Here is our full Mage PvP Guide for Classic WoW! Get ready to become the best Mage on your server ;)
Mage is the hardest class to master in PvP but is also one of the best once you’ve mastered it. It’s a glass cannon spec, very fragile but dishing tremendous damage.
To help with this survivability issue, mages have many crowd control abilities, allowing them to control the pace of the fight. These CCs also allow him to fight multiple players at the same time. A good mage is mainly limited by his mana pool and his capacity to crowd control his enemies.
Unlike Hunters, who nearly always want to be at max range, Mages want to adapt their distance depending on who they’re facing. No matter you spec, you’ll sometimes want to be in close range, medium range or max range of your enemies. Proper positioning is absolutely key for this very mobile class.In this guide, we will talk about the mage’s spells, talents, matchups and possible combos in order to teach you how to dominate in the battlefields.
Mages have 3 main PvP specs. There is also some room for customization. We will present the most popular bases for these specs.Note that an experienced mage can edge out others by using a more atypical spec.
This is the most popular spec for beginners and veterans both: lots of control thanks to frost spells and good survivability thanks to Bloc de glace and Barrière de glace. The shatter combo also gives you significant burst. This combo relies on Fracasser, which increases your chance to critically strike with your spells by 50% when their targets are frozen (rooted by a frost spell). The goal is to cast Eclair de givre followed immediately by an instant spell: preferably Cône de froid if you’re close to your target or Trait de feu if you’re not. You then gain 50% chance to critically strike on BOTH spells. Any damage taken by a frozen enemy has a chance to remove the frozen debuff, so the spells have to land at the same time. On profite ainsi de 50% de critique sur l’éclair et le sort instantané à l’impact.
Spell critical strikes in Classic WoW deal 150% damage unlike physical damage crits which deal 200%. Thanks to the Eclats de glace talent however, your spell criticals with frost spells deal 200% damage.
Bloc de glace (IB) is one of the hardest spells to master because it can be used offensively or defensively.
Offensively : IB removes
ALL debuffs, allowing you to reactively double clicking the spell to remove
your debuffs and immediately get out of the Ice Block, in order to resume
attacking your target.
Defensively : IB can let you play for time while you wait for some spell CDs or for enemy CDs to fall off (Divine Shield…), or to prevent a powerful attack from hitting you (Pyroblast, Aimed Shot…) .
Many beginners will use it wrong, like a Paladin’s divine shield for example, once you’re very low on health. That’s a bad call in solo play. If there’s a healer nearby, this can be a good decision however.
Contresort is normally a
reactive spell: a very powerful silence locking the affected school of magic
for 10 seconds, which can be lethal against healers’ Holy or Nature specs.
However, you will regularly want to use Contresort amélioré preventively in order to control a target more easily. This works very well with shatter combos, for example:
Nova de givre > Contresort amélioré> Eclair de givre > Cône de froid
This causes the frozen enemy to be unable to react, and therefore always be the victim of your follow-up combo.
Note that Counterspell is not on the Global Cooldown (GCD) and can be used on Warriors to prevent them from charging you.Morsure de glace is often used to cast a second Bloc de glace during fights. However it is recommended you use it to reset Nova de givre, Cône de froid and Barrière de glace : this allows you to use 2 shatter combos in a row, which can often dramatically shorten the duration of a fight.
The elemental spec is all about maximizing the fact that mages are glass cannons. It deals massive damage very fast but is significantly more fragile than Frost Mages, largely because it doesn’t have Ice Barrier. For this reason, we recommend only well-geared veteran mages use this spec. This is a medium and short range spec, eager to use instant spells as much as possible and able to do shatter combos with either Boule de feu or Eclair de givre.
This spec is focused on instant spells, which is why you grab Vague explosive and Cône de froid talents at the 5th level of, respectively, the fire and frost trees. Variants exist such as spending points in Trait de feu amélioré ort going for Boule de feu améliorée instead of Impact for an alternative source of damage. In our version however, your main damage spell will be Brûlure with the Brûlure améliorée talent. Using Frostbolt is less important and you’ll often only want to use it at rank 1 for the slow or shatter combos.Enflammer is the talent enabling the Fire spec to deal massive damage in PvP as in PvE. It’s similar to Eclats de glace but significantly more powerful. Every critical strike with a fire spell will leave a DoT effect on their target, which can be refreshed by another critical hit that also adds a portion of its damage to it. Scorch is therefore great to refresh this DoT thanks to its low cast time and high critical strike chance thanks to Incinérer, Masse critique and Fracasser.
Ideally, you want to start the fight with Explosion pyrotechnique on a player you’ve already sheeped, allowing you to begin the fight with a massive critical strike. “Pyro” is one of the mage’s signature spells. Few people use the Fire spec at release however, it is unpopular at low gear levels and the first few raids are filled with enemies that are resistant or immune to fire damage, and most players don’t want to respec much so they use a similar spec for PvE and PvP.
Ame ardente allows you not to waste time with your spellcasting when you take damage. This is a massive problem in Vanilla WoW. Hunters often use very high attack speed pets, making casting a Fireball or a Frostbolt nigh impossible. Because you don’t have Ice Barrier (which has a similar effect), this talent is 100% mandatory for this spec.
As you lack Barrière de glace, you can use Bouclier de mana, but it only absorbs physical damage in Classic WoW, and costs a lot of mana to sustain. It’s important to use it well, along with Gardien de feu and Gardien de givre.
We’re mentioning this spec because it’s a famous gimmick, but it’s not recommended as a competitive PvP spec. Its goal is mainly people looking to do huge numbers once every 3 minutes. Mainly used by PvE Mages in Ahn’Qiraj, it can be devastating in duels if you’re well geared, but it’s not very interesting to play.
This spec evolved in later patches leading to Présence spirituelle and Pouvoir des arcanes sharing a 1 minute cooldown, meaning you can’t use both at the same time. The Classic version is therefore a nerfed version.
Your goal is to weaken your opponent with instant spells and Scorch casts, then to use an instant Explosion pyrotechnique with Présence spirituelle, after having activated a damage-increasing trinket such as the notorious Talisman de pouvoir éphémère.
If the Pyro crits, and if your gear is good enough, you’ll straight up one-shot your opponent. After you used PoM, the gameplay is similar to typical fire mage gameplay.Be careful however, an experienced opponent with good reflexes can be waiting for you to cast this spell, especially because PoM makes a recognizable sound effect and your trinkets usually have a recognizable visual effect as well. This gives them the possibility of using Ice Block or engineering trinkets such as Réflectoflamme hyper-radiant which reflects spells toward their caster.
You can’t play a mage competitively in PvP without keyboard or mouse binds. You need to be able to easily access many spells in order to use them reactively and gain the advantage during fights. Here is a non-exhaustive list of the 13 main spells and abilities that you absolutely need to bind. (* depending on your spec)
Note : If you own an « MMO mouse » with 12 buttons (highly recommended for mages), you could try a setup like this to optimize your binds for a 17/0/34 Frost Spec:
It can be stressful to decide which spells to use when and new players will often panic. Try to remain calm and instead of casting long spells that will probably not work out, keep these few tips in mind for tense situations:
Rank 1 spells often come in handy and some should probably be bound:
Potions and consumables shouldn’t be used in duel because they’re not Fair Play. They’re very powerful items that can easily turn the tide of any fight. Before any duel, talk to your opponent and decide on a rule for consumables. If you cheat you’ll end up with a bad reputation.
most essential reactive spells can be used with a script that cancels your
current cast. We recommend you use it for Blink, Counterspell and Ice Block.
/unbuff Ice Block
/cast Ice Block
can hide « error » messages such as « not enough mana » or
« target out of range » with this macro, that you need to use every
time you log in:
To cancel that macro, use
In this part, hybrid classes will be considered to be playing their DPS spec. If you’re fighting a healer, do as much damage as possible and hit a 10 second lock counterspell when they try to heal themselves to finish them off. The fight must be short or you’ll go oom before your opponents. Not much else to say about this so we won’t get into more details.
Usually, mages want to follow their opponent’s movement: if they move back, move in and vice versa. Mages are good at mobility and hindering their opponents’ mobility, which should make you able to stay at the range you’re most comfortable with, which should be short or medium in most cases.
This part of the guide is about tips and specific gameplay elements you need to know before fighting certain classes. Every duel is different so nothing is guaranteed to work. Here are our dueling tips:
Shamans have many tools to counter Mages. They can dispell mages’ buffs and shields with Expiation, have a « kick » with Horion de terre (used at max rank or rank 1) with a low cooldown, and have Totem de Glèbe which redirects spells to it until it’s destroyed.
You will usually want to fight at mid-range against shamans. Don’t hesitate to use rank 1 spells if Totem de Glèbe is used so you don’t waste mana. Focus on instant spells since shamans will interrupt most of your casts. Try to start the fight with a powerful cast after sheeping them.
Be wary of Insigne de la Horde which can remove polymorph, chill & freeze effects. Shatter combos with improved Counterspell are the best way to deal with them. It means that Shamans will be able to heal themselves shortly after however.
If you’re both low-geared, hunters will have the advantage because Morsure de vipère will devastate your small mana pool. This is why you want a short fight, and have to play very offensively. Your goal is to stay close to Hunters, in their dead zone where they can’t hit you. You can try to force him to Flèche de dispersion as soon as possible, after which he will be helpless against shatter combos from his dead zone. He can still use Feindre la mort however. Be ready to click on his « corpse » and try the combo again if there is time.The elemental and PoM Pyro specs are more effective against Hunters at low gear levels because you need the fight to be short so you don’t run out of mana. Ice Block must be used offensively so you can stay on the hunter and not let him get in max range (41m) or it will be difficult to win, especially in open world areas. If he moves out of range, he can then keep his distance with Aspect du guépard and you will need to blink, use a trinket or some feature of the environment to regain some control. It is important to focus on instant spells and keep the Hunter slowed. Rank 1 Frostbolts are an excellent choice here.
Warlocks will most likely be using their felhunter against you, in order to use Verrou magique, their silence, and Dévorer la magie, their dispell. Succubi are also a possibility for their charm effect, Séduction. In that case, avoid long casts and focus on Scorch. Prevent them from casting Peur. You can use Ice Block defensively (against a shadowbolt) or offensively if you’re feared or charmed.Keep in mind that Ice Block removes all DoTs. Against some opponents it can sometimes be okay to get silenced so you can be free to cast for the rest of the fight. Ideally you want your Scorch casts to be the ones interrupted. Warlocks have Drain de mana but, being a channeled spec, it won’t be used as much as Hunters’ Morsure de vipère.
Druids can be polymorphed but their ability to change form and cancel this effect makes it mostly pointless. Polymorph’s main use here is to cancel long healing spells if Counterspell isn’t available.
Changing Form also removes freeze effects. You have to focus on instant spells, try blinking if you get hit by Traquenard early on, or to gain some distance and cast a longer spell.We recommend you only use blink this aggressively if the Druid already used Sonner.Druids will often use Bear Form to take advantage of Régénération frénétique. This is a good time to cast longer spells but be wary of Charge farouche which can interrupt your cast. As per usual, if one of your spells is countered, try to make sure it’s Scorch.
Warriors hate Mages. Indeed, without their trinkets, racials or potions, Warriors are very likely to lose the fight. If the Mage survives the initial engagement and can maintain some distance and stay out of range of Interception he’ll be in good shape. Allonge arctique can increase Frostbolt’s range to 36m. Use Nova de givre after the Warrior’s Charge then move away or sheep him to force the Interception. After he used that, you can Transfert.
By breaking the warrior’s mobility loop like this, you should win the fight easily because he won’t be able to catch up with you. If things go wrong, Polymorph him.
Warriors can’t deal with sheep with their PvP trinkets. Some items can help Warriors deal with this issue like a Helm allowing them to charge or a left-handed weapon helping to deal with sheep, but early on they’re unlikely to have these items.
Mage duels are the summit of PvP complexity in WoW. At high level, these duels are more strategic than reactive. Only practice will help. Here are some starter tips:
Starting the fight with Métamorphose isn’t necessarily the best way to start the fight. It’s better to start the fight at short range and use as many instant as you can, followed by a shatter + Counterspell combo. Keep in mind that everything you use is available for your opponent to use. If you use Counterspell for a shatter combo, you won’t get another for 30 seconds, meaning the other mage will be free to cast.Bloc de glace can be used to prevent a shatter combo. This is why not getting your Frost spells locked is important. The complexity of the duel will highly depend on your respective skill levels. Remember that even if you’re a Frost mage, you want to use Brûlure, and Explosion des arcanes in order not to have your most important school of magic locked out for 10 seconds. Transfert can be used to break the opponent’s Ice Nova or to get behind him and cancel a cast. Similarly, being in melee range and running behind the enemy mage as he’s casting can cancel his cast, making him lose precious seconds.
Paladins’ main aces in the hole are Bouclier divin and Bénédiction de liberté.
Play for time when these spells are active. You don’t have Spellsteal (BC spell) so you can’t remove Bénédiction de liberté which means it’s basically a built-in Potion de libre action. It also synergizes with Poursuite de la justice which means you’ll have trouble getting some distance. This is one of the rare situations where Bloc de glace can be used to play for time for its entire duration. Transfert must be used to cancel Marteau de la justice. Finally, paladins won’t be able to use Divine Shield if you’ve interrupted one of their casts. Be wary of fake casts however.
Shadow Priests are not mobile at all because they need to channel spells like Fouet mental. They will mostly move to Cri psychique. Reactively Counterspell, preferably shadow spells. If you do that, the priest has to get out Forme d'Ombre and can only heal himself or use Châtiment.Priests have Silence which can be removed with Ice Block. Once they’ve used this, you can do shatter combos freely. Keep the pressure up when the priest heals himself. Ideally, never stop casting spells. Keep in mind that priests have Brûlure de mana. This spell isn’t as strong as Hunters’ Morsure de vipère because it has a cast time. You’re more likely to see this spell used in Battlegrounds than in duels.
A Rogue with no CDs is a dead rogue. This should be a long
fight however, and one of the most technical. Every duel is different but here
are some tips: Your goal is to force the Rogue to blow all his cooldowns,
leaving him helpless and out of options. Try staying at mid-range and using
instants immediately as they become available. If you’re panicking, use Explosion
Try using Blizzard or Explosion
des arcanes to get them out of
stealth. Use Transfert once the Rogue has
Because of some popular PvP videos, some rogues think it’s okay to eat and drink during a duel. If they do that, use Ice Block to counter Cécité. Conversely, this is often the first ability the rogue will use when you get out of Ice Block. You can then use Morsure de glace to reset its CD. You can also use Barrière de glace and Bouclier de mana to be more resilient, but you’re probably going to end up out of mana. In battlegrounds, rogues usually won’t have all their CDs, making them significantly less threatening. Try using Boule de feu if you can to DoT the rogue so they can’t Disparition properly.
Mages have the best mobility of all casters. This mobility can be used both defensively and aggressively.
Unlike Hunters who will want to keep at max range, mages want to get in close to finish off their opponents, especially in longer group fights. They need to in order to use most of their instant and crowd control spells.
However, it’s usually recommended to stay at max range and to wait for the right moment to use a key counterspell on a healer then proceed with your short range burst.
In some situations, mages can start the fight at short range to slow the enemies and to keep them together so their melee and healers are close, giving your team the advantage. Ice Block is very important here because this is a risky move.
Mages’ role in short
Note that buffs aren’t free for mages who just rez’d. Casting Arcane Intellect isn’t a priority, unlike Frost Armor.
It’s in solo play that mages usually shine. Take advantage of your mobility and slows to capture the flag and move it out of the enemy base quickly. Once secure, give the flag to a sturdier ally.
In group play, stay with the flag carrier. Controlling and slowing your enemies will help keep the flag safe against disorganized opponents.When attacking, mages’ priority is to control and take care of enemy healers. Ideally, using counterspell on one and sheeping another so the enemy stack receives significantly less healing. It’s important to remain close to your flag carrier so he can take advantage of your slows, especially against enemy melee players.
Communication and map knowledge is key in Arathi Basin.
Mages are handy because they can move around quickly thanks to Slow Fall (especially nice when mounted). Focus on high altitude areas like the Sawmill or the Forge. Moreover, like Paladins, Mages excel at delaying flag captures.
Mages will be among the first to answer a call to defend or attack an area. It’s ill advised to fight if it’s not trying to take/defend an objective, unless you’re trying to delay an attack. Clever distractions can be helpful to give your team some time to relocate and prepare their defenses.
A player in Alterac Valley can have one of three roles:
Attack: Follow the main group to kill bosses and move forward. Any class can join.
Defense: Protect strategic objectives against enemy groups. Any player able to harass the enemy.
Capture: Capture towers, graveyards, secure objectives. Ideal for classes with stealth or high mobility.
Mages can fill any of those 3 roles.
While attacking, mages should stay at a distance to cast Frost Bolts and Blizzard. Occasionally he can quickly close the distance to deal some damage and force the opponents back, or entice your allies to charge in.
While defending, mages can harass their enemies with AoEs and slows, often getting aggro on the boss. Getting back towers being captured by the enemy is possible and can make the difference in the long run.Finally, note that not capturing a graveyard can make you lose a match. It is often key to leave the main raid with a small group to secure objectives against enemy groups.
Thanks to every contributor and the following sources for helping to create this guide: Brume, officer from the Wowisclassic guild, Hacride, WoWisclassic contributor.