Freezing Your Way to Dominance
Not just for PvP anymore.
Frost Mages are just fine in Battle for Azeroth (BFA.) You may not top the DPS charts, but you can pull your own weight.
This page focuses on Frost in a raiding (PvE) environment. For Frost PvP (Frost’s real strength) or leveling, see the links just below. 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 the level cap as fast as possible, take a look at our favorite in-game leveling guide.
Other Mage Guides:
Frost Mage DPS Talents
Specs can be changed at any time, as long as you are out of combat. Actually talents requires you to be in a rest area (big city or inn) or to use a tome of the quiet mind. This will also let you adjust your azerite essences. Lasts for one minute.
These pics assume you’re in mythic dungeons and raiding and mostly have single targets. It’s mostly the same for groups, but the level 90 row might change. For a Frost Orb build see the video below.
Tier 1, level 15
- Bone Chilling – Chill your target(s) and get the buff which applies to all of your damage for 8 seconds. 0.5% per stack, up to 10 stacks (5%.)
- Lonely Winter – Lose your Elemental, but gain 25% damage on your Frostbolt, Ice Lance, and Flurry. Less value than Bone Chilling in most areas, but if you want to try running without the water elemental, then worth a shot.
- Ice Nova – 25 seconds CD and damages the target and all within 8 yards of it. Just not quite up to the other two.
Tier 2, level 30
- Glacial Insulation might be useful if a bunch of warriors are beating on you, but that’s about it. Increases Ice Barrier armor by 200%.
- Shimmer – replaces your Blink. You lose the ability to blink our of stuns and roots and such. You gain 2 charges, though with a 20 second CD, and can now blink while casting. Nice mobility improvement and longer range movement than Ice Floes.
- Ice Floes – 3 charges and any spell with a cast time of less than 10 seconds can now be cast while moving. This does have it’s uses, and you’ll keep the stun removal of your blink.
Tier 3, level 45
- Incanter’s Flow puts you in a constant cycle of +4% to +20% damage, cycling every 10 seconds.
- Mirror Image calls up 3 copies of you for 40 seconds, and they blast away at the target.
- Rune of Power gives you +40% damage for 10 seconds, but you have to place the rune and stand within 8 yards of it, limiting your mobility. 2 charges, 40 second recharge. Nice for burst, if you don’t have to move much.
Tier 4, level 60
- Frozen Touch lets your Frostbolt give you Fingers of Frost and Brain Freeze more often. Comparable to EbonBolt, pick whichever fits your own routine.
- Chain Reaction – Your Ice Lances against frozen targets increase the damage of your ice Lances by 3%, stacking to 15%, and lasting 10 seconds.
- Ebonbolt has a 45 second CD and fires an ice bolt at the target, doing solid damage and granting Brain Freeze.
Tier 5, level 75
Tier 6, level 90
- Freezing Rain causes Blizzard’s cast time to be reduced by 100% for 12 seconds after casting Frozen Orb.
- Splitting Ice causes your Ice Lance and Icicles to do +5% damage, and also, along with Ebonbolt and Glacial spike, hit a second nearby target for 80% damage.
- Comet Storm drops 7 comets on the target and immediate area around it.
Tier 7, level 100
- Thermal Void increases the duration of your Icy Veins by 10 seconds. Also, your Ice Lances against frozen targets increase your Icy Veins by 1 seconds each. This is about the weakest of the three.
- Ray of Frost – should be used apart from Frozen Orb. Channel a freeze ray for 5 seconds doing damage that increases each second and also slows the opponent by 60%.
- Glacial Spike spikes the enemy. Hits hard and adds in the damage stored in your icicles. Also freezes the target for 4 seconds. Requires 5 icicles to cast and your Ice Lance no longer launches icicles. This is the best talent in the group for most situations.
Stat Priorities for Frost Mages
Your stat priorities will vary with your gear, your azerite traits, and your talents and play style. A very general priority will look like this:
- Priority: Intellect > Crit > Versatility > Haste > Mastery
Crit: Your Shatter ability makes this a very valuable stat, up to about 33.33%, then it falls off in value.
Haste: Get as much as you can. Then get more. Faster casts mean more procs over time. Your Water Elemental also uses your Haste and so will also cast faster, for more damage over time.
Versatility increases damage and reduces damage taken, it just doesn’t increase it as much as the others.
Mastery: Frostbolt and Flurry generate icicles and your Glacial Spike uses them. It’s value increases as the number of targets increase.
Tertiary stats sometimes appear on gear that drops (not on gear you buy.) These stats cannot be enhanced or stacked, other than by being lucky enough to find additional items with the same stats. They are: Avoidance, Leech, Speed, and Indestructible.
Frost Mage DPS Rotations
As mentioned above, all this is based around level 100 raiding, though at least parts can be used for lower level encounters. If you’re not there yet then check out this Zygor review.
Note: your pet’s power should all be on keybinds. You want it shooting them off on your demand, not automatically. At times you will want the freeze, at other times you will want the waterjet. Waterjet and Frozen Orb should not be used at the same time as they will step on each other’s procs.
- Arcane Brilliance for more spellpower and crit. Keep this up at all times.
- Icy Veins on cooldown, or save for “burst” phases.
- Time Warp (Coordinate with those who have similar effects.)
- “On Use” trinkets.
- Use your level 45 talents appropriately (Mirror Image, etc.)
Before the Fight
- Arcane Brilliance should be active at all times (and your Frost Armor is now passive.) This is a big increase to your Crit and Spell Power.
- Always have your Int flask up.
- Have your Int potions ready to go.
Exactly what you do in the opening and the follow-up depends on the talents that you take. Using Ice Nova, instead of Frost Bomb, is a less frustrating rotation.
- Use your Int potion right before entering combat, then use it again during a burst phase.
- Are there adds present? Use your Elemental’s Freeze.
- If you have Frost Bomb then use it (yes, before Icy Veins) IF you know you will be getting the F of F procs.
- Icy Veins
- If you have Mirror Images then use them.
- Frozen Orb.
- Start your regular rotation.
Ok, Here we go:
- Frozen Orb should be used when available. It will give you an immediate Fingers of Frost charge when it makes contact.
- 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. Frostfire Bolt with Brain Freeze up will let it benefit from Shatter. Takes priority over Ice Lance if the target is about to die, as it does hit harder.
- 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 (Multistrike) 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.
How to Frost. A basic DPS guide.
Covers talents, stats, azerite, corruption, and more.
Frost Mage 8.3 frozen orb build
- Talents at 1:00, Azerite at 1:24, spell priorities and rotation for single target at 3:22,
- A of E at 6:15, Corruption and other tips at 7:30
Gems and Enchants for the Frost Mage
Gems and enchants are much easier than they used to be. In BFA gem sockets are uncommon and all sockets are “prismatic,” which means that they will take any available gem. Note that your Mage bonus adds to any Int bonuses, making them worth 5% more Int. That bonus does not add to other stats.
Regardless of how many gem sockets you have managed to acquire, you are allowed only one nice Int gem. Make it: Eye of Intellect for +120 Int.
And then, what are you fighting?
Enchants are fairly easy. These days only weapons and rings. (Used to be nearly ever item of gear.)
- Torrent: occasionally +10% to Fire Damage. Or…
- Machinist: Occasionally boost int by 264 and our highest stat,among Crit, Haste, and Mastery, by 170 for 15 seconds.
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 Zygor Gold Guide can do about about fixing your poverty. If you find yourself short of the cash needed to buy expensive gems then you should see this post (old, but still good.)
Gearing up your Frost Mage
Not yet at the level cap? See our leveling guide.
Dungeons to mythics to raids
Azerite gear, essences, and corruptions
Consumables for Frost PvE/Raiding
Note that Pandarens get twice the food buff.
Elixirs: In Warlords there are no elixirs that give stats.
Potions: If you pop one immediately before combat you will be able to pop another during combat.
Runes and Crystals
- Focus Augment Rune: +50 Int for one hour. Occasionally drops from WoD bosses (in Raid Finder mode) and is also rarely found as mission rewards from your Garrison. Stacks with flasks and other buffs.
- Oralius’ Whispering Crystal: +100 to Int and Stam. It does stack with the runes and does not stack with your flasks. This is a reward from one of your Garrison’s Inn quests: Oralius’ Adventure.
- Crystal of Insanity: +57 to all stats. Stacks with Runes, but not flasks. Drops (10% chance) from Sulik’shor, in the Valley of the Four Winds, in Pandaria.
- Runescroll of Fortitude III: 8% increased Stamina to your entire group. Get it from the Auction House or someone with Inscription.
Professions for Frost Mages
In Warlords all of the profession perks (added stats) are dead. Professions are just for gear now (and a few misc items,) or the gold.
Tailoring will get you some starting raid gear, Inscription some caster items (staves, off-hand items,) and Engineering has some cool gadgets. You can equip three crafted items, weapons are 630 and armor is 640. Crafted items can have their stats rerolled and these items can be upgraded by 75 points (very expensive.)
Your level 2+ garrison profession building can be assigned a follower, which will both increase the output of your work orders and provide you with some bonus perk.
|Professions for Frostie Types|
|Blacksmithing||Mail and Plate armor for a mage? Maybe not…|
|Engineering||will let you create a number of useful items, such as rockets, shields, a stealth device, etc.|
|Jewelcrafting||Useful (ilevel 640) rings and neck items, pretty gems, gemmed mounts, some fun toys.|
|Inscription||Glyphs, some trinkets, staves and caster weapons, fortune & Darkmoon cards, trinkets, and more.|
|Alchemy||Chemistry is fun, unfortunately you can’t make acids or bombs. You can make flasks and potions to boost stats and cause other interesting effects. You can also make a very nice DPS trinket.|
|Enchanting||Enchant all those items and you can cast illusionary enchants. These are basically transmogs for your current enchant. Want your current enchant to look like an older one? Then this is for you. To do this you’ll need a level 2 Enchanter’s hut in your garrison and a follower working it.|
|Tailoring||Cloth armor, flying carpet, murlock chew toy and allows you to make nets (Embersilk Net) and battle standards (such as: Fearsome Battle Standard)|
|Leatherworking||will let you make leather and mail armor. You can also make Drums of Fury for a Heroism type buff (25% Haste for 40 sec.)|
|Archeology||will let you pick up interesting items and lore.|
|Mining, Herbalism, and Skinning are fine for fueling the appropriate profession and for working on your gold supply.|
Frost Mage Races
In BFA the Tauren and Highmountain 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.
Since you are already max level you will have your race. If you are leveling an alt then check our mage leveling page, which covers all the races.
And you can also check out Zygor, just below.
The Fast Mage Leveling Guide
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 100 faster than ever before.
Freshly boosted to 90? No sweat, Xygor has your back for those last ten levels.