Welcome to our frost mage guide for WoW Classic! Mages are talented spellcasters that can use the powers of frost, fire, or even arcane to blast away their enemies. The frost specialization is the most popular choice for raiding, thanks to a simple rotation and good damage output. While excelling as a mage isn’t that difficult, understanding how to set your character up properly is crucial to maximizing your output.
This includes deciding on a race, your talent choices, and all aspects of optimization. In this guide we’ll cover your stat priorities, professions, enchants, and the best consumables you can use. We’ll also cover the best rotation to use and what your role is as a ranged damage dealer.
Both the alliance and horde can play as a mage, each having two race options to choose from. All four race options make for a good mage, but there are clear favorites for both faction. Check out your preferred faction below, or take a look at all the racial abilities here!
- Human – Solid race for any class, but doesn’t any offer exceptionally helpful racial abilities. The Human Spirit will give +5% Spirit for some added out-of-combat mana regeneration.
- Gnome – Amazing option thanks to +5% Intellect from the racial passive ability, Expansive Mind, and added mobility with Escape Artist. In combination with the highest base intellect value in the game, gnomes are clearly the best choice for an alliance mage.
- Undead – Decent choice due to having a higher base intellect value than trolls and the highest base spirit value of any race in the game. Will of the Forsaken may also situationally come in handy for immunity to charm, fear, and sleep.
- Troll – Despite having lower spirit and intellect base values than undead, trolls are a slightly better choice because of the racial ability Berserking. This grants between 10-30% spell casting speed based on missing health, so if you can consistently use it close to the maximum 30% bonus, it makes trolls the clear cut best choice for a horde mage.
When it comes to choosing your talents, there are actually two distinct frost builds. One is a 31/0/20 arcane frost build focused on damage, while the other is a 17/0/34 deep frost build that focuses on utility. This means that your talent choices ultimately depend on your role within your raid, so use these as starting points to give you something to work with.
While this build does have 31 points in the arcane tree, it is still designed for frost. It doesn’t have the defense cooldowns found deep in the frost tree, but it does take all the important offensive cooldowns you can find in the arcane tree. This includes Presence of Mind for an instant spell cast with a 3 minute cooldown, and Arcane Power, which grants 30% more damage for 15 seconds at the cost of 30% more mana.
While the deep frost build lacks the offensive punch of the arcane frost build, it does offer some fantastic utility. This build offers access to the talent Winter’s Chill, which with 5 points gives a stacking crit chance for frost spells up to 10% at max stacks. This build is mainly used to amplify the damage of other mages in your raid using the arcane frost build, meaning you’ll only need one in your entire raid group.
While you might think all mages are the same, the amount of damage you depends on how you choose to optimize. Proper optimization is the difference between being an average damage dealer and a chart-topper. After reaching level 60, your next goal should be acquiring optimized gear to help you get into dungeons and raids.
Seeing as mages are pure damage dealers, all of your stat priorities are centered around stats that boost your damage output. This includes both raw damage with spell power, but also longevity through added mana and regeneration. As with any damage-dealing class, you’ll also need to achieve a specific hit chance.
Here are your stat priorities as a frost mage:
- Spell Hit to Cap (16%) – You’ll gain 6% from 3 points in the Elemental Precision talent, leaving just 10% to acquire from gear. Missing a spell is the biggest DPS loss you can have, making spell hit crucial.
- Spell Damage – To boost the power of your spells, you’ll want raw spell damage. Bonuses to frost damage also help. This is your primary focus after capping off your spell hit.
- Intellect – After spell damage, intellect is your best friend. Not only does it boost your maximum mana, but it also gives you a slight boost to your spell crit chance.
- Spell Critical Chance – Spell critical chance is always great for helping to do extra damage. You’ll get some naturally from intellect though, so it makes it less important. Don’t shy away from any you do find.
- Spirit/MP5 – Finally, any source of mana regeneration will also help. Spirit is effective thanks to the Arcane Meditation talent, but MP5 does the job just as well. You shouldn’t prioritize this, but it does still benefit you.
The professions you decide to level are also an important aspect of optimizing your character. Mages are a class that benefit from picking up specific professions, although you can still benefit from just about any. Without professions, you’re missing an essential way of making money and granting yourself useful advantages to help set you apart from other mages.
These are the best professions to have as a frost mage:
- Tailoring – The best profession you can have as a mage is tailoring. This allows you to make Robe of the Archmage, a bind-on-pickup robe that is fantastic until you’re able to craft and use the Bloodvine set.
- Enchanting – A natural pairing with tailoring is another profession that is self-sustaining. Enchanting will allow you to gather your own enchanting materials, making the cost much cheaper when you need to enchant your own gear.
- Engineering – Another great option is always engineering. Since you’ll probably take tailoring, engineering is less feasible since you won’t have mining. Alternatively, you can take engineering and mining for endless bombs and useful gadgets.
- Mining – If you’re going to take engineering and don’t want/need tailoring, you should pick up mining. This will let you gather all the materials necessary for engineering patterns.
One of the most important aspects of optimizing is the enchants you choose to use. You’ll gain a significant amount of damage from enchants alone, but they are often quite expensive. Don’t be afraid to use weaker versions of listed enchants (if available) until you have gear you know you’ll be keeping for a while.
These enchants are essential for a frost mage:
- Helm – Presence of Sight, +18 Healing/Spell Damage, +1% Hit Chance or Arcanum of Focus, +8 Healing/Spell Damage
- Shoulders – Zandalar Signet of Mojo, +18 Healing/Spell Damage
- Cloak – Subtlety, -2% Threat
- Chest – Greater Stats, +4 All Stats
- Bracers – Mana Regeneration, +4MP5
- Gloves – Frost Power, +20 Frost 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
Another thing you’ll need to remember is consumables. As a mage, you don’t need as many as other classes do, but there are still a core few that will help you out. Most consumables focus around boosting spell damage, but don’t shy away from any that give you mana regeneration as well.
You won’t want to go without these consumables as a frost mage:
- Flask – Flask of Supreme Power, +150 Spell Damage for 2 hours
- Elixir – Greater Arcane Elixir, +35 Spell Damage for 1 hour
- Potions – Mageblood Potion, +12 MP5 for 1 hour, and Major Mana Potion, ~1800 mana every 2 minutes.
- Food – Nightfin Soup, +8 MP5, or Sagefish Delight, +6 MP5.
- Weapon Oil – Brilliant Wizard Oil, +36 Spell Damage, +1% Spell Crit Chance
- Others – Demonic / Dark Rune for extra mana at the cost of health, Scroll of Intellect for +17 Intellect, and Limited Invulnerability Potion to instantly drop threat.
Rotation & Gameplay Tips
Raiding as a frost mage is exceptionally easy, regardless of whether you use an arcane frost or a deep frost talent build. Not only are mages easy to play, but they reliably output good damage without needing specific gear.
Here are some important tips to playing as a mage:
- (If arcane frost) use Presence of Mind and Arcane Power on cooldown to get maximum usage. Combine Berserking if you have it, but try to make sure you’re at low health if possible.
- (If deep frost) try to keep Ice Barrier applied at all times. Use Ice Block if you’re in danger of dying, and don’t be afraid to use Cold Snap to reset the cooldown.
- For buffs, you can use Arcane Intellect for +31 Intellect on yourself and other spellcasters. Personally, you’ll want to use Mage Armor for added mana regeneration.
- Polymorph is a fantastic utility spell that turns an enemy into a docile sheep. You’ll need to become familiar with this as crowd control is quite important.
- Mages also have the ability to Conjure Water and Conjure Food, granting free out-of-combat health and mana regeneration to anyone the mage trades with.
- Don’t forget to use Conjure Mana Ruby before a fight for a free mana boost during the fight. You can also use Evocation if you ever completely run out, although you won’t be able to cast spells during the channel.
- You may also be required to Remove Lesser Curse, so have it somewhere accessible on your bars in case you notice one you can remove.
The actual rotation for a frost mage is quite simple. Regardless of your build, for single target fights you will only cast Frostbolt. If you need to move and can’t cast, you can use Fire Blast or Cone of Cold for instant damage. For multiple targets, you’ll cast Flamestrike, follow it up with a Cone of Cold, and then proceed to spam Arcane Explosion. Simple, yet effective!