Meanwhile, Frost is Pretty Awesome

Apparently, you guys just LOVE to see recount numbers.  So here are a few random screenies of my Frost PvE performance in various 5, 10, and 25-man encounters.

The day the patch came out, <Exiled Legion> hit up Malygos.  Take a look at that deep freeze number.  58k max hit.  That was with 2 sparks.  When I saw it happen, I nearly peed my pants.  But also notice the way the addon detects the use of Deep Freeze.  For every hit (only 2, as I was still getting used to DF shatters) recorded on recount, there is an immune.  I presume that I only used Deep Freeze twice, and for each time the spell is used, it registers as immune initially, then immediately deals damage after checking for immunity, as described by the spell tooltip.  Cool stuff.  I can’t wait to see DF numbers with other buffs, like Jaraxxus or Icehowl.

Oh, and yes, we wiped on that.  I’m a terrible drake rider.  We can do everything else except the drakes.  There’s a reason why Maly was voted as the least successful Wrath raid encounter at the Pink Pigtail Inn, but that’s best left to another topic.

This is Lord Jaraxxus in ToC-10.  The numbers are definitely inflated because of the Nether Power buff, but I wanted to show another Deep Freeze parse.  This one had a 38k high, which was probably cast with 5 stacks of spellstolen Nether Power.  Sexy.  Also, take note that out of the five Deep Freezes I cast, one of them did not crit.  Take note that Shatter only increases the critical strike chance of frozen targets by 50%.  If your crit chance is less than 50%, there is still a chance for your spells to fail to crit during Fingers of Frost.  But at 30-40% crit, raid-buffed, you’ll be seeing more crits than not.

Here we go!  25-man ToC, Northrend Beasts encounter.  I was up against 3 or 4 other mages in this group, and I almost beat the other arcane mage.  This is still reasonably early on in the patch.  I was still decked out mostly in emblem gear.  I recall winning roll for the Icehow Cinch in this encounter.  So far, it seems that Deep Freeze is taking up somewhere in the vicinity of 9-12% of my individual damage, not including my water elemental.  Yet I only cast Deep Freeze 9 times out of the 215 spells cast in this encounter.

Putting it into perspective, that’s 4% of the total spells cast accounting for 9% of individual damage.  That just shows how important Deep Freeze is to a Frost Mage’s rotation.  At first, I tried incorporating DF into a shatter combo by casting it on the ghost charge of Fingers of Frost.  However, latency may affect the rate of successful “shatters” during an encounter.  If you miss a deep freeze because the FoF charges were already used, that is essentially a wasted cooldown, as it may take anywhere from 10-30 seconds to get another FoF to proc.  Thus, missing Deep Freezes on Fingers of Frost procs are a DPS loss.

To be safe, I would suggest using Deep Freeze on the second charge of Fingers of Frost, if your latency is inconsistent.  Losing a near-guaranteed Frostbolt crit is well worth guaranteeing that Deep Freeze hits at all.  Because of this, I believe the changes to Fingers of Frost in 3.3 are probably the most under-appreciated change in this patch, since having the effect proc from spell cast rather than spell hit gives you a wider window of opportunity to react and cast accordingly.

Moving on to the next encounter, Sojonir the Ironshaper, the last boss in Heroic Halls of Stone, I am quite obligated to spout this meme.

“Vegeta, what does the scouter say about Bashertin’s Power Level?”

It’s over nine thoouuuuusaaaaaand!!!!!

Damn right.  We had a resto shammy healer popping heroism right off the bat, and this monstrosity of a parse occurred.  This one is fairly recent, and as such, I’ve picked up a few tricks to utilizing Deep Freeze to its maximum potential.

Firstly, I must stress how important Haste is to a Frost Mage.  First, not only does Frostbolt have the shortest base cast out of all the primary nukes, but it also has the largest critical strike damage bonus, thanks to Ice Shards.  This means you want to be casting them as often as possible, and critting as often as possible.  In addition, more frostbolts cast translates into more Fingers of Frost procs, normalizing the rate at which Deep Freeze is cast.  Deep Freeze itself has a 30-second cooldown, so you want to have a Fingers of Frost charge available as soon as possible.

Second, having said that Deep Freeze has a 30-second cooldown, it is a viable and successful tactic to Cold Snap your Deep Freeze during heavy burn stages.  Suppose Heroism is cast, and you pop your spellpower trinket and icy veins.  With enough haste, you’ll be casting frostbolts at 1.1-1.2 seconds per spell.  Even with this rate of spellcasting, I still recommend squeezing in Deep Freezes when they are available, as the 20-25k crit is the same amount of damage as casting approximately two critical strike Frostboltsm and only takes up a global cooldown.

Even moreso, I suggest waiting until you cast your Deep Freeze before Cold Snap, as it will get you your Deep Freeze and Icy Veins back.  If you’re lucky, you’ll fish out another Fingers of Frost proc before your trinket wears off, and get another boosted Deep Freeze.  If you’re extremely lucky and aware, you might even have this happen.

During Icy Veins/Heroism/Trinket:

Mage casts Frostbolt
Mage gains Fingers of Frost (2 charges)
Mage casts Deep Freeze (1 charge)
Mage casts Cold Snap
Mage casts Deep Freeze (0 charges)
Fingers of Frost fades from Mage.

It takes an extremely fast reaction time and faster trigger finger to do all of these actions at once during Icy Hero without skipping a beat with your global cooldown usage.  Note that Cold snap does not trigger a gcd, so the entire sequence would take only two global cooldowns worth of reaction time.  One from the frostbolt, one from the first deep freeze.  That’s approximately 60k damage within the span of less than 3 seconds, depending on your gear.


Frost is freaking awesome again.  For those of you who have yet to see for yourselves, and are curious to try it out, WHY AREN’T YOU?  IT’S FREAKING AWESOME.


Now don’t get too excited.  Take into consideration that Arcane and Fire are still superior specs on paper and spreadsheets.  What I’m saying is that Frost had some very good buffs, and there are both upsides and downsides to raiding as frost compared to the other two trees, three if counting frostfire bolt, which also outperforms frost for some reason.  Those upsides and downsides will be discussed in another musings post in the future.

All in all, while Arcane and Fire are the dominant trees, Frost is no slouch either.  You just have to know the tricks, know your spell priorities, and to use the proper gear/spec/glyph/enchants.  I will be posting a Frost Mage Cheat Sheet soon, so keep your eyes out for that.

Until then, see you on the other side of the internether!

27 thoughts on “Meanwhile, Frost is Pretty Awesome

  1. Great post!

    It’s good to finally have Frost as a viable raid spec, even if it’s not “omgz teh 1337”.

    They’re kinda like the BM of raiding, and as per Pike’s post the other day, a good frost mage can out dps a poor arcane/fire mage. 🙂

    I might switch over to frost for a couple of runs, although it’ll be as a haste-stacked frosty. I’m way too cheap to re-gem. 😛 But it would be fun to mess around with it for a bit. Especially the DF/CSnap/DF double whammy of laying the smacketh down! 😀

    • I wholeheartedly support the BM/Frost analogy. And no worries about re-gemming. Haste-stacking is already the way to go with frost, so you don’t have to re-gear at all if you were previously arcane.

    • I was more referring to my gem slots. If I’m not mistaken, I believe +SP is the way to gem for Frost and +Haste is the way to gem for Arcane. I’m gemmed through the nose for +haste. (It’s probably better for me to get +SP gems now, actually… but I’m stubborn. :P)

    • 18/0/53. Torment the Weak increases frostbolt damage on snared targets. It’s lovely! I will put up a post on that soon!

  2. Just imagine the kind of numbers you could have put out if you’d come to BWL last night when I asked you to! :p

    Those deep freezes look like fun, but I just can’t give up my missile barrage. I love the fact that any spec can compete now, though.

    BTW, what was the time on that Sjonnir fight? I love those short fights with all CD’s/heroism popped.

    • LAWL. I totally regret not going. I was watching a basketball game, and my team totally lost. How disappointing. I could have used the achievement too! >.<

      Sjonnir was definitely less than 40 seconds. According to my dbm, my record is in the 30's.

  3. In the 5 minutes I got to play last night my Mage hit level 6. I believe it’s time to take my Shaman or Priest into some Heroics to farm badges for Heirlooms now as I need to scratch my Mage itch. I’ve had that Polymorph: Rabbit book for ages, maybe I can get the levels to use it before Cataclysm.

    • I am quite convinced that the easiest way to level as a mage is to AoE grind in between random dungeons. It’s not the best way, mind you, in terms of exp per hour, but it’s the simplest and most mindless. You could go listen to some tunes while doing so.

  4. Aah i used to love my frost spec – I wasn’t in a raiding guild in TBC, just in a small guild that did kara but I was frost all the way and wasn’t too shabby at it either. When it started falling way way behind in LK I switched to arcane and really enjoy the playstyle but I’ve still got frost as my dual spec, I must remember to pull it out more!

    I’ll have to give Welly the Elemental a nice big hug later to apologise for abandoning him for so long.

  5. Aaaarrrgggghhhh that Frost – It BURNS!

    Hooley Dooley Krizzlybear, it would appear the Blizzard gods are looking Lindy upon you, but then they always help those that help themselves…

    You are an all star, all dpsing, all healing, wonder Gnome!

    • gnomes can’t heal. all we have are bandages 😀

      but that will change! come cataclysm, i’ll be race changing my draenei into a gnome, and all will be well again!

  6. Wow, am I glad I stumbled onto this. I played a frost mage from early on in vanilla WoW, only switching to Arcane when “THE” arcane patch dropped back in BC or whenever it was -hey, I’m old, my memory is fading lol. Arcane is a lot of fun for me, but I long for the days of frosty goodness. I had a discussion about this with a guildie just the other day. I look forward to your “cheat sheet”, as I have been reluctant to dual spec my mage, but after reading this, I think I’ll be doing that very very soon.

  7. Funny thing – I did go out into a couple of randoms as Frost last night. I, as expected, didn’t contribute as much dps as I usually do – but I’ll put it up towards mostly mistakes. And they’re major noob mistakes:

    1) Hit rating. Hit cap for Arcane is 289 (for arcane spells of course). 368 for frost. I’m over Arcane, but under the frost cap. Can you guess what sucks more than utilizing a Deep Freeze on a FoF proc? That’s right – flat out missing with one. /sigh

    2) Not using my cooldowns, especially on boss fights. I’ve switched out some trinkets since my last forray into frost, so my proper ones weren’t on my spell bars. So all I was using was my Icy Veins. /sigh

    Kids, if you’re reading this – LEARN FROM MY MISTAKES! 😛

  8. hit rating is not too big an issue in heroics. since bosses in those dungeons are two levels above you, you only need 53 hit rating with talents to guarantee not to miss.

    icy veins right off the bat on all bosses, but wait until after you pop mirror image!

    • See, another nub mistake. Confusing raids for heroics. I’m dumb today. Need more coffee. Or maybe I’m the worst mage ever. Who knows? 😛 /sigh, yet again

      One thing I noticed is that FoF didn’t seem to proc nearly as much as I wanted. Or more accurately – when I wanted. 😛

      I also think I screwed up the DF/CS/DF bit. Too busy bouncing my head off the Frostbolt button. 😛

      In regards to my cooldowns, like I said, I haven’t switched my trinkets & macro over to my Frost toolbar. I’ve got a dandy little macro that casts my beserk (troll ftw) with IV and uses the +599SP trinket all at once. It’s embarassing that I wasn’t using it last night. Then I burn my other +haste trinket when the BZK/IV/SP expires. Makes me a dangerous mage for 40 seconds. Huzzah!

    • either way, missing a DF on a raid boss because you’re not hit-capped is the worst thing that could happen XD

  9. OMG. Another comment from me. Sorry. I’m not stalking you, honest. Even though this could have easily been a conversation at Timmy’s with one of their special doughnut deals. 😛 “Caramel-apple fritter!”

    Aaaanyway. Someone asked me, “Why would you talent for TTW and then glyph for Frostbolt when it removes the slow?” I answered with, “Well, most things get slowed, whether it be by you or someone else.” It just occurred to me – does the perma-puddle induce the slow effect with it’s frostbolt? I seemed to notice a slowing effect while noodling around and thought it odd, having FrB glyphed.

  10. The new Deep Freeze makes me so happy. You have no idea. I love your post 🙂 I’m still holding out for a elemental spec, but I’ve yet to be able to compare ignite damage to TtW…I’m still pretty sure TtW is better, since it’s a constant 12% damage increase, but I’m wondering if, once scaled with gear, it will switch…only time will tell!

  11. TTW works on anything that is slowed/snared or even attack speed debuffs. This includes everything that is tanked (provided the tank bothers to use them)

    Warriors: Thunder Clap
    Paladins: Judgements of the Just
    Druids: Infected Wounds
    Death Knight: Icy Touch

    So you can still take the Glyph of Frostbolt.

    One problem I face with Frost is the stupid water Ele. Unlike lock/hunter pets or even the unholy DK ghoul, water ele does not have a AOE resistance talent/property. As such, it keeps dying. There are times where I have to burn Cold Snap to get it back because water ele has a CD of 3 mins, regardless whether you use the Glyph or not. Other classes do not have this.

    • @Jason: Infected Wounds for Druids is an automatic ability if you’re talented for it. Any hit with Maul, Mangle, or even kitties can do it with Shred, again, if you’re talented.

      Yes I’m a bear druid, why do you ask?

      I enjoyed reading this article even though my mage is relatively low level. It’s nice to get an insight into what it takes to do 1337 dps.

    • Jason, it actually has the same AoE reduction properties as the other pets. My squirtle can stand in Marrowgar’s fire, Deathwhisper’s DnD, and others, and still live. It’s only when it gets targeted by stuff (ie, argent confessor’s holy fire) that it will die; admittedly, Squirtle has a low health pool compared to the mage, so it is important that he gets extra stam from fortitude/kings/mark so it can take a few more punches before going down.

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