Monday, October 13, 2008


No, Larísa and Gnomer. I have did not cast invisibility and walk away from the battle over the current state of mage specs. As we all know, the pre-invisible phase is quite tricky to time if you truly want to get yourself out of a wipe situation. Even if I tried, the AoE damage from Larísa's Arcane Explosions would have certainly elminated that possibility.

Surely, at this point, however, Larisa's run out of mana due to Arcane Blast spam, and Gnomer is squeezing every last drop of his increased DPS for the past 19 or 20% of the duration of this event. What about me? Have I used all my cooldowns and arguments to warrant any consideration for Frost as the raiding spec of choice?

Simply put, yes. I have said what I needed to say to garner some semblance of support for my frosty friends.

All I have to do now is cast Cold Snap and do it all over again.

Ideally, to use Cold Snap at the very last leg of a dps race is surely an unwise tactic in making the most of your cooldowns and maximizing your DPS, but for the purposes of making a typed online argument about the merits of spec in a raiding environment, repeating arguments is not as effective as repeating damaging spell effects.

On Cold Snap Itself

Cold Snap is the 21-point talent on the Frost talent tree. It is a spell in itself, that costs ZERO mana. It finishes the cooldown on all of your Frost Spells.

Water Elemental expired (all you frosties out there made sure he used up all his mana and didn't die, right?) during a raid fight? Cold Snap, and summon him again.

The Shaman in your group cast Heroism? prolong your Icy Veins with Cold Snap, and proceed with your utterly stupid 1.6-second Frostbolts for up to 40 seconds.

Did Moroes/Maiden/Illhoof just Garrote/Holy Fire/Demon Chain you for the second time? Cold Snap your Ice Block, and block your way out of another duration of considerable damage, saving your healers some critical mana.

AoE grinding on a bunch of mobs, and your Frost Nova got randomly (Damn that 1%!) resisted by one of them? Cold Snap, and root everyone again, thus saving your AoE pull.

Taking a little too much DoT damage from the boss fight? Cold Snap your Ice Barrier, and put up another bubble immediately after the first one fades, and save your priests even more mana worth of healing!

Just to top everything off, Cold snap does NOT use a global cooldown. Simply beautiful. And to think that at one point, this was merely an 11-point talent. And when it got moved, its talent spot was replaced with the remarkable Icy Veins.

The downside? A pretty long cooldown, at 8 minutes untalented. With 2 points in Ice Floes, however, you will be seeing your Cold Snap ready in just 6 minutes and 24 seconds.

On Cooldown Management

With all these neat tools that Frost Mages are given, proper management of their cooldowns is the make-or-break factor that determines the amount of damage that particular mage can put out.

When it comes to Cold Snap, the dilemma comes where the mage has to decide WHEN to use it during a boss fight. Simply put, to maximize a Frost mage's DPS, one needs to cold snap as early and as opportune as possible, but at the same time, use the spell to remove as many cooldowns as possible, to maximize the effect.

On trash, use Cold Snap liberally. Snap back your Squirtle and your Icy Veins. On AoE pulls, Snap back your Frost Nova and Ice Barrier if you generate the most threat in the group. Use it at every opportunity, and your control over others, as well as the capability for dealing damage, will effectively double.

On Boss fights, the mage needs to really study the fight to determine when to use cooldowns and when to Snap back those cooldowns. Keeping in mind the duration of a particular fight, it is ideal to use up your Cold Snap as SOON as possible, since there may be an opportunity to use it again towards the end of the Fight. Consdering that the cooldown for other spells are shorter than Cold Snap itself, you can potentially summon your Water Elemental up to 4 times in a fight. Simply absurd.


While the Water Elemental is the penultimate damage dealing spell in a Frost Mage's arsenal, it's Cold Snap that serves as the heart of a cryomancer's reportoire. With the arrival of the upcoming patch, Frosties will be getting another cooldown in Deep Freeze, just another in a long line of potential cooldown spells that Frost Mages will be getting. With every new spell added to the school of icy wrath, proper judgment in the use of Cold Snap becomes increasingly paramount, meaning that this spell is certainly here to stay.

BONUS! Pimp My Frost Mage for 3.0

Frost is a wonderful tree with multiple tools and talents that can be picked-and-chosen by players based on their playstyle needs. But with only 61 points to spend on a tree designed for 70-point use, one cannot simply have it all, perhaps until 80. So rather than go the Euripides route and go through all the talents and evaluate them on a PvP/PvE/etc basis, I'll just list suggest talents for the different playstyles.

PvP: You want control and survivability. You want to maximize the use of stuns, roots, and snares, while at the same time have a security blanket with defensive cooldowns and passive abilities. Top it off with some freaky-ass burst damage via Shatter Combos. Just be aware that you cannot spec both Improved Counterspell and Deep Freeze due to the talent cap. Both have their benefits, so it all depends on preference.

Useful talents include Frostbite, Ice Shards, Permafrost, Shatter, Improved Cone of Cold, Ice Barrier, Shattered Barrier, Arctic Winds, Summon Water Elemental, Chilled to the Bone, and Deep Freeze.

Solo: You want control and survivability as well, but make better use of Frostbolts and your AoE spells. While the casting cost of your different spell ranks have been unified, it does not negate the effectiveness of your 1.5s rank 1 Frostbolts when kiting much higher level mobs. You also care about reducing downtime, since Frost is a very mana-efficient school compared to the other two specs.

Useful talents include Improved/Empowered Frostbolt, Ice Shards, Shatter, Permafrost, Arctic Winds, Summon Water Elemental, and Chilled to the Bone.

AoE Grinding: Your spell sequence consists of Ice Barrier, Frost Nova, then a repeated sequence of Blink, Blizzard, Blizzard, Cone of Cold and Frost Nova until the large group of mobs dies. Your talents prioritize on minimizing the resist on your Frost Nova (via Hit Capping), reduced cooldowns of your Frost Nova and Ice Barrier, and increased snare effects on your Blizzard and Cone of Cold Spells.

Useful talents include Ice Floes, Elemental Precision, Permafrost, Improved Blizzard, Arctic Reach, Frost Channeling, Cold Snap, Improved Cone of Cold, Shattered Barrier and Chilled to the Bone.

Group: You will take up the DPS role in your group. Depending on the nature of the instance, you may or may not be responsible for some encounters that require Solo skills (such as handling adds or AoE pulls). Assuming single target DPS, your main talent priority is placed on maximizing your DPS via cooldowns and procs, while minimizing your threat on the target.

Useful talents include Improved/Empowered Frostbolt, Ice Shards, Shatter, Elemental Precision, Icy Veins, Cold Snap, Frost Channeling, Arcitc Reach, Summon/Improved Water Elemental, Winter's Chill, Fingers of Frost, Chilled to the Bone and Brain Freeze.

Here's a spec that I will be using in the upcoming patch. It is essentially a 0/0/61 build with Shattered Barrier. This talent simply does not get enough credit. It makes you a god of AoE grinding, as well as AoE trash pulls in raids, such as the beginning of ZA, or the dining room pulls in Kara.

Well, that's it for my Monday post. It's supposed to be my day off work to prepare for 3.0, but I'm still at a relative's house, and relatively hungover. Whatever. I'll be getting into the nitty gritty of the new patch tomorrow night, so I look forward to posting my impressions, particularly with regards to AoE grinding. Because well, Shattered Barrier is THAT awesome.

I'm just waiting for the patch to come, so I can fire off a salvo to begin the second battle between mages.


Cassini said...

Oh Larisa and Gnomer just got a Shatter Combo to the hearts! Surely this ends it once and for all...

Larísa said...

Haha, you forget that I've got coldsnap myself, at least until wednesday...

And I'm a huge fan of it. Don't know how I'll learn to live without it again. But I've still got it!

So I guess I'll just cold snap and ice block out from this last attack.

Should we call it even perhaps?

Fish said...

Yay frost! Honestly, while Larisa does make a good arguement, I would generally prefer the elegance of the accepted nova-blink-blizzard mechanic to the brute force of AE spam. . .

But regardless of the "winner", its the debate which I enjoy reading.

Anonymous said...

Nice.. Nice.. Nice...

The Popsicle speaks!

I have been broadsided by that forgotten Mage in his Iceblock..

Great description and a welcome addition to the Armaggedon of the Mage war.

krizzlybear said...

Larísa, your use of cold snap in a primarily Arcane build acknowledges the awesomeness of the Frost arsenal. Since I too have found some great assets in the arcane tree, such as clearcasting and Arcane Meditation, I accept your proposal for a momentary truce.

Anonymous said...

Ah a fellow ice mage, Well I'm upset that the elemental precision is apparently gone. I'm almost tempted to respec out of frost, but I love my elemental too much. I would miss him.