Updated for Mists of Pandaria 5.3
Feel the burn.
Fire is doing very well as damage in M of P 5.2. You will still be able to satisfy your inner pyro. This page is focused on raiding and PvE content, if you’re looking for PvP or leveling then see the links just below.
|This Fire Mage guide is primarily intended for use at level 90. However, the principals will still apply during the leveling process. If you’re looking for advice on leveling your Mage, check out our Mage Leveling Guide.
If you want the same in-game step by step leveling guide that we use to get to level 90 as fast as possible, take a look at our favorite in-game leveling guide.
Other Mage Guides:
5.3 Patch Changes
For all the mage changes in 5.3 go here. These are the highlights.
- Arcane Brilliance had its mana cost reduced to 1%, down from 4%.
- Dalaran Brilliance had its mana cost reduced to 1%, down from 4%.
- Arcane Explosion now deals 40% more damage.
- Blizzard now deals 40% more damage.
- Flamestrike now deals 100% more initial damage. Periodic damage remains unchanged.
- Mirror Image creates copies that no longer cast Fire Blast, but their Frostbolts do 10% more damage.
- And in the most impressive buff of all – Teleport: Vale of Eternal Blossoms and Portal: Vale of Eternal Blossoms now have new icons.
- Flameglow now absorbs damage from each attack made against the Mage equal to 15% of their spellpower (down from 20%).
- Incanter’s Ward now allows the Mage to gain up to a maximum of 15% increase to spell damage, down from 30%, but the effect now lasts 25 seconds, up from 15 seconds.
- Living Bomb‘s periodic damage has been increased by 121%. Its explosion damage has been reduced by 78%, but now scales with additional periodic ticks added by haste, and hits all nearby targets (up from 3).
Fire Mage DPS Talents
- Presence of Mind is optimal for fights where you just sort of stand around while hitting keys. It will give you a free Pyroblast (or other spell with a cast time) ever 90 seconds.
- Blazing Speed is only useful if you’re getting snared a lot. It does nothing for your DPS.
- Ice Floes has limited use in the event a fight only requires that you move every minute at most, otherwise you’ll find it on cooldown more often than it can be of use and are better of taking Presence of Mind.
- Temporal Shield is a solid choice if you can anticipate, or react quickly to, large incoming damage. Along with Cauterize this can be a solid choice.
- Flameglow constantly mitigates some damage. It’s a great choice for fights where you anticipate taking constant damage. It won’t make you a tank, but it will make the healer’s (and your) lives easier. Nerfed a bit in 5.3, it’s still useful.
- Ice Barrier is the “fire and forget” shield. Put it up and forget about it for a minute. Blocks a fair amount of damage. Especially useful in fights where you are suffering from “pushback” or you know there’s a big chunk of damage coming in.
As this tier is composed solely of CC, take whichever appeals to you most/suits an encounter best.
- Ring of Frost is an AoE CC. Freeze several opponents and Shatter them. Nice for patrols or to grab a group. Takes 2 seconds to cast or arm, even with Presence of Mind. Can do some nice numbers if it arms right before your Frost Bomb detonates (taking advantage of Shatter on several opponents.)
- Ice Ward is another form of AoE CC with different usage. Useful if you or another is being attacked. Better for kiting players in PvP.
- Frostjaw is a very nice single target CC/Silence and can set up a Shatter, since whatever you can at the target is very likely to crit. Useful as an additional Silence.
- Greater Invisibility is an interesting choice for survivability. It removes effects, massively reduces damage, and drops threat, so can be very nice in bad situations.
- Cauterize lets you avoid death, but also sets you on fire, which is actually a much better tradeoff than it might sound. Ice Block removes the burning and Temporal Shield will help heal it. Some put this into an “I’m Cauterizing, Heal me Now!” macro.
- Cold Snap is the only one that can add to your DPS, by resetting cooldowns, and the additional Ice Block + Heal can help survive in some bad situations.
- Nether Tempest is the optimal choice for single target DPS, which is why it’s the pick here.
- Living Bomb is best for small groups of 3-5 targets where it pulls ahead of Nether Tempest.
- Frost Bomb does the best damage of the three on larger groups of 6 or more targets. It can hit any number of targets, as long as they’re within range. If you can freeze those targets fight before it goes off (Frost Nova, Ring of Frost) then youi should get a few Shatter Crits.
- Invocation is perhaps the most difficult to use talent of this tier, but has the potential to be useful on certain encounters where Rune of Power and/or Incanter’s Ward fail to impress. You have to have enough time to be able to evocate. When glyphed it restore 10% of your health. The extra damage should make up for the time to Invocate.
- Rune of Power is the simplest to use of this tier, seeing as all you have to do is stand in it. Best used on fights with little or no movement. Place the rune(s) and blast away. When glyphed it restore 1% of your health per second while standing in your own rune.
- Incanter’s Ward is the choice if there’s lots of movement and you will be taking damage. It works best when you anticipate taking at least a moderate amount of damage, but provides a buff even if you aren’t. Passively increases damage and mana regen.
Glyphs are easily changed, one at a time, with a Tome of the Clear Mind. Swap ‘em as necessary for different fights or to better suit your game.
- Glyph of Armors - useful if you need the defensive effects of the armors.
- Glyph of Combustion - More burnination on a longer CD. Can make for brutal compbustions if you can line it up with Pyro! crits and your damage buffs.
- Glyph of Cone of Cold - for large groups.
- Glyph of Inferno Blast - Spreads your DoTs to an additional target.
- Glyph of Frostfire Bolt - useful if you need the slow from Frostfire Bolt.
- Glyph of Blink - More range on your Blink.
- Glyph of Evocation - Adds a heal. Note that Evocation is changed by the tier 6 talents.
- Glyph of Arcane Explosion - for large groups.
Minor glyphs are generally just cosmetic, though a few have minor utility.
- Glyph of Mirror Image – A small DPS gain.
- Glyph of Momentum - Let’s you bink in the direction you’re moving rather than facing. Nice for strafing.
- Whatever you like.
Fire Mage Stat Priorities
- Primary Stats: Intellect >> all other stats.
- Secondary: Hit+Expertise (+racial) to 15% total Spell Hit > Crit
- Weak: Haste > Mastery
- Useless: Total Spell Hit over 15% has zero value
- Note: Some say Crit is more valuable than Int, due to those Pyro! procs.
Hit and Expertise: Exp. adds directly to your Spell Hit rating. If you have a piece of gear that has Hit and any other stat you can reforge that other stat to Expertise and get more total Spell Hit as a result (you don’t want to miss with that Pyroblast proc.) If you’re Human or Gnome then your Expertise racial adds to your Spell Hit if you equip the appropriate weapons.
Haste is nice, but a lot of your damage comes from those Pyro! procs, so Crit is better. Still, Haste to certain breakpoints gives you an extra tick on your DOTs. Take a look at the Fire Mage card on this page for details.
Mastery drops to last in the stats competition.
Reforge: Once you have your 15% Spell Hit reforge into Crit and then Haste.
- If a piece of gear has Hit then reforge the other stat to Expertise
- If it has no Hit or Exp then reforge the weakest stat to Hit.
- If you have your 15% Spell Hit then everything else needs to be reforged to Crit.
- If a piece of gear already has Crit then reforge the other stat to Haste.
In-Depth Rotation Guide
If you still need to get leveled to 90, go here.
- Molten Armor should be active at all times along with Arcane Brilliance.
- Flask of the Warm Sun: 1,000 Int.
- Mogu Fish Stew: 300 Int
- Potion of the Jade Serpent right before the fight, then again at some point during the fight.
Rotation and spells
- The Combustion Helper addon will help with keeping track of your bomb and your Combustion.
Heating Up (HU) is triggered by critical strikes with any of the following spells: Fireball, Pyroblast, Frostfire Bolt, Scorch and the guaranteed critical Inferno Blast. Use IB right after you get an HU proc.
Whenever you have a Heating Up proc cast Inferno Blast if possible for the guaranteed critical effect and therefore the automatic trigger of Pyroblast!. Cast Pyroblast whenever Pyroblast! triggers. If you can cast it on a frozen target (such as from your Frost Nova) then it’ll probably crit.
(See the notes below about your bombs.)
The ideal time to use Combustion is after a critical hit with either Pyroblast or Fireball for maximum effect as the damage of Combustion is increased by the damage of the DoT effect caused by Pyroblast and Ignite.
- Combining trinkets and other forms of damage increase prior to triggering a Combustion will optimize your damage output.
- Use Inferno Blast right after Combustion to spread that Combustion DOT to up to three adjacent targets.
- Cast your tier 6 ability
- Bomb, and refresh just before it expires.
- Fireball or Scorch as main damage
- Mirror Image on CD
- Alter time on Pyro! Procs or right before an important buff expires.
- Use Inferno Blast when Heating Up procs to get a Pyro! proc.
- Presense of Mind to insta cast Pyroblast or other cast-time spell.
- Same priorities
- Cast Bomb on multiple targets
- Inferno Blast to spread dots.
Large groups (6+)
- Add Blizzard, Arcane Explosion, or glyphed Cone of Cold, depending on position.
- Bombs away (whichever bomb you’re specced into)
- Pyro! when it procs
- Inferno Blast when Heating Up procs
- Presense of Mind to insta cast Pyroblast or other cast-time spell.
- Combustion, 45 seconds (1.5 min if glyphed,) Takes the Ignite DoT on a target and creates a new, additional 10 second DoT. Also stuns the target (if stunnable.) Resets Inferno Blast, so use IB right after Combustion to spread effects.
- Alter Time, 3 min, Returns you exactly as you were when recast or after 6 seconds, including buffs and CDs. Don’t use with CDs longer than the AT duration or you will lose them. Casting it right after a Pyro! proc is a good idea.
- Mirror Image, 3 min, dumps aggro and increases DPS. Images inherit crit, haste, and any spellpower that you have. .
- Time Warp, 5 min, The mage version of Bloodlust/Heroism and the Core Hound’s Ancient Hysteria. Duplicates them, but does not stack with them. Coordinate with the Shaman in your group about this ability.
- Evocation, 2 min, Unless you have taken the Rune of Power talent at level 90, channeling Evocation will restore some of your mana. If you use the Glyph of Evocation, you will regen both health and mana while channeling.
- Ice Block, 5 min, Emergency damage mitigation. Ice Block will make you immune to all damage for 10 sec.
- Invisibility, 5 min, Another aggro dump, but takes a bit to fully activate. Greater Invisibility is instant and has a 1.5 min CD.
- Polymorph, 1.7 sec. cast, turns the target into a critter. If glyphed then DOTs will be removed, allowing it to stick. Breaks on damage.
Tier 1 Talented Abilities:
- Presence of Mind should be used to cast Pyroblast whenever possible. Consider making a macro to combine the casting to automate the process.
- Ice Floes will assist in casting on the run for encounters that demand movement.
Tier 5 Talented Abilities:
- Nether Tempest should be refreshed on the target immediately before the final tick.
- Living Bomb is the same and should be refreshed just before or after the final tick to have the Living Bomb explode while the effect is still refreshed for maximum damage.
- Cast Frost Bomb on cooldown.
Gems for Fire Mages
Unless a socket bonus offers a nice Intellect or Crit bonus, it’s more effective to gem for pure Intellect/Crit and ignore the bonus. (If your gold stash is feeling a bit inadequate to buy all the gems you need then you should check out our 10 step gold guide.)
Gems with secondary stats have twice the value of gems with primary stats, so your Crit gems are 320 points and your Int gems are 160. This does give some reason to match socket bonuses, though we recommend only doing it if it’s for a nice Int or Crit bonus.
Suggested Fire Gems:
- Meta: Burning Primal Diamond until you can get one of the legendaries: Sinister or Capacitive
- Red: Brilliant Serpent’s Eye
- Yellow: Potent Vermilion Onyx
- Blue: Piercing Wild Jade or Veiled Imperial Amethyst if you need the Hit.
- Belt buckle or Blacksmithing slot: Brilliant Serpent’s Eye
Your Mage bonus adds to any Int gem bonuses, making them worth 5% more Int, that bonus does not add to other stats.
|Meta||Sinister Primal Diamond: +324 Critical Strike, and chance on spell damage to gain 30% spell haste
Capacitive Primal Diamond: +324 Critical Strike, and chance on melee or ranged hit to gain Capacitance
Burning Primal Diamond: +216 Int & 3% Increased Crit Effect
|Red||Brilliant Serpent’s Eye: 320 Int, self-only Jewelcrafting gem
Brilliant Primordial Ruby: 160 Int
|Yellow||Smooth Sun’s Radiance: +320 Crit|
|Blue||Rigid River’s Heart: +320 Hit|
|Orange||Potent Vermilion Onyx: +80 Int & +160 Crit|
|Green||Piercing Wild Jade: +160 Critical Strike and +160 Hit|
|Purple||Veiled Imperial Amethyst: 80 Int and 160 Hit|
|Prismatic||Brilliant Primordial Ruby: 160 Int|
|Cogwheel||Requires an engie helm, such as this.
Quick Tinker’s Gear: 600 Haste
Smooth Tinker’s Gear: 600 Crit
Fractured Tinker’s Gear: 600 Mastery
Fire Mage Enchantments
Short on gold? If you want to buy the best enchants, fund all of your alts, donate to the guild, etc., but don’t have the cash, then see what the Tycoon Addon can do about about fixing your poverty.
Helm enchants are gone in Mists of Pandaria, shoulder enchants all come from the Inscription profession.
|Weapon||Enchant Weapon – Jade Spirit: Sometimes increases Int by 1650|
|Shoulders||Secret Crane Wing Inscription: – 520 Int and 100 Crit rating, Requires Inscription 550.
Greater Crane Wing Inscription: +200 Int and 100 Crit
|Cloak||Enchant Cloak – Superior Intellect: +180 Int
Lightweave Embroidery – attacks have chance to increase Int by 2k for 15 sec, requires tailoring
|Chest||Enchant Chest – Glorious Stats: +80 to all stats|
|Bracers||Enchant Bracer – Super Intellect: +180 Int
Fur Lining increases Int by 500, requires leatherworking.
Socket Bracer – Pop in a gem, requires Blacksmithing 400
|Gloves||Enchant Gloves – Greater Haste: +170-Haste
Socket Gloves – Pop in a gem, requires Blacksmithing 400
|Belt||Livingsteel Belt Buckle: Gem slot for a nice Int gem|
|Leggings||Greater Cerulean Spellthread: +285 Int and +165 Crit|
|Boots||Enchant Boots – Greater Precison: +175 Hit rating
Enchant Boots – Pandaren’s Step: +140 Mastery, slight run speed increase.
|Rings||Enchant Ring – Greater Intellect: +160 Int, Requires Enchanting 550|
Consumables for Fire Mages
Note that Pandarens get twice the food buff (eg: 600 Int from the Stew.). All food buffs last one hour and go away when you die.
Your flask is better than any two of the elixirs, which is why the elixirs are not shown.
As with gems, Your Mage bonus adds to any Int bonuses from food or flask.
- Mogu Fish Stew: 300 Int
- Braised Turtle: 275 Int
- Flask of the Warm Sun: 1,000 Int for an hour, Alchemists get 1,320 and 2 hours.
- Potion of the Jade Serpent: 4k Int for 25 seconds. If you pop one immediately before combat you will be able to pop another during combat.
- Master Healing Potion: Heals 60k HP
- Master Mana Potion: About 30k Mana
Professions for Fire Mages
All of the professions provide some benefit for Mages of any spec, though clearly some are better than others. Even the gathering professions have some value, though you might be better served by using those to build a larger gold stash.
If you’re looking for the buffs then Blacksmithing might be the best choice wince you can slot two gems and gems with secondary stats have twice the value of those with primary stats, 320 Crit Vs 160 Int, per gem, for example. It also gives you a bit more versatility with gem slotting, though you’ll most likely want to stick Int gems in those slots anyway.
If you need to earn cash then check out Herbalism with that big Haste cooldown (even if it it’s your best stat, it’s still good.)
Your Mage bonus adds to any profession bonuses.
|Tailoring||Cloak enchant sometimes adds 2k Int.|
|Leatherworking||Bracer enchant adds 500 int.|
|Jewelcrafting||Make nicer gems for your own use.|
|Enchanting||Enchant both rings, for a total +320 Int gain.|
|Inscription||Shoulder enchant adds 520 Int and 100 crit.|
|Alchemy||More effect from your own potions. Adds 320 Int and an extra hour to your main flask.|
|Engineering||has lots of interesting toys, some of which have situational use, and Synapse Springs, which increases Int by 1940 for a short time. If you take this use a macro to activate it along with other short term buffs.|
|Blacksmithing||gives two extra gems slots fopr a potential 640 Crit or Hit Vs 320 Int bonus.|
|Skinning||provides 480 crit rating|
|Herbalism||Small heal and 2880 Haste for 20 seconds. You will also find spirits.|
In Mists of Pandaria the Tauren are the only race that cannot become mages. Even the Pandarens can be Mages.
While no race is wildly better than any other for burnination, some do have certain advantages.
- Alliance DPS: Draenei (hit rating,) Worgen (Crit chance & sprint,) Humans and Gnomes for the 1% spell hit, if they equip the right weapons.
- Horde DPS: Orc (Blood Fury) and +5% pet damage ; Trolls gets Berserking; Goblins get a Haste effect and Rocket Jump (a useful escape ability.) Undead drain life and heal.
Pandarens (Mists of Pandaria) can be either Alliance or Horde, they choose when they leave their starting area.
- They can put enemies to sleep (stun) with a touch of the paw, but you don’t want to be in melee range. Still, it can help with escapes.
- Increased benefits from food buffs will be quite nice while raiding. This will be about 300 Int over what non-Pandaren’s get.
- Take less falling damage from being “bouncy.”
- Faster leveling due to longer lasting Rest XP.
Alliance Races, in order of DPS gain:
Draenei – +Hit is a DPS add
- A minor heal is always handy for a class that has no heals. Also usable on others.
- Draenei get a self-only + 1% hit chance with spells. Nice for the raids, where every little bit helps (since you’ll want a total of 15% hit.)
- Draenei are good gemcutters.
Worgen - +Crit is a DPS add, movement helps.
- Can periodically move quickly, which is a generally nice ability.
- Crit chance increased, which is nice, especially for Fire.
- Worgen are good with Skinning
- As is true for Humans, Gnomes have an Escape Artist skill. It’s not as inclusive as the Human skill, but can still get you out of trouble at times.
- Gnomes have an increased mana pool, which is certainly of interest to any caster.
- Engineering skill doesn’t help casting, but that skill can make some nice gadgets which will help.
- Also, as with Humans, Gnome mages will get a +1% to their Spell Hit if equipping a sword.
Human - No DPS abilities, though the escape might keep you in the fight longer.
- Their Escape ability will have occasional use in PvE and leveling, as well.
- Diplomacy is nice if you are going to be gaining faction at any point and since so much past level 60 is a faction grind… Mists of Pandaria introduced even more factions to grinf favor with.
- Spirit is now useless for mages, and so is the Human’s 3% increased Spirit.
- Mages have no use for the expertise with mace, but the expertise with Sword will give you a +1 to your Spell Hit, if you have a sword equipped.
Night Elves - No DPS abilities
- In instances and raids Shadowmeld will drop the aggro you picked up until you unmeld. Hopefully the tank has picked the mob(s) up by then.
- Being a bit harder to hit is also occasionally use while leveling or in PvP. Again, not much use in raiding.
- Faster movement while dead is an interesting perk… Hopefully you don’t have to use it very often.
Dwarves – No DPS abilities.
- Stone form is nice in PvP and of occasional use PvE. It washes away bleeds and such and reduces damage by 10%, which is of some benefit in those “Oh Rats!” situations.
- Ranged weapon expertise is of no use to you.
- Dwarves are good with Archeology
Horde Races, in order of DPS gain:
Trolls - Berserking and Beast slaying can boost DPS numbers.
- Berserking increases casting speed by 20% for a few seconds. Very nice, drop it into a macro.
- Beast Slaying is a nice little bonus for leveling and useful in PvE content when the opposition is classed as “beast.” Unfortunately, no one in PvP counts, not even Worgen.
- Voodoo shuffle is a help in PvP, but situational elsewhere.
- Ranged weapon expertise is useless to you.
Orcs - Blood Fury is a very nice DPS cooldown.
- They get the benefit of Blood Fury, a great burst DPS increaser. Put into a macro.
- 15% resistance to all stuns with Hardiness, useful in PvP situations and helpful in rare PvE content. This works out to a 1 second decrease from a 6 second stun.
- The Orc weapon expertise does not apply to you.
Undead – Small DPS boost from Drain Life.
- “Will of the Forsaken” can wipe off sleeps, charms, etc., a nice ability to have, especially in PvP.
- Being able to eat the brains of those you kill frees up a blag slot (which would otherwise carry food.)
- Undead can drain life from opponents and be healed for the same amount. This is a passive effect and happens occasionally with your damaging attacks and actually adds something to your overall DPS.
Goblin - More DPS with Haste.
- Rocket Jump has definite uses at times, especially as “gain range” ability when Blink is on cooldown.
- A 1% increase to Haste is nice, and…
- An increase in Alchemy skill, along with a greater effect from your own healing potions, is also nice.
- Goblins also receive vendor discounts and can summon a personal bank.
Blood Elves – No DPS abilities. But that hair!
- Of the Horde races the Blood Elves, are unique in that they have no DPS abilities, as far as Magery is concerned. Their big ability is Arcane Torrent, which can be used to regain some mana and silence nearby casters, though they shouldn’t be nearby anyway. The mana gain is likely to be less useful than it might seem at first glance, due to already high mana recovery.
- Blood elves are good with Enchanting.
Fire Mage “How To” – This has not been updated for 5.2, despite the title, but still has lots of good stuff.
More about Fire, updated for 5.2.
The Fast Mage Leveling Guide
Leveling a Mage or some other class? It’s pretty easy these days, especially with the Mists of Pandaria changes and since Mages excel at destroying things. Still, there are a lot of quests and a incredible number of things to kill. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a bit of expert help in the “where to go and what to do” department?
Zygor’s guide gives you that help, whether you”re Horde or Alliance and regardless of your level, at all times. It’s like having an expert showing you exactly where to go and what to do. It doesn’t matter if you stop your questing to gain a few levels in PvP or the dungeons, you’re brand new to the game, or you’re decked head to toe in heirlooms. Come back to the quests and Zygor will figure out where you should be, based on your new level, and update the guide accordingly. It’ll even let you zap your obsolete quests.
You’re not even locked into any particular build. Zygor’s guide has a talent advisor which will recommend talents regardless of your class or spec. All in all you’ll blast to 90 faster than ever before.
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