Actual WoW Frost Mage DPS Guide — Join MDI After It!
Published on: 4 August, 2023 | Last Updated on: 18 November, 2023
The Frost Mage class holds a distinguished position as a beloved choice within the realm of Blizzard Entertainment. The rationale behind this favoritism is notably intriguing. Spanning the patches since the advent of the Burning Crusade expansion, a consistent pattern has emerged wherein Frost Mages singularly bear the brunt of nerfs. With each subsequent patch, Blizzard diligently endeavors to curtail their formidable damage output and wide-ranging utility. Despite these concerted efforts, the endeavor appears futile, as Frost Mages perpetually remain a formidable force in terms of inflicting damage.
For those who seek to reenter the game’s fold or aspire to ascend the ranks among preeminent spellcasters devoid of instant cast spells, the path to Frost Mage gameplay prowess beckons. From this frost mage guide, you shall acquire a comprehensive understanding of:
- How to Efficiently Utilize spamming one of the top frost mage abilities just with a one button while Maintaining Top Damage Dealer Position in Key Runs.
- The Significance of Adhering to Stringent Secondary Stat Prioritization to Ensure Optimal Damage Output.
- Navigating Life with Twin Bloodlust Effects and Experiencing Haste Surpassing 120%.
- The Equivalence of 33 Critical Strike Rating for Frost Mages to 100% Critical Strike for Other Classes.
- The Reasons Behind the Ineffectiveness of Rune of Power, Culminating in Its Removal from the Game by Blizzard.
- Strategies for Generating Damage Exclusively without Employing Any Ice Spells.
- Analyzing the Decreased Relevance of the Water Elemental Companion in the Past Two Expansions.
And naturally, you will discover the revival of icicles! Finally! Bless Blizzard and Bobby Kotick. The classic Frost mages have returned! And what does this signify? It indicates that the time to deal damage in abundance has arrived!
Note: Frost mages have perennially been among the most vocal and self-deprecating classes. The initial observation made by our editorial team upon visiting the official Frost Mage Discord was, “Why do we have such low DPS?” This sentiment arises from a class that has been one of the foremost damage dealers over the past two expansions. While not attaining the S-tier status, it firmly resides within the A-tier realm, at the very least!
Frost mage class overview
Alright, you’ll be the best damage dealer in your group, but first things first! What the hell is that Frost mage? It’s a very specific class that suffers for the first 70 levels. Then it continues to suffer while it collects the minimal required talent setup and stat priorities. And then…
Then Frost mages start to dominate. With proper stat priorities and talent builds, you will deal damage, have many utilities, possess a personal tank for the open world, and excel in damage for raids. You will be very useful in Mythic+ keys.
But first, you need to collect 30% haste. Why? Because Frost mage is the only class (except shadow priest) with casts that are very… very slow… Do not trust us, check the Raider.io statistics of the frost mages!
Does it mean that you won’t do damage? Of course not. Secondary stat priorities and other secondary stats are still important. But it does mean that your gameplay will be very uncomfortable.
And it doesn’t matter whether you go for high keys, mythic raids, or just explore the world – without haste, there’s no comfortable frost mage gameplay. Remember this once and forever.
Alright, you might be interested in the pros and cons. Let’s briefly describe each…
- High burst damage.
- Controlled bursts: Your DPS may not be consistent, but it remains higher than that of other mage specs.
- Minor group defensive cooldowns, similar to a group version of Ice Barrier.
- Time Warp: 2x Bloodlust, which is not dependent on the global cooldown.
- Abundance of utility spells.
- Excellent AoE damage.
- Simple rotation logic.
- Blink and superior invisibility for evading unexpected battles.
- Easy to learn, difficult to master.
- Does not require high mobility, as it’s a ranged damage dealer with the ability to hinder enemy movement through numerous skills.
- Low mobility: Frost mage gameplay can be challenging in encounters requiring frequent movement.
- Personal tanking impacts your DPS.
- Defensive cooldowns often prove inadequate in keys and raids. Additional healing support is necessary to survive intense moments.
- Mistiming your burst cooldowns can significantly undermine your burst damage potential.
- Wearing cloth armor renders you vulnerable to melee damage.
Are the great times back? Old-new Icicle mechanics
The primary distinction between the Dragonflight Frost Mage and the Shadowlands Frost Mage lies in the absence of the rune of power in the list of Frost Mage abilities, and this is a welcome change. The older rune of power mechanics were centered around activating Icy Veins, which in turn triggered the rune, granting a triple damage boost and a 2x buff that could be controlled. However, the rune’s limitations confined you in high movement encounters to its designated area.
Now, with Icy Veins no longer activating runes, the latter has become obsolete. This rendered Frost Mage viability obsolete in the eyes of Blizzard. But that’s not the most important aspect. The truly exciting news is that icicles from previous expansions, including BFA and Pandaria, have made a return.
No, Blizzard did not eliminate icicles. Each Ice Lance and every cast of Frozen Orb still provide free icicles. Nevertheless, icicles do not inflict enough damage in Shadowlands. This caused difficulties for Frost Mages in previous expansions, as they had to reinvent how to damage single targets and dealing AoE damage. Why use Ice Lance and Frozen Orb if they seemed useless?
Blizzard did buff Frozen Orb, naturally, and the rune of power now works in tandem with Icy Veins to speed up cast times. However, the fundamental dynamics remain unchanged. Prior to Dragonflight, Frost Mage gameplay for multiple targets was quite cumbersome, regardless of how much practice one had with single targets or how much spell power was amassed. This often resulted in underwhelming performance in real Mythic+ keys or raids. But that was the scenario before Dragonflight. What opportunities does Dragonflight present for Frost Mages?
Note: Of course, we know that real frost mage rotation is much more complex, as it requires your brain, controlling Icy Veins, controlling your cooldowns, casting spells, using brain freeze, using blizzard, and those crapping melee range frost mage abilities. But your rotation becomes logical again, and you shouldn’t micro-control your skills, or use arcane mage abilities to do enough AoE damage in the melee range. And it’s not an innovation, it’s just a renovation of old logic for the frost mage viability.
Frost mages in Tier list
Here’s a mixed situation. On one hand, Frost mages are occasionally in the S-tier, but at other times, they plummet to the F-tier. So, let’s compile a comprehensive tier list encompassing all types of content and indicate where the Frost mage stands in each category.
Alright, let’s put an end to the suffering. The time has arrived. The Frost mage has ascended to the coveted S-tier for the 2nd season of the Dragonflight. Keep in mind that everything is subject to change, and much of the outcome depends on your skills, not just the class you choose to play.
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- Fire Mage (S-Tier): BBQs dungeons, crispy enemies.
- Frost Mage (S-Tier): Ice skates through chaos with a brain freeze and low single target damage.
- Shadow Priest (S-Tier): Hauntingly powerful from shadows with their crowd control abilities.
- Augmentation Evoker (S-Tier): Blending magic and tech for kaboom.
- Subtlety Rogue (A-Tier): Stealthy surprise party planner.
- Balance Druid (A-Tier): Cosmic spells light up dungeons exactly for a single target.
- Destruction Warlock (A-Tier): Fiery chaos dealing damage, demonic laughs.
- Devastation Evoker (A-Tier): Reality-bending mage on rampage.
- Enhancement Shaman (A-Tier): Elementally charged battleground maestro.
- Retribution Paladin (A-Tier): Divine justice, armor included.
- Affliction Warlock (A-Tier): Slow, curse-infested doom.
- Arcane Mage (A-Tier): Math meets magic, explosive results.
- Havoc Demon Hunter (B-Tier): Flip and slice through disorder.
- Fury Warrior (B-Tier): Whirlwind of blade fury deals damage.
- Arms Warrior (B-Tier): Heavy hits, powerful swings.
- Elemental Shaman (B-Tier): Thunderous spellcaster.
- Beast Mastery Hunter (B-Tier): Wild petting zoo raid.
- Demonology Warlock (B-Tier): Impish chaos creators.
- Windwalker Monk (B-Tier): Martial arts dance of death.
- Marksmanship Hunter (B-Tier): Bullseye precision, ranged mayhem.
- Frost Death Knight (B-Tier): Frozen wrath, chilling presence.
- Survival Hunter (B-Tier): Primal adaptability, wildlife warfare.
- Feral Druid (B-Tier): Pouncing jungle dominator.
- Outlaw Rogue (B-Tier): Swashbuckling chaos architect.
- Unholy Death Knight (C-Tier): Plague bearer of doom.
- Assassination Rogue (C-Tier): Stealthy master of poisons with many defensive abilities.
- Aug Evoker (S): Tech-magic powerhouse.
- Demo Lock (S): Demon-summoning chaos.
- Destro Lock (S): Fiery destruction reigns.
- Arcane Mage (S): Pure arcane might.
- Dev Evoker (S): Reality-warping force.
- Unholy DK (A): Undead havoc unleashed.
- Shadow Priest (A): Shadowy void power.
- Enhance Sham (A): Elemental melee strikes.
- Fire Mage (A): Blazing inferno spells.
- Arms Warrior (A): Mighty weapon mastery.
- Ret Pally (B): Holy melee combat.
- MM Hunter (B): Precise ranged strikes.
- Frost DK (B): Chilling death prowess.
- Fury Warrior (B): Frenzied berserker attacks.
- Balance Druid (B): Nature-moon balance.
- Havoc DH (B): Chaos-wielding demon hunter.
- BM Hunter (B): Beastly companions aid.
- Frost Mage (B): Icy magic control. As you can observe, this class lacks sufficient single-target damage, regardless of the number of Brain Freeze procs you obtain. Therefore, you have the option to spec into an Arcane mage without altering your stat priorities in order to enhance your frost mage’s capabilities. Alternatively, you can choose to endure the challenges posed by the water elemental, or with a lonely winter. It doesn’t matter.
- Affliction Lock (B): Endless curses afflict.
- Elemental Shaman (B): Elemental spellcasting.
- Sub Rogue (B): Stealthy precision strikes.
- WW Monk (B): Martial arts mastery.
- Assassin Rogue (B): Lethal stealth attacks.
- Outlaw Rogue (C): Chaotic pirate strikes.
- Feral Druid (C): Wildcat melee combat.
- Surv Hunt (C): Survival tactics employed.
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Alright, it’s no secret that the frost mage doesn’t reign supreme in PvP. It finds itself at the lower end of the PvP choices list for the World of Warcraft Dragonflight, trailing behind more formidable forces.
The best Race for Frost Mages in the World of Warcraft: 10 — Dragonflight
The best race for the frost mage is not a blood elf.
- The best, was, is, and will be for the horde is troll. Because the speed buff allows you to variate a gear, while you’re not in the meta.
- And for alliance, is still not a blood elf, but a Voidelf.
- But the troll, still better because of speed buff. So if you are playing frost mage, do not play alliance frost mage.
O, let’s be partly serious. In the World of Warcraft, all the race bonuses are not valuable, so you can choose any race you want. The 1% of speed, or 1% of spell power will not create enough damage to finish a mythic raid, or 25+ mythic key. So do not worry about it.
How to play Frost mage spells — Basement of gameplay
Ok, before we move to the detail of your rotation, and ways to increase your damage output. You have to know two things:
- The power of Frost mage is not a critical strike. It’s your way to control your burst. So sometimes, you should keep your offensive cooldowns, and put them on the pack with multiple enemies.
- All the logic of your main rotation (doesn’t matter one target, two targets, or multiple enemies) is that you collect icicles. And then push the glacial spike to spend all your icicles. In some builds, icicles are spent by ice lance. In some builds automatically. But mainly the same. You collect icicles, you spend icicles.
First you should keep in mind that in the current add-on you’re not playing with a water elemental. You always play with a “Lonely winter” talent. As you play with control bursts, an extra 10% of passive damage for your exceptional ability will be much more useful than a passive overall from your water elemental.
- Icy Veins on cooldown.
- Cone of Cold if the last cast was Comet Storm.
- Frozen Orb to create some frozen targets.
- Blizzard deals damage and slows enemies.
- Comet Storm to damage brain freeze mobs.
- Cone of Cold if you have 30 stacks of Snowstorm under Shatter.
- Shifting Power.
- Glacial Spike when you have enough icicles, with a triple damage for frozen targets.
- Flurry if the target has no Shatter.
- Ice Lance if you have a Fingers of Frost proc which allows you to use icelance as instant cast procs, or the target is under Shatter. Also remember that ice lance will be damage second nearby target
- Arcane Explosion on 7+ targets if you have over 30% mana.
- Repeat Frostbolt to reactivate flurry.
If you do all right, and manage your crucial skill, you’re lucky, and your Icy Veins are now ready to reactivate. And it mean, what you can repeat all your rotation from the step #1.
Extra information about frost mage rotation in the current addon
How does haste affect Frozen Orb and Blizzard? Blizzard always smacks the target 9 times (as long as it stays in the area), and haste makes the time it takes to channel Blizzard shorter, plus it comes back faster after being used. But the number of hits stays the same. Frozen Orb lasts for 15 seconds from when you cast it (if it doesn’t bump into a target). Haste doesn’t mess with it, so it consistently deals damage 20 times in chunks of 1 hit every 0.5 seconds before it disappears.
When you pick the Cold Snap talent, Cone of Cold has a fixed cooldown of 45 seconds that you can’t make shorter. Same deal goes for other abilities that lower cooldowns, like Shifting Power and the Temporal Flux talent.
And what about defensive spells? It’s been enough to use an ice block in the most critical situation, because it’s an incredible defensive utility. In all others use blink, time manipulation, and ice barrier. That’s sad, all those perfect defensive spells are all that you have in the World of Warcraft.
Frost mage Leveling guide for WoW
To be honest, there’s nothing particularly unique in the gameplay when you’re playing as a frost mage. All you really need to know is that critical strike increases the damage of your water elemental, and he is key to leveling in the open world.
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Additionally, you should bear in mind that due to Blizzard and its ability to damage multiple targets, this class is very comfortable to play for the first 60 levels. As you progress beyond level 60, you will likely spend most of your time in the dungeon finder, as you need to gear up your frost mage before venturing into keys, raids, PvP, and other endgame content.
Frost mage priority stats for actual season
Okay, what about stat priority for single target, multiple targets, and fragile targets? Anything new? No, nothing.
As always, you should aim to collect:
- Close to 30% critical strike to decrease the cooldown of Icy Veins, as almost all skills will reduce the cooldown duration.
- Close to 30% haste, which is simpler now due to the new class tree. You have numerous talent options, including critical strike talents. You need this haste to minimize your Ice Bolt cast time and, of course, for faster Blizzard damage.
- Maximize your mastery as much as possible, as it enhances the damage of your icicles.
- Maintain 0% versatility, as it is ineffective for the frost mage. Mastery and icicles will provide more substantial damage.
Discussion about frost mage critical strike, and mastery in the Dragonflight.
There’s a discussion about what is more important: mastery for icicles or critical strike for Icy Veins. In our honest opinion, critical strike is more important. The reasoning is simple: critical strike decreases the time between Veins activations, and Veins increase your speed. This increased speed allows you to cast more spells, resulting in more icicles collected. Ultimately, the more icicles you have, the greater your overall damage. Therefore, we hope this explanation is sufficient for you to understand why critical strike is the most crucial secondary stat for a frost mage, regardless of whether you are focusing on spread target damage or multiple targets. It remains consistent across both scenarios.
Frost mage talent builds
Ok, as we’re noticed before all the logic of the frost mage damage dealing. On how you increase uptime of Icy Veins, and on other exceptional points. We’re thinking about what we just put in your talent trees, and you will examine yourself, in how they’re working. And more… We hope that you’ll understand correctly what mythic+ tree is for 5 targets. And the class tree for raids is more for controlled bursts.
Frost mages guide talent tree for raids
No commentaries. All for the ST target. No frozen orb at all. A bit ineffective if you’d look at this build from the safety point. So to use it, you should learn all the boss high movement encounters at first.
Frost mages guide talent tree for mythic+
The Current S-Tier for the frost mage in the Mythic + keys. Blizzard updates their Warcraft very often. So we recommend checking the top of raider.io Frostmages, to compare this build to theirs.
For the PvP
As frost Mage is the F-tier for the PvP, any advice will be useless.
Frost mage Enchants and Consumables
|Sophic Devotion or Spore Tender
|Devotion of Critical Strike
|Devotion of Leech
|Shadowed belt Clasp
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Enchants for Frost mages in Dragonflight
All is pretty standard, like for many other classes. So do not worry, just buy the first item you see at the auction house!
Food & runes for Frost mages in Dragonflight 10.1
In the realm of sustenance, it is advisable to contemplate the utilization of the subsequent items:
- Great Kalu’ak Feas: A ceremonial repast tailored for numerous participants, augmenting one’s Intellectual acumen.
- Fortune Cookie: Individual substitutes for the aforementioned banquet, proffering akin advantages.
Regarding augmentations for weaponry, the utilization of oils has been supplanted; runes now constitute the preferred course of action. Nevertheless, it is prudent to acknowledge that these runes do not harmonize with the Earthen Vitality aptitude.
- Buzzing Rune: Augments the attribute of Critical Strike chance.
- Howling Rune: Augments the attribute of Haste.
Now, you find yourself suitably equipped to amplify your capabilities and surmount the forthcoming trials. Revel in the enhancements bestowed upon you, and continue your valiant endeavors!
Primordial Stones for Frost mage in Dragonflight 10.1
Primordial Stone Gems lack pertinence within the realm of Frost Mages, both presently and prospectively in 10.1. Focused consideration on these gems is unnecessary in the current juncture.
Frost mage Gearing
It is of paramount importance to prioritize the attainment of 30 points in speed and 30 points in critical strike chance for Frost Mages, particularly if active participation in high-level raids or key endeavors is not pursued. The unique class attributes of the Frost Mage dictate a stringent hierarchy of priorities in this regard.
- Underlight Conjurer’s Arcano Cowl;
- Choker of Stolen Thunder;
- Vibrant Wilder Cloth Shoulder Spikes;
- Undulating Spore Cloak;
- Underlight Conjurer’s Vestment;
- Vibrant Wilder Cloth Wrist Wraps;
- Underlight Conjurer’s Gloves;
- Vibrant Wilder Cloth Girdle;
- Underlight Conjurer’s Trousers;
- Underlight Conjurer’s Treads;
- Signet of Titanic Insight;
- Scalebane Signet;
- Spoils of Neltharion;
- Vessel of Searing Shadow;
- Primal Molten Spellblade;
- Crackling Codex of the Isles.
Presented here is an authentic tier ranking of mages, as delineated by the preeminent figure atop the Raider.io leaderboard. A discerning analysis reveals a pronounced inclination towards prioritizing Critical Strike, Mastery, and Speed while according minimal consideration to Versatility, which registers at an approximate threshold of 0%.
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We have previously expounded upon the rationale behind the heightened significance of Critical Strike and Mastery for Frost Mage spells, establishing their primacy over other parameters. Should you have cultivated an enduring engagement with this class spanning multiple expansions, you are likely well-acquainted with the salient attributes that warrant emphasis.
Logic of collecting gear in the World of Warcraft
An incremental shift has been occasioned by the inclusion of the backed Icicles, augmenting the worth of Mastery. Notwithstanding, should your pursuits remain confined to more modest challenges, you are at liberty to amass a repertoire of attributes to your preference. However, should aspirations gravitate towards asserting mastery in the realm of Mythic Dungeon International, a facetious musing suggests a foray into the domain of fire mage. A mnemonic adage underscores the principle: 30/30/40.
Ok, also there’s one question. Should the pve frost mage prefer one handed swords to other staff? Here’s a simple ordinary answer. Use that gear, which is better simmed. There’s not a big difference between one handed swords and other gear setups to your frost mage.
The best Frost mages addons, tips, and hints
For enthusiasts of World of Warcraft, addons significantly enhance gameplay. Our specialized WoW Best Addons Dragonflight guide offers an in-depth analysis of the most effective addons available for WoW: Dragonflight retail. This guide facilitates a detailed comparison of these addons, providing insights into their specific utilities for the current expansion.
Here’s nothing new:
- Details or its analog to count incoming damage, and learn where you fail the run.
- Dbm to coordinate burst with your incoming damage spells.
- QE to simulate gear with your stat weights.
- Mythic dungeon tools for reading routes.
And of course, auctionator to play in the auction house. For what? To catch all matts, flasks, gems, stones and other things which you will use during your run.
To be serious, we can recommend some WeakAuras, but it’s only if you want to play higher keys of the season. And we thought, what do you know, how to increase your damage output with a thermal void and ice nova ,if you want to conquer keys higher than 20. Als we think, we do not need this frost mage guide, if you’re playing higher than 20 keys.
Actual macroses for the frost mage in the keys, raids, and other content
Trinket and Racial Ability Combo.
/cast Cold Blood
Blizzard at Cursor.
/cast [@cursor] Blizzard
Freeze (Pet Ability):
/cast [@cursor] Freeze
Spellsteal and Decurse on One Button. When hovering over an ally: Decurse, otherwise: Spellsteal.
/cast [@mouseover,help,nodead] Decurse; Spellsteal
Counterspell with the following priority: Mouseover -> Focus -> Target.
/cast [@mouseover,harm] Counterspell; [@focus,harm] Counterspell; [harm] Counterspell
Temporal Manipulation – Cancel Buff after Ability Use (no cancellation upon buff expiration will return us to the initial point).
/cancelaura Temporal Manipulation
Alright, if you’re an experienced Frost Mage player, you already know the crucial thing: nothing has changed. As always, Blizzard has merely adjusted percentages for some crits, certain points, and damages, and now you’re in the S-tier. Then they might start to think that being in the S-tier is too much for Frost Mages, and they decrease some critical strike chances that will disrupt your rotation, forcing you to use the Water Elemental, and you will find yourself back in the F-tier.
So, what can we recommend? Firstly, learn how this class works. We expect that you will experiment with different talent trees. This will help you improvise when Blizzard inevitably nerfs Frost Mages again.
But before they do that, you have a window of opportunity where you can deal damage like nothing else can!
Ensure your mage shines with style by following our Best Mage Transmog Sets Guide