[9.0] Shadowlands Frost Mage Compendium

Guides and discussions of all things specific to the Ice Lancers of Azeroth.
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Toegrinder
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[9.0] Shadowlands Frost Mage Compendium

Unread postby Toegrinder Thu Nov 12, 2020 1:29 pm

Introduction

This guide will cover everything you need to know about playing Frost in PvE content. Frost is an extremely flexible spec providing good sustained damage on both single target, cleave, and AOE. As well as providing the great mobility of all mage specs through spells like https://www.wowhead.com/spell=212653/shimmer and https://shadowlands.wowhead.com/spell=108978/alter-time.

To see the raw sim data driving the information in this guide, please check out my sim dump.

Contents

1 - Major Changes
2 - Overview
3 - Abilities
4 - Talents
5 - Rotation 6 - Gearing 7 - Covenants 8 - Racials
9 - Macros and Add-ons
10 - Advanced
11 - FAQ
12 - Sim Dump

1 - Major Changes

If you are returning to mage after one or more expansions, here's some important fundamental changes that you should be aware of since last time you played.

Battle for Azeroth Shadowlands

2 - Overview

The core mechanic of the spec is https://www.wowhead.com/spell=12982/shatter. Spells against enemies who are Frozen benefit from https://www.wowhead.com/spell=12982/shatter, and have a greater chance of being struck a critical strike. Your critical strike chance against frozen enemies is:

(Critical Strike chance * 1.5) + 50%

The main way of gaining https://www.wowhead.com/spell=12982/shatter in PvE is through your main procs https://www.wowhead.com/spell=190447/brain-freeze and https://www.wowhead.com/spell=112965/fingers-of-frost, with most rotational decisions involving maximising the number and effectiveness of both these procs. During this guide I will refer to you causing a spell to gain the https://www.wowhead.com/spell=12982/shatter effect as ‘shattering’ that spell.



3 - Abilities



Damage abilities:
Utility abilities:


4 - Talents


Example Talent setup:
I recommend this talent build for basically all forms of content with current tuning.


Tier 1

Image
https://www.wowhead.com/spell=205024/lonely-winter is the default choice here. In PvE this is simply a raw output row, and due to the current power of https://www.wowhead.com/spell=30455/ice-lance https://www.wowhead.com/spell=205024/lonely-winter will provide the most damage in all scenarios.


Tier 2

Image
https://www.wowhead.com/spell=212653/shimmer is the default choice here, it is an incredibly powerful mobility tool and with proper usage allows us almost 100% uptime.
https://www.wowhead.com/spell=108839/ice-floes has niche uses when you can’t really use https://www.wowhead.com/spell=212653/shimmer properly due to a boss mechanic or strategy. For example Sludgefist.
https://www.wowhead.com/spell=235297/glacial-insulation provides close to no value in current raid encounters.


Tier 3

Image
In the event that you can swap it with another mage, https://shadowlands.wowhead.com/spell=3 ... ocus-magic gives the highest damage on this row. If you do not have another mage, https://www.wowhead.com/spell=116011/rune-of-power and https://www.wowhead.com/spell=1463/incanters-flow provide fairly similar damage. However do keep in mind https://www.wowhead.com/spell=116011/rune-of-power gives more burst damage which can be more valuable on certain encounters.


Tier 4

Image
Due to the power of https://www.wowhead.com/spell=30455/ice-lance. https://www.wowhead.com/spell=278309/chain-reaction provides the highest damage here on both single target and cleave.


Tier 5

Image
All 3 talents provide very little value on most raid encounters.
Generally I would default to https://www.wowhead.com/spell=235224/frigid-winds as it's passive and slows can still be useful against adds on some raid fights.
If an encounter requires you to control adds, consider which talent gives more benefit to your raid. https://www.wowhead.com/spell=65792/frost-nova is faster and more forgiving, but https://www.wowhead.com/spell=113724/ring-of-frost can be used from range.


Tier 6

Image
Again due to the power of https://www.wowhead.com/spell=30455/ice-lance I recommend https://www.wowhead.com/spell=56377/splitting-ice for virtually every raid encounter and most dungeons.
https://www.wowhead.com/spell=270232/freezing-rain has niche uses for long sustained AOE.
https://www.wowhead.com/spell=153595/comet-storm has niche uses where burst AOE is needed.

Tier 7

Image
https://www.wowhead.com/spell=155149/thermal-void is the go to pick here. Because we want to be maximising our https://www.wowhead.com/spell=30455/ice-lance casts.
https://www.wowhead.com/spell=199786/glacial-spike is a DPS loss to both talent in to and cast.
https://www.wowhead.com/spell=205021/ray-of-frost currently provides no value in PvE.



5 - Rotation

Rotation Overview

The frost mage rotation revolves around maximising the impact of your two procs, https://www.wowhead.com/spell=190447/brain-freeze and https://www.wowhead.com/spell=112965/fingers-of-frost, while maximizing the number of these procs through casting https://www.wowhead.com/spell=116/frostbolt and https://www.wowhead.com/spell=84714/frozen-orb.

https://www.wowhead.com/spell=190447/brain-freeze causes your next https://www.wowhead.com/spell=228354/flurry to be instant cast and apply https://www.wowhead.com/spell=228358/winters-chill to the target - causing your next 2 spells to deal damage as if the target were frozen. Each https://www.wowhead.com/spell=228354/flurry bolt refreshes the duration and stacks of https://www.wowhead.com/spell=228358/winters-chill. Note: should a https://www.wowhead.com/spell=116/frostbolt or https://www.wowhead.com/spell=257537/ebonbolt give you a https://www.wowhead.com/spell=190447/brain-freeze when you already have one, there is a small grace window that allows you to spend the old https://www.wowhead.com/spell=190447/brain-freeze and still gain the new one. In additional we should always try to cast https://www.wowhead.com/spell=116/frostbolt before https://www.wowhead.com/spell=228354/flurry, as due to the travel time on https://www.wowhead.com/spell=228354/flurry it will hit first allowing the https://www.wowhead.com/spell=116/frostbolt to benefit from https://www.wowhead.com/spell=228358/winters-chill.

https://www.wowhead.com/spell=112965/fingers-of-frost causes your next https://www.wowhead.com/spell=30455/ice-lance to deal damage as if the target were frozen.

Because a target is either frozen or not frozen, there is no additional benefit to casting a https://www.wowhead.com/spell=112965/fingers-of-frost https://www.wowhead.com/spell=30455/ice-lance into a https://www.wowhead.com/spell=228358/winters-chill. This situation should be avoided if possible. This means that should you find yourself with both https://www.wowhead.com/spell=112965/fingers-of-frost and https://www.wowhead.com/spell=190447/brain-freeze, you want to get rid of your https://www.wowhead.com/spell=112965/fingers-of-frost procs before casting https://www.wowhead.com/spell=116/frostbolt -> https://www.wowhead.com/spell=228354/flurry. However sometimes you will find a https://www.wowhead.com/spell=116/frostbolt gives you both procs, or a https://www.wowhead.com/spell=84714/frozen-orb gives you https://www.wowhead.com/spell=112965/fingers-of-frost while you already have https://www.wowhead.com/spell=190447/brain-freeze. In the event that you are casting a https://www.wowhead.com/spell=116/frostbolt with both https://www.wowhead.com/spell=112965/fingers-of-frost and https://www.wowhead.com/spell=190447/brain-freeze, you should cast https://www.wowhead.com/spell=228354/flurry at the end and simply waste the https://www.wowhead.com/spell=112965/fingers-of-frost proc. This is because https://www.wowhead.com/spell=190447/brain-freeze provides significantly more damage than https://www.wowhead.com/spell=112965/fingers-of-frost, and you don’t want to risk gaining another https://www.wowhead.com/spell=190447/brain-freeze and wasting one of them.

Priority

1. Cast https://www.wowhead.com/spell=12472/icy-veins
2. Cast https://www.wowhead.com/spell=116011/rune-of-power (if you don’t already have one from https://www.wowhead.com/spell=12472/icy-veins)
3. Cast https://www.wowhead.com/spell=228354/flurry with https://www.wowhead.com/spell=190447/brain-freeze if the last spell you cast was https://www.wowhead.com/spell=116/frostbolt or https://www.wowhead.com/spell=257537/ebonbolt, or you are moving.
4. Cast https://www.wowhead.com/spell=84714/frozen-orb
5. Cast https://www.wowhead.com/spell=199786/glacial-spike if the target is affected by https://www.wowhead.com/spell=228358/winters-chill
6. Cast https://www.wowhead.com/spell=30455/ice-lance with https://www.wowhead.com/spell=112965/fingers-of-frost or if the target is affected by https://www.wowhead.com/spell=228358/winters-chill
7. Cast your other talented abilities such as https://www.wowhead.com/spell=153595/comet-storm, https://www.wowhead.com/spell=157997/ice-nova and https://www.wowhead.com/spell=257537/ebonbolt
8. Cast https://www.wowhead.com/spell=116/frostbolt

AOE Rotation

Because a large amount of your damage comes from https://www.wowhead.com/spell=30455/ice-lance even on multiple targets, your rotation does not change a huge amount on AOE. However there are still a few small changes:
Covenant Abilities

Generally mage covenant abilities should be used on cooldown with some optimisations:
Opener

Frost has no special requirements in the opener.

6 - Gearing


With all gearing related decisions you should trust your own sims over any generic lists or advice you see on the internet.

Stats

Frost stats weights are a little closer than some other specs, and due to the large Intellect stat budget on items, item level will usually be an upgrade. Stat weights vary depending on your current gear and talents. To produce an accurate stat priority or to accurately compare items you must sim yourself.

Generally prioritise stats like so:
1. Intellect
2. Critical Strike / Haste
3. Mastery / Versatility

As explained earlier in the guide https://www.wowhead.com/spell=12982/shatter increases our Critical Strike chance against frozen targets:

(Critical Strike chance * 1.5) + 50%

This means that at 33.34% Critical Strike will see a significant drop in value, as our spells now have 100% chance to critically strike when they are affected by https://www.wowhead.com/spell=12982/shatter. This is referred to as the ‘Shatter cap’. However just because this cap exists does not mean it is some kind of holy grail or mandatory goal that must be reached, it is simply a point at which critical strike value plateaus. As shown below stats are fairly linear up until the shatter cap, there is no magical DPS increase at 33.34% critical strike:
Image



Trinkets


This section will be updated come release, as there is no real need to plan ahead regarding trinkets.



Legendaries


Legendaries should be crafted using https://www.wowhead.com/item=173160/missive-of-haste and https://www.wowhead.com/item=173161/mis ... cal-strike. Whenever upgrading legendaries keep in mind that higher level legendaries do not have a stronger effect, only better stats. You should also aim to craft legendaries in the slots that have the most stats.
Frost Legendaries:
Mage class legendaries:



Conduits

Remember that the level of your conduit can impact which conduit pulls ahead, as always I recommend you sim yourself; but assuming equal item levels you should be able to follow these rankings.

Single Target Conduit Ranking:
AOE Conduit Ranking:

Gems, Enchants, and Consumables


Gem and Enchants: Consumables:
7 - Covenants

When evaluating covenants it’s important not to tunnel vision on the signature ability. Covenants are a package deal of 2 abilities, a covenant specific conduit, and 3 soulbinds. Below I’ve outlined the major selling points of each Covenant and soulbind.
Note: Soulbind abilities that are denoted with an (x) require you to sacrifice a potency conduit.


Kyrian


Abilities: Conduit: Soulbinds:
Pelagos: Kleia: Forgelite Prime Mikanikos:
Venthyr


Abilities: Conduit: Soulbinds:
Nadjia the Mistblade: Theotar the Mad Duke: General Draven:
Night Fae

Abilities: Conduit: Soulbinds:
Niya: Dreamweaver: Korayn:
Necrolords

Abilities: Conduit: Soulbinds:
Plague Deviser Marileth: Emeni: Bonesmith Heirmir:
Covenant Ranking


Frost Covenant Ranking:
1. Venthyr
2. Night Fae
------------------
3. Necrolords
4. Kyrian

Venthyr is easily the best covenant for Frost, but that doesn't mean its the best covenant for Mage. If you are picking covenant with the intention of multispecing, the performance oriented choice for Mage is very clearly between Night Fae and Venthyr.

Venthyr
Right now Venthyr is the absolute clear winner for raiding. https://shadowlands.wowhead.com/spell=3 ... of-torment is the most powerful ability for Frost by quite a margin, and the soulbinds are very competitive. The covenant performs by far the best in both single target and cleave for Frost which is your primary focus in raiding.

Night Fae
Night Fae gets #2 on the list due to this being the go to Mythic+ covenant as the cooldown reduction is very powerful for https://www.wowhead.com/spell=84714/frozen-orb and https://www.wowhead.com/spell=116011/rune-of-power. In raids Night Fae’s power mainly comes from it’s soulbinds, which are okay for Frost but the covenant still falls behind as https://shadowlands.wowhead.com/spell=3 ... ting-power is simply awful and in many cases is not even a DPS increase. However it's incredibly potent for the other 2 specs. If you find yourself playing Fire or Arcane more, Night Fae’s value increases.

Necrolords
Necrolords falls behind as the covenant ability https://shadowlands.wowhead.com/spell=324220/deathborne is generally un-synergistic/niche and while the soulbinds are now decent they don't really save the covenant.

Kyrian
Despite having an okay ability in https://www.wowhead.com/spell=307443/radiant-spark, Kyrian's only real strength comes from the fact that Pelagos is the first Soulbind with a starting DPS ability to get 2 potency conduits. This is a fairly niche advantage though and won't matter for a large majority of players.


To see the data driving these decisions, please check out my sim dump where I have provided the DPS of each ability and soulbind at various Renown levels on both single target and AOE.


8 - Racials
Horde Alliance Racials tend to not really matter for Frost compared other specs. Pick the race you like, a race with a utility racial, or a race that is good for one of the other 2 specs.


9 - Macros and Add-ons

Raidbots combined with the Simulationcraft Add-on now make simming your character incredibly easy. There is no longer an excuse to not be simming if you want to find upgrades and accurate stat weights.

Weak Auras is the only add-on that I consider mandatory for World of Warcraft raiding. It is incredibly powerful and incredibly customisable. If you don't want to go through the effort of creating your own, there are a few I recommend:
You can also check out Wago.io to find other premade Weak Aura's for both mages and boss encounters.

BigWigs or Deadly Boss Mods provide boss timers and notifications. Deadly Boss Mods is a bit more "in your face" with notifications and warnings whereas BigWigs is slightly quieter. Personal preference between the two.

Details! is by far the best damage meter out there. Makes it easier to analyse wipes and DPS while being easy on your CPU.


There are also some small optimizations that can be made through macros in order to master your frost mage.

Macro all cooldowns, racials, and items into one key.

Code: Select all

#showtooltip /cast Icy Veins /cast Blood Fury /cast Berserking /use 11 /use 12 /use 13 /use 14 /use 2

@cursor macros automatically cast ground targeted abilities wherever your mouse cursor is, saving you a click.
Example with https://www.wowhead.com/spell=190356/blizzard, works for all other ground targeted spells.

Code: Select all

#showtooltip /cast [@cursor] Blizzard

Can be used to cancel http://www.wowhead.com/spell=45438/ice-block and immediately http://www.wowhead.com/spell=236645/shimmer. Useful when Ice Blocked in a void zone as you'll http://www.wowhead.com/spell=236645/shimmer out and take no damage.

Code: Select all

#showtooltip /cancelaura Ice Block /cast Blink

The macro below can be used to automatically cancel http://www.wowhead.com/spell=45438/ice-block if you try to cast a spell while blocked; and automatically targets something if you try to cast a spell with no target.

Code: Select all

#showtooltip /cancelaura Ice Block /cast Frostbolt /targetenemy [noexists][dead]

Uses whatever you have in the tier 3 talent row. Defaults to https://www.wowhead.com/spell=30455/ice-lance with http://www.wowhead.com/spell=1463/incanters-flow or no talent.

Code: Select all

#showtooltip /use [talent:3/2]Focus Magic; [talent:3/3]Rune of Power; Ice Lance

http://www.wowhead.com/spell=2139/counterspell macro. Prioritizes Mouseover > Focus > Target.

Code: Select all

#showtooltip Counterspell /cast [@mouseover,harm] Counterspell;[@Focus,harm] Counterspell; [harm] Counterspell

The same macro but for http://www.wowhead.com/spell=30449/spellsteal

Code: Select all

#showtooltip Spellsteal /cast [@mouseover,harm] Spellsteal;[@Focus,harm] Spellsteal; [harm] Spellsteal

Mouseover http://bfa.wowhead.com/spell=475/remove-curse

Code: Select all

#showtooltip Remove Curse /cast [@cursor]Remove Curse


10 - Advanced

Ice Floes Usage

https://www.wowhead.com/spell=108839/ice-floes makes our next cast castable while moving. This effect stacks. This means we can press https://www.wowhead.com/spell=108839/ice-floes twice without casting a spell, and have our next 2 spells be castable while moving.

https://www.wowhead.com/spell=108839/ice-floes can also be cast while casting, in case you decide you need to move while in the middle of a cast. However, this effect has a small grace window. If https://www.wowhead.com/spell=108839/ice-floes is activated within the last 0.5 seconds of a cast, it will NOT consume a stack of the buff.

This means that we can abuse https://www.wowhead.com/spell=108839/ice-floes to gain multiple consecutive casts while casting without consuming any stacks of the buff, as long as we refresh the buff in the last 0.5 seconds of the cast.

For example: This means you can cast 3 spells while moving with 2 charges, or 5 spells while moving with 3 charges.


Canceling Alter Time

https://shadowlands.wowhead.com/spell=108978/alter-time snapshots our current location and health. The spell can then be reactivated within 10 seconds to return us to said location and health. However if the buff expires we will be returned regardless, which sometimes we may not want to do.

If we cancel the https://shadowlands.wowhead.com/spell=108978/alter-time buff, it will not automatically be activated at the end of the duration, allowing us to stay where we are.

Code: Select all

/cancelaura Alter Time

Rune of Power Range

An often overlooked property of mage is how big the radius of https://www.wowhead.com/spell=116011/rune-of-power is. A lot of players express frustration with this talent but by properly tracking the buff you can frequently move quite far and still benefit from https://www.wowhead.com/spell=116011/rune-of-power. I recommend you have a weak aura to track the buff (Here is mine ).

Here is an example showing how far you can be while still benefiting from rune:
Image


Damage calculation on impact

Frost mage abilities have a somewhat unique property in that the calculation for how much damage they do happens on impact; whereas most other spells calculate their damage on cast. For example this is what allows us to cast a https://www.wowhead.com/spell=228354/flurry after a https://www.wowhead.com/spell=116/frostbolt and still have the https://www.wowhead.com/spell=116/frostbolt benefit from https://www.wowhead.com/spell=228358/winters-chill. There’s not a huge amount of things you can do to abuse this (except maybe shatter spells with pet https://www.wowhead.com/spell=231596/freeze), but it's something you should be aware of regardless.


11 - FAQ

Q: How Do I spend my procs?
A: Because a target is either frozen or not frozen, there is no additional benefit to casting a https://www.wowhead.com/spell=112965/fingers-of-frost https://www.wowhead.com/spell=30455/ice-lance into a https://www.wowhead.com/spell=228358/winters-chill. This situation should be avoided if possible. This means that should you find yourself with both https://www.wowhead.com/spell=112965/fingers-of-frost and https://www.wowhead.com/spell=190447/brain-freeze, you want to get rid of your https://www.wowhead.com/spell=112965/fingers-of-frost procs before casting https://www.wowhead.com/spell=116/frostbolt -> https://www.wowhead.com/spell=228354/flurry. However sometimes you will find a https://www.wowhead.com/spell=116/frostbolt gives you both procs, or a https://www.wowhead.com/spell=84714/frozen-orb gives you https://www.wowhead.com/spell=112965/fingers-of-frost while you already have https://www.wowhead.com/spell=190447/brain-freeze. In the event that you are casting a https://www.wowhead.com/spell=116/frostbolt with both https://www.wowhead.com/spell=112965/fingers-of-frost and https://www.wowhead.com/spell=190447/brain-freeze, you should cast https://www.wowhead.com/spell=228354/flurry at the end and simply waste the https://www.wowhead.com/spell=112965/fingers-of-frost proc. This is because https://www.wowhead.com/spell=190447/brain-freeze provides significantly more damage than https://www.wowhead.com/spell=112965/fingers-of-frost, and you don’t want to risk gaining another https://www.wowhead.com/spell=190447/brain-freeze and wasting one of them.

Q: Should I use Ice Lance at 5 icicles even without a proc?
A: No, in fact whenever you are playing without https://www.wowhead.com/spell=199786/glacial-spike talented, https://www.wowhead.com/spell=76613/mastery-icicles should not factor into a single one of your decisions. At 5 Icicles gaining a new Icicle with simply launch the oldest one. Meaning that they should be functionally ignored.

Q: Why do your guides not have BIS lists?
A: A few reasons. First off BIS setups are only BIS once the entire set has been complete, which is likely long after your gear is actually relevant. Changing one item could mean that another item is no longer BIS. Second, with the current gearing system in World of Warcraft gear acquisition is incredibly random; it is far more productive to figure out how to sim and seek short term upgrades than it is to spend months chasing an ideal setup.

Q: Should I use Arcane Momentum?
A: Person preference. Generally I would advise against it as its more error prone and you should be able to do everything you need with proper camera control and default blink.

Q: How do I sim Focus Magic trade?
A: external_buffs.focus_magic=1

Q: How do I sim Shifting Power without the damage?
A: override.spell_data=effect.815217.sp_coefficient=0

Q: What stat percentages should I aim for?
A: Nothing, you don't aim for specific percentages of stats. The thought process behind this question is simply a misunderstanding of how stats work. There are very few stat breakpoints in the game that are of utmost importance, and stats generally complement each other. You equip the gear that gives you the most DPS with almost no thought on what stat percentages that leaves you at (hint: it doesn't matter).

Q: Should I use pawn?
A: No, it's an outdated addon, based on an outdated way of thinking about the game. It relies too heavily on stat weights being an accurate method of comparing gear, which they aren't.

Q: What professions should I use?
A: In Shadowlands professions don't really matter. Almost nothing requires you to actually have the profession to use except for a few niche items in Engineering.


Closing
Big thanks to Norrinir for solo carrying the Frost APL.

Thanks to Norrinir, Frosted, Dorovon and many more for their work on simulationcraft.

Check out the Altered Time Mage Discord - https://discord.gg/8huqAW5. Please ask questions here instead of PMing me or any of the other contributors/staff members. (and check the pins/resources!)

Toegrinder's Fire Mage Compendium - https://www.altered-time.com/forum/view ... f=4&t=6917

Mage Sim Dump, contains all information you need to know about stats, racials, and talents - https://cteer458.github.io/mage-sims/


Changelog
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Last edited by Toegrinder on Sun Nov 22, 2020 8:26 pm, edited 19 times in total.
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Toegrinder
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Re: [9.0] Shadowlands Frost Mage Compendium

Unread postby Toegrinder Thu Nov 12, 2020 1:30 pm

reserved
Andrestes
Posts: 48
Joined: Sun May 08, 2016 8:11 pm

Re: [9.0] Shadowlands Frost Mage Compendium

Unread postby Andrestes Fri Nov 20, 2020 8:26 am

asking a dumb question since it's made clear in the guide, but it's still frostbolt -> flurry -> ice lance? I had just heard talk of flurry -> ice lance -> ice lance which seemed fun from a mobility perspective. same question for glacial spike -> flurry -> ice lance.

thanks for all the hard work in the guide. it's much appreciated since I don't follow the mage discord that closely.

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