Cataclysm Mage Guide - Inferno


Cataclysm Mage Guide – Inferno

Mage Guide

Patch: 1.12

Author: Inferno

Cataclysm Mage Guide – Inferno

Cataclysm Mage Guide



I would recommend using the following build:

Talents I would consider optional are:

Master of Elements [2/2] – Your spell criticals will refund 30% of their base mana cost.
Over a long fight, this talent will give you a nice chunk of your mana back. That being said, if you think you won’t run low on mana and plan on using Fire Blast, you can drop this talent for Improved Fire Blast instead.

Cauterize [2/2] – In short, this is like a personal battle res.
Although, I don’t recommend dropping this talent, you could drop it for a different one if you really wanted to. Just keep in mind two things, it can save the use of a battle res and a dead dps is a useless dps.

Improved Scorch [2/2] – Reduces the mana cost of your Scorch spell by 100%.
Very nice for high movement fights. If you are moving and don’t need to refresh Living Bomb or dont have a Hotstreak proc to use or a Flame Orb/Mirror Images, you’re going to be spamming Scorch. Without this talent, Scorch can drain your mana pretty fast. That being said, if you don’t think you will be moving that much or think your mana can last without it, you can drop it for something else.

The rest of the talents I consider mandatory for maximizing dps.



Glyph of Fireball – Best

Glyph of Pyroblast – Best

Glyph of Molten Armor – Best


Glyph of Blink – I recommend this for raiding. Gives you more distance on your blink to escape deadly boss mechanics you might get caught up in.

Glyph of Evocation – I also recommend this for raiding because it allows you to heal a bit of damage and even evocate to heal through a Cauterize for increased survivability.
??? – I’ll leave this one to you.


Glyph of Mirror Image – Mirror Images will cast Fireball instead of Frost Bolt. Why not?

Glyph of Slow Fall – Removes the reagent requirement from Slowfall. Take this unless you want to go around with light feathers in your bags.

Glyph of Arcane Brilliance or Glyph of Conjuring – Brilliance is good because it saves you mana if you have to spot buff someone who was just battle ressed. Really up to you.

Stats & Reforging

Intellect – Intellect is by far your best stat, no amount is too much. Intellect gives you mana, spell crit, and spell power.

Hit – Reduces the chance you will miss your target. We don’t want any of our spells missing. You want to get as close to your hit cap as possible without being under, if possible. It’s better to be slightly over the hit cap than slightly under.

Hit cap for Draenei is 1639 Hit rating because Draenei have 1% hit from their racial.

If not a Draenei your Hit cap is 1742 Hit rating or 17% hit.

If not yet geared enough for raiding and still running dungeons, you want a total of 6% hit to never miss in dungeons.

Haste – Increases spell casting speed. Also affects some of your dots, giving some dots an extra tick at certain haste points.

Haste points to know:
Extra tick on Living bomb & Pyroblast(dot) – 12.5% (+1 tick), 37.5% (+2 ticks)
Extra tick on Combustion(dot) – 5% (+1 tick), 15% (+2 ticks), 25% (+3 ticks), 35% (+4 ticks)

Crit – Increases the chance your spells have to crit. As a Fire Mage we want our spells critting a lot =). Definetally the best stat after Intellect and Hit cap.

Mastery [Flashburn] – Increases the damage done by all your periodic fire damage effects. Each point of mastery increases periodic damage done by an additional 2.8%.

There are two basic stat priorities you should go by when reforging:

Without t13 Time Lord’s Robes 2 set bonus:

Intellect>Hit to cap>Crit>Haste>Mastery

If you can get to 1181 Haste without losing too much crit, go for it. This will bring you to 12.5% haste self buffed, giving you an extra tick on Living Bomb and Pyroblast(dot).

With t13 Time Lord’s Robes 2 set bonus:

Intellect>Hit to cap>1505 haste>Crit>Haste>Mastery

When you are raid buffed(+5% haste) and have Stolen Time stacked up to 10, this will bring you to the 25% haste needed for the third tick on Combustion.

Gemming & Enchanting

Gems you should be using are:

Meta socket: Burning Shadowspirit Diamond

Red socket: Brilliant Inferno Ruby

Blue socket: Veiled Demonseye

Yellow socket: Reckless Ember Topaz or Potent Ember Topaz

When do you gem for the socket bonus? If the socket bonus is 20 Intellect or more, go for the socket bonus. If the socket bonus is 30 of another stat, go for the socket bonus. Otherwise, ignore the socket bonus and gem pure Intellect.

As a fire mage you will want to be using Potent Ember Topaz instead of Reckless Ember Topaz to match yellow sockets, unless you need the haste to reach a breakpoint. Of course, you can use the Epic equivalents if you have the gold.


Helm: Arcanum of Hyjal – Requires you to be Revered with the Guardians of Hyjal. Vendor located in Mount Hyjal.

Shoulders: Greater Inscription of Charged Lodestone – Requires you to be Exalted with the Therazane. Vendor located in Deepholm. Best shoulder enchant unless you have Inscription.

Cape: Enchant Cloak – Greater Intellect – Best cape enchant unless you have Tailoring.

Chest: Enchant Chest – Peerless Stats – The best chest enchant for pve.

Enchant Chest – Mighty Stats – For the sake of 5 stats, a cheaper alternative.

Bracers: Enchant Bracer – Mighty Intellect – The best, but it’s expensive.

Gloves: Enchant Gloves – Haste – Although 65 mastery is the better enchant, you can choose this one if it’s the only way to reach a haste breakpoint.

Enchant Gloves – Greater Mastery – The best glove enchant available for pve.

Belt: Ebonsteel Belt Buckle – Technically not an enchant, but you should put that extra socket on your belt.

Legs: Powerful Enchanted Spellthread – The best pve enchant for legs. If you are a Tailor, you can pretty much get this for free.

Feet: Enchant Boots – Lavawalker – Commonly considered the best enchant for pve because of the movement speed increase.

Enchant Boots – Precision – A good choice if your having trouble getting to your hit cap.

Enchant Boots – Haste – The best choice if you don’t care for the movement speed increase on lavawalker and are at your hit cap.

Enchant Boots – Mastery – Almost as good as the haste enchant. Personal preference.

Weapon: Enchant Weapon – Power Torrent – The best weapon enchant by far.

Off-hand: Enchant Off-Hand – Superior Intellect – If you have an off-hand, toss this enchant on it.


I would recommend getting Tailoring as one of your professions. Mainly because of the cheap leg enchant and you get a nice cape enchant. You also get to make bags and armor you can use etc.

Enchanting is a nice profession to pair with Tailoring, but if you are looking for the best, I would probably go with Blacksmithing (the two extra sockets when paired with the epic gems add up to +100 int, thats +20 more than most other professions) or Engineering which has lots of useful items and a nice on-use glove enchant that you can use whenever you like, on a 1 minute cooldown (you can also have a regular enchant on your gloves in addition to this one).

If you really don’t care for the minimal dps difference in professions, just choose what you like or what you think will make/save more money.


More of a spell priority list, but anywho. In order of most important to the least important.

Single Target:

1. Combustion When your dots are lined up. (more on this later)

2. Pyroblast – Hot streak proc.

3. Flame Orb – When off cooldown.

4. Living Bomb – Let it explode/expire before you re-apply.

5. Scorch – Only if there is no crit debuff on the target (to apply critical mass).

6. Fireball – Your main spam/filler ability if not moving.

7. Scorch – Only while moving.Remember, if you are moving you don’t need to go straight to scorch spamming. Still go by the priority list. If you have a Hot Streak proc, use it. There is also Flame Orb, Living Bomb and Mirror Images which have a higher damage per execute than scorch.

Multiple Targets:

There are a couple of ways to do aoe as a fire mage. Normally, you want to just follow your single target rotation and use Blast Wave to fish for impact procs and spread your dots. You can spread your Living Bomb with impact, which is a more mana efficient way to aoe, or you can manually put Living bomb on up to 3 targets, which will increase your haste by 10% while all three of them are still up. You don’t want to manually put up Living Bomb on 3 targets unless you know for sure they will last the full duration, letting them all explode for some nice damage.

The most effective way to aoe is to get a good Combustion up on a target and spread it with impact. Although it’s highly dependant on rng that you will get the chance to do this (depending on gear), it is a very good thing to aim for. Impact will not only spread the full Combustion to all targets in range, but it will also spread any existing Ignite, Pyroblast(dot) and Living Bomb(only up to 3 targets though) as well.

Impact can sometimes be a pain, getting it when you don’t need it, and not getting it when you do. Blast Wave is by far the best way to fish for an impact proc, but it’s not the only way. If Blast Wave is on cooldown, and you are in melee range, use Dragon’s Breath. Then, if you still dont have one you can continue with your single target rotation or try your luck with a Flamestrike.

Additional Info

Getting a good Combustion:

How exactly does Combustion work? It takes a snapshot of all of your fire dots on your target and combines them into one massive dot. This doesn’t remove the old dots, it simply creates a new one. Remember that Combustion is off of the gcd (global cooldown).

Getting a good Combustion is key to maximizing your dps. Always make sure you have an Ignite, Living Bomb and Pyroblast(dot) on your target before you use combustion. That being said, the main dot that affects the damage of your Combustion the most is your Ignite. Stacking your ignite before using combustion greatly improves combustions damage.

When trying to line up a Combustion, one trick is to refresh Living Bomb just after you cast Pyroblast via Hot Streak(instant cast). If that Pyroblast crits, you already have Living Bomb refreshed and you are ready to hit your Combustion. Another tip is to hit Combustion before your Ignite ticks, because every time the Ignite ticks, its total damage is reduced thus reducing the amount added to Combustion.

Practice with Combustion and learn to use it effectively.


Ignite is applied when you critically hit with a non periodic fire damage spell. 40% of the damage done by the crit is turned into an Ignite. So, if you crit for 100k, you put a 40k ignite on your target for 4s (4s is the initial duration). Ignite ticks every 2 seconds meaning a 40k ignite would tick for 20k damage after 2 seconds, and another 20k after it expires.

If you get lucky and crit with another spell that applies Ignite while the first Ignite is still up, those Ignites are combined into a stronger one. Due to “Ignite Munching” sometimes this glitches and you don’t always get the stacked Ignite that you would expect. If you stack an Ignite, the new one, and every stacked Ignite after will have a 6 second duration but still tick every 2 seconds(the first tick of a stacked Ignite usually goes off as soon as it is refreshed). A well stacked Ignite can lead to a very powerful Combustion.

For more detailed information on Ignite Munching and various bugs that can affect it(and other useful information), you can read through this thread:


Ok. You just got saved by Cauterize, but you are about to die if you don’t get a big heal. There are a couple of things you can do here. First, the most effective way to survive this is to hit Ice Block. It completely removes the dot left by Cauterize (you can cancel it right after or choose to stay in it until you get a heal or two). Another thing you can do is to Evocate through the dot (if you have Glyph of Evocation), Mage Ward and Mana Shield will also absorb some of the damage. Then there are your bandages, lock stones etc.

Preparing for a boss fight:

Always check and make sure you have a full 3 stack Mana Gem. You don’t want to be out of mana and go for something that’s not there. Most fights you shouldn’t need to evocate (usually only for Madness, DS). Use your Mana Gem as soon as you burn about 13k mana and use it on cd. For Madness(Dragonsoul last boss), don’t use your Mana Gem until after you use your first Evocate(and are 13k mana from full), this allows you to get the most out of your mana management abilities over such a long fight. (one Mana Gem between every Evocate)

Always make sure you are fully buffed and are full mana before the pull.

If there is going to be a countdown for the pull, you can hardcast a Pyroblast as your opener and follow with your rotation from there.

Staying Alive:

Lets face it. A dead dps is a useless dps.

Blink: Moves you 20 yards ahead (25 yards combined with Glyph of Blink). I know you can cast Scorch while moving but if you find yourself in the middle of something thats going to hurt. Blink out and dont risk the damage(if safe to do so).

Mirror Images: Although it is a high damage per execute, it is still a survival cooldown. If you pull threat, Images when popped will completely dump your threat for their duration, returning the boss back to the tank. It is a really good habit to save this for just such an occasion and gives time for the tank to build up threat again. Once it expires you get all of the threat back, but if the tank pulled enough threat, you shouldn’t pull again. To be safe you can pop Invisibility right after it to permanently drop the threat.

Ring of Frost and other cooldowns: Doing trash? Tank died and the mobs turn to you? Drop your ROF and kite them over it, use your Dragon’s Breath to disorient them into it or to gain distance. Frost Nova if they get too close or slow them with Blast Wave and kite. This just might buy some time to battle res a tank if your group chooses to do so.

Further Improving

Always be casting. Every second you spend not casting, you are losing dps. If you accidentally start casting a Fireball and realize you should have used Living Bomb, finish the cast anyways. If the target is going to die in a few seconds, it’s pointless to apply Living Bomb again unless most of it is going to tick off. When using the Heroic Will button on Ultraxion in Dragonsoul you can cast Fire Blast just as you hit the button for extra damage.

Knowing a fight well is a huge advantage for a dps. If you know you are going to have to move at a specific time or have to switch to an add that always spawns in the same spot, you can judge accordingly. For example, you are soaking crystals on Morchok and you know you have enough time for one Fireball but the second would be interrupted by the knockback half way through. You can cast a Scorch or something instead so that your global doesn’t go to waste (Scorch will not be interrupted by the knockback).

To get the most dps out of your Mage I suggest learning to use Rawr and Simulationcraft. This will help you get the most out of your toon in his/her current gear and maby learn ways to improve through the logs.


Some of my favorite macros are:

#showtooltip combustion
/cast combustion

Stops your casting and immediately activates Combustion. Good for when you just lined up the perfect Combustion but are in the middle of a cast.

#showtooltip ice block
/cast ice block

Stops your casting and immediately Ice Blocks. Very nice for minimizing damage from Cauterize.

#showtooltip fireball
/cancelaura ice block
/cast fireball

By using this macro, your Fireball becomes a fast and easy way to remove your Ice block so you can get back to dpsing(once it is cancelled you are casting Fireball). You can link this to any ability you want, I chose Fireball because it just seemed easiest since Fireball is the filler.

#showtooltip counterspell
/cast [target=focus] counterspell

Stops casting and Counterspells your focus target. Useful for when you have to interrupt a target without switching from your current one. Situational.

#showtooltip polymorph
/cast [target=focus] polymorph

Stops casting and casts Polymorph on your focus target. Useful for keeping an enemy cc’d just in case it gets broken by damage or wears off. Avoids having to target them again if they are set to your focus.


Sets your current target to your focus. Faster than right clicking.


Removes your focus target.

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