Updated for Mists of Pandaria 5.2
Generally Frost got some buffs in 5.2. Arcane still outshines it (and probably everything else,) , but Frost is a now a competent DPS specialization (spec) and is a lot more fun than Arcane.
This page focuses on Frost in a raiding (PvE) environment. For Frost PvP (its real strength) or leveling, see the links just below.
|This Frost Mage guide is primarily intended for Raid DPS 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:
Frost Mage DPS Talents
Patch 5.2 Talent changes:
- Scorch is now a Fire specialization.
- Blazing Speed has replaced Scorch on the first tier.
- Flameglow has replaced Blazing speed on the second tier.
Any one Talent is easily changed with a Tome of the Clear Mind. Change them to suit the particular fight or situation.
- Presence of Mind is the optimal DPS choice for low/no movement fights. Insta-cast a long cast-time spell every 90 sec.
- Blazing Speed is a great talent to recommend to new players as a joke. Adds nothing to DPS, only useful if there are a lot of snares about.
- Ice Floes is situationally viable if you need to cast while moving.
- Temporal Shield is the best choice from this tier if you can anticipate incoming damage. Works very well with Cauterize.
- Flameglow constantly mitigates some damage. It’s a great choice for fights where you anticipate taking constant, relatively low, damage. It won’t make you a tank, but it will make the healer’s (and your) lives easier.
- Ice Barrier It’s unlikely that the damage absorption will provide equal survivability to the effects of Temporal Shield. Its big plus is that it doesn’t require the accurate timing of Temporal Shield and it absorbs a predictable amount of damage.
As this tier is composed solely of CC, take whichever appeals to you most/suits an encounter best. All can set you up for Shatters.
- Ring of Frost is an AoE CC. Note that even when cast with POM there is a 2 second delay while it “arms.” Especially useful when things go wrong or you need to otherwise control groups.
- Ice Ward is another form of AoE CC with different usage. Likely best used when kiting players in PvP.
- Frostjaw is a single target CC/Silence, esp. useful against caster mobs.
- Greater Invisibility is a good choice, take this or Cauterize depending on the encounter and how often you expect that the damage reduction of this talent will actually save you versus the effect of Cauterize. If you’re ever pulling aggro and/or you need to get rid of a couple of DOTs, then this is a great pick. Also has massive damage reduction while invisible, but you won’t be DPSing.
- Cauterize sets you on fire which I’m pretty sure is something we tried to avoid by picking frost. On the flip side it saves your life so I think that makes it worth taking. This is a great pick if the boss can one shot you. Works well with Temporal Shield.
- Cold Snap is fairly pointless beyond its use in making ‘Oh Snap’ jokes. More useful in PvP, though the 3 min cooldown makes that iffy.
- Nether Tempest is the optimal choice for single target DPS.
- Living Bomb is best for small groups of 3-5 targets, at which point it pulls ahead of Nether Tempest.
- Frost Bomb does the best damage of the three on larger groups of 6 or more targets. It has the downside of having a cast time.
- 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 be able to regularly cast Evocation.
- 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.If you don’t like standing still (or can’t) then this is a poor choice.
- Incanter’s Ward is an interesting choice that works best when you anticipate taking at least a moderate amount of damage as otherwise the ability will largely go to waste. It still buffs your casting for a few seconds. Perfect for fights with plenty of damage and movement.
As with talents the Glyphs are easily changed, one at a time, with a tome of the clear mind.
- Glyph of Ice Lance - More multi-target damage goodness.
- Glyph of Icy Veins - More overall damage. Might help in situation of very high Haste.
- Glyph of Water Elemental - Tougher and better elemental.
- Glyph of Arcane Explosion – For AoE situations
- Glyph of Blink - Long Blink range.
- Glyph of Evocation - Heal up when regaining mana.
Most of the minors only have cosmetic value.
- Glyph of Momentum - Nice for strafing. Blink in the direction that you’re moving, rather than facing.
- Glyph of Arcane Language – Help to understand whatever inane gibberish your teammates are speaking. (joke)
- Your pick
- Primary Stats: Intellect
- Secondary: Hit+Expertise to 15% total Spell Hit > Haste > Crit
- Weak: Mastery
- Useless: Total Spell Hit over 15% has zero value
Crit: There is a soft cap at 28% for your Shatter ability (25% + 3% for Boss.) Crit above 28% is less useful, but still better than Mastery. Arcane Brilliance reduced that cap by 5% and another other crit buffs will reduce it further.
Haste: Get as much as you can. Then get more.
Expertise: This stats 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. If you’re Human or Gnome then your Expertise racial adds to your Spell Hit if you equip the appropriate weapons.
Reforge: Once you have your 15% Spell Hit then reforge into Haste, and then Crit.
Frost DPS Rotations
- Frozen Orb should be used when available.
- Frostbolt applies a debuff to the target increasing damage taken from your Frostbolt and Ice Lance as well as your Water Elemental’s Waterbolt by 5% each stack for a total of 15% when it reaches the maximum 3 stacks on a target. Apply this as soon as possible and seek to maintain it.
- The Freeze ability of your Water Elemental grants 1 charge of Fingers of Frost guaranteed with the potential for 2 should it hit multiple targets. Cast this on Cooldown.
- Use Ice Lance when you gain charges of Fingers of Frost whether from your own spells or your Water Elemental’s Freeze ability. Make certain to spam Ice Lance when you anticipate generating a number of Fingers of Frost charges quickly to avoid wasting them. Times this could occur include at the start of an encounter when you have the Freeze and Frozen Orb abilities available, both of which generate charges quickly.
- Cast Frostfire Bolt when Brain Freeze procs. Brain Freeze has a chance to trigger whenever your tier 5 talent ( Living Bomb, Nether Tempest, Frost Bomb) deals damage and should be used as quickly as possible to avoid wasting charges.
- Frostbolt is your primary attack spell when no other options are available for use and to maintain the debuff on a target.
- Icy Veins increases spell haste by 20% and reduces spell pushback by 100% for 20 seconds with a 3 minute cooldown. Use this every time it’s available.
- Mirror Image is to be used on cooldown.
Tier 1 Talented Abilities:
- Presence of Mind should be used to cast Frostbolt 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 the Frost Mage
Even though the Mists of Pandaria gems offer twice the value for secondary stats (such as Haste) as they do for primary stats (Int) it’s still more effective to gem for pure intellect and ignore the bonus, unless it’s a large Int bonus. Various gems are shown if you want to get that bonus or experiment.
Here’s a basic scheme for socket matching for those Int bonuses.
- Brilliant Primordial Ruby in red slots
- Reckless Vermilion Onyx in yellow slots
- Veiled Imperial Amethyst in blue slots.
Your Mage bonus adds to any Int gem bonuses, making them worth 5% more Int, that bonus does not add to other stats.
If you find yourself short of the cash needed to buy expensive gems then you should see this post.
|Frosty Gem Priorities|
|Meta||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||Quick Sun’s Radiance: +320 Haste|
|Blue||Rigid River’s Heart: +320 Hit|
|Orange||Reckless Vermilion Onyx: 80 Int, 160 Haste|
|Purple||Veiled Imperial Amethyst: 80 Int and 160 Hit|
|Prismatic||Brilliant Primordial Ruby: 160 Int|
|Cogwheel||Quick Tinker’s Gear: 600 Haste - requires an engie helm, such as this.|
Enchantments for Frost
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.
|Frost Mage Enchantments|
|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 can give 2k Int 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 Haste: +170 Haste
|Rings||Enchant Ring – Greater Intellect: +160 Int, Requires Enchanting 550|
Consumables for Frost PvE/Raiding
Note that Pandarens get twice the food buff. All food buffs last one hour.
- 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 Frost 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, note the Herbalism with it’s 2,880 Haste buff, though you might be better served by using those to build a larger gold stash.
If you’re only looking for the buffs then Blacksmithing might be the best choice since you can slot two gems and the gems with secondary stats have twice the value of those with primary stats, 320 Haste 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.
Your Mage bonus and any other similar perks also adds to any profession Int 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 for a potential 640 Haste or Hit Vs 320 Int bonus.|
|Skinning||provides 480 crit rating|
|Herbalism||Small heal and 2880 Haste for 20 seconds|
In Mists of Pandaria the Tauren are still unable to become mages, but the Pandarens can. Go figure.
As far as racial advantages no race is wildly better than any other, maybe having about a 1% DPS difference, but some 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.
- 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:
- A small HoT, Gift of the Naaru, will help with incomming damage.
- +1% hit is nice since you need 15% total and this is a straight up add, regardless of equipped gear.
- They have a general 1% increased chance to crit, which is a decent stat for you,
- Worgen can “periodically move more quickly,” which definitely has it’s uses. Not quite a Blink, but nice.
- Weapon Expertise adds 1% to your Spell Hit if you equip a dagger or sword in your main hand. All Expertise adds to your Spell Hit.
- Increased mana pool
- Can escape from movement impairing effects, which is occasionally useful in PvE.
- If you equip a sword you will get the 1% Spell Hit bonus from the expertise racial. As with Gnomes all Expertise adds directly to your Spell Hit.
- The escape ability is quite nice for PvP and occasionally of use in PvE.
- Shadowmeld drops aggro in PvE encounters, for those “Oops!” moments.
- Night Elf Mages also gain the benefit of a 2% dodge chance increase, but that should be of very little use to you.
- The stone form ability is rather nice, washing away bleeds and reducing damage taken by 10%, and the latter part of that will find occasional PvE use.
- Dwarven Ranged expertise does not add to Spell Hit unless you equip the appropriate weapon, which you can’t.
- Dwarves are good with Archeology.
Horde Races, in order of DPS gain:
- Trolls possess the Berserking racial, a potent DPS increase for sustained DPS. Put it in a macro with your “on use” damage trinkets.
- Trolls get Ranged weapon expertise, which does not add to your Spell Hit rating, since you cannot equip a ranged weapon.
- Trolls also get +5% damage bonus Vs. beasts. Some of the trash mobs found in PvE content count as beasts, so this will be occasionally useful.
- A somewhat more situational ability is the reduced duration Trolls get from movement reducing effects.
- 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 is not useful to you.
- “Will of the Forsaken” can wipe off sleeps, charms, etc., a nice ability to have every now and then, though more useful 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.
- 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.
- Of all the races the Blood Elves, along with the Night Elves, have no DPS abilities. The Belves 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.
Frost DPS VIdeos
How to Frost. This is a 5.1 video, despite the title, so there are a couple of glitches. Overall, it’s still pretty good stuff.
More “How To” on talents and rotations.
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 quickly 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 and how to do it quickly” 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 at all times. 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, as well as a few other goodies. All in all you’ll blast to 90 faster than ever before.