It’s Like Frost, except on Freakin’ Steroids

Actually, forget about what Larisa said about me spouting the Hybrid builds in her battle of the mages. Frost is the way to go, no doubt about it.

As soon as I came home from work, I went on wowhead right away. Having the talent calculator in hand, I tried my best to min/max some sort of rotation. Believe me, it was very difficult trying to stray away from frostbolt as being the cornerstone of the rotation.

No. Wasn’t going to happen.

Okay, fine. It was mostly because of the fact that most of the +damage on my gear was specificallly frost damage, so it didn’t really make any sense to try and spec anything else. I blah’ed to myself. I couldn’t let go of my little ice cube launching former self. I wanted a frostbolt spec, meaning that There wasn’t really any alternative to Frost. But that didn’t necessarily mean that I couldn’t spec into other classes, right?

So I looked back at the calculator. Fire? In fire and frost, while indeed hybrid-viable, seems to imply dominance in fire spells with frost as the augmenting talent tree to increase the overall DPS with talents like Icy Veins, Elemental Precision, Cold Snap, and such. No way. I don’t like that one bit. If I could make a bumper sticker for my car, it’d read “Frostbolts” or bust.

Then came along Arcane. Wow. There are some amazing things to be had with arcane, and I’ll be one to admit it as a frost mage. First, just like frost, arcane has the ability to have a good number of points invested into the second or third tiers without being the primary school of magic with regards to spell rotation. At the same time, the tree has a good, if not very respectable, spec that allows it to use arcane spells as the focus of the rotation. And it is of this little gnome’s opinion that, while Frost may seem to be the more effective main school when specced deeply into its own tree, Arcane is simply superior with regards to being a support tree despite being deeply specced into its own tree.

But despite that, I’m sticking to my frost, thank you very much.

40/0/21 – Steroids-Frost Spec

Ok, it’s a frostbolt-centric spec that relies on deep talents in the Arcane tree to boost your crit, damage, and so on and so forth. But the most underappreciated aspect of this spec is simply the insane mana efficiency. Arcane Meditation combined with Frost Channeling and Mage Armor results in such an amazing amount of mana regen in a long boss fight. Trying out the spec on Dr. Boom using only Frostbolts, I lasted so much longer. I felt like a frigging marathon man, and that’s quite a feat, considering that Frost itself is a very mana-friendly spec against single targets.

And the damage. Wow. The damage difference per frostbolt is actually quite larger. Combine that with harder crits, and I’m actually very enticed to somewhat stay in this spec a little bit longer. Again, comparing frostbolt by frostbolt, I can simply say that this spec is just amazing with damage.

And as a disclaimer, I’m not using Arcane Blast. 3/3 Frozen Shadoweave only affords me sub-500 general spell damage. The damage per mana is brutally low, and warrants no actual use. Maybe in higher tier gear, one should consider chaning up the rotation, but with my gear, FB spam is ideal. The crit damage from Ice Shards is a welcome fit for the rotation anyways.

Things I Miss

And then there’s the rub. I miss my Water Elemental. Saying goodbye to squirtle was the hardest thing I have done in a long while. Not since before I dinged 50 for the first time did I live without the 41-point talent, and somehow I just felt empty inside, much like the warlock who sacrifices his demon for the first time. I also miss the “free damage” button that I have on my castbar. Simply put, with him gone, I lose a lot of DPS that deep frost mages are known for.

There’s another noticeable absence from my 0/0/61 mainstay that I probably miss the most. Critical hits. I simply don’t crit as often when I use 40/0/21. Sure I crit harder, but for me I don’t get those moments where you’re landing crit after crit after crit with the deep spec. And of course, that’s all thanks to Winter’s Chill. I would like to reinforce my statement form my earlier post stating that frost mages that don’t have Winter’s Chill in their reportoire simply don’t haven the same delicious crit that the deep fire mages do with their scorches and combustions. Having said how that arc-frost guy in that Kara PuG the other day thanked me to no end for putting up winter’s chill for him, I can surely say that I now understand why.

Overall Impressions

I really enjoyed the larger numbers provided by the frostbolt hits, as well as the occasional frostbolt crit, but in the name of Elune I still swear by my deep frost. I am way too attached to my elemental, and I love stacking winter’s chill for all that lovely crit. Surely, taking out some talents in the deep spec, and putting them into arcane for clearcasting will probably increase my damage output considerably (ie, removing cone of cold, ice floes, permafrost, and random points here and there), but the point I want to hammer home is that the deep spec has so many talents that are synergous with itself, that a simple tactic like spamming frostbolts will get you some pretty good results dps-wise, and get the absolute adoration from other frost mages who skimp on those talents for other damage-dealing possibilities.

Compared to Pyromancers, who have to deal with juggling scorch debuffs with their use of fireball, Deep Frost has it somewhat simpler. Spam frostbolt. Use your cooldowns. Let Water elemental do its thing on its own if there’s no complex movement required in the fight. Make the arcane-boosted frost mages look good.

Next time on FitNB: I take a deep, hard look on the mage’s ranged weapon, and why it’s not good to post when your widgets go out of control.


6 thoughts on “It’s Like Frost, except on Freakin’ Steroids

  1. Oh, brilliant article. While I’m not deep frost (as I ventured into Arcane to get my delightful improved Counterspell [17/0/44] (and considering giving it up for Arctic Winds (which I never bothered respec’cing for when the talent got changed))), I love frost. I’ve had friends that have tried to convince me to switch to Arcane/Frost, or even fire, but they just can’t convince me. (And I never remember to use PoM anyway.)

    Your article helps prove that Arcane/Frost would not be the right flavor for me — I like my crits just as they are, and I love my water elemental.

    Very well written article!

  2. I’ve never ever ownd an elemental pet and I guess that’s just as well since I’m so sentimental that if I’d ever get one I probably would be totally unable to kill it by respeccing.

    Honestly it seems a bit complicated to me to time it and control it and use it at its full putential. Probably I’m just a bit lazy, but in my opinion it’s much easier to just care about yourself and nothing else.

    When I grow up to a VERY expierenced and wise wizard one day I may give it an honest try though.

    I’m a bit surprised though at your pretty lame attacks at my current spec, which is exactlly 40/0/21. You’re so kind and understanding and respectful that I get suspicious. Are you trying to win this fight by looking as a nice and decent guy? Hm… That’s cunning.

    Anyway I must point out that the way you were testing this spec is just the opposite of the way I play it. I hardly ever throw any frostbolt at all. It’s just if I’m afraid I’ll be running out of mana, that I mix it in to get rid of the debuffs from AB. Otherwise the rotation is just… ABABABAB for enternity (until you run dry…)

    Insane damage without too much threat…

    Who cares much about crits? In the end it doesn’t show up on the dmg list… It’s the total dmg that counts and this spec can compete pretty well at some levels of gear and in some instances. (not always though). 2xt5 pieces is mandatory though.

    Really looking forward to your celebration to the wand! I hope you can convince me.

  3. I actually did an post on Arcane/Frost vs Deep Frost awhile ago here:

    You will see an increase in DPS as Arcane/Frost until you gear up. As you get more and more Spell Damage and Crit, the more it gets better for you to go Deep Frost.

    This is only for Frostbolt spamming Arcane/Frost. It is a different matter when you start throwing Arcane Blast rotations.

  4. @lar, from reading around the intarwebz about 40/0/21, you can maximize the damage by throwing in some frostbolts in between stacked AB buffs. Something along the lines of [AB AB AB FB FB FB Fireblast] will optimize your mana and make the most out of the 21 point talents.

    @Spicy, I guess it’s because I already have a decent amount of damage and crit on my mage as it is, which seemed to be the reason why I felt like I was leaning towards deep frost. And yeah, I read your article as soon as I posted, and I thought the numbers that you were mentioning were very convincing. When you said that deep frost’s wildcards were much better than arcfrosts, you were definitely right, particularly in a situation where Water Elemental Management is much simpler (ie, Dr. Boom).

  5. I went from 2/48/11 to 17/0/44 last night just before arenas.

    I’m more convinced than ever that you simply cannot live without your ice barrier and your water elemental.

    How you guys manage without them is beyond me.

  6. @Zupa You don’t miss something you’ve never got used to or even tried.. Yes I admit it – I’m a fake mage, I haven’t even once been specced for deep frost.
    Shame on me. Shame on me.
    I will one day. When I feel rich so I can respec quickly again if it feels to scary.

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