and I don’t know which one to choose, one gives hit, haste, etc. As a total of my Gear, gems, etc. I have 2359 bonus damage, 2359 bonus healing, hit rating 0 (it may be bugged, I have precition at 3 and a few equipments that give hit rating), critical chance 18.28%, haste 376 and mana regeneration 149.
    I think I put some equipments wrongly, but when I turn relentless full I will fix that. Sorry for bothering. Thanks in advance!

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