I've been playing a mage for 2 years or so (a shaman too but w/e), and since the begining, my favorite spec was Fire, all though, it sucked for me back then, so i re-speced to arcane/frost, but always kept on specing back to my Fire. After all this time, i finally figured out how Fire is actually played like, so i decided to share my wisdom with other fellow Fire Mage wannabees.
In this guide, ill explain Fire Mage gameplay, which spells should be used at which time, gear priorities, explanation of talents and spells, bunch of talent builds and some other useful stuff, i hope this will be any use to you people.
Why Fire? Pros and Cons.
-Great control. Compared to other mages specs, although it does not have so many snares as frost has, but it does have a lot of interrupts, disorient and knock back effect, which is not just effective against melee classes, but casters too. Lets be honest, frost mages only have deep freeze and counter spell to prevent casters from casting spells, while fire has Impact, Dragons breath, Blast wave and counter spell.
-Hard to catch. With blink, and blazing speed, it becomes very hard to catch a fire mage as a melee, and even if you get to him, he will knock you back and slow you down or use dragons breath to get away.
-Area of effect. Fire mage is if not the best spec for 1 vs Group battles, with most of the spells being area of effect, killing multiple enemies at once becomes possible. And that what makes it fun.
-RNG. The damage, Impact, Blazing speed, reflection, is all random number generations and not reliable. As Fire, you either get lucky and pwn like a boss, or get unlucky and not pwn like a boss.
-Resiliance. It reduces chance to get a critical strike and damage from a critical strike, and fire mage is all about critical strikes.
As all of you probably know, Critical Strike rating is the most important stat for a Fire mage, but, thats not always true, some people like to spec into Frost and use Frost Fire Bolt, at that case, you need some haste too, i suggest having 400-600 haste, and then putting everything into crit stike rating.
Note: I could'nt find any gems with spellpower in wowhead (old and new), so i cant give you direct links or gem names unfortunetaly.
Red: [+12 Spellpower, +10 Critical strike rating] or [+23 Spellpower]
Blue: [+13 Spell Penetration, +10 Critical strike rating]
Yellow: [+20 Critical strike rating] or [+20 Haste] (if you are FFB]
2h Weapon: [Greater Spellpower]
1h Weapon: [Mighty Spellpower] or [Black Magic]
Bracers: [Superior Spellpower]
Chest: [Powerful Stats]
Cloak: [Spell Piercing]
Boots: [Icewalker] never knew this one existed lol.
Gloves: [Greater Blasting]
Head: [Burning Mysteries]
Legs: [Spphire Spellthread]
Rings: (asuming you have enchanting) [Greater Spellpower]
Shoulders: [Greater Inscription of the Storm]
But you can change every thing the way you like.
Remember to get a Wrathful wand with spell penetration, this will get you 30 or so more spell penetration.
And ofc, Wrathful Gladiators gear is the best for you, but you can always mix your gear with PVE items, so you have haste and critical strike rating, sacrificing resiliance.
The ultimate stats should be:
40-50%++ Critical strike rating
400-600 haste (ONLY if you are FFB, ill explain what FFB is later here)
100-150 hit rating (6% is the cap for PVP, i think)
18k mana, or so.
After some experience in gearing up, i found an optimum gear to reach required stats like spellpenetration and hit rating without losing other valuable stats.
To get enough hit rating, you should obtain Wrathful gladiators necklace which gives hit rating and/or a cloak. Obtain Ashen band of Destruction, it also gives a little haste, but if you dont like it, buy relentless ring, which gives resiliance instead of haste. Now, if you have ring, cloak and necklace which gives hit rating, you should have about 150 hit rating, if you have less or you didnt obtained neck or cloak which gives hit rating, you should gem it up. You can also have some Pve pieces which gives both hit rating and critical strike rating, or a Pve wand, they also give hit rating, i cant give exact names of those items unfortunetaly.
Spell penetration, the enchant is crutial, it gives 35 spell pen, you should gem the rest or get a PVP wand which gives spell penetration. I dont even know if there exist PVE pieces which gives spell penetration, but if they exist, get'em!.. if you need them ofc.
But these numbers are only achievable with end game items.
Optimizing Damage and Survability, 19/52/0
Including Firestarter and Burning Determination, 19/52/0
The ULTIMATE damage optimization, 20/51/0
POM+PYRO combo, can be deadly, also POM can be used for INSTA POLY, 21/50, change fire build part anyway you want.
And Frost Fire Bolt build, if you like big fat numbers, you may like this, 0/52/18 (you have one free point here, place it anywhere you like)
Note: these talent builds are made by myself, so i chose talents which i think, is the best, all though, you can replace pyromaniac with anything you like, or any other talent which you think is unnecessary. Also, Counter Spell can be replaced, since Fire mage has lots of interupts anyway, but i prefer having it.
Pros and cons:
19/51/0 and 20/51/0: Has better survability than FFB, but has a lower damage output. Classical choice for a Fire mage. Note that, by increasing the range of arcane spells, increases range of polymorph and counterspell.
21/50/0: Can give an instant polymorph, which can be launched, if the enemy trinkets out of Dragons Breath, folowed by Pyro blast, or an instant Pyro blast, regardless on Hot Streak, but without Living Bomb, aoe damage decreases, and LOS'ing is not as effective.
0/52/19: Huge burst of damage, almost the same CC as other fire builds, but has a bad mana shield, which eats up mana really fast, similar to elemental shaman, only if Frost nova would be a ranged spell... Requires some haste, but since Fire mages gets allot of critical strike chance from talents, thats not a biggy.
Note: Since in Cataclysm, nearly all glyphs were changed, i cannot give you a direct link to it, because the effect will be different.
Evocation / Mana gem
Scorch / Living bomb
Frostfire / polymorph
Slow fall (dont you like jumping off the cliffs?)
Since doing arenas are not very recommended as a fire mage, ill keep it short.
Elemental Shaman (my favourite): 5% critical strike chance passive increase, totem of wrath 5% crit chance increase, spellpower increase and heroism, not to mention their insane burst. Main goal, is to nuke someone before they realise what happened.
Destruction Warlock: A massive CC comp. with poly and fear NOT sharing a diminishing returns its stupidly effective in CC'ing. CC one, kill other and win.
Shadow Priest: Dot powah! With shadow priest's buffs and his shield, your survability is increased greatly. A nuking comp here too, with a bit more survability.
How to do it:
As a fire mage, your main role will be the control, for example, if you will start with poly, then followed by dragons breath, Counter spell (if improved, or you managed to lock a spell school for a healer) followed by another poly, and another and another, and then again, dragons breath, with impact in between, thats a 36-42 chain control, thats INSANE, all though, very hard to perform.
You will need a lot of coordination with your partner here, who to nuke and wen, who to cc, when to switch targets etc. you know.
Spells and Talents explanation:
This is a key of being a good fire mage, knowing which spell is the most useful in which situation, knowing when to hide behind a tree (yes im serious) to wait for your precious cooldowns to finish, so, ill explain most of the talents and spells, and your MAIN NUKE!.
Note: again, most spells and talents were changed and removed in cataclysm, so i wont provide with a link (Yes, in both old.wowhead.com and www.wowhead.com)
Usually, an underestimated spell, since the last fix, it can proc Hotsreak, which makes it very effective when LOS'ing, with luck, can be very deadly. Not to mention Living Bomb spam in AV, then Pyro blast spam lol. Spellpower contribution: Dot - 80% (20% per tick), Explosion - 42.86%
THIS IS YOUR MAIN NUKE! Not that it does a huge initial damage, it also has a fairly significant Dot, dont forget that! Spellpower contribution: Initial damage - 115% (130% with Empowered Fire) Dot - 20% (5% per tick)
Nice damage, dot included, but, long *** casting time, with no talents to shorten it to viable amount, recommended to use when enemy is CC'ed by dragons breath, snared, or polymorphed 2nd time, never cast it otherwise. Spellpower contribution: Initial damage - 100% (115% with Empowered Fire), Dot has no contribution.
It has a slow effect, Dot, and huge damage when talented correctly, lower casting time and mana cost than Fire Ball, but, if you get spell locked when casting this, you will get locked in both fire and frost schools, which kinda suck. Spellpower contribution: Initial damage - 85.71% (100.71% with Empowered Fire), Dot has no contribution.
Sometimes considered as a main nuke, but its wrong. Has a talent with increases crit strike chance on the enemy by 5% for 20 seconds. Use it as a filler spell when kiting, or as a tool to summon Hot Streak! With talents, has a high chance to critically hit (26% infact), a nice spell really. Spellpower contribution: 42.86%.
Your instant cast damage spell, not much to say there, only use it when its of cd or when impact is proced. Spellpower contribution: 42.86%.
Not a damage spell defenetelly, use it to eat up Warriors reflect, Shamans Grounding totem. Dont forget you have it!
Only use it when you have a Firestarted talent (Dragons breath -> Fire ball -> Flame strike is like Shatter combo, so people say). It deals less damage than Fire Blast, so you may thing, why not use Fire blast instead of Flame Strike when performing "Dragon combo" (new mage term here lol), ill explain why, allthough, Fire blast has greater initial damage, but Flame Strike has a Dot man! Which deals twice as much damage than whole flamestrike in 8 seconds, but make sure you target stays in one place, also, it deals AOE damage. Spellpower contribution: Initial damage - 23.57%, Dot - 48.2% (12.2 per tick).
Lots of mages dont even know that they have it, but, only useful against a warlock and a shaman, to remove those pesky damage dealing/increasing, casting time slowing curses or Hex, yes, thats a curse, but not from yourself ofc, from a friendly target.
[Cone of Cold]
Basically, your only kiting spell, use it to slow people down, not to deal damage.
As you may know, its your CC spell. The smart uses for it (or so i think) is these: Poly + quick Fire blast, to interupt a spell cast, without regenerating their health, poly + pyro blast, poly + evocate, if your 1st polymorph gets trinketed, cast another fast, then cast fire ball instead of pyro blast (you dont have enough time to cast it), an awesome spell. Some people think that Fear is much better than poly, but Fear has only 20yr range, rather than poly having 30yd range (36yd when talented). Also, if things going bad against a warrior, try to make him reflect your polymorph, so you will fully heal lol.
Even without a talent from Arcane, which makes it instant cast invisibility, it can be used as a escape spell, doing like this: Dragons breath -> invisibility, if you have dots on you, make sure to use Ice Block before that combo, but if its on cd, find some other ways to run away.
Remember, it makes an enemy to untarget you, just, its good to know. Another kitting spell basically, and deals some moderate amount of damage.
A funniest arcane school spell imo. You can spellsteal bloodlust/heroism, water shield for additional mana, Rdruids Hots, All types of shields (Power Word: shield, Ice barrier, and especially, warlocks sacrifice lol. Oh, and spellstealing noggerfoggers elixir is funny too.
As the image says really, but also, can be used to remove silance, dots, cc, stuns (of you fail at blinking) and all sorts of thinks, also, calling for healing to heal you. Since you dont need to cast frost bolt, Ice block will never be locked.
Have you ever wanted to have Thunderstorm? Well, heres the next best thing, in addition, it slows the enemy, so can be used to kite people, or throwing them of the cliffs lol.
I once heard, that when you master the effectiveness of this spell, you can call yourself a good fire mage, not that it only deals damage, but disorients them for 5 seconds, allowing a free Fire ball and Flame Strike (with talent), or allowing to to run away, CC a mass of players, Cast a free Living Bomb, Scorch and Flame Strike, also, allows you to hide behind a pillar and eat for a few seconds (lol), theres so much use to it really.
DO NOT use it when you are above 35% of health, only start spaming it when below 35% since at or below 35% of health, Fiery Payback starts to be active. So, you must use Mana Shield very carefully, so you wont die. Perfectly, you should only die when you have 0 mana and 0 health, or when you get zerged by 10 people.
Also known as Mage armor, Molten armor (yay Molten!) and Ice Armor. The biggest mistake is to have Molten armor up and enabling Combustion, Molten armor just eats up combustion for some small critical strikes, which is the reason why i avoid molten armor, i rather use Mage and Ice armors, depending on the situation, i suggest key-binding them since you are really gonna need both, as you dont have any good kiting spell, having frost armor, will make attackers slowed, allowing you to run away from those pesky melee classes. And switching to Mage armor is also esencial, reducing magic effects by 50% is too valuable.
Note: i cannot add any more pics (Image limit :()
If you are fighting a warrior, death knight, paladin, warlock, rogue, hunter etc... Use it wisely dont waste it on warriors 1st charge, or on deathknight if he haven't used death grip yet, or a rogue if he haven't stunned you yet, or on hunter if he still has his disengage. I think you get what i mean. Also, quite useful to instantly get behind a caster for him to fail to cast a spell. Use it to get away from a bunch of enemies or blink behind a pillar or any other line of sight braking objects.
Dont forget it increases you critical damage bonus by 50%. With trinket proc and berserking, you can do some ridiculous pyroblasts. Literally 15k-20k +40% dot damage. Its insane. But DO NOT USE IT WITH MOLTEN ARMOR. Its a waste of a cooldown then.
With shatter, its an awesome burst, without it, its just another kiting spell. Allthough, you can still cast some ice lances if you need to do some instant cast finishing move.
I think i covered the most of the spell here. :)
Now, About your MAIN NUKE! As FFB mage, its obviously Frost Fire Bolt. But as arcane/fire, Its Pyroblast.
Focus on procing Hotsteak, and when you are at or below 35% of health, Pyroblast becomes a 1.5 sec cast, very awesome, at that amount of health, you are at your full power, but, fiery payback is bugged, and dont reduce damage taken by 20% and not just that, when you die and revive, pyroblast stays at 1.5 sec cast, but i suggest for you to not abuse it, cause its just not fair.
Ill explain some of the Fire mages gameplay here, to give some idea how to use it at its full.
Your main suvability is at CC, so try to do so as much of it as possible, use LOS, your surrounding to aid you in battle, make your enemies burn with Living Bomb. Dont spam Scorch all the time, always use Dragons breath when its off CD. Blast wave to interupt casting spells, or to knock those melee classes off you. Make yourself uncatchable for melee classes. Interupt the **** out of the healers. Be quick, dont lose your focus. And have fun ofc!
Ocassional 1v1 situations:
1st of all, dont take 1v1 seriously, wow is not balanced on 1v1. In here, ill give you knowlage which classes gives you trouble in 1v1, just so you wouldnt blame yourself when you get pwned.
I'll try to make it quick and simple, so there won't be a huge wall of text on each class
1st of all, know this, you cant kill an equally geared healer in 1v1, you cant mana fight them, just avoid these battles unless you are greatly over gearing a healer.
Very hard to beat as a fire mage, the reason is, once they get close to you, they eat your health bar really quick and you don't have the controlable burst to nuke them down quickly.
-Jump off their 1st charge, and blink off the second.
-Waste their reflect with a counterspell (if you dont have it improved) or ice lance. You could also make them reflect your polymorph so you will regenerate your health.
-You must switch to Frost armor against them, MUST.
-Keep your blink or ice block for his blade storm (you cant knock back a warrior while hes blade storming.
-Use mirror images to eat their reflect and keep him slown
-Dont use Dragons Breath for kiting unless he have wasted his charge and intercept.
You cant kite them and they deal physical damage, from which you paper armor does not help at all. Also very very hard to beat
-Have Frost armor up at all times (Mage armor does not help against cyclone).
-Avoid casting spells if a druid is in bear form and ready to charge you, he will interupt you spell school with his feral charge.
-Actually, there is a way to kite them, with chain of slows and snares like mirror images, cone of cold instantly after he switches forms, frost nova, blast wave is very usefull, and use dragons breath for kiting, and after wards, use all instant cast spells you've got.
-Dont bother casting any spells unless you are sure they will be very effective.
-Suppress starfall with impact and dragons breath (silancing doesnt work -_-) or just use Ice Block, and gg, hes screwed.
What can you do? They are anti-casters, they are supposed to be hard for you.
-Keep blink for his death grip.
-Use Mage armor, it reduces his silance and chains of ice durations.
-Have Ice Ward up to reflect his chains of ice, awesome.
-His pet deals low damage so he may proc blazing speed alot.
-When he pops his gargoyle I suggest killing it, cause it persists for 30 seconds, and deals damage every 2 seconds or even less, and it deals ranged damage, so if you wont kill it, you will most likely die from it rather than the death knight.
-When he pops his magic shell, it prevents from magic effects to be applied, like dragons breath, poly, counter spell, living bomb. But dont worry, it does not remove them. Also, hes not immune to knock backs, if you know what i'm saying.
-Cast Counter spell, if its improved, to prevent him from casting death grip you or magic shell.
-Try to dragon spit his pet too.
At least these are not hard for you.
-Start off with polymorph, to spellsteal all they've got.
-Now once you have all his buffs striped off, spellsteal his shield thingy and hand of freedom.
-Once he bubbles, don't worry too much, they have 50% reduced damage, they will either heal themselves, or try to kill you, which will happen if they are brain dead.
-Keep blink for his stun and trinket for his repentance.
You are better off just running away, since they are so damn hard to kill, unless they are bad or you'll get lucky.
-Keep him at close range at all times possible, he cant shoot at you then.
-I dont know about armor, choose which even you like more (mage armor reduces silance duration, while Frost armor a portion of damage taken).
-Fiery payback disarms ranged weapon too, thought you might want to know that.
-With his pet constantly pounding you, blazing speed might proc a lot.
-Place living bomb on his pet too, more explosions, more hotstreak.
-If hes a BM, Ice Block on bestrial wrath.
-Cast frost nova/blast wave/arcane explosion on his snakes.
Not that hard, but not so easy, if hes good though.
-Cast Fire Ward right before lava burst.
-Make ice lance eat up his grounding totem.
-He is cast-dependant, so use blast wave for interrupting.
-Keep counter spell for his nature school, he cant heal, or cast chain lighting or lighting bolt at you, all he has left is Frost shock. Flame shock and Lava burst.
Some of the above applies here too.
-Cast living bomb on his wolves.
-Have frost armor up, he dont have much magic spells that might affect you allot, rather keep him slown.
-Cast Frost ward when he is far away, it is certain that he will cast frost shock on you, and having it to be reflected is awesome.
-Silance him too, so he wont cast ghost wolf for a while.
Shadow priest are kinda hard to kill, especially when they are geared correctly, since they are mostly gear dependant rather than skill.
-Keep interrupting vampiric touch.
-Try to spellsteal all of his buffs, so it will be easier to spellsteal his shield.
-Spellsteal carefully if he has shadow weaving talent, those stacks will reapply faster than you can spellsteal them, spellsteal with caution, but with a bit of luck, you may spellsteal his shield.
-Mage armor is a MUST!!!
-Keep ice block for his silance, it will remove it and remove all of his debuffs and dots from you.
-Avoid his fear, but that might be tricky, cause blast wave and dragons breath are at melee range :S.
These pesky sons of a &#^$... They are so stupid... even if you will interrupt every single immolate or any other spell that needs to be casting, with this 50% damage reduction (soul link and nether protection) they are ridiculously hard to kill.
-Keep interrupting the **** out of them.
-Dragons breath his pet too at all times.
-Cast living bomb on his demon too.
-Have Fire Ward up, reflecting chaos bolt is cool.
-Don't forget you have remove curse.
-Again, Mage armor is a MUST!!!
-Keep your distance if hes demonology.
-Spellsteal everything from them, they dont have a lot of self buffs, so spellstealing nether protection and that 30% casting speed thing from them is very useful (not that it increases your casting speed, but you would prefer that he wont have it)
A tough fight, but they can be beaten, they are not superior to you in 1v1 situation.
-Keep Frost ward vs frost mages and fire ward (carefully) against arcane.
-Play well with spellstealing.
-Have mage armor up.
-Interrupt interrupt interrupt!
-Try to reflect his deep freeze, and keep your blink to avoid it too.
-Since he might use mage armor too, living bomb will explode faster, keep reapplying it.
-Cast living bombs on his mirror images too, almost a guarantee hotstreak.
-Dont let to get kited, once they figure this out, you will have a hard time.
They are fun to battle against, once you learn how to kill them though.
-Force out their cooldowns, then just kite and kill.
-Keep dots up at all times.
-Force out Cloak of shadows.
-If he is envenom or combat, blink out of cheap shot, so he wont get combo points. If hes sub. however, he will have all 5 of his combo points the second he has opened on you, so try to kite him to force his shadow step and kidney shot, then blink away.
-Keep trinket for his blind.
-Also, there is a trick how to unstealth a rogue, if hes stupid. Once he sapped you, instantly use a trinket and frost nova, that will usually get them out. But be careful, if you will fail to unstealth him, its a waste of trinket.
Please tell me if this have helped you in anyway, or, if its useless to you. Post your opinion about this, and if you have any suggestions or found any mistakes in this post them too. I may include how to counter some sertain classes and specs here, but im to lazy now.
I hope this helped.
Thanks to [3.3.5a] Ultimate Mage Theorycraft - Everything is Here!