Welcome to our fire mage guide for WoW Classic! Frost mages are the most common variety you’ll find in Azeroth, but fire mages are also quite potent (as long as you aren’t in Molten Core or Blackwing Lair!). The fire specialization has more depth than frost, requiring you to pay close attention to your rotation throughout the duration of a raid encounter. This makes fire mages an exceptionally fun specialization to play, but it does come with a higher skill requirement than frost.
To properly raid as a fire mage, there are several things you’ll want to know. Fortunately, this guide will cover all of them! We’ll start with race and talent options, then dig deep into every way you can optimize your fire mage. From enchants and consumables to professions and stat priorities, we’ve got the important details for you! To complete your learning, we’ll finish off with some gameplay tips and the rotation you should follow to pump out the damage!
Mages have some flexibility when it comes to choosing a race. Both the alliance and horde have two races that are eligible to play as mage. Despite this, there is a superior choice for both factions thanks to racial passives and abilities. Gnomes and trolls will always be the best choice regardless of what specialization you can play. These races will provide you with the largest damage bonus, giving you an incentive to choose them over the other two options. If you’re curious what other races offer, check them out here!
- Human – Humans have some of the best attribute base values across the board, which makes them a good choice for any race. The only other benefit they offer a mage is through the racial passive The Human Spirit, which increases spirit by 5%, giving a minimal mana regeneration bonus.
- Gnome – Gnomes are a much better choice. Their spirit base value is comparable to humans and their intellect base value is actually higher. Not only that, but the racial passive Expansive Mind increases intellect by 5%, which is much more valuable than a human’s spirit bonus.
- Undead – Undead are always a great race choice when it comes to PvP, but they’re fairly lackluster in the raiding department. They do have great spellcasting animations, but that doesn’t compensate for the lack of useful racial abilities. Will of the Forsaken has very few uses, making a high spirit base value the only real benefit of an undead.
- Troll – Trolls are the clear favorite for horde mages. They do have the second-lowest intellect base value in the game (stupid trolls!), but they have one of the strongest racial abilities, Berserking. This 10-30% scaling spell casting speed boost can significantly drop the cast time of a Pyroblast.
When it comes to picking your talents, you don’t have much flexibility as a fire mage. You’ll want to go deep into the fire tree, but you’ll spend most of the rest of your points in the arcane tree. Considering you’ll primarily cast fire spells, most talents in the arcane and frost tree aren’t useful for a fire mage. There are still a few that help, so you’re best suited with a 17/31/3 talent tree build.
With this build you have every important talent needed to play as a fire mage. You’ll notice 3 points in the frost tree for Elemental Precision, critical for helping reduce your spell hit rating requirement. Your biggest option here is between Improved Fire Blast and Improved Flamestrike. Both are useful, but Improved Flamestrike is better for area-of-effect-heavy fights. The arcane tree allows you 2 points in Arcane Meditation, which gives 10% mana regeneration while in combat, crucial for helping you keep your mana up.
After you’ve hit level 60, your journey has just begun. Now that you’ve got a max level fire mage with all the right talents, you’ll need to optimize your character to do the most damage possible. To do this, you’ll need to understand your role as a fire mage: pure damage! This means you want anything and everything that boosts the power of your fire spells, and fortunately there’s plenty of ways to do just that!
You won’t get very far unless you understand your stat priorities. All of the attributes on this list can help you deal more damage, either directly or indirectly. What separates them all is just how effective they are at helping you deal more damage. Like most other spellcasters, fire mages want to prioritize boosting the power of their spells, then supplementing that with forms of mana regeneration.
This is how you’ll want to prioritize stats as a fire mage:
- Spell Hit to Cap (16%) – Your top priority is still to reach the hit cap. Thanks to 3 points in the Elemental Precision, you’ll just need another 10%. With two Presence of Sight enchants, that drops to just 8%.
- Spell Power – Once you know your spells won’t miss, you’ll want to load up on spell power. There’s simply nothing else that increases your damage output more than raw spell power, so seek it out like your life depends on it!
- Spell Critical Chance – In addition to loading up on spell power, you’ll also want some spell critical chance. Considering Pyroblast is a 6 second cast before any buffs, any chance to make a long-cast like this crit is a huge boost to your damage potential.
- Intellect – Right below spell critical strike chance is intellect. Intellect does give you a small amount of spell crit chance. It also increases your mana pool to the tune of 15 mana per intellect. While these are both great, spell power and pure spell crit are more effective per point.
- MP5/Spirit – Rounding off the bottom of your priorities is mana regeneration. Either MP5 or spirit will work great, thanks to 2 points in Arcane Meditation to give 10% mana regeneration during combat.
You’re also going to want to pick up a few professions to make you more capable. Some professions definitely can boost your damage, but most are supplemental and indirectly help you deal damage. Professions can be used to help you craft gear to make you stronger, but they’re also great for generating gold. With enough gold, you can buy just about anything, meaning professions are power.
These are the best professions to have as a fire mage:
- Tailoring – Considering mages are no strangers to robes and cloth armor, it shouldn’t be a surprise to see tailoring at the top of this list. Tailoring allows you to craft useful armor to help with gearing, but it also allows you to benefit from tailoring-exclusive set bonuses from gear!
- Enchanting – Enchanting is fantastic by itself, but it is even better when paired with tailoring. Both professions are self-sustaining, meaning you don’t need a dedicated gathering profession for either. The gives you two crafting professions, which can be a fantastic gold making pair.
- Alchemy – If you don’t want to go the traditional tailoring and enchanting route, you can take alchemy instead. You’ll need plenty of consumables crafted via alchemy, so this will give you a head start of getting them made.
- Herbalism – The natural choice to go with alchemy. You can’t craft any potions or elixirs without the use of herbs, which you can pick with herbalism. Without it, alchemy would be prohibitively expensive to craft with!
Enchants are often one of the best sources of increasing your damage. With several different equipment slots to enchant, there are several bonuses you can grab that will quickly add up. Many enchants are focused on increasing your spell damage, but you can also find some hit chance and mana regeneration. All of these help you do more DPS, so each enchant is worth picking up!
Collecting these enchants will significantly boost your power as a fire mage:
- Helm – Presence of Sight, +18 Healing/Spell Damage, +1% Hit Chance or Arcanum of Focus, +8 Healing/Spell Damage
- Shoulder – Zandalar Signet of Mojo, +18 Healing/Spell Damage
- Cloak – Subtlety, -2% Threat
- Chest – Greater Stats, +4 All Stats
- Bracers – Greater Intellect, +7 Intellect or Mana Regeneration, +4MP5
- Gloves – Fire Power, +20 Fire Damage
- Pants – Presence of Sight, +18 Healing/Spell Damage, +1% Hit Chance or Arcanum of Focus, +8 Healing/Spell Damage
- Boots – Minor Speed, + Movement Speed, or Spirit, +5 Spirit
- Weapon – Spell Power, +30 Spell Damage
Finally, you’ll need plenty of consumables to really succeed as a fire mage. Professions and enchants are great, but you can gain a staggering 221 extra spell power from consumables alone! When you throw in your mana potions and mana regeneration goodies, you’ve got everything you need to sustainably set your enemies ablaze!
Don’t get caught without these consumables as a fire mage:
- Flask – Flask of Supreme Power, +150 Spell Damage for 2 hours
- Elixir – Greater Arcane Elixir, +35 Spell Damage for 1 hour
- Potions – Major Mana Potion, ~1800 mana every 2 minutes, and Mageblood Potion, +12 MP5 for 1 hour
- Food – Nightfin Soup, +8 MP5, or Sagefish Delight, +6 MP5
- Weapon Oil – Brilliant Wizard Oil, +36 Spell Damage, +1% Spell Crit Chance
- Others – Limited Invulnerability Potion to instantly drop threat, Scroll of Intellect for +17 Intellect, and Demonic / Dark Rune for extra mana at the cost of health
Rotation & Gameplay Tips
To successfully raid as a fire mage, it is important to know when your specialization is appropriate to use. Somewhere you should never bring a fire mage is Molten Core and Blackwing Lair, as nearly every enemy in both raids is resistant to fire damage. You absolutely can deal more damage than a frost mage, but your rotation is far tougher than spamming Frostbolt. This gives the fire specialization a lower skill floor than frost, but a higher skill cap. This means that fire has more potential than the other two specializations and is lethal in the hands of a talented damage-dealer.
Here are some gameplay tips for a fire mage:
- As a fire mage you’re limited to just one damage-boosting cooldown, Combustion. The spell gradually boosts your chance to crit with fire spells until you land 3 of them. Considering the nature and damage of your spells, this is best used in conjunction with Pyroblast for huge critical strikes.
- Get comfortable with using Evocation. This 8 minute cooldown will just about completely restore your mana bar during an 8 second channel. This does give you a ton of mana, but it also means you can’t deal any damage during it. Try to time the use of Evocation with down or transition periods during fights so you don’t lose casting uptime.
- Don’t forget to keep Arcane Intellect (or Brilliance) applied to allies for +31 to intellect. You can use Mage Armor for extra mana regeneration during the fight, nice in combination with your 10% from Arcane Meditation.
- Make sure to conjure your mana gem prior to beginning a fight. This is another great way of restoring mana in the middle of a fight. Conjure Mana Ruby grants you around 1000, good for about half of a free mana potion.
- One thing a mage does offer their raid group is utility. You can Conjure Food and Conjure Water for free food and water, or even cast portals to transport allies quickly to major cities. Polymorph can also be useful for crowd-control when making large pulls.
- Don’t let the vulnerability stacks from Improved Scorch or the damaging tick from Ignite fall off! Improved Scorch grants +15% fire damage with 5 stacks, while Ignite gives 40% extra damage to every spell you cast. These two talents are specifically what make fire so powerful, but it does mean fire has a ramp-up time to keep spells applied.
The best part about playing a fire mage is a fun rotation! Frost mages are quite simple, considering you only use one spell throughout most of the fight. Some players prefer this style of rotation, but if you’re interested in something requiring more of your attention and focus, a fire mage just might be your cup of tea.
If you’re just fighting a single enemy, your first priority will be to cast Scorch until you have 5 vulnerability stacks applied. After this, you’ll want to cast Pyroblast so you can apply your strongest version of Ignite and apply the Pyroblast damage-over-time tick. After this, you can switch to spamming Fireball, but you’ll actually be better off using Fire Blast first.
While Fire Blast deals less damage, it is an instant cast with a cooldown, meaning it can deal more damage for the time you’re spending to cast it versus a Fireball. At this point, you’ll continue to use Fireball until your Improved Scorch or Pyroblast damage-over-time tick falls off, using Fire Blast whenever it is convenient. This works out best when you need to move, considering every other spell requires you to stand still.
If you’re facing multiple enemies, you’ll get to make use of one of your special fire-exclusive talents! You’ll start the fight off with Flamestrike to apply the damage-over-time tick, then immediately get in close so you can get maximum effectiveness from Blast Wave! After this, you’ll spam Arcane Explosion until your Flamestrike DoT falls off!