PvP Frost Mage Rotations, Cooldowns & Abilities

wotlk pvp frost mage rotations, cooldowns & abilities

Player versus Player requires a bit of a different mindset compared to the PvE content. It necessitates fast thinking, fast reactions, and adaptability. This guide will go over all of your useful spells and cover how to use them as effectively as possible.

Click a section of the guide to expand it!

Abilities Overview

  • Ice Lance is an instant cast ability that deals direct frost damage to your target. This ability does triple damage against frozen targets!
    • Just like Frostbolt, this ability procs Winter’s Chill. This will be one of the main abilities that you will find yourself spamming, no matter what you are doing. Whether we talk about slightly moving or just changing your position entirely, you will want to weave in Ice Lance casts.
    • This ability will become your main priority whenever your target is frozen, as it can deal huge amounts of damage. Notably, you can cast Ice Lance immediately after you finish casting Frostbolt, throwing both spells in the same global cooldown.

  • Fire Blast is your bread and butter medium-range instant cast ability that deals Fire Damage.
    • Even as a Frost Mage, you will often find yourself spamming this ability on cooldown, as it can deal higher raw damage than Ice Lance, provided that the target is not frozen. Keep in mind that Fire Blast will be affected by Shatter!

  • Arcane Missiles is a channeled ability that deals Arcane Damage to a target over 5 seconds.
    • You will want to use this ability in a few situations. The first one will be to bait out an interrupt if your Blink is on cooldown. The second situation sounds a bit insane, but you will actually want to cast this spell if your target is about to LoS you. The logic behind this is that this ability can effectively clip through walls, as long as you cast it while your target is in your sight. Sadly, you can not recast it after your target has LoS-ed you, meaning that you will either want to chase them or reset the fight.

  • Scorch deals Fire Damage to your target.
    • Similarly to Arcane Missiles, you can use this ability to either bait an interrupt from an enemy or use it when your Frost Magic School has been “Spell-Locked”.

  • Fireball deals direct Fire Damage to your target, plus additional damage in a DoT.
    • You might be wondering what this ability is doing in a Frost Mage guide. To be blunt, this will be a filler ability to consume the Brain Freeze proc, until you acquire Frostfire Bolt. Nothing more to it.

  • Frostfire Bolt is a castable ability that deals direct Frostfire Damage to your target, while also slowing its movement speed by 40% and placing a DoT that deals Frostfire Damage for up to 9 seconds.
    • This ability can be used on its own instead of Frostbolt. However, due to its long casting time, and fewer talents directly impacting it, you will ideally only want to use it in conjunction with Brain Freeze.

  • Arcane Explosion is an ability that deals instant arcane damage to all enemies caught in its radius.
    • You will want to use this ability in three distinct situations:
      • While in melee combat
      • In an AoE fight in a battleground, ideally used after the first clash when Blizzard is not a solid option.
      • To aggressively finish a player without giving them the chance to interrupt you.

  • Arcane Blast deals heavy direct Arcane Damage to your enemy, and each time you cast it increases Arcane spell damage by 15% and the mana cost of Arcane Blast is increased by 175%. This effect stacks up to four times and lasts 4 seconds or until another spell is used.
    • This is a valid alternative to Scorch and Arcane Missiles whenever you are locked out of the Frost Magic School. Keep in mind that Arcane Blast has a long casting time and its special effect that can end up quickly eating away your mana pool if you cast it multiple times in a row.

  • Blizzard is an iconic Mage spell, allowing you to engulf an entire area with dangerous ice shards, raining down frozen hell on your enemies.
    • This is a channeled ability that can be augmented through the Improved Blizzard talent. You will want to use this spell to deal heavy damage to a large number of enemies in Battlegrounds from a safe distance.
    • With the help of Improved Blizzard, you will also want to cast this ability in the Arena, as it can prove to be a very useful zoning tool. If you choose to use Improved Blizzard, you can also use it to quickly stack Winter’s Chill on several targets at the same time!

  • Cone of Cold is a short-range AoE ability, allowing you to deal Frost Damage while also slowing any target caught in its radius by 50%.
    • This ability can be used to massacre players in AoE situations, or can be used as a fast defensive option against melee assailants when Frost Nova is not available.

  • Summon Water Elemental is an ability that allows you to call forth a Water Elemental to assist you in combat.
    • You can enhance this ability through two distinct means.
      • You can use Enduring Winter to increase its standard duration by 15 seconds
      • Use of Glyph of Eternal Water, turning it into an everlasting pet. The downside of using the glyph is that your Water Elemental will no longer have access to Freeze, however, its raw damage is worth considering. Generally speaking, you will want to use your Water Elemental whenever you are about to burst your target down, except in situations such as duels, where you might want to use it immediately to gain an edge.

  • Mirror Image creates 3 copies of yourself that will spam Frostbolt at your target, damaging it while also slowing it.
    • This is one of your most powerful abilities. How you use it will mostly depend on the situation that you find yourself in. You will either want to pop this ability as fast as possible to slow your opponent while gaining distance, or you may want to use this ability when you are about to burst your target down.

  • Icy Veins is an ability that increases your casting speed by up to 20% while also granting you immunity to any pushback effect while casting for 20 seconds.
    • You will want to use this ability in conjunction with any other haste-increasing effect right before you are about to burst down your target. As Frost Mage is highly dependent on Haste Rating, this ability is a must-have!
  • Dampen Magic can be placed on any ally, reducing any magic damage taken while also reducing any healing received by a certain amount.
    • This ability in itself can be useful against other casters, however, its true purpose is to add another buff to your roster, allowing your more important buffs to survive Purge or Mass Dispel.

  • Amplify Magic enhances any magical damage received while also enhancing any healing received by a specific amount.
    • This ability is useful against physical damage dealers. Just like Dampen Magic, its purpose is to add another buff to your roster, allowing your more important buffs to survive Purge or Mass Dispel.

  • Arcane Intellect is our standard buff, enhancing the Intellect value by up to 60 of anyone affected by it.
    • Besides the obvious effects of adding additional Intellect to your character, this ability also safeguards buffs such as Ice Barrier from dispelling abilities.

  • Blink is a distinctive Mage ability that grants us extreme mobility. This ability allows you to phase through space, teleporting a short distance in the direction your character is facing.
    • This ability allows you to escape both stun and immobilizing effects, being extremely useful for both kiting and defending yourself against ambushes. Blink can also be used to negate any falling damage, either by using it right before you hit the ground or midair to lessen the fall.

  • Invisibility is an ability that grants you temporary invisibility for up to 20 seconds, with an initial 3-second fade duration.
    • The only downside of this ability is that you will not be able to see any Player or NPC around you, making for a poor ambush option. However, you can use this ability either at the beginning of an arena match to position yourself in a favorable spot. You can also use it defensively to run away from a scary situation and use some magic snacks to heal yourself.

  • Remove Curse is a straightforward ability that allows you to remove 1 curse effect from yourself or your allies.
    • This ability has only one use, as there is only one class that can lay curses on their enemies. You can now laugh in the face of any Warlocks you meet!

  • Slow Fall is an ability that allows you to float for a limited amount of time.
    • You can use Glyph of Slow Fall to remove the reagent needed for this ability, granting you a free tool that can be used as a shortcut for travel or ambushes in battlegrounds such as Alterac Valley, Arathi Basin, Strand of the Ancients, or even Wintergrasp.

  • Spellsteal is a very potent ability with a hefty mana cost. It allows you to steal any beneficial magical effect from your target and retain it for up to 2 minutes.
    • This ability can be used against a variety of effects, however, since it has an absurd mana cost, you should definitely save it for key moments! Good uses of this ability are to steal absorption effects such as Sacred Shield or Power Word: Shield, or effects such as Innervate. One easy way to use this ability without any immediate threat is to cast it on a target affected by Polymorph!

  • Conjure Refreshment is an ability that many players would no doubt appreciate in real life, as it allows you to magically conjure 20 strudels.
    • The Mage class has no access to healing spells (except for Evocation while using its glyph), meaning that we will have to rely on our infinite source of food to heal our wounds. Sadly, unlike Skyrim, you can not munch on your magical food while in combat. No tasty cheese for us. Mage food is the only type of food that can be consumed in arenas — except for special PvP food — so you can gift some to your allies before the match.

  • Conjure Mana Gem grants you the ability to store mana for later use by conjuring a gem that can be used to restore mana up to 3 times.
    • This ability is a great preparation tool, as it allows you to store your mana before any type of fight, whether it is in the arena or battlegrounds. You will want to make use of your mana gem charges before using Evocation.

  • Evocation is a channeled ability with a long cooldown that allows you to restore up to 60% of your mana pool.
    • With the Glyph of Evocation, you can also turn Evocation into an ability that grants you a powerful heal — provided that it does not get interrupted. You will want to cast this ability only in a safe spot, ideally a place that has no direct Line-of-Sight to your enemy. Because of its long cast time, you will only want to use this ability if you are severely injured or close to being out of mana (OOM).

  • Cold Snap allows you to reset the cooldown of all your Frost spells.
    • This is a very intriguing ability, as it allows you to do many cool tricks! You can either choose to use it after your initial Icy Veins expires, or you can choose to use it instantly to assure a Deep Freeze if the first one was trinketed.
  • Ice Block is an ability that grants you total invulnerability for up to 10 seconds while also placing a debuff on you called Hypothermia for up to 30 seconds, preventing you from benefiting from another Ice Block.
    • Although granting you complete immunity, Ice Block is still susceptible to Mass Dispel and Shattering Throw. You can use Ice Block in a variety of ways. For example, you could use it to completely negate the effects of a Bladestorm, or you can use it to completely remove any debuff placed by an Affliction Warlock. However, you should never panic and use it immediately at the beginning of combat, as it can leave you defenseless against powerful burst abilities.

  • Ice Barrier grants you a solid damage absorption effect while also protecting you from any pushback effect while it is active.
    • This is the most powerful defensive ability in your kit that you can reliably spam. While being extremely strong and generally reliable, Ice Barrier is extremely vulnerable to dispel effects. To counter this, you should make sure that, after casting Ice Barrier, you deploy as many buffs as possible such as Mana Shield and Dampen Magic to protect Ice Barrier from abilities such as Purge and Dispel Magic, even going as far as throwing Slow Fall into the mix as well.

  • Ice Armor provides you with increased armor, frost resistance, and a chance to apply a slow to both the movement speed and attack speed of anyone who strikes you.
    • The first choice you have when it comes to mage defensive abilities. Luckily, this ability can not be dispelled, meaning that you will be able to use it against physical damage dealers without any issue.

  • Molten Armor grants you the ability to return fire damage to any target damaging you, decrease the chance to be critically hit by 5% while also granting you increased critical strike chance based on 35% of your total spirit value.
    • As it offers limited defensive capabilities when compared to the other mage armor spells, this ability is best used aggressively, helping you to burst your target. Beware however that this ability is very situational and should generally be used only when you are a safe distance from your enemies.

  • Mage Armor grants you increased magical resistances, and the ability to continue to regenerate 50% of your mana while in combat, while also giving you a 50% duration reduction to any harmful magical effect cast on you.
    • When fighting casters, this will be your main defensive tool. The reduction in negative effect durations makes it crucial against classes that use DoT effects, such as Priests or Warlocks.

  • Mana Shield is an ability that grants you an absorption effect at the cost of 1.5 mana points per damage absorbed.
    • Has no virtual cooldown, meaning that you can effectively spam it, however, it does rapidly deplete your mana pool. This ability has its ups and downs, proving useful in some situations, however, you should consider it mainly a filler ability in order to protect your Ice Barrier from dispels.

  • Fire Ward grants you an absorption effect for 30 seconds, blocking a specific amount of fire damage.
    • This straightforward ability is useful against other mages, warlocks, and hunters. You can also use this ability to safeguard important buffs such as Ice Barrier

  • Frost Ward grants you an absorption effect for 30 seconds, blocking a specific amount of frost damage.
    • A simple ability, useful against other mages and death knights. You can also use this ability to safeguard important buffs such as Ice Barrier.
  • Counterspell interrupts an enemy spell cast and locks him out of the school of magic that was interrupted for up to 8 seconds.
    • A very powerful crowd control ability. You can also empower this ability through the use of Improved Counterspell, granting you the ability to also silence the target for up to 4 seconds. You can choose to use this ability in a variety of ways, however, it all really depends on who your target is.
    • In some fights, you may want to use it right at the beginning to ensure that the silence effect destroys their opening strategy, or you can choose to save it and use it towards the end of a fight against hybrid classes that attempt to heal themselves.

  • Frost Nova freezes any enemies caught in its blast for up to 8 seconds.
    • Your standard crowd control ability. Keep in mind that any damage done to the target can destroy the freezing effect. You will want to use this ability either defensively against melee fighters in order to gain distance or offensive against any type of class in order to proc two different effects:
      • Deep Freeze requires a frozen target in order to be triggered.
      • Ice Lance is a spell you spam a lot, and it does triple damage to frozen targets.

  • Deep Freeze stuns a frozen target for up to 5 seconds.
    • The strongest crowd control ability in your kit. You can also use this ability as pure direct damage against targets that are immune to stun effects, however, it will still require a frozen target. This ability has a relatively long cooldown, forcing you to make the best out of it.
    • You can choose to use it at the beginning of the fight, but you risk losing it to a trinket cast or an ability that can remove stun effects even while stunned. Therefore, this ability is best-used mid-fight after your opponent burns their trinket, or after other defensive cooldowns have been used.

  • Chilled is an effect propagated by some of your frost spells; it grants you the chance of freezing your enemies through the use of Frostbite.

  • Polymorph turns any humanoid enemy into a sheep!
    • This iconic ability is extremely powerful for kill setups, allowing you to completely isolate one enemy from his allies, granting you the opportunity to set up a perfect kill or murder their ally right before their eyes. Unlike Vanilla WoW and TBC WoW, the duration of Polymorph has been severely reduced, meaning that you will want to cast it several times on the same target in order to achieve a similar effect.
    • However, you should keep in mind that the ability suffers from Diminishing Returns, meaning that you will only be able to land 3-4 successful Polymorph casts before the target becomes immune. Depending on the situation you find yourself in, you will want to either use this ability to completely isolate a target from their allies in arenas or simply strip the buffs in duels from any enemy by combining Polymorph and Spellsteal.

General Strategy

“Kiting” — running away while casting spells — is the name of the game! Our kit is loaded with spells that can slow or stun our enemies, impairing their attempts to reach us. Our spells also have a very high range, allowing us to destroy targets from afar. As a Frost Mage, you will generally want to isolate a target and quickly burst it down through huge critical strikes.

Your range and continuous slow effects are your most valuable assets, so take advantage of them — positioning is vital! Luckily, we have access to extreme mobility through the use of Blink, meaning that even if we do not have a good initial position, we can shift it quickly.

Depending on the class you are fighting, you may either want to restrict yourself to instant cast abilities while continuously kiting your opponent or simply become a turret and ravage them with continuous casts of Frostbolt. It all really depends on the matchup — naturally, you’ll want to do your best to stay away from melee classes like Warriors, while against a fellow mage doing as much damage as possible is the path to victory.

Keep in mind that while you have a plethora of crowd control and defensive abilities, at the end of the day you are a vulnerable wizard that has never fared well against heavy physical damage, meaning that you will always want to practice caution against heavy physical damage dealers.

One important trick to know is the “Fake Cast” tactic. This entails using a different school of magic to bait out an interrupt effect from your enemies. For example, you could cast Scorch to bait out an interrupt on your Fire Magic, allowing you to freely cast Frost or Arcane Magic. Alternatively, you can cast Frost Magic or Fire Magic to ensure that you will land an Arcane spell such as Polymorph. Of course, this won’t always work. Fortunately, your kit such that even if you get interrupted, you will have access to other schools of magic that will do the trick until Frost Magic recovers.

Fake casting also has a different meaning! You can achieve a “Fake Cast” by casting a spell and immediately moving afterward, canceling the spell. If an enemy takes the bait, they will attempt interrupting the spell, only to be surprised by the fact that the interrupt failed as soon as you moved and canceled the spell yourself. However, “Fake Casting” is hard to achieve against experienced players, as they’ll expect it. This means you will probably need to fake multiple casts in a row to bait out an interrupt effect.

General Spell Priority

In WotLK Classic, Frost Mage is a spec that focuses on proc effects. This means that you will not have a specific priority of spells that you will always follow, but rather a priority based on your procs. Since we are a burst class that heavily relies on Shatter to destroy our enemies, we will need to utilize two particular proc effects to ensure we can fully benefit from Shatter.

The first proc effect we’re going to examine is Fingers of Frost. This passive ability has a 15% chance (at max rank) to trigger when you inflict chill effects on your target, and since our kit is stacked with such effects, you will proc it fairly often. The proc itself causes your next two spells to act as if they are cast against a frozen target. This means that you can achieve some interesting effects with the proc, especially since thanks to Shatter we have a 50% increased critical strike chance against frozen targets.

The most powerful spell you can trigger with the Fingers of Frost is Deep Freeze, meaning that you will not need to waste Frost Nova or your Water Elemental’s Freeze in order to cast Deep Freeze on your target. If you choose not to use one of the procs on Deep Freeze, you can instead use it on two Ice Lance casts.

The second proc that we will talk about is Brain Freeze, which grants you a chance to gain a free (no mana cost), instant cast of Fireball or Frostfire Bolt whenever you cast an ability that inflicts Chilled (this has a 15% chance of occurring with max rank Brain Freeze). Before acquiring Frostfire Bolt, this proc can only be used on Fireball. However, after acquiring it, you will only want to use it in combination with Frostfire Bolt.

You will want to use this proc on every possible occasion, considering that Frostfire Bolt is a hard-hitting ability. Keep in mind that a Brain Freeze can trigger during a Fingers of Frost, meaning that Frostfire Bolt will be empowered by Shatter.

Now that we have talked about our procs, we will give you an example of what your spell priority should look like. Keep in mind, however, that the priority of your spells will depend entirely on the situation you find yourself in and the matchup you are facing!

Matchup & Mode-Specific Strategies

Caster Fights

When talking about caster fights, it all really depends on what you are fighting. While Hunters are classified as casters, we will mention them here as they generally function more like casters than melees. Additionally, it is the only matchup in which there is a clear bias against you.

Aside from our Hunter nemeses, fights with caster specializations are all similar. Caster fights usually revolve around who manages to crowd control (CC) their enemy first; this CC tends to be hard CC (Stun , Silence, Fear, Interrupt, or Polymorph). Effects such as snares or slows (soft CC) typically do not impact casters as much as a melee class, since they can continue casting. The only beneficial aspect of slows and snares in caster fights revolve around “Line-of-Sighting” your opponent or simply outranging them.

Luckily, as a Frost Mage, you have access to multiple forms of crowd control, including snares, a silence, an interrupt, a stun, a polymorph, and slow effects. The main objective against a caster is to first crowd control it, and then burst it as fast as possible. Since a lot of casters have access to dispel magic, you can choose to first Polymorph the target and steal a beneficial effect with Spellsteal, to discourage them from dispelling your beneficial effects. However, if they begin to dispel you, you should just focus on bursting them as soon as possible while they waste their global cooldowns on dispelling all your beneficial effects.

If you are fighting a DoT class, you can choose to let them place their DoTs on you — blasting them with Frostbolts all the while — and then trigger Ice Block once they’ve finished, removing all the effects. Keep in mind that you will have to instantly remove the Ice Block afterward, easily done with a Cancelaura Macro.

Mirror Image and Summon Water Elemental can continuously pressure your enemy, either helping you burst your target or allowing you the chance to create an opportunity to outrange your enemy and begin bursting it down. Your burst tactics generally stay the same whatever spec you’re facing, however, you may want to focus on Frostbolt spamming against casters. This is because there will be no close combat danger that will force you to use instant cast abilities.

You should always consider the use of Counterspell carefully! Fights against classes like Balance Druids or Shadow Priests will require you to cast it as fast as possible, while fights against other mages or warlocks will require more consideration when it comes to Counterspell timing.

Melee Fights

Fighting a melee character is very different from facing a caster. Most melee classes have access to gap-closing abilities and a hefty amount of interrupt effects; they also have abilities that help them stick to their target.

As a Frost Mage, your main objective against melee fighters is to survive the initial opener, whether it’s Death Grip, Charge, Garrote, or Pounce. The only effect that can not be trinketed is the “Silence” effect — any other effect can be removed with a trinket. Fortunately, we can remove any stun or snare effect with our trusty Blink.

Once you survive the initial opener, you should immediately seek to create distance between you and your target. Afterward, you can attempt to Polymorph the target to reset the fight and gain the opener advantage, or start damaging your foe with instant cast abilities while continuously moving. The goal is to slow your target as much as possible with the help of Mirror Image and Cone of Cold. After surviving their initial burst, you will want to damage your target as much as possible while continuously kiting it. Continue to use instant cast abilities such as Cone of Cold, Fire Blast, Arcane Explosion, and Ice Lance while your target is still relatively close. Only resume casting Frostbolt when your target is either frozen or under the effect of Deep Freeze.


When it comes to battlegrounds, you may want to use a separate specialization specifically built for it. This is because Battlegrounds usually contain clusters of people fighting in the same area, and so Improved Blizzard will have significantly more value than usual. You will mostly want to keep to the backline and select frail targets that you can kill quickly.

Keep in mind that it is extremely easy to be outnumbered in a battleground; stick with your teammates or utilize the environment to keep out of harms way. Particularly in battlegrounds such as Arathi Basin or Alterac Valley, you will most definitely want to stick with your team. You also have the choice of protecting different objectives, however, as a Frost Mage, it will be quite difficult to do so as a lone defender; if you want to play defense, you’ll want to have a healer around.


Your overall strategy and mentality must be very different in Arenas compared to Battlegrounds or Duels. In other situations, you’ll usually attempt to burst your target as soon as possible. However, in the Arena, your mentality must shift depending on your partner. If you choose to partner up with a Rogue or Feral Druid, focus less on dealing damage and more on crowd controlling one of your opponents. If you partner up with a healer or another caster, your gameplay will shift towards an attrition war, in which you will want to pressure your enemies as much as possible while dividing them.

Whichever partner you choose, your success will depend on successfully crowd controlling your targets and utilizing LoS; Polymorph is your best friend in arenas. Depending on what comp you are fighting, an arena can last a few seconds or drag on for as long as 10 minutes.

Perfectly timing your crowd control abilities and choosing the best moment to burst your target down will be the key to success, especially when partnered with a Rogue. In arenas, you will encounter skilled opponents who can correctly time their silence and interrupting effects. This means you will want to make use of fake casting as much as possible, while also utilizing spells such as Blizzard to zone your foes.

Spells such as Scorch, Arcane Blast, Arcane Explosion, and Arcane Missiles can be used to trick your enemies into interrupting something other than a Frost spell. However, note that getting locked out of the Arcane Magic School will leave you vulnerable, as access to Polymorph and Blink is very important.

Examples of permanent crowd control combos:


About the Author


Hey there folks, I am Nevermore and have been deeply passionate about WoW for more than a decade. Whether we talk about the hidden mysteries of Azeroth or the otherworldly Outland, my journey brought me here to share the things that I have experienced with you all.
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