fire Mage Guide

1. Introduction

Fire is a spec that revolves around interactive critical strikes and burst damage, while possessing some unique mechanics such as casting while casting.

Strengths:

Good Mobility.

Execute with Searing Touch and Improved Scorch.

Strong defensive kit & cheat death in Cauterize.

Time Warp, Arcane Intellect, & the class tree provide a wide range of dungeon utility.

Drawbacks:

No spread AOE or cleave.

Sun King's Blessing and Kindling overly punish the spec for not maintaining uptime.

Competes with the other mage specs for similar strengths.

Main raid utility is Arcane Intellect which does not make stacking the class appealing.

Extremely low passive tankiness. Defensive kit is all proactive which requires spec comfort or encounter knowledge.

DragonflightShadowlandsBattle for Azeroth

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2. Spells & Abilities

Damage Spells:
  • Fireball - Filler ability, it does low damage and is used to generate Heating Up.
  • Fire Blast - Medium damage ability that always crits and is usable while casting. The primary use of Fire Blast is to convert Heating Up gained from Fireball into Hot Streak so we can use our payoff spells.
  • Pyroblast - High damage single target ability with a long cast time. It becomes an instant cast spell while Hot Streak is active.
  • Flamestrike - AOE ability with a long cast time. It becomes an instant cast spell while Hot Streak is active.
  • Scorch - Very low damage, short cast time ability that can be cast while moving.
  • Phoenix Flames - Instant cast, charge based spell with a slow travel time.
  • Combustion - Primary DPS cooldown. It gives us 100% critical strike chance for 10 seconds.
  • Living Bomb - DOT that explodes for AOE damage. All enemies hit become a Living Bomb.
Defensive Spells:
  • Blazing Barrier - Small shield for 60 seconds.
  • Mirror Image - Creates 3 copies of your character for 40 seconds. While an image is active your damage taken is reduced by 20%, and taking direct damage causes an image to dissipate.
  • Alter Time - Snapshots your current location and health. The spell can be reactivated again within 10 seconds to return you to said location and health.
  • Ice Block - Immunity that prevents all damage.
  • Greater Invisibility - Turns us invisible immediately and provides a 60% damage reduction. Can be used to fizzle several targeted boss abilities.
Other Utility Spells:
  • Blink - Teleports you 20 yards forwards. Our main mobility tool.
  • Dragon's Breath - Frontal cone AOE that disorientates all targets hit.
  • Invisibility - Turns you invisible after a short delay. Can be used to fizzle several targeted boss abilities.
  • Spellsteal - Steals or purges 1 beneficial magic buff from the target.
  • Arcane Intellect - Increases your groups Intellect by 5% for 1 hour.
  • Remove Curse - Dispels all curses from a friendly target.
  • Blast Wave - Knocks back, slows and damages all nearby enemies.
  • Cone Of Cold - Slows enemies in a frontal cone by 70%.

3. Talents


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Spec tree:
Class tree:

4. Rotation

4.1 Rotation Overview

The fire mage rotation revolves around 2 main concepts:

4.2 Hot Streak

Fire is based around maximising Hot Streak. Hot Streak is gained by achieving two direct critical strikes in a row. One critical strike gives us Heating Up, and a critical strike while Heating Up is active gives us Hot Streak. Hot Streak makes our next Pyroblast or Flamestrike instant cast and doubles its Ignite damage. In order to assist us with this, Fire mage possesses the unique ability to cast Fire Blast while casting, making it easier to convert Heating Up into Hot Streak.

Fire mage filler follows this cycle:

  1. Cast Fireball until one critically strikes and gives us Heating Up.
  2. Use Fire Blast to convert the Heating Up into a Hot Streak.
  3. Consume the Hot Streak using Pyroblast or Flamestrike.
  4. Repeat the sequence, using any additional abilities such as Meteor, Phoenix Flames and Sun King's Blessing procs in between.

Note that by the time a Fireball reaches the target and critically strikes you will be already casting another Fireball - continue to cast, cast Fire Blast while casting, and consume the Hot Streak with Pyroblast at the end of the cast.

We always want to cast a non-instant spell before an instant Pyroblast (usually Fireball, but sometimes Pyroblast) so that both spells hit the target at the same time. This is because there is a small grace window where if one spell crits and the other doesn’t, we don’t lose the Heating Up gained from the spell that crit. Do note that this trick does not work with Scorch due to its faster travel time, so keep that in mind when moving or using Searing Touch.

Other spells we have that do not interact with this Hot Streak build/spend flow such as Meteor and Shifting Power, can be used at any time after a Pyroblast.

4.3 Combustion

Combustion is our main DPS cooldown and where a lot of our damage comes from. To maximise damage during Combustion, we want to enter Combustion with 2+ charges of Fire Blast, and 2+ charges of Phoenix Flames. This pooling logic also applies to Combustion gained via Sun King's Blessing

Our goal during Combustion is to cast as many Pyroblast as possible. An ideal Combustion consists of chaining instant casts. Every Pyroblast will give you Heating Up, so you only need to cast one other spell to gain Hot Streak. This additional spell should be Fire Blast, Phoenix Flames or Scorch. Use Ice Nova as your final global if you do not have time to generate AND spend another Hot Streak before Combustion ends.

The priority of the alternating spell is as follows:

  1. Fireball with Flame Accelerant
  2. Fire Blast
  3. Phoenix Flames
  4. Scorch / Fireball

Consuming Sun King's Blessing while in Combustion adds 6 seconds to your current Combustion. However casting Combustion while one is already active via Sun King's Blessing will simply reset your Combustion to its base duration.

Combustion should be used on cooldown as much as possible. It can be delayed slightly for things such as extra damage phases, or add spawns to take advantage of the additional Ignite cleave, as long as you do not lose a Combustion cast during that encounter.

To enter Combustion with no Heating Up:

  1. Cast Fireball
  2. Cast Fire Blast during the Fireball cast
  3. Cast Combustion during the Fireball cast
  4. Cast Scorch
  5. Cast Pyroblast twice

There are a few situations where we might Scorch during Combustion. You should be aware of the 'double pyro' trick. This essentially let's us cast 2 Pyroblast in a row without generating in between. This only works if all spells are guaranteed to crit.

  • To perform this trick cast Scorch with a Hot Streak (or convert a Heating Up into Hot Streak during the cast)
  • At the end of the cast, press Pyroblast twice.
  • Double Pyro

    Why does this work?

    1. Your Scorch cast with Hot Streak finishes
    2. You do not gain Heating Up/Hot Streak immediately because there is a server side delay on buff application
    3. Hot Streak is consumed by Pyroblast
    4. You gain Heating Up from the Scorch once the server is done applying the buff
    5. Pyroblast lands and converts Heating Up into Hot Streak
    6. You can Pyroblast again

    4.4 Opener

    To open with Firestarter Cast Fireball and spend Hot Streak on Pyroblast. Do not overcap on Fire Blast charges. Once you reach 8 stacks of Sun King's Blessing, hardcast Pyroblast & activate Combustion at the end of the cast. Even if the target is still above 90% health. Continue afterwards as normal.

    If your target reaches 90% health before 8 stacks of Sun King's Blessing, cast Combustion anyway and consume Sun King's Blessing at 8 stacks.

    Firestarter Opener

    To open without Firestarter, simply enter Combustion immediately.

    4.5 Priority

    4.5.1 Priority outside Combustion

    1. Cast Shifting Power after Combustion.
    2. Cast Pyroblast with Hot Streak.
    3. Cast Scorch if Improved Scorch has less than 4 seconds left.
    4. Hardcast a Pyroblast with a Sun King's Blessing.
    5. Cast Meteor. Attempt to sync Meteor with Combustion - but do not activate Combustion until after Meteor.
    6. Cast Phoenix Flames if you are about to cap on charges.
    7. Cast Fire Blast if you are about to cap on charges.
    8. Cast Fire Blast with Heating Up.
    9. Cast Scorch if the target is below 30% health.
    10. Cast Tempered Flames.
    11. Cast Fireball.

    4.5.2 Combustion Priority

    1. Cast Shifting Power if you do not have enough Fire Blast or Phoenix Flames charges to extend Feel The Burn.
    2. Cast Meteor.
    3. Cast Pyroblast with Hot Streak.
    4. Cast Pyroblast with Sun King's Blessing.
    5. Cast Scorch if Improved Scorch has less than 4 seconds left.
    6. Cast Fire Blast with Heating Up.
    7. Cast Fireball with Flame Accelerant
    8. Cast Phoenix Flames with Heating Up.
    9. Cast Scorch if you are able to generate AND spend another Hot Streak.
    10. Cast Ice Nova.

    When over 100% haste, you should cast Fireball in Combustion over Scorch.

    Example Combustion:

    Example combust

    5. AOE Rotation

    5.1 AOE Overview

    The AOE rotation can be split into 2 distinct styles based on what spell you want to spend Hot Streak on.

    With current tuning I recommend Ignite for priority damage and Flamestrike for AOE damage at 3+ targets.

    5.2 Ignite

    Ignite is spread from the primary target to nearby targets via Fire Blast. Therefore Ignite based AOE involves the same rotation as single target.

    • Hot Streak doubles the Ignite damage of the affected spell.
    • Ignite deals damage over time based on your Mastery. With 36% mastery, a spell that deals 10k damage would deal 3.6k damage over 9 seconds through Ignite.
    • Ignite ticks every second. so in the above example Ignite would tick 9 times dealing 400 damage per tick.
    • When Ignite is applied to a target with an already active Ignite, the duration is extended so that Ignite will tick 10 times. The duration will be somewhere between 9 and 10 seconds.
      • If the above Ignite had ticked 5 times there would be 1.1k Ignite damage remaining (this is referred to as the Ignite bank).
      • If you cast another spell for 10k with 36% Mastery (3.6k Ignite damage). The Ignite bank would increase to 4.7k. The bank is then evenly re-distributed across all 10 ticks. Meaning each tick would do 470 damage.
    • When you cast Fire Blast. The 4 (or 8) targets with the smallest Ignite bank within range of the primary target are chosen as potential spread targets. If the Ignite bank on a given target is smaller than the primary target, the primary Ignite successfully spreads & overwrites the old one. If the Ignite bank on a given target is larger than the primary target, nothing happens and that potential Ignite spread is lost.
    • When you cast Fire Blast the following events happen in order:
      1. Ignite is spread.
      2. Fire Blast damage is dealt.
      3. Feel The Burn is gained.
      This means that Feel The Burn does not benefit the Fire Blast that triggered it, and the Ignite damage from said Fire Blast is not spread.

    The most important thing to keep in mind with Ignite based AOE is to make sure your priority target lives for as long as possible. While we will initially build up and spread a massive Ignite bank during Combustion. We can keep the damage 'rolling' by consistently DPSing the same target. Each spell we cast will redistribute the Ignite bank across all 10 ticks and spread it again, drastically increasing our cleave DPS.

    5.3 Flamestrike AOE Rotation

    The crux of Flamestrike based AOE is simply replacing Pyroblast with Flamestrike.

    5.3.1 Priority outside Combustion

    1. Cast Shifting Power after Combustion.
    2. Hardcast a Flamestrike with a Sun King's Blessing.
    3. Cast Meteor. Attempt to sync Meteor with Combustion - but do not activate Combustion until after Meteor.
    4. Cast Phoenix Flames if you are about to cap on charges.
    5. Cast Fire Blast if you are about to cap on charges.
    6. Cast Flamestrike with Hot Streak.
    7. Cast Fire Blast or Dragon's Breath with Heating Up.
    8. Cast Scorch if the target is below 30% health.
    9. Cast Fireball.

    5.3.2 Combustion Priority

    1. Cast Shifting Power if you do not have enough Fire Blast or Phoenix Flames charges to extend Feel The Burn.
    2. Cast Meteor.
    3. Cast Flamestrike with Sun King's Blessing.
    4. Cast Flamestrike with Hot Streak.
    5. Cast Fire Blast with Heating Up.
    6. Cast Phoenix Flames with Heating Up.
    7. Cast Scorch if you are able to generate AND spend another Hot Streak.
    8. Cast Ice Nova.

    6. Stats & Gearing

    6.1 Stats

    Fire has no stat breakpoints, no hard caps, and no specific stat percentages to aim for - that's not how stats work anymore.

    • Haste reduces the cast time of our spells, the global cooldown, and the recharge time of Fire Blast.
    • Versatility provides a flat damage increase and damage taken reduction.
    • Critical Strike increases the critical strike rate of our abilities and therefore the rate at which we generate Hot Streak. It also increases our Mastery during Combustion with Improved Combustion. With Kindling critical strike increases our frequency of Combustion.
    • Mastery - Ignite causes our direct damage spells to deal additional damage over 9 seconds based on the damage of the original spell. Can be spread via Fire Blast.

    Due to the large stat budget on items, item level will usually be an upgrade. Stat weights vary depending on your current gear and talents. To accurately compare items you must sim yourself. Remember that Mastery value increases when cleaving with Ignite.

    Generally prioritise stats like so:

    1. Intellect
    2. Haste
    3. Versatility
    4. Critical Strike
    5. Mastery

    This does not mean that an item with intellect is always better than one without.

    6.2 Trinkets

    Because active trinkets share a cooldown, we generally want to pick up one active trinket and one passive trinket. For up to date trinket data please refer to the sims page of the site.

    Recommended trinkets for Raiding:

    Recommended trinkets for Mythic+:

    Active TrinketsPassive Trinkets
    SBelor'relosAugury
    Vessel
    Nymue
    Coagulated Genesaur Blood
    Oakhearts
    AMirror
    Balefire Branch
    Pips

    6.3 Crafting & Embellishments

    • Shadowflame-Tempered Armor Patch is currently the most powerful embellishment. I recommend 2 of these. The best slots to craft in are Cloak, Bracers, Belt, and Feet.
    • Primal Molten Spellblade is the highest impact slot and can be crafted later if you do not have access to high item level pieces from Mythic+ or Raid. This is only recommended if you have excess crafts, as this season contains a lot of powerful weapons in both dungeons and the raid. Crafting a weapon will not be permanent.
    • Afterwards just craft in your weakest slot. You can find this out using Raidbots droptimizer.

    8. Racials

    Fire generally has more impactful DPS racials than some of the other specs in the game. Utility racials still remain powerful and are worth consideration.

    8.1 Horde

    • Tauren - Brawn makes Tauren the best Horde race for Fire. It does the same DPS as Dwarf but has a worse utility racial.
    • Troll/Orc - Berserking & Blood Fury are competitive DPS racials that have the advantage of making the damage more burst oriented than Dwarf/Tauren
    • Goblin - Rocket Jump is one of the few useful utility racials while Time is Money keeps the race somewhat competitive for DPS.

    8.2 Alliance

    9. Macros

    Macro all cooldowns, racials, and items into one key.

    #showtooltip
    /cast Combustion
    /cast Blood Fury
    /cast Berserking
    /use 11
    /use 12
    /use 13
    /use 14
    /use 2

    The macro below can be used to automatically cancel Ice Block if you try to cast a spell while blocked; and automatically targets something if you try to cast a spell with no target. [nochanneling] will also allow you to spam the key without cancelling Shifting Power:

    #showtooltip
    /cancelaura Ice Block
    /cast [nochanneling] Fireball
    /targetenemy [noexists][dead]
    

    Automatically cast ground targeted abilities wherever your mouse cursor is, saving you a click. Example with Flamestrike, works for all other ground targeted spells, such as Meteor:

    #showtooltip
    /cast [@cursor] Flamestrike
    

    Can be used to cancel Ice Block and immediately Blink. Useful when Ice Blocked in a void zone as you'll Blink out and take no damage. Also works with Shimmer:

    #showtooltip
    /cancelaura Ice Block
    /cast Blink

    Counterspell. Prioritizes Mouseover > Focus > Target:

    #showtooltip Counterspell
    /cast [@mouseover,harm][@focus,harm][harm] Counterspell

    Spellsteal. Prioritizes Mouseover > Focus > Target:

    #showtooltip Spellsteal
    /cast [@mouseover,harm][@focus,harm][harm] Spellsteal

    Mouseover Remove Curse:

    #showtooltip Remove Curse
    /cast [@mouseover]Remove Curse
    

    10. Advanced

    10.1 Ice Floes Usage

    Ice Floes makes our next cast castable while moving. This effect stacks. This means we can press Ice Floes twice without casting a spell, and have our next 2 spells be castable while moving.

    Ice Floes can also be cast while casting, in case you decide you need to move while in the middle of a cast. However, this effect has a small grace window. If Ice Floes is activated within the last 0.5 seconds of a cast, it will NOT consume a stack of the buff.

    This means that we can abuse Ice Floes to gain multiple consecutive casts while casting without consuming any stacks of the buff, as long as we refresh the buff in the last 0.5 seconds of the cast.

    For example:

    1. You activate Ice Floes.
    2. You cast a Frostbolt while moving, with a single stack of Ice Floes, and with 0.5 seconds left on the cast you activate Ice Floes again.
    3. You still have 2 stacks of Ice Floes.
    4. Optionally repeat step 2 again.

    This means you can cast 3 spells while moving with 2 charges, or 5 spells while moving with 3 charges.

    10.2 Cancelling Alter Time

    Alter Time snapshots our current location and health. The spell can then be reactivated within 10 seconds to return us to said location and health. However if the buff expires we will be returned regardless, which sometimes we may not want to do.

    If we cancel the Alter Time buff, it will not automatically be activated at the end of the duration, allowing us to stay where we are.

    /cancelaura Alter Time

    10.3 How Ignite Works

    • Hot Streak doubles the Ignite damage of the affected spell.
    • Ignite deals damage over time based on your Mastery. With 36% mastery, a spell that deals 10k damage would deal 3.6k damage over 9 seconds through Ignite.
    • Ignite ticks every second. so in the above example Ignite would tick 9 times dealing 400 damage per tick.
    • When Ignite is applied to a target with an already active Ignite, the duration is extended so that Ignite will tick 10 times. The duration will be somewhere between 9 and 10 seconds.
      • If the above Ignite had ticked 5 times there would be 1.1k Ignite damage remaining (this is referred to as the Ignite bank).
      • If you cast another spell for 10k with 36% Mastery (3.6k Ignite damage). The Ignite bank would increase to 4.7k. The bank is then evenly re-distributed across all 10 ticks. Meaning each tick would do 470 damage.
    • When you cast Fire Blast. The 4 (or 8) targets with the smallest Ignite bank within range of the primary target are chosen as potential spread targets. If the Ignite bank on a given target is smaller than the primary target, the primary Ignite successfully spreads & overwrites the old one. If the Ignite bank on a given target is larger than the primary target, nothing happens and that potential Ignite spread is lost.
    • When you cast Fire Blast the following events happen in order:
      1. Ignite is spread.
      2. Fire Blast damage is dealt.
      3. Feel The Burn is gained.
      This means that Feel The Burn does not benefit the Fire Blast that triggered it, and the Ignite damage from said Fire Blast is not spread.

    10.4 Double Pyro Trick

    There are a few situations where we might Scorch during Combustion. You should be aware of the 'double pyro' trick. This essentially let's us cast 2 Pyroblast in a row without generating in between. This only works if all spells are guaranteed to crit.

  • To perform this trick cast Scorch with a Hot Streak (or convert a Heating Up into Hot Streak during the cast)
  • At the end of the cast, press Pyroblast twice.
  • Double Pyro

    Why does this work?

    1. Your Scorch cast with Hot Streak finishes
    2. You do not gain Heating Up/Hot Streak immediately because there is a server side delay on buff application
    3. Hot Streak is consumed by Pyroblast
    4. You gain Heating Up from the Scorch once the server is done applying the buff
    5. Pyroblast lands and converts Heating Up into Hot Streak
    6. You can Pyroblast again

    11. FAQ

    Q:

    What does the acronym IB stand for?

    A:

    Fire Blast. The spell used to be called Inferno Blast and IB is used to prevent confusion with Fireball.

    Q:

    Does Fire scale more with stats or crit than other specs?

    A:

    No it doesn't. This is incredibly outdated information and hasn't been true for 10 years at this point. Fire does not start expansions relatively weaker and become relatively stronger later, specs do not work like that anymore.

    Q:

    Why am I always criting on dummies!?

    A:

    You have Firestarter selected.

    Q:

    How do I sim Mythic+?

    A:

    There is no single sim that will represent a Mythic+ dungeon. Looking at the results of multiple Patchwerk sims with different numbers of targets and various settings can help you understand what is good in different situations. Fight styles other than Patchwerk and short duration sims can be misleading and are not recommended.

    Q:

    What stat percentages should I aim for?

    A:

    Nothing, you don't aim for specific percentages of stats. There are very few stat breakpoints in the game that are of utmost importance, and any that are will be reflected in sims. You equip the gear that gives you the most DPS with almost no thought on what stat percentages that leaves you at.

    Q:

    Should I use pawn?

    A:

    No, it's an outdated addon, based on an outdated way of thinking about the game. It relies too heavily on stat weights being an accurate method of comparing gear, which they aren't. Just use top gear and never think about stat weights ever.

    Q:

    How do I sim <Mage Thing>?

    Q:

    What should I set my Spell Queue Window to?

    A:

    If you don't know why you're changing it leave it at the default (400).

    Q:

    Should I use Arcane Momentum?

    A:

    Generally I would advise against it as it's more error prone and currently has multiple different bugs.

    Q:

    My sim says this thing gives X stat, but in game I get Y?

    A:

    Raidbots takes it's tooltips from Wowhead. They may not necessarily lineup with the values being used by the sim. Always check the HTML report.