Most Common Spec
10/0/49 – Clearcast deep frost
Gains 200% damage from critical hits.
Spell Hit Cap: 164 (126 for Frostbolt)
So. Raiding as frost. Can it be done?
Yes, yes it can. And well, I might add.
All three main mage specs for raiding (here we’re discussing raid arcane, raid fire, and raid frost), play differently.
Arcane, essentially, specs the mage into a balls-to-the-wall Burst DPS spec, mana be damned. Going full bore Arcane Blast with cooldowns blown will put the mage OOM in a matter of seconds, but his DPS will be insane. Utterly insane. Until his mana bar goes limp.
Think of it like the spec designed to kill the trash in raids as fast as possible.
Picture it like a Drag Racer, designed to reach speeds of excess of 240 mph, but can only maintain this for a half mile.
Fire is the opposite. It specs the mage as far away from burst DPS as possible from mage, and essentially specializes the mage for boss fights. Thats why it’s so popular, “the” raid spec if you will. Any fight thats under 10 seconds is a waste of a fire mages time. This spec is designed for the long haul.
Think of it like the spec designed to fight the boss mobs in raids efficiently.
Picture it like a massive trucking… truck… designed to reach speeds of no more than 80, 90 mph, but can maintain it for almost a thousand miles.
Frost is the middle ground here. It does not have the same amount of burst damage arcane is capable of, and it does not have the long haul power that fire does. It has better burst damage than fire, and has far greater longevity than arcane.
Think of it like the spec that tries to find a comfortable middle ground between boss fights and trash killing.
Think of it like a wee little Toyota sports car that can go 140 mph, and keep it up for a couple hundred miles.
So, in the effort of providing the information that will help you decide what car is best for you, I present: Raiding Frost.
Firstly, your spell rotation will look something like: Frostbolt, Frostbolt, Frostbolt, Frostbolt, Frostbolt, Frostbolt, Frostbolt, Frostbolt, Frostbolt, Frostbolt, Frostbolt, Frostbolt, Frostbolt, Frostbolt, Frostbolt, Frostbolt, Frostbolt, Frostbolt, Frostbolt, Frostbolt, Frostbolt…. you get the idea.
Frostbolt is your spell. Use it, love it, bind it to every key on your number pad and mash your fist against it.
There is an interesting thing to note about frostbolt. It is, mathematically speaking, one of the oddest spells a mage has. It has two unique quirks that no other spell has. First, it receives what the mage community has dubbed a “ghost hit” from elemental precision. Namely, frostbolt receives a total of 6% spell hit from the talent rather than the 3% everything else gets. This is most likely due to the second quirk.
Most spells can do one of three things when they are casted at a mob. They can “miss” (which will show up on screen as “resist), be resisted in the technical sense (do partial damage), or hit, doing full damage.
Frostbolt is, mathematically, a binary spell. This means it can only do one of two things. It can either hit, or it can miss.
Non-binary spells can kind of hit, landing what is caused a “partial resist”, whereby some of the damage is shrugged off the mob you casted at.
Like, if fireball is partially resisted, instead of doing the 2200 damage its supposed to do, it will do a measly 1100 damage. You get the picture?
Frostbolt CANNOT do that. It can only hit and miss, and cannot be partially resisted. Which means that when you cast frostbolt, it is unaffected by level based magic resistances.
(Level based magic resistance is thus: when mobs have a higher level than you, they have an innate spell resist to anything you cast. Mathematically, a level 73 mob (like a boss mob) will have a resist value of 24. This works out to about a 6% resist rate. This level based spell resist cannot be overcome by any means. GG, spell penetration.)
While both arcane and fire magic will see ~6% of their spells be resisted or partially resisted because of this level based magical resistance, frostbolts will never see that. They will always, mathematically speaking, hit 99% of the time.
Frostbolt, oddly enough, does NOT proc Judgment of Wisdom currently, that handy Paladin buff that some paladins toss on mobs so the casters can snag some more mana. Bear in mind that this is being fixed in patch 2.4.
Secondly, USE YOUR COOLDOWNS!! I CANNOT STRESS THIS ENOUGH!!
Get a giant USB “Big Red Button”, bind “Summon Water Elemental” to it, and every time that cooldown is up, YOU PUSH DA BIG RED BUTTON.
Get some spell damage trinkets, and spam the HELL out of those things. When Icy Veins gets released, HIT THAT MUTHER TRUCKER EVERY FRIGGIN CHANCE YOU GET.
The power of Frostbolt, Frostbolt, Frostbolt, Frostbolt, Frostbolt, Frostbolt is rather limited.
A lot of the true power of Frost’s raid DPS is getting the absolute most out of your cooldowns.
The Water Elemental is a significant source of DPS, about 350 DPS when you, the frost mage, have around 750 spell damage.
If you don’t take advantage of it, you are a magnificent moron. USE IT. LOVE IT. Trash pull going down and you need to spam sheep? Summon Elemental, send it after one of the other targets, sheep your mob. You get some nice DPS.
Standard trash pull, expected to go for a minute and a half? Summon your Elemental, sick it on something. When it expires, Cold Snap and get it right back out again.
350 DPS is a lot to lose out on, simply because you’re too lazy to push a button.
Quite bluntly, a water elemental will account for a good 10-15% of your total DPS when you actually use it. Did you do 200k damage in a boss fight? That coulda been 220k if you had used the water elemental.
Timing the water elemental will be the hardest skill to raiding frost. It has low health, and no ways to protect itself. Therefore, literally any AoE effect will pretty much kill it outright.
Similar to fire, frost also has its own debuff. Whereas the Scorch debuff increases all fire damage by 15%, the frost one increases the critical strike chance of frost spells by 10%.
Just like the fire version of the debuff, you want to have it up as much as possible (yes, the water elemental gains the 10% improved crit as well).
However, you don’t need to cast something besides your standard nuke for this debuff. Keep right on frostbolting away, it will build on its own.
However, due to the lower duration of this debuff (15 seconds) it will be harder to keep it up and running at all times during movement fights.
Keep in mind that Ice Lance does refresh the debuff, so use that whenever movement is required. Never, ever use an Ice Lance when a Frostbolt could be used instead. The damage difference is so huge, that spending a GCD on an Ice Lance when you could be casting a Frostbolt is a serious waste of time.
Only use it when movement is required, and you simply do not have the time for a frostbolt.
The following talents are required if you are raiding as a frost mage.
- Improved Frostbolt
- Elemental Precision
- Ice Shards
- Piercing Ice
- Icy Veins
- Frost Channeling
- Arctic Reach
- Cold Snap
- Winter’s Chill
- Ice Floes
- Arctic Winds
- Empowered Frostbolt
- Summon Water Elemental
These should all be obvious. Improving critical strikes, and percentile damage increases, as well as abusing and spamming your cooldowns as much as possible. Frost Channeling is a “durr” talent. Threat reduction and mana cost reduction in one talent is an obvious choice. Also, I strongly feel that Arctic Reach is a needed talent for raiding. Frostbolt has a 30 yard range, and any bosses that have AoE talents have… guess what range… thats right. 30 yards. These AoE abilities (like Prince’s Shadow Nova) are supposed to be something for the melee classes to worry about, not the ranged classes. Of course, if you are standing at the 30 yard mark, you are going to get nailed by these. Get Arctic Reach, and back up. You won’t regret it.
You don’t need to spend the points into Arcane to get Clearcasting, but be honest. Where else are you going to spend them? Frozen Core? Seriously? No, no you’re not. For raiding, the frost tree doesn’t need those points. There is nowhere useful to put them. Meanwhile, you can spend 10 points in the Arcane tree for a 10% increase to your mana pool. Oh, yeah, and Arcane Subtlety is incredibly useful for AoE’ing with Arcane Explosion.
Where you spend the rest of your points is pretty much up to you. Talents like Imp. Frost Nova, and Shatter, are almost totally useless in a raiding environment. Nothing can be rooted, therefore you will never see the benefit of Shatter. I definitely endorse getting them anyways, as you can still happily do Heroic Instances and Karazhan with them, and still have the full benefit of those talents.
Ice Barrier also really isn’t necessary, but it is definitely nice to have. There is a lot of cases in high level raiding where the entire raid is going to be taking some very heavy damage. Ice Barrier will mitigate some of this damage, which will keep your health bar up longer than other mages. Frost uses the least amount of mana of any of the talent trees, especially combined with clearcast. Ice Barrier is a very expensive ability, but you seriously will not notice it.
Two other talents to consider. Frostbite is useless in raiding environments (things can’t be rooted, remember?), but is very, very nice for Instances. Improved Blizzard is a very situational talent that, honestly, will not see a lot of use. However, there are some fights where it can be incredibly useful. The Vashj fight, for example, Blizzard can be used to slow the attacking mobs to a crawl, and thus can be dealt with easily. Mount Hyjal, too, Blizzard can be used to seriously hamper legions of Undead.
Pick the one you want, as long as you have the core talents, you’ll be fine.
Anyways, there ya go. Raiding Frost. Make sure you have the Frozen Shadoweave set, and go kick some ass.