Shatter? I Hardly Knew Her!

I was browsing the official 3.3.3 release notes, and I stumbled upon a few changes that merit some discussion for Frost Mages in both PvE and PvP.  I’m talking about Fingers of Frost, check this “bug fix” out:

Fingers of Frost: Mages with Molten Armor active who have the Shatter talent will no longer lose Fingers of Frost charges when Molten Armor causes reactive damage. In addition, the effect from this talent now displays the number of charges on the buff icon.

Hell yes!  For as long as I can remember, my greatest weakness with Frost Magery was that I either kept losing track of how many charges of Fingers of Frost I had left when the buff procced, or didn’t notice in time that I had the buff at all.  This would often result in a lost opportunity to shatter-combo a Deep Freeze whenever it was off cooldown.

Waiting another possible 15-20 seconds for another FoF proc would have almost been the same as not casting Deep Freeze at all, considering the length of the spell’s cooldown, resulting in lost potential DPS.

With this unheralded change, you can immediately see how many charges you have left, and you will have an easier time timing your Deep Freeze/Ice Lance Shatter combo!  For those not in the know, it is performed as follows:

1st charge of Fingers of Frost: cast frostbolt
2nd charge of Fingers of Frost: cast frostbolt, then chaincast an Ice Lance or Deep Freeze at the end of the second cast of frostbolt.

If you did it correctly, the instant-cast spell will also be under the effects of Fingers of Frost, due to the travel time of the frostbolt that was initially cast.  This means that Deep Freeze would be castable after the second frostbolt, since the target will remain theoretically frozen until the frostbolt actually hit.

So frost mages, rejoice!  This change will affect your addons such as Power Auras, and TellMeWhen, since there are options to display the number of charges remaining on that buff, so be sure to modify your settings as such!

Oh, and a few more awesome changes:

Hellscream’s Warsong and Strength of Wrynn now provide their bonuses to player pet health and damage, as well as the absorption amounts of Power Word: Shield and Sacred Shield.

Yay, our pets scale with the buff now!  Hooray for our BM friends as well, who have been itching for the same thing.  I wonder, though, if those absorption amounts are applied to Ice Barrier and mana shield as well.  It would be a great buff to our survivability as well!

Oh, and one more for you gnome-lovers and mechanophiles:

Mechanostriders: Summoning any of these mounts is now perfectly mechanical-sounding!

/squee! 3.0 aside, this may very well be my favourite patch ever!

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7 thoughts on “Shatter? I Hardly Knew Her!

  1. I’ve been thinking about taking my lowbie mage (lvl34, thankfully out of that drudge that is early leveling) out of retirement and dressing her up in a lovely shade of Icy Blue. So yay for Frost goodness! =)

    And since you’ve mentioned it here, I have a question for you: I’ve been reading about Frost “rotation”, but I haven’t seen any mention of Ice Lance. Am I supposed to keep it only for PvP purpose or the eventual lulz soloing, or does it have a valid place in a boss fight when you’ve got Fingers of Frost but Deep Freeze is on cooldown?

    • Ice Lance was once in consideration as part of the rotation due to the implementation of an Ice Lance glyph that increases the critical strike multiplier of Ice lance to 4 instead of 3. This was supposed to be the “shatter combo” that the devs wanted to bring to Frost Mage PvE.

      In the end, the glyph was still not worth giving up the 3 current glyphs the Frost Mage was already using, since it would have resulted in a 1-step-forward-2-steps-back sort of deal. As it stands, Ice Lance is not worth using during Fingers of Frost, unless you’re on the move. But with the Frostfire Bolt addition to Brain Freeze, you’ll probably be using that spell instead. However, if Brain Freeze is not procced, and you have to move, you can either cast Ice Lance or Ice Barrier during motion, depending on the fight.

      IMO, the Ice Lance while moving does such negligible damage, you’re probably better off putting up an Ice Barrier in the end.

  2. What about Brain Freeze making FFB as well as FireBall instant cast.
    Will using this to cast FFB result in DPS increases?!? Or we still ignoring it completely?

    • From what I was reading on the class forums, using Fireball during Brain Freeze procs before 3.3.3 had a neutral effect on damage, depending on the gear. Tier 10 made Fireball a DPS increase. Considering that FFB scales better with Frost talents and can also proc Fingers of Frost, I presume from the forums discussion that it will be a DPS increase for sure if one is not yet in 2 pieces of tier 10.

      Hopefully, an updated RAWR model will come out soon and help solidify the theorycraft going on right now.

  3. Hello again!

    I’ve been playing my Mage lately and, between /hugging my recently-acquired Squirtle and cackling madly when I get a Crit leading up to Fingers of Frost, I noticed something:

    It seems that my spells are consuming the Fingers of Frost buff just as they finish being cast, not once they hit the target. Wouldn’t that make squeezing a Deep Freeze/Ice Lance while the second Frost Bolt is flying impossible?

    I’ve read somewhere that Frostbite is making that happen, but I haven’t got around taking it off my spec to try it out yet.

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