BOOM here comes the BOOM ready or not, haha how you like me now?!
LK has, so far, been the best expansion in history for mages. Multiple specs viable for both PvE and PvP, and patch 3.3 is gifting us with a PvE viable frost spec (or close enough for most people), and a fire tree that’s viable for PvP.
Wait, what? Hell yeah, fire for PvP.
Been paying attention to the PTR notes? No? Forgot? Here’s a ‘fresher:
- Mana cost of DB and BW slashed, they’re cheap as dirt now.
- Firestarter, that talent everyone ignores that gives you instant flame strikes when you use DB or BW, now also makes that flamestrike cost no mana.
- Burning Determination now grants you immunity to the next silence or interrupt effect.
Fire already has other talents which edge it close to being a great PvP spec. Fireblasts that can stun, Living Bomb on unlimited targets, instant pyros whenever you crit twice, blazing speed, a disarm and anti-execute damage reduction.
In case you missed it, the Scorch effect applies all five stacks immediately as of 3.3. No need for the glyph at all. Hurray for raiding fire mages! The glyph is still around of course, providing a 20% boost to scorch damage. Bah, says the raiders, no one will ever take that.
Of course no raiding fire mage would take that! What kind of raider takes a PvP glyph?
That’s right. PvP glyph.
So here’s what I’m thinking. If you’re going fire for PvP, you can’t rely on either fireball or frostfire bolt. Those casts are just far too long to be effective. Frost can get away with a long cast time because of their ample roots and snares, but fire doesn’t have that option.
Solution? Don’t use a long casted nuke. Use a short one. In this case, Scorch.
Scorch is fast, deals reasonable enough damage, and bumping it’s damage by 20% is meaningless for raiding, but very powerful for fire PvP.
Scorch doesn’t hit that hard, yes, I know. But you can cast two of them in the same time it would take you to cast a single fireball, and you don’t have room for Improved Fireball or Empowered Fire in a PvP spec anyways without making very serious sacrifices.
Besides, with an additional 18% (23% once you’ve scorched at least once) to scorch’s crit chance from fire talents, it’s primary duty is fueling hot streak procs.
Interestingly, this means a fire PvP spec relies less on cast times than any other mage spec. Scorch and polymorph, both base 1.5 seconds, literally everything else is instant cast. A fire mage can probably afford to drop haste gear completely in favour of crit gear, and gem spellpower everywhere.
Fire PvP mage with over 50% scorch crit chance and 3k spellpower? This is happening.
Consider this open dialogue. Me thinking via type. Specs linked are purely speculation.
A spec somewhere along the lines of 17/54/0 seems the obvious choice to me. Magic Absorption, possibly Arcane Fortitude, dispel protection, Spell Impact (to ramp up scorch, fireblast and blast wave damage) and Imp. Counterspell seems to offer more than the frost tree does. Going the arcane route, TtW isn’t necessary, as you wouldn’t use any of those spells in a deep fire/arcane build. Scorch would be your only casted nuke.
Mana talents might not need to be taken. Fireblast and Pyroblast would be your most expensive abilites. Scorch is cheap, all of your utility abilities are cheap, and any flamestrikes you cast are free anyway. Burning Soul, too, wouldn’t be needed.
I’d have to play it in action, but on paper it looks like spell pushback and mana just won’t be issues.
The only glaring issue is the lack of a snare. Fire has reasonable control by itself, but your two major control abilities are tied to a 30 second and a 20 second cooldown.
Could there be merit to a deep fire spec that uses the frost tree? We have frostbite, a 20% MS effect, icy veins, and the tantalizing temptation of getting Shatter with a fire spec. Would it use rank 1 frostbolt or try frostfire bolt? Using FFB has it’s merits, the possibility is there for some horrific shatters. Imagine FFB/instant pyro into a frozen target.
IV would be a neat way to get around FFBs lengthy cast time, as would using rank 1 FrB to get off a quick snare. The fire side would also provide BW’s knockback, DB’s disorient, a stun, disarm, and a movement speed boost which might provide the breathing room necessary to allow for a long cast nuke.
Of course, using FFB would also open the possibility of using the FFB glyph, giving FFB a 19% crit chance from talents and the glyph alone. Get 25% crit on gear, and you’re looking at near 94, 95% crit chance on frozen targets before factoring in resilience (roughly 85% crit chance against well geared opponents).
This being FFB, we’d have Burnout, Ignite and Ice Shards all stacking together for nightmare proportioned crits. You’d have to get Empowered Fire in a FFB build, too, so where would you take those points from? World in Flames maybe? Flame Throwing?
What glyphs, then? Evocation is a given, and in a FFB spec so is the FFB one. Using the arcane/scorch build, the scorch glyph is obvious, so in either case it’s the third glyph slot that’s a question mark.
If mana turns out to be an issue, glyph of mana gem? I use it currently in my arcane shatter built, it works extremely well. Glyph of poly? Glyph of IV for added defense against melee in the FFB build?
Or just screw the theatrics and get glyph of living bomb?