I am not talking about Arenas here. Frost is still the best there, in my humble opinion. We are talking about PvP anywhere except Arenas. Battlegrounds, World PvP, whatever.
The blunt fact is, Fire is good at battlegrounds. Fire is damn good at battlegrounds.
1) The Theory
Ok, this right here might be the most contraversial part of this post. Let’s take a broad look at this. Mages do damage. Fire is a tree that amplifies the damage dealt. It increases damage, and crit rating, etc. If you look at a raiding mage, a standard spell rotation is to Scorch up a target to max debuffs, then fireball spam away. Most of a fire mages DPS comes from these fireballs. Max out Emp and Imp Fireball, and the damage is riding high.
However, we cannot cast Fireball in PvP. Well, ok, we can, but it is highly NOT recommended to do so (explained below). Therefore, sans fireball by the very nature of PvP, fire mages lose out on a spell that is their greatest source of damage.
Therefore, in a PvP battleground, compared to other classes, on a straight up DPS scenario, fire mages are way behind the average. Warriors, hunters, rogues, et al, do not lose a major source of DPS because of the mobility issue of PvP. They can still use their heaviest hitting attacks, and pump out plenty of damage.
Can fire mages match that? Of course we can, in fact, fire mages usually find themselves at the top, or near the top of the damage chart in battlegrounds. But the fact is, out of the classes involved in PvP, we do not have the same DPS potential as many other classes.
For example. At ~800 damage, Scorch hits for 750. Two of those in the time of a fireball cast is 1500 damage. In the same time span, fireball will hit for about 1700 (2200 if scorch debuffs are present). Fireball does more damage, but effectively roots you to the ground. Which is very bad.
As a fire mage in a battleground, you will not come close to matching the DPS of pretty much any other class in the game. Even kitty druids can school you in this department.
The theory of PvP is not to DPS. DPS is not your job as a mage in PvP.
So what are we there for? If not to DPS, then what?
Quite simply, we are there to purt the hurt on people. “Huh? Isn’t that DPS?” Nope. Not in PvP anyways.
See, in both PvE and PvP, each class/spec has a “job” that they do. Mages are there for Crowd Control and DPS in PvE. In PvP, we are to disrupt the enemy team, and significant Burst Damage.
For burst damage, we have plenty of Ice Lances we can rely on. I mean, plenty of Instant Casts we can rely on. Fireblast, Ice Lance, Blastwave, Arcane Explosion, the list goes on. We have a very hefty arsenal of PvP spells we can use.
Now, the job that I think we mages are the best at doing is shutting down and destroying healers. Can we kill other classes? Sure, but we’re best at removing healers from the picture, either permanently or temporarily. Failing that, we can make their lives miserable.
Think about it. A 10% chance for stun every fire spell? Ability to unload plenty of burst damage? On ten targets at the same time? And able to counterspell the first heal they cast, locking them out for 8 seconds? Even outright silencing them? Perhaps sheeping them and destroying their allies whilst they can do nothing?
It’s a beautiful thing.
2) The Spells
In PvP, the faster you can get stuff done, the better. Due to the nature of PvP being fast as hell, you want to avoid casting anything that’s going to take longer than 2 seconds to get off. What this means… NO FIREBALL. Sorry, mages, you’re going to be skipping that spell in this here PvP.
Spells like Scorch, and any and all instant casts will be used and abused by you. Fireball, Pyroblast (unless you have PoM), skip them. “Why?” you ask. Simple.
One of the hugest things about PvP is mobility. You want to stay mobile, and keep your foes as immobile as possible. As a mage, if you let something get to melee range, you are going to get hurt. Seriously. Like, a lot of hurt. If you are sitting there, for 3 seconds, casting a fireball, you are not mobile. You are stuck there, essentially rooted to the ground. Thus, you become an instant target.
Second, if you’re PvP’ing, you have Impact. No question. Impact is a 10% chance to stun on any fire spells. The more fire spells you cast, the more stuns that occur. If you cast a fireball, that takes 3 seconds. You have a 10% chance to stun in those 3 seconds. You can cast two scorch’s in that time frame, thus giving you two chances to inflict a stun. Thus, 20% chance to stun in those same three seconds.
Blastwave and Dragon’s Breath are essential tools of the trade. Blastwave is just nasty, and DB has the capability to shut down a group of people. And it hits really hard. Harder than Blastwave.
Fire Blast should be used as much as possible. Use it as a finisher, opener, or every time the cooldown is up. Spam it.
Counterspell is extremely deadly. Use this every time you can, especially on healers. 8 seconds is an eternity in PvP, especially for a healer type. It can also be used to blanket paladins/ice mages to prevent those “Immune” abilities.
Abuse Polymorph. Everyone hates it. See a healer? Sheep it. See a rogue? Sheep it. See a druid in caster form? By gum, sheep it! Polymorph forces your opponent to either be useless for 10 seconds, or to use a major cooldown to escape. Thus being vulnerable to something else. Like cyclone. Or fear. Or even frost nova. Teamwork, people.
3) The Spec
Right now, this is an excellent PvP spec. Icy Veins has no home in a deep fire PvP spec.
Improved Counterspell is ESSENTIAL. You MUST have it. A 4 second silence is incredibly cruel, and incredibly deadly to any class that casts spells. From paladins to to druids, it is deadly as hell. Try to remember when you got silenced at some other point. Think of those thouhts. “Oh, hell.” “Shit!” You are useless when you are silenced. Ask a healer. ^_^
What you do with the other 15 points in the arcane tree is up to you. Generally, get clearcast, and the rest put anywhere. Get Imp. Arcane Missiles if you plan on doing the whole “Clearcast/uninterruptiblemissiles” thing.
In the fire tree, you MUST get the following:
- Impact (Stuns? You cannot skip this)
- Imp. Fire Blast (More instants = more damage without sacrificing mobility)
- Burning Soul (spell pushback. Duh)
- Blastwave (Instant AoE? Just say yes)
- Fire Power (10% more damage. Kinda duh)
- Blazing Speed (Incredibly useful mobility tool)
- Dragon’s Breath (Instant? Stuns? Fuck yes!)
The rest are up to you. Generally speaking, crit rating is not nearly as important in PvP, due to the survival mechanics of Resilience. You will suffer an immense loss to your crits, depending on your opponents gear. Talents like Incinerate/Ignite are far less awesome if your target has 300 resilience. Do I recommend you still take them? Yes, I do. They are still good talents, just not as good.
Obviously, you have to take Critical Mass and Combustion, so you can get at Dragon’s Breath.
The scorch debuffs are a tossup. Generally, your target will not be able to stay alive long enough to get th true benefit from them.
However. It’s something that has to be dispelled. If a Paladin tries to dispell Curse of Agony, but hits this instead… heh, thats cool. If you think about it, each scorch will hit harder, and makes dispellers pissed off.
In general, anything that gives a percentile increase to fire damage should be taken. Even Playing with Fire.
PvP as a fire mage is NOT about surviving. It is about killing off the other guy before they can kill you off.
Your play style has to be frantic. You have no time to waste. When you die, leave the enemy survivors in as bad of shape as possible. Blastwave, DB, do something to make your presence felt before you die.
And always REMEMBER:
KILL THE DAMN HEALER.