Frost Mage playstyle and rotation guide

Patch 9.2.5 Last Updated: 7th Aug, 2022
Tamir Frost Mage Author

Playstyle & Rotation

Rotation and Basic Abilities

Before I start talking about the rotation, I want to start by talking about the basic fundamental abilities that are important to understand as a frost mage.

  • Frostbolt - This is our filler ability which generates fingers of frost and Brain Freeze Procs.
  • Fingers of Frost - Fingers of frost have a 15% chance to proc when you cast a Frostbolt. If you get the proc, it will make your next Ice lance deal increased damage.
  • Brain Freeze - Brain Freeze has a 30% procs chance every time you cast a Frostbolt. It also puts a Winter's chill debuff on the target and causes your next two ice lances to act as if you had fingers of frost procs. (Read more about the shatter combo down below.)
  • Frozen Orb - This is our primary AoE ability which generates one fingers of frost proc when it hits a target. It also has a 10% chance to proc fingers of frost each time the orb deals damage. Remember that Frozen orb currently has a target cap at 8, but that will change in patch 9.1.5.
  • Blizzard - This is our tool for resetting Frozen Orb CD on multiple targets.

General Rotation

As Basic as it sounds, Frost is a spec that mainly reacts to procs. We have 2 Procs that we will be using primarily, fingers of frost and Brain Freeze.

Frost is known to “ Munch “ procs. Munching procs means that you will sometimes encounter a situation where you are getting too many fingers of frost procs, and some of them will go to waste. Ideally, we want to munch as few procs as possible. Even though it’s sometimes unavoidable, there are some things we can do to help us utilize our procs to their maximum potential.


    Frost Mage is known for wasting or, as we call it, "munching" many procs. However, that's the nature of the spec, and we want to do our best to munch as few procs as possible. We achieve this by understanding the priority list of which proc is more important and how to deal with them when we have multiple at the same time.

    For Frost Mages, it's crucial to Master the Shatter Combo as following:

    When we get a Brain Freeze proc, we want to cast a Frostbolt followed by a Flurry and 2 Ice Lances. This is because a Frostbolt has a slower travel time than flurry, and it also benefits from the Winter's chill passive, which makes all 4 spells hit the target and crit.

    Cast Frostbolt -> Brain Freeze proc -> Flurry -> 2x Ice Lances  

    Opener Single Target with Slick Ice Legendary:

      • Cast Frostbolt at 2 seconds if you are at max distance from your target.
      • Use Potion at 0 seconds.
      • Cast Icy Veins + racial and trinkets.
      • Cast Comet Storm on cooldown (remember it debuffs the target to take 10% increase damage from you for 8 seconds)
      • Cast Mirrors of Torment if you are a member of the Venthyr Covenant.
      • Cast Frozen Orb.
      • Cast Frostbolt as your filler, and remember to use your brain freeze procs.

      Note - On single target, you might want to use your second Rune of Power immediately after your opener because you will most likely have a haste buff from bloodlust or drums. Icy Veins has a very long duration, so you want to maximize its uptime combined with Rune of Power.

      Multi-target \ AoE with freezing winds legendary:

      Note - The most important thing to remember as a frost mage is always to use your blizzard and Frozen Orb on cooldown. You want to use your blizzard because it will help reduce the cooldown of your Frozen Orb. Positioning is crucial, and you want to try to position yourself correctly, so you are hitting two targets with splitting ice. 

      During multi-target/AoE encounters, it is actually a DPS gain if you manage to line up your Rune of Power with Frozen Orb.

      Defensive Cooldowns:

      Frost Mage has multiple good defensives cooldowns that are worth mentioning.

      • Ice Barrier has a 25-second cooldown.
      • Mirror Images has a 2-minute cooldown and is essentially a 20% DR and will drop all of your thread.
      • Alter Time can be useful for movement or as a heal. You can essentially heal yourself back up to full health. If you use alter time right before you take damage.
      • We have 2 Ice Blocks with Cold Snap but keep in mind there’s a 30-sec debuff after using an Ice Block called Hypothermia. However, Cold Snap resets the cooldown on Ice Barrier, so you can essentially use that twice if needed.

      Important Notes:

      • It Is crucial to understand that we are extremely depended on Icy Veins \ Frozen Orb to do AoE damage. In some scenarios like Mythic+ it's worth to cast a Blizzard on one target if you are going to do a big pull right after and you want to make sure you have your Frozen Orb ready to go.
      • Mage is relatively mobile during Frozen Orb if you have the Freezing Winds legendary because you will get multiple Ice lance procs. It's important to remember that you can cast Fireblast while moving instead of using your unbuffed Ice lances.