The Wrathful season that was near 40 weeks long is over and the launch of Cataclysm has started. My first thoughts of the expansion was in all honesty, that Blizzard made a worse expansion than WoTLK, I should quit. The Ice Lance spam that was the key to success did not amuse me after having to play RMP in the most RMP unfriendly season ever. I was used to hard work for rating, now it was all about the Ice Lance. To my dissapointment Priest was not quite as strong. Seeing Disc being completely unplayable made me lose alot of interest in this expansion, but I did not give up quite yet. Like with every patch and every new expansion it was all about adjusting to a new situation.
In WoTLK a Mage wasn’t a target you would go for very often, it was mainly ele/destro, Hunter/X (usually PHD and ATC) and sp/x wizard comps that would go for the Mage. This changed in Cataclysm, with the increased control (Ring of Frost) and the insane damage increase a Mage could never stand freecasting because it would be too devastating to the enemy team. A short comparison about the playstyles of the Mage in Cata and WoTLK is that The Mage PvP style in WoTLK was about being able to provide most damage and most control during the least amount of time because you would be freecasting all the time, if you weren’t quick enough someone in your team would die. The Cataclysm Mage PvP style is now about being able to provide the most control and damage while being trained most of the time.
Currently since the expansion is so new it’s hard to tell what comp is best to play as a Mage, but as always (with the exception of Season 8) RMP is looking really strong, either way two top tier comps in my experience is MLD and RMP, so I put my focus on mainly playing this (since this is what you would want to play if you’re looking to become a good player, since the Mage is playing such a huge role in these comps) ( RMP= Rogue/Mage/Priest and MLD= Mage/Warlock/Druid), one reason is because they are always strong comps to play, and another reason is that I am playing them on both my Mages.
RMP has been a viable comp since the dawn of time. Every season you see high rated RMPs rocking in the ladders, and you could assume that means the comp is always “overpowered”, but it’s not really, it just happens to scale very well with skill though right now in Cataclysm Blizzard has made it quite easy to be successful with this comp.
In comparison to the WoTLK playstyle you had a much easier time timing things while playing RMP because the Priest and the Mage always stacked so much haste. In the current RMP state you need to coordinate the casts and not get interrupted at the same time, you could realize that this is a hard thing to do. But the thing most RMPs fail at is that in order to get a good CC going you need to save up your Deep Freeze for when the Priest uses Psychic Scream. This is what you do: Priest fears one target, lets say it’s a Rogue DPS, you Deep Freeze the healer, lets say it’s a Druid in the team, then Ring of Frost him, and Polymorph the Rogue out of the fear while nuking the third target. You want to do get double CCs as much as possible in order to get kills, and you need to play around your Priests manapool, so remember that you are on a time limit. Also remember that you will be trained most of the games, so one member of your team needs to have a CC thrown at the healer (or a silence) before you use roots/snares on the melee training you (to avoid dispel ofcourse).
*RMP scales very well with skill, there is never really a “omg there is nothing we could have done” game. Trust me on that one, they can be hard counters and get kills 100x times easier than you can, but playing VS some of the best Hunter/Prot Warrior/Holy Paladin teams in S8 and after games beating them, I am convinced you can beat anything playing this comp if you have enough coordination and skill.
Mage/Lock combinations has been played ever since arenas was introduced. The reason we haven’t seen it much in the ladder though is because the Warlock burst damage was low every season until S6. Destruction Warlock burst was insane back then, and MLD became one of the best comps you could play because the 3 different Diminishing Returns on your CC. (Druid – Cyclone, Mage – Polymorph, Warlock – Fear). Thankfully Blizzard nerfed Destro Warlocks, so now you need to play Affliction/Frost/Resto for the comp to be viable.The general playstyle of Cataclysm is basically you spread damage, the Mage works like the finisher in the team, quite alot like the Elemental Shamans role in the LSD team. You play around in CC chains on the healer, which is the main priority, the moment you lose control over the game is the moment you’ve lost. You need to be offensive, if you are playing defensively you will lose eventually. Also you need to try to have two people CCd most of the time. I guarantee that you will be trained close to every game in this comp. Warlocks are very difficult to kill and the same goes for Druids (unless they go down in swaps without HoTs).
General Mage playstyle is about keeping one target (atleast) in a CC and nuking the other one, as simple as that. You should CC the target with a dispeller (lets say you are playing 2vs2, and you are up against Priest/Rogue, this means the target you need to CC is the Priest, not the Rogue because of dispels). Other than that, you need to kite to keep yourself from taking damage, and remember it’s always better to block the damage rather than taking the damage and then blocking, causing your healer to waste mana and time on healing you up. Also while playing a Mage, you need to be quick, but at the same time patient. If you have a Nova on a melee, don’t just Ice Lance it instantly, back off a few steps, get some range, cast a shatter (Frostbolt+Ice Lance in the same GCD) instead of standing next to him, causing the root to break and endanger yourself again.
I have heard it so many times, “I can’t find partners, there is no one good at my server”. – This is never true. There might be no good players interested in playing with you, but there sure as punch are good players on each and every server. Finding partners is all about presenting yourself in a good way, kind of like writing a CV to a new job opportunity. Saying “Mage LF 2v2 partner” in trade chat is never gonna get you a good partner. Present what comp you are interested in, your past experience, some sort of goal (i.e aiming tier2 weapon) but keep it realistic. Also you should look on gaming website such as Hydramist or Arena-junkies for partners, you are most likely to find what you are looking for on a global level, even if this means a small transfer fee. Now here is the trick guys, always find someone better than yourself, (not by too much though because then it will end up in a big rage on Skype), but someone who can make you improve, try to leech the tips off him, and improve together, or if you stop playing together look for someone else with your (hopefully) increased experience who is better than you. This way you will climb in knowledge, rating and experience. Also guys as much as I love to hear it, post 2.2k gear/comp should never be an excuse for a good player, and that’s what we’re aiming at, right?
As much as I love to share my opinion on balance issues I am aware of the balance should not affect PvE. Changes in patch 4.0.6 was great I must say, this season has been by far the most balanced first season. Kudos Blizzard! However Mages in particular needs some serious changing. This playstyle offers a by far lower skill-cap on Mages to reach higher ratings. In last patch they nerfed Ice Lance damage by 15 %, and buffed Frostbolt damage by 15 %. This would have been good, if the change would have been 15 % less casting time on Frost Bolt rather than 15 % damage, forcing us to cast more rather than still doing mindless Ice Lance spam. Basically, in my opinion this is what Mages needs to have fixed.
Polymorph arena 1-3
/Cast [target=arena1] polymorph
/Cast [target=arena2] polymorph
/Cast [target=arena3] polymorph
/Cast [target=focus] polymorph
Panic macro (healthstone + bm)
/use bloodthirsty gladiator's emblem of tenacity
/Cast [target=party1] remove curse
/Cast [target=party2] remove curse
Get in combat macro
/use Bloodthirsty Gladiator's Silk Handguards
/cast fire blast
/Cast [target=focus] counterspell
Focus Deep Freeze
/cast [target=focus] deep freeze
Spellsteal + Cancel Sacrifice
/cancelaura hand of sacrifice
Focus Spellsteal + Cancel Sacrifice
/cast [target=focus] spellsteal
/cancelaura Hand of Sacrifice
Frostbolt out of block/invis
/cancelaura ice block
Mouse over deepfreeze
/Cast [target=mouseover] deep freeze
/Cast Wrathful Gladiator's Frost wyrm
/cast Spectral Tiger
Poly + cancel pet attack
Stop casting CS macro
#showtooltip Icy Veins
/Cast Icy Veins
/use Vicious Gladiator's Badge of Dominance
As far as it goes for addons I am playing without them, in all fairness all of you should. It makes the game so much harder, which in return makes your skill so much higher, you pay attention to small details like the sound of kick rather than having a cooldown timer that shows you, yeah kick is back up now. You have to count DR timers in your head rather than having it all shown for you with shiny numbers. However when I was using addons here is what I recommend:
SpellAlerter: Shows when certain spells are being cast
Afflicted UI: Enemy cooldown timer (shows duration + CD of certain spells, like Bubble (12 secs left, 11 secs left) CD left on the ability. Very useful for Shadowstep, kick, Counterspell etc.
CooldownToGo: When you press an ability that is not ready, the icon comes up and time left on the CD (lets say you press Ice Barrier and it’s 8 seconds left, then the icon comes up and counts down 8-7-6-5 etc)
Gladius: Arena unit frames addon, shows CCs, trinket cooldowns etc.
Gladiminish: Shows DR timers on people that have been CC’d, *requires Gladius.
For more detail on addons visist the addon guide here: Addon Guide
When I play Rated BGs I usually play a 4 healer setup, a prot Warrior, 1 Rogue, 2 Mages, a Hunter and a DK. Basically the Mages role in rated BGs is to slow the opponents from reaching your Flag Carrier (if it’s a Flag BG like WSG or Twin Peaks) and once he’s safe you put 3 healers on him, while one healer + all DPS goes for returning your flag.
With slower casts I have one word for Mages out there, HASTE! Alot of Mages are at current stacking crit, which on a target dummy would provide the best DPS, and even better now in PvP since Shatter is changed from 50 % passive crit changed to “your crit times 3″ (i.e 20 % crit would mean 60 % on frozen targets) though, history has taught us that PvE DPS is not the same thing as PvP DPS. Even though haste provides less damage on a standing target, I would say in practise it’s still the mainstat, right now Ice Lance damage is increased with Fingers of Frost up additional to the current effects. Stacking haste provides easier to control, faster shatters, more casts and more Fingers of Frost proccs (which means more damage). And I am aware of the fact that EVERYONE tunnels the Mage. Stacking resillience can be tempting because of this, and while it does help you to survive longer, the problem is that most comps with a Mage aren’t outlast comps, in my experience stacking resillience ment that you basically reduced your chance to kill someone while slowly dying yourself (because you did less damage which means the enemy team can be more offensive on you, which means this drains your healer oom).
Keep in mind that you need atleast 200 spell penetration and 4 % hit rating.
This is the spec you want to role with: http://www.wowhead.com/talent#oMh0bZMZffbhshsdMo:RmMkqMmz0
Improved Blink makes you immortal VS spellcleaves that goes for you, it makes it so easy kiting melees and catching healers that are pillarkiting your Polymorph. Anyone who goes for Impact over this, sorry but it’s just plain stupid.