Lots of awesome questions in the last post about this topic, so I figured I’d answer them all in a new post rather than an obnoxiously long comment.
If there’s one thing I like to do, it’s to talk endlessly and needlessly about things I like.
First off, this type of build isn’t for everyone. It’s very… different from how most mages play. Think back over your mage career, and try to remember times when you almost never stopped to cast anything, instead relying completely on instants and constantly moving.
If you can’t think of anything, don’t worry. Very few can. The mage class hasn’t really ever been in this position before. Even high end arena frost mages busted out frostbolt every chance they got (which wasn’t often, but still).
Arcane, as it stands now, is all about mobility. Standing still and casting stuff just isn’t in the deal.
Picture yourself as a warlock. Run around constantly throwing out instants and the only thing you stop to cast is Fear Polymorph.
On with the questions!
Question about Magic Absorption since I’ve never taken it: The talent seems worth it just for the resistances alone, but how often will I be looking at a full resist to get mana back?
Full resists happen, but not often enough to count on them for mana return. Partial resists on some damage spells happen far more often.
However, a “miss” still counts as a resist to get the mana return from that talent.
The talent is basically for the resistances. Resisting a fear here, a frost nova there, that’s the true power of this talent. The mana return portion of it, not so much.
That part is, however, phenomenal for running lower level content. For instance, doing a Baron run at 80 or running an alt through SM. You can get a lot of mana from resisting all those spells, and depending on the instance, can keep AoE running for a very, very long time without needing to drink.
3/3 in Ice Floes and 2/3 in Permafrost instead of the 5/5 in Improved Frostbolt. Reduced cooldowns and better chills versus reduced cast time.
Mess with the build however you want. There isn’t such a thing as cookie cutter relative to PvP now. Take what fits into your strategy. Drop this talent, pick up this one… whatever works best with how you play.
The build I linked had Imp. Frostbolt because it uses Frostbolt a lot, relying more on speed and mobility more than anything else.
Personally, I think getting improved snares is a waste, as Slow already provides a 60% snare. I could see using it to snare multiple opponents at once.
And, of course, if you don’t use Frostbolt, picking up Imp. Frostbolt is a silly idea.
Firstly, Arctic Reach. Having your Frostbolts at a shorter range than your arcane spells seems to negate taking Magic Attunement, as you’ll be jumping forward to cast your double-frostbolts.
This spec primarily plays identical to a standard arcane build, relying on mobility and ABarr more than anything else. Shatter requires proper setup to pull off, either from Freeze procs or Frost Nova. Either way, you’ll be close enough where any extra range on frostbolt would be irrelevant.
Point is, this spec is not a frost spec. It’s an arcane spec that’s using parts of the frost tree for support.
General combat revolves around ABarr, frostbolt is a situational attack, not the primary focus.
Secondly, Incanter’s Absorption. I just tend to think of this as something to be taken after Magic Absorption, is it in fact much less useful without a shield spell?
Incanter’s Absorption is a very meh talent (in regards to PvP). The only way you would gain any substantial use out of it is by using Mana Shield, which can provide some (almost) on demand burst.
The downside is that you’re basically mana burning yourself to death to use it. One could just as easily kill themselves as someone else trying to use this talent.
Finally, as a complete PvP noob, I have to ask whether this is good for all aspects of PvP, or specifically one of BGs/arenas, or something I hadn’t thought of?
Arcane has been immensely successful in PvP since ABarr was introduced. This type of spec works wonders in battlegrounds, and is a strong build for arenas.
For arenas, it works better with a frost mage also in the team, and you’ll probably need to tailor the build to your team’s specific strategies. The idea here is that, in addition to being a hyper mobile spec, it can also take devastating advantage of frozen enemies.
With a frost mage on your side, you can abuse Freeze procs, frost nova, and Deep Freeze more than a frost mage could.
I may but messing with a perfectly good PvP spec here but expanding on the frostfire bolt substitution would it be good idea to forsake the talants Netherwing Presence, Spell Power and Arcane Barrage in favour of taking Ignite instead?
Again, this is an arcane build. The whole taking advantage of Shatter is just a facet of a greater whole, not the entire strategy. Losing ABarr would be devastating, that’s the primary attack of this spec.
Without it, you would be a one trick pony with limited tools to pull off said trick.
More importantly, once you’ve blown a whole in someone with it, what do you do then? Spam Scorch? You’d be near helpless in the two minute interrim.
Frostfire Bolt update
Spent a lot of time in battlegrounds trying this out with FFB instead of frostbolt.
- Faster cast time, thus greater mobility. (Only if Imp. Frostbolt was there).
- Opponents likely mistook me for a frost mage. Never saw an opponent trinket from Frost Nova. They suffered greatly for their error. Even Ret Paladins didn’t BoF out of Frost Nova.
- Smaller profile, less “attention grabby”. Similar to how Arcane Missiles is a huge neon “I’M HERE” sign, whereas Arcane Blast is discrete and hard to see.
- Icy Veins provides knockback immunity (will provide the same for FFB next patch).
Frostfire Bolt pros
- Crits harder, and generally hits harder too.
- Opponents likely mistook me for an idiot. There aren’t a lot of mages using FFB in PvP. They suffered greatly for their error.
- Far greater range than Frostbolt
- Makes a neat noise.
In all, FFB is likely the better candidate for this type of build, especially for PoM use (cast time being irrelevant). Frostbolt being a half second faster than FFB, it’s better suited to faster, more mobile combat.
When it comes time to unleash the devastating Shatter, FFB is the better option. It tends to hit harder than frostbolt, and definitely crits much harder. It has a much smaller margin of error, however.
Being a longer casting spell, your opponents have more time to figure out what you’re doing, react to it, and put a stop to it. If FFB gets countered, that will lock out Fireblast too, which can be a clutch damage spell depending on the situation.
Of course, the greatest advantage FFB has is the range. It has much greater range than frostbolt and all of your arcane spells. As such, the added cast time can often be negated by the sheer distance from which you can cast the spell.
Still, FFB has a very obvious animation. Do not expect to be left to your own devices for very long. Somebody is going to come try and put an end to you.
If you’re already trying the PoM Frostbolt idea, replace it with PoM Frostfire Bolt. See what happens.