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    Beginner Mage PvP Guide - 4.3

    (Originally posted here:

    ***Disclamer: I am not the best mage, nor do I claim to be. If you are a more experienced mage and find information that is incorrect, controversial or just seems funny, feel free to send me an e-mail at [email protected] or post here. I appreciate it if you give an argument instead of “omg this is so wrong”. Thanks!***

    Hello and welcome to my PvP guide! This guide will outline the very basics in mages for pvp, outlining, gear, specs, stats and the like. The guide will NOT go over how to play a mage, 1v1 strategies, or arena tactics.

    If you have any questions or need clarification, post here and I’ll try my best to answer any questions you may have (or another mage might!)

    1. Stats
    2. Gear
    3. Specs
    4. UI
    5. Starting your mage
    6. Additional Information and Resources


    Here is a list of acronyms that will be used often in this guide, thread, and all over the mage forums:

    FB - Frost Bolt
    IL - Ice Lance
    FoF – Fingers of Frost
    BF – Brain Freeze
    FFB – Frost Fire Bolt
    DF – Deep Freeze
    RoF – Ring of Frost
    IB – Ice Block
    FFO – Frost Fire Orb
    CoC – Cone of Cold
    CS – Counter Spell (Soft CS is when you only use your CS for a silence. A hard CS is when you use it to interrupt a spell cast)
    Abarr – Arcane Barrage
    AB – Arcane Blast


    The Stat order is this:

    Frost: 4% hit > 200-240 Spen > Intellect >>> Crit to 17-20% > Mastery >> Crit > Haste
    Fire: 4% hit > 200-240 Spen > Intellect >>>Crit > Haste >>>Mastery
    Arcane: 4% hit > 200-240 Spen > Intellect >>> Haste > Mastery > Crit

    To elaborate, you want to get 4% hit and from 200-240 Spell Penetration before you worry about your other stats. Intellect is our most important stat and gives us the greatest benefit, it gives us raw damage through spell power, a bit of crit, and a bigger mana pool (more pewpew juice).

    Crit is important to frost mages and allows the mage to get a reliable burst damage off when shatter comboing. The reason you want around 17% crit is because it ends up being around 50% crit, so when you’re trying to burst someone, you’re more likely to crit than end up with weak non crits that you would have with lower crit percentages. Crit is absolute king for fire mages and is vital to get the proper burst. More crit means more hot streaks, and more hot streaks will crit themselves, giving you larger ignites and bigger combustion ticks. Crit is pretty worthless as arcane. While the big crits will be fun to see, they’re not as important – crit or not, if you spam casting at as arcane you’re going to do a lot of damage.

    Haste is pretty much worthless as frost, it has enough CC and peels so it is able to get off casts frequently without much issue. Frost is also based on having big burst which haste doesn’t increase. More casts doesn’t necessarily mean more damage. Likewise with fire, haste is mostly worthless, scorch is fast and casted on the move while the rest of your spells are instant cast. Some recommend getting around 5% haste for an extra DoT tick on combustion, but most recommend going straight up crit for more pyros which will ultimately give you better burst and more damage overall. Haste is great for arcane because you want to get off as many casts in the shortest amount of time. Arcane won’t start doing a lot of damage until it reaches four arcane blast stacks, so you want to hit that point as quickly as possible. Arcane is also targeted quite often, so you want to pump out as much possible damage until you’re noticed and need to start kiting, or die (You’ll mostly die! :P)

    Mastery buffs the raw damage to targets who are frozen, it allows us to do big hits without worrying about crit’s RNG. With the new gear available in season 10 mastery has become one of our more valued secondary stats. Stack a large amount of mastery can cause some catastrophic damage to players in a shatter combo, resulting in 40% to even 70% of their life being lost in a duration of a deep freeze.

    Mastery is simply godly for frost mages. It increases damage done to frozen targets, including when you have finger of frost. It gives frost all it’s burst and can take off huge chunks of someone’s life when they’re caught in a full shatter combo. Frost is all about burst and providing kill opportunities with it’s burst (and CC) so you want as much mastery as you can get your hands off without hurting your crit to much. If you go to far into mastery and don’t get enough crit, you shatter combos you set up can end up hitting for nearly nothing – your big damage comes from your spells critting, not just from mastery. While it looks good at first glance, fire mage mastery isn’t really amazing in pvp, and once again, crit provides more damage and burst for fire overall than mastery would. It also doesn’t help that fire’s DoTs are dispelable, so you want your damage strong and upfront with crit, not long and drawn out with mastery. For arcane, mastery isn’t necessarily bad, but because of it’s mechanics it’s not really needed. You’ll be burning through your mana so quickly that you won’t be able to make much use of your mastery before you go OOM or die.

    The last stat to talk about is resilience. It is the plain and most important stat for any pvp character. You get enough base resilience from your gear that you don’t need to specifically gear for it, and mages are able to get by with less resilience than some other classes due to their survivability mechanics. You’ll want around 3500 resilience to be comfortable, but going over isn’t an issue at all. Going below it for say, pve gear, you should be wary of, because going too far will end up making you to fragile and easily killed in pvp.

    It is NOT a good idea to try and spread your stats, you are unable to get a “best of both worlds” mix with them. Focus on one and go for it, you can always change your mind later!

    Mastry vs. Crit – The Frost Debate

    For frost there is a large debate between how much crit and how much mastery you need to be effective. In the end, it all comes down to what comp you’re playing in arena, and your own personal preference.

    Crit will reduce the amount of RNG that you have in your shatters. If you hate having to play the RNG game you’ll want to stack more crit so your shatters are more consistent. If you play with a class that gives a +5% crit buff (such as a sub rogue or feral druid) then you can stack less base crit. Generally 17% crit is a good place to be at (51% crit chance in a shatter). Less will make your burst damage far too random and can cause your kill attempts to fail because luck decided to not be with you.

    Mastery will give you more RNG, but a lot more damage. You want as much mastery as you can get without hurting your intellect or crit rating to much. If you’re not to serious into competitive pvp, stacking more mastery and lowering your crit won’t be a large issue if you don’t mind dealing with RNG in random battlegrounds. Quite often in random (and rated) battlegrounds you’ll have a 5% crit buff from a class so your crit RNG won’t be as big of an issue, and in larger scale pvp your personal crits won’t have a much of an impact as your CC and other people’s damage. If you’re focusing on arenas though, you’ll want to be careful on balancing your mastery with your crit so you’ll have consistent but hard hitting shatters.

    Gear :


    Enchants can be flexible depending on your secondary stat or personal preference.

    Head: Arcanum of Vicious Intellect
    Shoulder: Greater Inscription of Vicious Intellect
    Cloak: Enchant Cloak - Greater Intellect
    Chest: Enchant Chest - Mighty Resilience / Enchant Chest - Peerless Stats (Chose if you want more offense- stats, or defense- Resil)
    Bracers: Enchant Bracer - Mighty Intellect
    Weapon: Formula: Enchant Weapon - Power Torrent
    Off hand: Enchant Off-Hand - Superior Intellect
    Gloves: Enchant Gloves - Greater Mastery / Enchant Gloves - Haste (Mastery if your frost, haste for arcane, fire can chose)
    Belt: Ebonsteel Belt Buckle
    Legs: Powerful Enchanted Spellthread
    Boots: Enchant Boots - Earthen Vitality / Enchant Boots - Lavawalker (Lavawalker is a must have for frost, arcane/fire can chose which one they want)


    Gemming is very simple and straightforward:

    Meta: Burning Shadowspirit Diamond
    Red: Brilliant Inferno Ruby
    Yellow: Artful Ember Topaz (frost) Reckless Ember Topaz (arcane) Potent Ember Topaz (fire)
    Blue: Veiled Demonseye Or Brilliant Inferno Ruby] if you have no need for more hit.
    In your prismatic belt buckle socket put in a pure int gem.

    You can put pure intellect gems wherever you want if you don't care about socket bonuses, but if you find yourself over the hit cap with int/hit gems, you can always reforge some hit into a secondary stat or put in a pure int gem. If you’re comfortable with your secondary stats from enchants and reforging, you can gem even more pure intellect gems into your yellow sockets, but normally to balance your stats, it’s better if you gem orange int/stat gems.


    Again, it’s quite simple to reforge. Your secondary stat of choice is what you will be reforging to, the stats you reforge are the other two “off” stats, for example:

    You main stat is haste, you will be reforging mastery and crit into haste.

    Reaching the hit cap is not an issue. The base hit on your pvp gear will give you quite a bit, and if you find yourself short you can either gem some int/hit or reforge a bit of an “off stat” to hit. You want to be as close to 4% hit as possible, but try not going to far over or you’re wasting potential offensive stats, but you don’t want to be below it either, even if you’re only a little bit off, you can end up missing that key deep freeze or counterspell that end up losing you an important game.

    Choosing the right gear

    Picking the right gear can seem a bit confusing at first, but it’s pretty simple. Mostly you’ll be using pvp gear, but depending on how comfortable you feel with it, you can drop quite a bit of resil as a mage and wear some pve gear.

    To start off, you’ll want to just get everything from the pvp vendors, starting with the current season’s honor gear and upgrading to arena gear as you are able to acquire it. Hold off on buying your gloves and pants until the end, because if you’re running BH (as I’m sure you will) you may get lucky on drops and be able to get the gloves and pants as a drop.

    For your offset, look at the stats on each type of armor (wrists, back etc) and see what stat fits the spec you’re playing (mastery for frost, crit for fire, haste for arcane). The neck and cloak both offer spell penetration, so chose which one you want based on the other neck/cloak piece. Mastery is on the cloak while haste is on the neck. So if you’re frost, for example, get the spell penetration neck, and the mastery cloak.

    For trinkets you’ll want the Ruthless Gladiator's Medallion of Tenacity for sure, then you’ll want an on use trinket, or a trinket you personally activate. **If you’re a human you don’t need the pvp trinket because of your racial. You’ll want a trinket with a proc on it and an on use trinket, you are unable to use to “on-use” trinkets at the same time**. For starters, the on use spell power trinket from the pvp vendors is good enough, but there are other options for trinkets if you are a human mage. (Such as Soulshifter Vortex if you can steal if from a tank, but Foul Gift of the Demon Lord will be a much better option) If you are not human though then most trinkets are not itemized well or are out dated and the new pvp trinket available for season 11 out shadows them.


    --The best, and why--

    The most asked question by all is; what is the best pvp spec? The answer is simple and is not up for debate: Frost. This is not to say that fire and arcane don’t have a special place in pvp, but frost excels beyond all three of the mage specs in pretty much every form of pvp- from bgs to high end arenas frost has the tool set to survive and kill in the current state of pvp.

    I will still discuss each spec, it’s strengths and weaknesses, and where it can work:


    Frost has the most control and survivability of the three specs. It has the best tools to get off hard casts and can deal with training far better than the other two. It can put out semi-decent damage with Fingers of Frost ice lance’s, and it has a host of roots that keep it far away from melee and allow it to get it’s CC and damage out. Cold snap is one of the biggest survivability CD’s frost possess, resetting ice block can be a life saver when you are being focused in pvp. Deep freeze also provides frost more breathing room from it’s enemy, or allow it extra CC on top of the regular mage arsenal (sheep, RoF, counterspell). While frost’s burst damage in a shatter is quite large, it’s damage is lowest comparatively to the other three specs. Outside of shatters, frost’s sustained damage is extremely weak, and if trained in an arena match, nonexistent. Never underestimate the damage you can do to your enemy when they are stuck in a nova, though.


    Fire is extremely mobile and relies on it’s DoT’s to do the killing. The “set and forget” style of DoTs and scorch while moving allows fire to be constantly moving while dealing damage. When all DoT’s are rolling and you pop combustion, the burst damage can be devastating to anyone it’s placed on. While not as good as frost, fire has semi good survivability and control. The fact that you can fish for Hot Streak procs while moving (with scorch) by itself is great survivability. Blazing speed allows it to get away quickly and easily from any melee that touches it, and dragon’s breath provides great CC to set up burst, or a great peel for the mage or his teammates. Blastwave, while not lasting very long, can provide a few seconds for the mage or his allies to escape.

    Fire’s greatest weakness is an issue for all mages- magic dispel. Because most of fire’s damage comes from DoTs, it suffers greatly due to the ease of dispelling, combustion can be completely nullified by one spammable spell from any healer. Fire is also incredibly dependent on RNG. If you are unlucky and don’t get a few crits in a row for hot streak, your damage drops significantly, and without crits you won’t proc ignite. Pyroblast’s DoT and ignite are both essential in getting the big DoT damage from combustion out, and are critical in getting the biggest burst you can. In an arena setting fire also doesn’t have the best tools to deal with the consistent training mages suffer from in pvp. It is able to survive the constant dispelling by chain CCing the healer when setting up and allowing combustion to run it’s course. Fire can sheep just as any other mage, and also has dragons breath for extra CC at the end of a sheep chain.

    There are a select few fire mages who are able to be successful in arena. It’s not impossible, but it’s many times harder than as frost, and often times people won’t take you as fire. In random and rated battlegrounds fire can be incredibly powerful. It can put out a lot of spread damage and provide decent CC and peels (such as dragon’s breathing people trying to chase your flag carrier down, frost provides better peels overall for this situation though). Because there are many more targets, healers can’t keep up with dispelling all of your DoTs, and coupled with something like an affliction warlock, your DoTs can wear out the enemy healer’s mana and ultimately cause the other team to crumble, especially when you impact spread the perfect combustion in a large group of players.


    Arcane is the true glass cannon. It can output enormous amounts of damage that is a guaranteed death, but it also is killed very easily. If an arcane mage is allowed to stack up it’s arcane blasts it can provide the necessary burst to kill just about anyone- healer, tank, or otherwise. Arcane’s biggest issue is getting these arcane blast stacks up. Mages are normally the kill targets of choice in pvp so they spend a lot of time… running. While you are running away trying to avoid damage (or just trying to stay alive) you are unable to stop and cast, and even if you get a brief moment of casting it is normally nullified by the vast number of interrupts available in the game currently. This added onto arcane’s awful survivability make it an extremely weak spec with little benefit. It can work in random battle grounds if you stay in a large group and nuke from afar, but in arenas or rated battlegrounds when people are paying attention you will be on top of the kill list, and with arcane’s horrid survivability you’ll fall very easily.

    --Builds And glyphs--

    *Glyph of polymorph is essential for all 3 specs and for any form of pvp. The only minor glyph you need is slow fall. Avoid the minor glyph of mirror images.*

    Prime: Frostbolt, Frostfirebolt, Ice Lance
    Major: Polymorph, Ice barrier, Evocation/Frost armor.

    You have a choice between Evocation and frost armor. For every day pvp and 2s, evocation is the better choice. For 3s though, you may want to switch it to frost armor to better deal with melee cleaves, and evocation is often much more difficult, if not impossible, to get off during a 3s match.

    Wait, where’s shattered barrier?

    Many will see that shattered barrier is left out of the frost spec and many will wonder “why”? Yes, it is an extra root, but the reason it is left out is because it DRs with your CoC root. Because of this, it can cause your CoC root to become unreliable, and you don’t want it to be unreliable. Because shattered barrier is “RNG”ish, means that it can break at pretty much any time. You could have a random DoT like rend break it- but when you’re already 30 yards away, wasting the potential root. Or you could CoC a melee, and right as it lands, they take off that last part of your barrier with a lucky crit and it hits them, reducing the nova time considerably due to the DR and makes it that much harder to get away when you need to.

    Taking the talent isn’t necessarily “bad”, but it’s not a good idea. Some mages prefer it, but I strongly advise against taking it.

    Prime: Living bomb, pyroblast, mage/molten armor.
    Major: Polymorph, Evocation, frost armor

    You can move 2 points from critical mass and put it into improved flamestrike. Imp FS is best for random and rated bgs, but not as useful in arenas.

    Prime: Arcane Blast, Arcane barrage, Mage Armor
    Major: Polymorph, Mana shield/Invisability, Evocation/Frost armor.



    Here are some basic starter macros to help mace pvp a lot smoother:

    /cast [nopet][target=pet, dead] Summon Water Elemental; Freeze
    Summons your elemental if it’s not out, casts it’s freeze ability if it is.

    /cast Polymorph
    Sets your current target to focus and casts sheep

    /cast [target=focus, nodead, harm] Polymorph
    Polymorphs your focus target

    **NOTE: You should take this macro and replace “polymorph” with Deep freeze, counterspell, and fireblast (if you are speced into impact). All spells need a focus bind so you are able to CC with much more ease.

    /cast Counterspell
    Stops your current cast and casts Counterspell . Allows one to react quicker to incoming enemy casts. You can replace Counterspell with blink and ice block if you want faster reaction on them while casting, but it is not necessary.

    /cancelaura Ice Block
    /cast Ice Lance
    If you are in an ice block, this will automatically remove it. You don’t need it on ice lance, I personally have an IB cancel on my blink, nova and ice barrier spells. You should. However, get it macro’d to something so you are able to cancel ice block quickly if need be (breaking a CC, for example). This way you don’t need to fumble with your buffs trying to right click it off.

    Stops your pet from attacking and returns it to your side.

    Tells your pet to attack yoru current target.

    **NOTE: Keep your pet on passive at ALL TIMES, use these two macros to keep it under control!**

    /cast [modifier:shift, @arena2] Polymorph
    /cast [modifier:alt, @arena3] Polymorph
    /cast [nomodifier, @arena1] Polymorph
    This bind sheeps the first arena target, sheeps the second if you hold down shift, and sheeps the third if you hold down control. Polymorph can be replaced by deep freeze, fireblast, and CS (once again). A nice replacement for focus macros if you want to start mass controlling the enemy team.

    /cast [@mouseover,exists,nodead,help] Remove Curse; Remove Curse
    You cast decurse on your mouseover target. "Mouseover" can be replaced with "Player" to cast it on yourself, regardless of target, or with a players name, so you cast decurse on them regardless of target.
    **NOTE: Keep your pet on passive at ALL TIMES, use these two macros to keep it under control!**

    /cast [modifier:shift, @arena2] Polymorph
    /cast [modifier:alt, @arena3] Polymorph
    /cast [nomodifier, @arena1] Polymorph
    This bind sheeps the first arena target, sheeps the second if you hold down shift, and sheeps the third if you hold down control. Polymorph can be replaced by deep freeze, fireblast, and CS (once again). A nice replacement for focus macros if you want to start mass controlling the enemy team.

    /cast [@mouseover,exists,nodead,help] Remove Curse; Remove Curse
    You cast decurse on your mouseover target. "Mouseover" can be replaced with "Player" to cast it on yourself, regardless of target, or with a players name, so you cast decurse on them regardless of target.


    There are many addons that can enhance your gameplay, but these are a few basic (yet nessecary) addons you should download.

    Gladius (

    Your basic arena addon. Shows cooldowns, health, trinkets and announcements (like drinking and low health) in an arena match.

    Interrupt bar (

    Shows when an enemy uses an interrupt (or a any CD if you edit it). Helps a lot when you are juking multiple spells and lets you know to the second when you can cast without fear of being interrupted.

    Quartz (

    Modifies the cast bars. You can move your cast bar, your enemies, and most importantly, your focus’s cast bars around so they are more easily viewed.

    Power Auras (

    Highly configurable addon that lets you track your procs, your enemy’s procs, when they gain buffs (such as spell reflect). It can track your debuffs on your target (such as living bomb being on/not being on your target). Takes a bit to get used to but once you figure it out it can track just about anything.


    If you click your spells, use your keys to turn your character, or both, get ready to change. Keybinding your spells is absolutely essential in any form of pvp, and can even help in your awareness and DPS in pve. In PvP, you need full control of your character’s movements, if you need to pause, for even a second, it can lead to your demise. You can’t be focusing on clicking your spells while some death knight is beating on you, and your CC and damage reactions will be a lot slower. The difference between someone who clicks a new target, sheeps, clicks back to their old target, and then clicks damaging spells is drastic compared to someone who is able to click their new target, hit a bind, then switch back and immediately start damaging.

    In short- keybinding is just better.

    Now adjusting to keybinding after clicking for a long time can be a big change. I myself changed to keybinding after having clicked for a good 2 years. It’s a change, and your ability to play will decrease for a week or two, but the change is well worth it.

    So where do you start? First you want to bind your most used spells like frostbolt, ice lance, frost nova etc. Put them in comfortable positions around your movement keys (AWD or ESF) so that you can easily and quickly hit them. Your “oh crap” buttons like trinket and ice block should be easily reachable, but not so close that you can easily mis-hit or “fat finger” it by mistake. Your longer CD spells like cold snap and evocation can be placed a bit further away. Just make sure everything is easily accessible and that you can hit everything quickly and effectively. Once you are comfortable with your basic binds and can hit them without much thought, add more to your “list” of keybinds, like mirror image, invisibility etc. Continue this process until everything is bound.

    I highly recommend the addon “Bartender” (which is linked in the addons section). It allows you to easily keybind spells and change your binds without much trouble. It also will allow you to make your bars “click through” so if you try to click on your spells it won’t work, so you break your habit more easily.

    Don’t worry if you don’t have EVERY spell bound though. Mounts, food and arcane brilliance are all fine to click, as well as spells you won’t ever use, like flame strike, fire ball and arcane blast. You will want to bind your armors though, many situations call for you to switch them mid-combat and you need to be quick about it.

    And lastly – Unbind back pedal. There is no situation in PvP where you need to back your character up – it’s slow and pointless, and the bind used to back up is a great key to bind a spell you use a lot (I personally have it as Ice Lance).

    Starting your Mage:


    The best race for alliance is human, because of the ability, Every Man for Himself . It’s the king of all PvP racials. What this ability does is it gives you a “free” trinket. Activating this racial ability has the same effect as it would using your pvp trinket to get out of CC, so instead of one of your trinket slots being taken up by a pvp trinket, you now have an extra one to put another DPS trinket into. This is extremely powerful for any DPS class, mages included. Having two damaging trinkets can make your damage stronger than anyone else’s and gives you a significant edge.

    For horde, it comes down to undead or goblins. Undead give a “second” trinket with their Will of the Forsaken ability, and goblins allow you a second blink with their Rocket Jump. The undead have a downside with WotF though, it shares a 30 second cooldown with their pvp trinket (use one and the other is unusable for 30 seconds) and it only breaks fears, charms and sleeps.

    What one you chose is up to your own personal preference (as always!). You need to decide if you want an upper hand on melee characters (goblin) or classes with fear (undead). One won’t save you more than the other because you’ll always get a mix of classes while pvping.

    But, In the end, it doesn’t really matter what race you chose to play. In the end you should chose a race you find appealing, be it lore, animations, faction, whatever. If you hate the way your character looks, you won’t have as much fun playing it. Racials will always help, but they won’t make or break you as a pvper, the only thing that will make you better is your own skill, not the race of your character.


    The best profession for a pvp mage is jewl crafting. The additional stats from your gems can push your damage ahead of others. It’s also not that bad for making money. Your other profession should be either engineering, enchanting or tailoring. Each provides around roughly the same bonus perk (Enchanting you can add intellect enchants to your ring, tailoring you can add a spell power proc to your cloak, and engineering you can add a use effect to your gloves to give you more spell power). Chose what you want, be it based on the “toys” you get from the profession, the money you earn, or just personal choice.

    Don’t be stressed if you don’t have JC or have some other mix of professions, they won’t make or break your game experience in pvp, and merely provide a small benefit.

    --Where to begin--

    So you’ve finally hit 85 or decided you wanted to try pvp. It can feel like quite a daunting task to start, but there are a few things you can do to make things a lot easier.

    Farm honor and craft gear

    First thing you want to do is get some honor gear. Que up for random battleground and tol barad (when it’s up) to get as much honor as possible. If you have left over justice points you don’t want to use on anything, they can be converted into honor points. It doesn’t matter what type of gear you have going into a random battleground, if you’re just starting pvp, you’re going to get blown up either way. If you’re a fresh 85 and have some spare cash, get the crafted pvp set to make yourself a bit sturdier, but overall their won’t be much of a difference until you start getting the honor gear. If you’re starting out in pve gear, keep it on. As long as you stay with the pack you can cause some big damage on the enemy while avoiding dying to quickly, but as soon as someone spots you, expect to go down pretty fast.

    Duel, and do random BGs for practice

    You’ll want to practice as much as you can so you get more comfortable with a mage in pvp. Duel as many people as you can, find out when it’s the best time to use your cool downs and what CD’s you can use to counter your enemies. When you lose, don’t get frusterated and acuse your oppnante of being OP, cheating etc. If you reman calm, and ask for advice, many people will be happy to help you. There will be those who will insult you and say “GTFO scrub L2P” and those you need to simply ignore and walk away. Don’t respond, it’s what they want! Random BGs are also great places to practice and you should start right away when you start farming your gear. Try to control the battlefield as much as possible with sheeps, rings, novas etc. Sheep the enemy healers, nova melee off your teammates, especially your healers, try dropping a ring on a large group of players and using nova to keep them in place, you’ll be surprised how many you can actually catch. BGs are a great place to also practice your overall awareness of battle which is key in arenas and rated BGs. A key part of pvp success is being aware of all your enemies at once and not getting to focused on one person- also called tunnel visioning.

    Start 2’s for arena Practice, get conq gear, learn the arena environment

    Once you get your gear and feel comfortable in duels and battlegrounds, it’s a good idea to find a friend or another person to play some arenas with. It’s a good idea to start with 2v2 because you only have 2 targets to keep track of, many people won’t take it seriously so mistakes can be made without many repercussions, and the ques are generally fast. It allows you to focus on CCing and damaging in an arena environment and teaches you small scale combat over the large scale BGs or the 1v1 duels. 2s will also give you conquest points for the week which you can use to buy some new shiny arena gear which will help your damage and survivability quite a bit.

    Finding the right arena team, what are your goals?

    Before getting into arena though, you need to know what you’re goals are. Do you want to cap your points, go for ratings, and if so, what rating, or are you just practicing? Are you playing with some friends, guildies, or random people from trade? Being aware of these things will help you proceed in arenas with a lot less issue and a lot less “drama”. If you’re just trying to cap some points with a random person, tell them that. If you want to practice more, communicate that with your partner and see how they feel about it.

    That’s not to say you can’t change your mind. Say you find a random rogue in trade chat to cap some points with. You end up doing very well and have good communication and have fun playing together. Don’t be afraid to ask if he wants to keep playing or if you guys might want to try and get some good ratings.

    When going for longer term teams like in 3s, you need to make sure everyone is aware of what everyone’s goals are. If not, you could end up having an issue where your healer quits because you can’t get past 1600, while you and the other DPS may have just been playing to learn and practice and weren’t concerned with their rating at all. If you’re all aiming for a certain rating, communicate how dedicated you’re going to be. Do you want to see progress every week? Month? Every day?

    Also be aware of your, and your partner’s skill levels. If you’re playing with people at your skill level, be aware that progess may be slow and you could end up being at a low rating for awhile. If your partners are higher rated, be sure to tell them that you’re new and learning. When they get frustrated and tell you to do something differently, they’re normally right (they are higher rated you know!). Don’t get defensive, ask questions if you need to, and try to adjust your playstyle to better fit theirs. Some of the best learning and progress in skill can come from playing with higher rated players, but don’t feel bad if they decide to drop you, sometimes people can be impatient and want to progress rather than teach.

    The last, and simply the most important thing about arenas is your attitude. After a loss, don’t blame your partners, don’t blame yourself. That’s not to say you can’t say “Wow, I totally ran out into the middle and forgot to block so I died”. Obviously it’s your fault, but fess up to the mistake, remember it and don’t do it again! Also, don’t criticize your partners to harshly, and try to use a good tone of voice when spelling out their mistakes, “Wow you were such an idiot why didn’t you fear” isn’t a good way of stating something, but saying “Hey, you need to fear a bit more, the paladin was out of CC for a while and that was a perfect time to CC him”. After a loss communicate what could have gone wrong and what the other team did right. Try not to blame the class or comp, but instead see what you can do to overcome a weakness. And last but not least- STAY POSITIVE! Even fake enthusiasm can keep your team’s moral high and make you play better. I can’t count the number of times I’ve played worse because of me or my partner’s being grumpy and angry at each other or the game. If you find you’re getting to frustrated and angry though, don’t force yourself to keep going. Small 10-30 minute breaks can be amazing. Go do a few dailies, listen to some music, go make a sandwich and watch some TV, whatever to wind you down a bit and get you back in the mindset of arenas, and if it’s really bad, don’t be afraid to call it for the night and start up again later. Have fun and tell jokes, it’s amazing how much easier it is to play when you’re having a good time. That’s what the game’s all about, right?

    --Common Arena comps--

    Here is a list of several common arena comps:

    -RMP-FMP- (Rogue/Priest/mage)(Feral druid/ priest/mage)
    -Shatterplay (Spreist/mage/healer)
    -MLS-MLD (Mage/lock/shaman-druid)
    -Liberty Cleave (mage/priest/DK)

    Of course there are many many many more mage arena comps that can have success and be played to decent arena ratings. Just make sure that when you create a team, make sure there is a good mixture of damage, CC, and peels. You don’t want a lot of your CC to DR or for either of you to have poor damage, and having a few extra ways to peel to help yourself or to help you peel for your teammates.

    --RBGS, Knowing your Role--

    Your role in an RBG depends all on who’s in your group, what spec you’re playing and what battleground you get. As arcane you’ll most likely be put on the offense, but as fire or frost, you could be put on defense, offense, or both.

    In an RBG, there are a few key things you must do:

    -Make sure something is always sheeped. If it’s a healer, great, if you can’t get a CC on a healer, do it on some DPS you’re not focusing. Taking just one person out of the fight- healer or DPS- can be a huge advantage for your team in a big brawl. Make sure you sheep something on the outskirts of the fight though, sheeping someone in the middle of the fray is normally a waste of time – more often than not someone’s AoE will break it, and it will normally be an AoE that they can’t avoid (like howling blast).

    -Peel. Pretty simple one. If you see another caster or a healer getting mobbed by melee, you shouldn’t have to be asked to peel them off. Frost nova, CoC, pet nova, or RoF will all do the trick and can relieve a lot of pressure off of your teammates. A great trick is to nova the melee and throw a ring of frost underneath them. You can catch quite a few of them with this, and if their healers are to bust healing (or completely un aware) you now have several players completely out of the fight for 8 seconds.

    -Stand away from nodes. When you’re defending a node in The Battle for Gilneas or Arathi Basin, you need to stand about 15-20 yards away from the flag. Make sure your pet can still nova around the flag though. You do this because rogues are often sent to capture flags, and they do so by sapping a player and capping the flag. If the player trinkets they get hit with a blind and the flag is theirs. If you stand far away from the flag, sap will wear off way before the rogue has time to finish capping it because he wastes time on his sap walking back to the flag. You are then able to save your trinket for his blind. If you are frost though, it’s not as big an issue because your pet can keep the rogue from capping while you sit in CC.

    -Follow directions. I can’t stress this point enough. Don’t argue, and follow what the leader tells you to do. If he wants you to defend, do it, if he wants you on offense, do it. Don’t try and “be a hero”, don’t go off on your own, this only hinders your team and makes coordinating attacks and defenses much harder. If you have issues with how the BG went, or if you disagree with a tactic or kill targets, discuss it with your group leader afterwards, not during the RBG. This keeps your vent/skype clear and allows everyone to focus on the game, and not arguing with one another.

    --Controlling your pet--

    Your water elemental should always be on passive regardless of the situation. You want to make 2 separate macros, one for pet attack and one for pet follow (you can find these macros in the macro section). You always want your elemental in range to use his freeze ability whenever you need it, so don’t let him go running off chasing after some random player in a BG, for the most part he should be on your current DPS target.

    I HIGHLY advise against binding either of these to offensive and/or defensive spells and recommend that you put them on their own binds. The reason is you want FULL control over your water elemental and if you have his attack bind on say, your frostbolt, he’ll always be attacking your current target. This can be problematic if you ever want him to attack another target, such as a healer to keep him from drinking or a rogue who’s trying to restealth. If you put his follow bind on something like sheep, you’ll have to tell him to attack your current target every time you sheep something- which is a lot.

    If you’re just doing random BGs this isn’t as big of an issue, but if you ever want to start up any “serious” pvp you’ll need full control over your pet, in fact, random BGs are an excellent place to practice controlling your pet and making sure he doesn’t go running off.

    Additional Information:

    Arena Junkies (

    Website chock full of pvp information on many classes. It has stratagies, macros, and live streams. Read the forums on here from time to time to just learn new things.

    Skill capped (

    EXTREAMLY good website for any pvp oriented player. There is a monthly cost to access the website, but it is worth it. There are guides detailing the ins and outs of classes and their roles in arenas, mostly in informative video guides, so they are easy to follow and show you examples in real arena matches. Only made by the top top players of game so you know the information is solid. It’s worth the money.


    Another website to just watch mage PvP videos on. Watch as many as you can! Even if they aren’t instructional you can learn a lot by just watching other mages play.

    Competitive Fire PvP: Tips and Tricks (

    Nice short little guide on fire mage pvp, for those of you thinking about burning things up.

    So... Now what?

    So now that you’ve gotten geared up, read everything on here and started doing pvp, what do you do? Be active in your learning. Read the mage forums, read arena junkies, watch pvp videos, read arena comp guides – even if it doesn’t involve your comp, or your class, they can still be informative on how other classes and comps play, so when you face them you’re not completely lost.

    And of course, the most important and valuable thing you can do when learning anything – Ask questions! Don’t be afraid to make a post and ask for advice, ask people in game if they wouldn’t mind offering some help, and don’t be deterred when someone is rude and refuses to help or insults you because you ask for it. Just make sure when you ask for help that you provide as much information as possible. What comp you play, what you do against someone, what they’re doing that’s making you lose, what your damage rotation is etc. More information helps other people find issues and mistakes in your play and will make the advice they give you a lot more precise and helpful.
    Last edited by Xiun; 2011-12-06 at 04:54 PM.

  2. #2
    Oh god it's this stuck up mage from WoW forums.

    JK man, I am Neutronstar, a level 4 priest. I asked you for some dueling advice and stuff, if you remember. I'll support your thread but I still want to see class specific advice for Frost spec, AKA what to look out or and do.

  3. #3
    Nice guide, do not do arenas very much but this has provided me with some additional knowledge. Well done.


  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Blueobelisk View Post
    Oh god it's this stuck up mage from WoW forums.

    JK man, I am Neutronstar, a level 4 priest. I asked you for some dueling advice and stuff, if you remember. I'll support your thread but I still want to see class specific advice for Frost spec, AKA what to look out or and do.
    So much hate :[

    I've been planning on hopefully constructing some videos to better show the basics on kiting and doing damage, and hopefully getting into specifics vs. each class.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jarce View Post
    Nice guide, do not do arenas very much but this has provided me with some additional knowledge. Well done.

    Thank you very much :]

  5. #5
    Pretty nice guide mate.

  6. #6

    Pretty nice guide

    Pretty nice guide. My question is if I have to open every time with sheep or its situational? Give an example what is your opening vs some combs and in which arena?

    Thank you

  7. #7
    Thanks for the kind words.

    For arenas I'll try and get the healer in a sheep as quickly as possible (to stop dispels and be able to get out some early damage) but getting it off as my FIRST thing normally is not a priority. I'll normally pet nova/regular nova and shatter it, maybe even a DF on the DPS we're bursting or on the healer (so I can then get him in a sheep).

  8. #8
    Just a friendly bump up because there seems to be quite a lack of pvp threads on here :[

  9. #9
    Hi hi! I've been a long time lurker here, but finally decided to join. First of all, thank you so much for this guide.
    I'm new to frost mage pvp and I have a few questions. What would be a ideal opener on a enemy target? I know it will always be situational but sort of the general opener. I would assume I should start off by opening with frostbolt + ice lance simultaneously and making my pet attack(seperate hotkey) the enemy after that.
    What is the frost arch I see from time to time above my head? Also, the stuff on the sides of me that pops up. Should I be using certain spells when those popup? I'm sorry for sounding so newbie, but this is my first frost mage ever and I would like some help please, Thanks a bunch!

  10. #10
    Most online Reforge doesnt change value to pvp from the default pve so I got questions:

    How much hit is 4% hit on normal? How about on Dreanei?
    Im undergeared so I want 17% so How much Crit is 17% crit?How about on Worgen?
    After Ive farmed enough gear How much Crit is 20% crit? on worgen?

    I need to know this simple information so I know when will I be stacking Mastery or Haste (depending on spec)
    Thanks, Answering this wil help reforging easier. I got problems auto reforge giving me pve results LoL
    Last edited by Tomia; 2011-12-16 at 06:23 AM.

  11. #11
    How about just stacking mastery since it's OP?

  12. #12
    Bump and why is this not a sticky ?

    edit : thanks Swizzle for sticky
    Last edited by Twoflower; 2012-01-31 at 12:03 PM.
    Ecce homo ergo elk

  13. #13
    Been playin my age for a while in and out of PvP and arenas and this is an amzing guide. My only question is why you stop at 17-20% crit for frost? Think im around 27% on my guy still gemming and enchanting right but reforging all to crit once i got the hit and spell pen cap. Does it have a diminishing return or something i dont know about since haste is basically pointless and mastery is definatly sub-par compared to crit. Obviously i would stop i i ever hit 33% but why not get it all the way up there if its possible?

    Thanks and again great guide.

  14. #14
    excellent guide thank you for this

  15. #15
    Is there a different spec that is better for random battlegrounds? I don't arena so I don't need a spec tailored for that.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Karazee View Post
    Is there a different spec that is better for random battlegrounds? I don't arena so I don't need a spec tailored for that.
    Not really, there are some things you can switch around in certain specs that would be bad for arenas, but the "arena" specs are still 100% great for randoms. It also depends on what spec you're thinking of changing, and why you don't want to use an "arena spec" for it. Do you just want to use a pve spec or something?

    Also thank you very much for sticky whoever the mod was who did it. didn't even realize it got up here, don't read MMO forums enough :P

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Xiun View Post
    Not really, there are some things you can switch around in certain specs that would be bad for arenas, but the "arena" specs are still 100% great for randoms. It also depends on what spec you're thinking of changing, and why you don't want to use an "arena spec" for it. Do you just want to use a pve spec or something?
    Mainly I was thinking of taking Shattered Barrier. Even though the DR is shared on other spells, my thinking is that it will likely be different people getting hit with the two often enough in a random pug battleground setting to justify it.

    P.S. This thread is a very good idea - maybe change the title to "PvP Beginner Mages - don't be afraid to ask your "stupid questions" here!" or something like that. Especially with how players of every other class likes to say how faceroll they assume mages are, it can be embarrassing for players new to PvP, new to Mages, or both to ask questions without fear of being made fun of. BTW I'm living proof mage pvp is not faceroll because if it was, I'd be good at it.
    Last edited by Karazee; 2012-02-21 at 07:54 PM.

  18. #18
    If you really really want it, you can go for it (random bgs aren't super serious, heh). An extra root is probably a nice thing for someone new to have, but if you ever try to get into serious pvp, I would try to break the bad habit of having it. (It's hard to get used to missing an entire root, DR or not).

  19. #19
    In the grand scheme of things, no, random bg's aren't super serious. But for someone like me who's not good in arena and has no bg rating so can't get on a team, random bg's are all I can hope to have. And because I hate losing, I take them seriously. I want to do my best because I want to win.

  20. #20
    It says here that i should go hast all the way but i see many people stack up mastery instead of haste, any reason why?

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