4.3 Frost Mage PvP guide

EDIT: I had assumed this died. I just updated a lot of information that was faulty, fixed a few typos, and added a few random things.

4.3 Frost Mage PvP Guide
I wanted to give a up-to-date guide to a few friends that were trying to learn the class, and I couldn't find one that was dedicated to frost, so I figured I'd make one. While it’s not a *very* difficult class to play, it can still be confusing to jump into if you’re used to another spec or haven’t played your mage in a while. All of this guide is intended for general PvP use, though I might make a few references to BGs/Arena.

I’m no gladiator, and I haven’t ever played 2500 arena. However, I’ve played enough to know this class inside and out. If you disagree with anything, let me know and I’ll change it as I see fit. Also keep in mind that the purpose of this guide is to help beginning frost mages grasp the concept, not to train you to immediately become the greatest mage on the planet.

Content:
Talents/Glyphs
Gearing
Playstyle
Macros/Keybinds
UI

Talents/Glyphs

Your spec/glyphs should look something like this.
http://www.wowhead.com/talent#oMZcbzbZffdhshszMo:MmRMqkm0o

There isn’t much room for variation with the frost tree. Mana gems, evocate, mage armor, and our endless supply of food pretty much nullify the purpose of our mana saving talents. Shattered barrier isn’t a great talent, given that we can just use frost nova or cone of cold. Reactive barrier is totally useless, it just saves a button press at the cost of a talent point.
You have to go into the fire tree to get Impact, which is infinitely better than anything in the arcane tree. While we're in the fire tree, blazing speed is a nice little proc.
Prime glyphs should not vary from the three I’ve provided. Major glyphs can vary based on preference. Glyph of icy veins and glyph of invisibility are both useful at times. Minor glyphs will save you from carrying reagents, but otherwise those provide no benefit.

Gearing

A frost mage’s stat priority is as follows.
Spell pen cap > Hit cap > Intellect > Mastery > Crit > Haste

240 spell pen is considered cap. You can easily get this from using a spell pen cape or neck, gemming/enchanting for spell pen is a waste of slots that could be used for intellect.

Hit cap is at 4%.
Intellect is your best friend. Take it when available, all the time.

Frost mage mastery = bigger shatters. Frost mages like big shatters, therefore frost mages like mastery.

The shatter talent multiplies your crit chance by 3. If you’re running at 16% crit, then with a shatter you’ll still only be at 48% chance of critting. Just get enough crit for your preferences, without sacrificing too much mastery.

Haste is dang near worthless right now for frost.

Resilience depends on your preferences, your comp in arenas, and your availability of PvE gear. Mastery gear is key to determine the viability of PvE. Ideal items are: Foul gift, soul casket, valor belt, valor cape, moonwell chalice. Soulshifter vortex and theralions mirror look good on paper, but they have enormous ICDs. Run with as little resilience as you can manage while still surviving.

BiS enchants are as follows:
Head - Hyjal revered: 60 int, 35 crit
PvP enchant; 60 int, 35 resil
Shoulder - PvP enchant; 50 int, 25 resil (scribes excluded)
Cape - 50 int (tailors excluded)
Chest - 20 stats or 40 resil
Wrist - 50 int (LWs excluded)
Gloves - 65 mastery
Legs - 95 int, 85 stam
Feet - 35 mastery, movement speed increase. Earthen vitality is decent if you're cheap
MH weapon (or staff) - Power torrent
OH weapon - 40 int

When gemming, gem for straight intellect. If a socket bonus is worth getting in your opinion, use int/hit for blue sockets and int/mastery for yellows.
Edited by Arctíc on 7/24/2012 11:16 PM PDT
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Playstyle

With shatter, we have a very unique way of setting up our damage. While other classes just start casting, we have to freeze our opponents in order to do consistant burst. Shatter applies to all damage dealing spells, but the main ones that you’ll be using are frostbolt, ice lance, and frostfire bolt.
An ideal shatter on someone will be a frostbolt -> ice lance. They’ll be used on the same GCD, so they can both benefit from shattering. Frostfire bolt should only be used when brain freeze procs. Keep in mind that while FFB is stronger than ice lance, using brain freeze will also consume 1 finger of frost proc. If you need to do a lot of damage, use your ice lance until you run out of fingers of frost, then use frostfire bolt to avoid wasting those procs.
Let’s take a look at our different ways of freezing someone, and how they’re usually used.

Deep freeze - 5 second stun on one target, which must already be frozen with another spell. Also usable via FoF procs.
This one is great because it does not break on damage. In an ideal situation, you’ll cast frostbolt -> ice lance -> ice lance when shattering off a deep freeze. Naturally, if you have a major haste debuff, or you lost time to cast a FB, then you can just spam ice lance. It can also be used as a quick form of CC. Deep freeze is dispellable, so when you're opponents are with a healer, you need to incapacitate the healer to prevent a dispel. ie deep on dps, CS healer to prevent dispel, shatter dps.

Frost nova - An aoe root that hits everything directly around you.
This is my favorite to open with in 1v1 or random BGs, because it can be difficult to use later on in a match when you want to keep distance from melee or those pesky screaming priests.

Cone of cold - Same thing as frost nova, but it only affects an area in front of you, and lasts a shorter time. Also has a slow effect.
Mostly a peel or a setup for deep freeze. You’ll rarely have a chance to frostbolt off a cone of cold due to the short freeze duration, although you can almost always ice lance for a quick shatter.

Pet nova - Literally the same thing as a frost nova, but you can place it anywhere in range of your water elemental.
This one has every benefit of frost nova, with the addition of being ranged. But one of the most overlooked and useful qualities of your pet nova is its ability to pull people out of stealth while you're incapacitated. Get sapped? Throw a quick pet nova on top of yourself and odds are that you’ll pull that rogue out. Since you can move your pet, you can also freeze people out of your line of sight and range.

Blink - In addition to being our super-manuverability spell, blink lets us escape a lot of CC. You should try to keep blink available to escape deep freezes, HoJs, etc.

Frostfire orb - This is a proc machine that gives us a ton of instant cast spells. Fire it off into a cluster of enemies, and get instant procs.
This is really nice when kiting melee. Another use is when you're being pillar humped by an enemy: you can fire an orb to one direction and run the other, forcing the enemy to run into your orb.
Edited by Arctíc on 7/24/2012 11:15 PM PDT
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Ring of Frost - Places a big ring that takes a few seconds to form. Once it’s done, any opponent that steps on it will be frozen.
This is one of the most game-changing spells in our arsenal. The uses are almost limitless. It can be used to block off any narrow path in an arena or BG, it can be used to trap a kill target inside a smoke bomb, it can block off the middle platform on Lordaeron, block off the bridge on Blade’s Edge, the bridge on Twin Peaks, or etc. Dropping a ring will really help peel melee off an ally. Get creative with this one and always look for a good way to use it, because there are a ton.
RoF is a great spell to follow out of a sheep with, for a long CC chain. If you want to trap someone in a ring, but can't afford to sheep them first, a nova is always acceptable. However, if the enemy is capable of dispelling themselves, you'll need to nova and counterspell them to prevent a dispel.

Keybinds/Macros

Keybinds are important. If you wish to excel at PvP, you must have every important spell bound. Everyone’s setup is a little different, and anything is fine as long as you can reach everything easily. Some people even like to use ESDF instead of WASD, so that they can gain access to more keys on the middle of the keyboard while using Q W and A as potential binds for your spells.

Generally you’ll keep important spells that you use a lot closer to your hand, and situationally useful spells farther out. So something such as spellsteal, evocate, or decurse would be farther away, on keys such as 5, G, or T, while spells like counterspell and ice lance would be on nearer keys like Q, E, S, 1-4, F, and R.

Many more mage macros exist, but these are the ones that I use.

Counterspell: will silence your focus target when shift is held.

#showtooltip Counterspell
/stopcasting
/cast [modifier:shift, target=focus] Counterspell
/cast [nomodifier:shift] Counterspell

Polymorph: will sheep your focus target when shift is held.

#showtooltip Polymorph
/stopcasting
/cast [modifier:shift, target=focus] Polymorph
/cast [nomodifier:shift] Polymorph

Ice block: Will immediately cancel ice block. This means you can double tap this macro to use ice block to escape CC. If you spam your keys a lot though, this can be risky to use since you might cancel a defensive ice block.

#showtooltip Ice block
/stopcasting
/cancelaura Invisibility
/cast Ice Block

User Interface

The default blizzard UI is effective. If you prefer to change things, keep it simple and keep it clean. Just be sure you can monitor your focus target at all times, in addition to general awareness of CC effects, enemy cooldowns, casts, etc.

Gladius (Or an equivalent addon) is the only addon that I’d consider mandatory.

Other useful addons can include:

OmniCC - Shows the remaining cooldowns for spells on your bar. If you’ve got a minute left on your icy veins, this addon will show a big “1m” on the icon on your bar.

Losecontrol - Shows any CC effects that you’re currently under.

Replacement unit frames (Pitbull, Xperl, Shadowed, ouf, etc.) - replaces the default blizzard unit frames. These are more customizable, but it’s left up to preference.

Replacement action bars (Bartender, Dominos) - Replaces the default action bars. These are more customizable as well, so you can free up some space on your screen for other junk.

MSBT - I dislike this addon, so I have every feature disabled except the text for what I spellsteal. It's very nice to have my spellsteals displayed on the screen.

That’s about all I got. I hope I helped some people learn some stuff about playing a frost mage.
Edited by Arctíc on 7/24/2012 10:59 PM PDT
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85 Tauren Death Knight
2085
Surprised this thread doesn't have any comments. My new mage hit 85 last night (haven't played since WOTLK) and this is EXACTLY what I was looking for.

Awesome guide, thanks for taking the time to put this together.
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Because there's a more thorough guide in the stickies:

http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/3789699751
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85 Human Mage
0
Surprised this thread doesn't have any comments. My new mage hit 85 last night (haven't played since WOTLK) and this is EXACTLY what I was looking for.

Awesome guide, thanks for taking the time to put this together.


It's not as detailed as the guide that's already stickied, and it has some wrong information. For example, Cunning of the Cruel is NOT very good for frost mages.
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85 Undead Mage
8095
03/14/2012 06:21 PMPosted by Arctíc
I also recommend setting up an offensive cooldown macro. It’ll look something like this:


Horrible Idea.

Like, godawful idea.

Never macro stuff like that together.
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03/16/2012 07:21 AMPosted by Anánn
For example, Cunning of the Cruel is NOT very good for frost mages.
It isn't?
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85 Human Mage
6070


wut?
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85 Human Mage
7235
FFB should be used with FoF because it IS stronger than Ice Lance..
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85 Undead Mage
8095
03/17/2012 11:39 AMPosted by Youcoulddie
FFB should be used with FoF because it IS stronger than Ice Lance..


Actually no it shouldn't.

FoF should be use in IL and DF, while FFB procs should be used when someone is rooted. FoF doesn't increase the damage of FFB at all, but it does increase the damage of IL.
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03/17/2012 02:00 PMPosted by Dragonsbain
why do frost mage take impact? can you please explain? i do not understand why


Really? I guess a two second stun/interrupt/gap/gtfo tool is not interesting?
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85 Undead Mage
8095
03/17/2012 02:00 PMPosted by Dragonsbain
why do frost mage take impact? can you please explain? i do not understand why


It's a free stun not on the stun DR that can stop casts and kite and really just mess up someone's day.
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90 Orc Death Knight
13030
Sooooo, i use a talent build that appparently most dont but it works.. It doesnt have impact, it goes 12 into arc for the Imp blink. It works for me better than i think impact would
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90 Human Paladin
4630
Thank you Xiun for a Real response.

Destru you do not need to be rude, i did not under stand the mechanics of it that is why i asked.

He was not being rude. He actually posted the same amount of info as Xiun did, if not a little more.

Thanks for the guide, though I would like to know a little more about WHEN to use your freezes.
I know Frost Mages have "infinite" freezes, but sometimes you may need to use your freezes for damage, and sometimes for kiting. Which freezes are best used in these situations?
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90 Gnome Mage
13620
03/14/2012 06:18 PMPosted by Arctíc
Head - Hyjal revered: 60 int, 35 crit


no big deal but i prefer the resil int one

Cone of cold - Same thing as frost nova, but it only affects an area in front of you, and lasts a shorter time.
Mostly a peel or a setup for deep freeze. You’ll rarely have a chance to frostbolt off a cone of cold.


With early frost you can definitely get a FB cast off

Also use to fish for procs...the more targets hit the more chances of getting procs

Your spec/glyphs should look something like this.
http://www.wowhead.com/talent#oMZcbzbZffdhshszMo:MmRMqkm0o

There isn’t much room for variation with the frost tree. Mana gems, evocate, mage armor, and our endless supply of food pretty much nullify the purpose of our mana saving talents.


Your healer would definitely appreciate the replenishment buff.

03/14/2012 06:18 PMPosted by Arctíc
Resilience depends on your preferences, your comp in arenas, and your availability of PvE gear. Cunning of the cruel is very overpowered right now, and you should be using that if you can get one. The LFR version is good, but obviously the normal and heroic versions are better. As a rule of thumb, (assuming you’re using at least full season 11 honor gear) you should not drop below 4k resilience.


Cunning is BIS for fire maybe but not frost.

IMO , BIS is heroic soulshifter or 5 man foul gift trinket

We appreciate the time you took to try to help but your guide contains some erroneous info.
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90 Undead Mage
8625
Thanks, definitely learned some few things.
Also, @Illwai, just because arctic missed some minor details makes his guide erroneous?
Please go.
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