Fire Mage Pve Rotation, Cooldowns, And Abilities (wotlk)

Fire Mages have a very dynamic & fun rotation, that has caused them to be a fan-favourite spec in WotLK.

Single Target Rotation

Both the Torment the Weak & Frostfire Bolt builds follow this priority rotation:

  1. Apply the Living Bomb debuff
  2. Use Scorch for the Improved Scorch debuff. This will not be necessary if your raid has a Demonology or Affliction Warlock.
  3. Use Pyroblast when your Hot Streak activates
  4. Otherwise, cast Fireball, or Frostfire Bolt if you’re using the FFB build

About Ignite

When you deal a critical strike with your fire spells, that spell will deal 175% of its normal damage and apply Ignite. Ignite will burn the target for 40% of that spell’s damage over 4 seconds, dealing 25% of its damage per second. When you deal another fire critical strike while the target already has Ignite, including from Living Bomb crits, 40% of that spell’s damage is added to the Ignite, and Ignite‘s duration is refreshed.

Example:
– Your Fireball crits for 10k damage. Ignite debuff is applied, dealing 4000 damage total (4 ticks of 1000 damage)
*First tick ticks for 1000 damage.
*Second tick deals 1000 damage.
– Your Pyroblast lands with a crit of 12k damage. Ignite debuff is refreshed, dealing 4800 damage total (4 ticks of 1200 damage)
*First tick deals 2200 damage – 1000 from the Fireball crit +1200 from the Pyroblast
*Second tick deals 2200 damage.
– The Ignite damage from your Fireball crit is now over
*Third tick deals 1200 damage.
*Fourth tick deals 1200 damage.
Ignite now fades.

See how Ignite stacks? This is just a basic example. The more often you crit, the higher your Ignite damage will ramp up to.

When should I use Combustion?

Combustion increases your critical strike damage by 50%, so you want to use it when you have the highest amount of spell power possible, from trinket procs & use effects — so it will be very useful to have an addon which tracks their internal cooldowns.

Furthermore, it is best used when the boss is at 35% HP or lower, thanks to your Molten Fury talent. If the fight is really short, use it at this point. If the fight will last longer than 2 minutes, meaning you can use Combustion multiple times, try to use it as soon as you can. Try not to waste your Combustion on Scorch and avoid “wasting” it on your Living Bomb‘s final tick — cast it after refreshing LB on your target.

Area of Effect Rotation 

Highest AoE damage:
To begin with, you never cast Living Bomb on mobs who won’t live long enough for final tick.

  • If the mobs are stationary, try to cast a few Living Bombs before commiting to Flamestrike spam. Flamestrike has a 2 sec cast time with 8 sec of burning damage afterwards. If you’re below 25% spell haste, cast Flamestrike (Rank 9) first, followed by Flamestrike (Rank 8), and then 2-3 casts of Flamestrike (Rank 9). Repeat. You don’t cast rank 7 at any point.
  • If mobs have very low HP, you cast a single Flamestrike followed by Blizzard (if ranged).
  • If the mobs are mobile, only use Living Bomb. Start using Pyroblast when they get low. If they won’t survive until LB explodes, and you are forced to move, spam Arcane Explosion.
  • Boss or “Big add” + adds: Living Bomb everyone; consider Flamestrike spam if necessary. Use Hot Streak procs on the boss / “Big Add”.

Fire Mage tips and how to avoid messing up Hot Streak

Fire Mage is a very dynamic spec to play and is immensely fun. Instead of following a static rotation, you need to adapt to the situation as it evolves. Therefore Fire has a lot of small rules that mean a lot. In essence, it’s narrowed down to knowing the relationship between Living Bomb and Hot Streak and knowing the importance of the distance between you and your target.

For instance, Living Bomb explodes in the middle of your Fireball cast and you get Hot Streak. You have two choices after your cast: refresh Living Bomb or cast instant Pyroblast. So here is what you need to consider: refreshing LB before firing Pyroblast results in the highest DPS increase for LB, as you maximize its uptime. BUT, if it happens that airborne Fireball crits and triggers Hot Streak again while you were refreshing LB, you have lost an instant Pyroblast. It’s called clogging and that is the biggest DPS loss you can do to yourself!

And between those moments of refreshing LB or throwing an instant Pyroblast – you’re using Fireball (and Scorch or Flamestrike). That’s it!

The first rule of caster DPS is ABC – Always Be Casting. Movement encounters are where Fire Mages shine. If crit is generous, you can cast and frequently move for GCD duration, which is usually more than enough to eliminate any idle moment apart from Blinking when situations require you to, ensuring that you’re always maximizing your casting time. You have no idle movement whatsoever.

Next up is the importance of the distance between you and your enemy. Outside of that scope, in situations when you don’t have to be clumped with the rest of the raid or have specific ranged positioning or exact spot to stand on, how far you ideally want to stand from your target is determined by your gear – specifically, your haste stat.

  • Regardless if you have the Flame Throwing talent or not, in situations when it is expected of you to use your Arcane utility, such as Polymorph or Counterspell, be in range of those abilities — which is 30 yards.

This leads us to Living Bomb. Its explosion counts for Hot Streak proc and if it crits on two enemies it’s Pyroblast ahoy. If you’re so distant that your Fireball is being cast while Hot Streak is up, and if LB crits, it will be a DPS loss because you just lost a Hot Streak proc; and it’s a DPS loss if you stop Fireball mid cast to shoot Pyroblast. It’s a DPS loss if you throw Pyroblast before re-applying Living Bomb, but if airborne Fireball / other Living Bomb crits and triggers Hot Streak, it’s again a DPS loss as you just lost a Pyroblast. That all is the second reason why having proper distance is important.

The more enemies are affected inside Living Bomb’s 10 yard blast radius, the higher the chances of an instant Pyroblast. In cases where you have enough adds to LB every GCD and a boss to take care of, you should spam those LBs on all targets (especially boss or X big add) and then spam all those happy Pyroblasts at the boss and repeat the process. They don’t necessarily have to be together, but if they are, not only will the boss be singed from Pyroblast spam, he will be damaged from the explosions themselves, adding in the damage from them and all the Ignite — oh, all the Ignite. No mana problems at all. Oh, and if enemies are together and LBed – cast Flamestrikes next. More explosions!

However, if adds are not important – AND are not close to the boss – you should ignore them and focus all of your DPS on the boss. While you’re doing more overall damage done, your boss DPS drops (known as effective damage). If the adds are important, then LB them all the same.

To give examples:

  • On the Iron Council, don’t spread LB. They reset HP when one dies, thus your effective DPS is single target only.
  • On Mimiron’s 4th phase, you should LB all body parts (and keep up Scorch debuff if needed). 
  • On Yogg-Saron 0 lights, you should keep LBs up on Guardians to help keep the adds at low HP.
  • Anoob’Arak in ToGC 25 has four adds – LB all four adds and the boss, but you do NOT Flamestrike to pad the meters unless the raid leader asks everyone to nuke them. 
  • On Onyxia, it’s better if you focus entirely on her. But if the group is weak, it’s okay to LB whelps until Hot Streak starts proccing, and then using all of the procs on Onyxia or the big add if needed.
  • On the Lich King encounter in ICC, during phase 1, you should NOT cast LB on Ghouls – focus all of your DPS on the boss; maybe LB Shambling Horror.

 

About the Author

Amery

Hey guys! My name is Amery and here is a little something about me: I've been playing WoW for about 15 years now. With that experience, I wanted to share all the things I have learned over the years.
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