Patch 4.0 Frost DW Talents

12 10 2010

Wondering how to spec in 4.0? Confused? Me too. This post is my attempt at creating a Frost DW spec that will do two things: get me to Cataclysm and help me get used to the new mechanisms and procs of DW Frost. Here’s the spec:

4.0 Frost DW talent specBrrrr

Some explanations:

Icy Reach vs. RPM: RPM lost a lot of its usefulness due to changes to other abilities, such as AMS not energizing runic power and Druids’ revitalize not giving runic power either. Icy Reach therefore provides more benefit in combat situations, since you should avoid capping your RP and a higher cap, if you are good at using up RP as it is generated, does not help you.

Endless Winter vs. On a Pale Horse: I lean towards EW because in the limited situations that both talents do anything, EW will help more. It frees you up to use your usual rotation and not lead to accidental wipes because you used up RP when you shouldn’t have. On a Pale Horse, on the other hand, is a more passive talent that, when it works, will help marginally, but will really not affect your gameplay very much. When you’re slowed, you’re still going to be slowed. Although both are narrow, I think EW has a more important effect when it is useful, since when interrupts are part of an encounter, they are often a significant part (see: Vezax, Jaraxxus, etc).

That’s all, folks?

The rest of the Frost talents for DW are pretty much must-haves, especially since many of them are new and the most important thing in the last months of WotLK is not to get uber DPS but to become used to how the new talents will work in tandem with the new rune regeneration system, which I’ll hopefully be able to talk about once the servers come back up.


Prime glyphs: Two are fairly obvious, here being: Obliterate and Frost Strike, stalwarts of Frost glyphing. The only competition is between HB and Icy Touch. After some experimenting with both, I think I’ve come out in favour of HB, mostly due to being given the nod by EJ and some testing here and there. HB just hits harder. And means that you can do quicker, better AoE damage due to not having to rely on Icy Touch/Pestilence, which suffers from the Pestilence nerf.

Major glyphs involve a bit more choice, but mine are as follows: Pestilence, AMS, Hungering Cold (or Blood Boil). Frost gets pretty mediocre returns from these glyphs, but there isn’t a lot of choice because Pillar of Frost is likely more of a hindrance than a help for PvE. Blood Boil and Hungering Cold are exchangeable depending on how useful HC turns out to be in raids (I’ve been out of the game for a while, also never had it in PvE specs before). AMS will most certainly be helpful for obvious reasons, fire bad, etc. Pestilence range increase is still good, and the rest just don’t do anything.

Minor glyphs: These also don’t do much, but if you’re curious I’ll be taking Path of Frost, Blood Tap and Horn of Winter.

What about you? Have any other choices in mind? Have you gotten on the servers yet?


ITx6 Meets DW

17 08 2009

I want to preface this post by saying that I haven’t been able to try ITx6 in a raid as of 3.2 (yet) and so don’t have any solid numbers. That said, Erekose (the author of the ITx6 explanation video I’ve posted about before) has suggested it is once again viable. Here’s his post on EJ for your viewing pleasure. So if I have no numbers, what’s this post about? Well, DPS specs are about 90% numbers and 10% other random crap that goes on in the background.

For reference, here are the two specs I’m going to be talking about (and their corresponding rotations):

ITx6: Spec (take points out of Dark Conviction and into Virulence if you need extra hit that you don’t have on your gear)

Rotation and an explanation of how the spec works can be found here.

DW Frost (Obliterate-centric): Spec (Choose between BCB/Subversion)

Explanation of the spec and how it works here.

Let’s start with the ITx6 spec and its pros and cons.


  • Not GCD-locked
  • Flexible rotation (with so many Death Runes, it’s easy to fit in things like Pestilence and Unbreakable Armor as necessary)
  • 15% movement speed from UP (frees up your boot enchant plus the move speed is helpful in general)
  • More procs from the 15% melee haste in UP
  • Single-disease rotation is simpler to manage and allows you to start DPSing new targets quicker
  • Able to make good use of any and all procs
  • Can take advantage of AMS soaking rather than simply getting capped)
  • Parries/dodges/misses don’t screw up the rotation


  • Lower disease damage (single-disease, no BP modifier)
  • Can’t take advantage of Glyph of Disease (one-disease rotation makes it moot)
  • Lower AoE damage
  • Requires spell hit to function properly (way more ITs in the rotation compared to the Obliterate-centric rotation)
  • Without a source of magical damage to AMS soak from can have downtime in the rotation
  • Obliterate glyph is much less effective than the other Frost rotation since ITx6 uses so few)
  • Disease clipping (casting IT before FF falls off)
  • Doesn’t benefit well from ArPen (~45+% damage is from Frost Strike)
  • Only really wants Str/AP/hit on gear, all other stats are largely wasted

And now the Obliterate-centric rotation:


  • Higher disease damage (no clipping)
  • Higher Obliterate damage (takes full advantage of the glyph)
  • Higher AoE damage
  • Can use Glyph of Disease if not providing the 20% haste buff
  • No downtime in the rotation
  • Scales well with ArPen (prevalent on a lot of gear)


  • Extremely GCD-locked
  • Can’t effectively make use of all Rime/KM procs without delaying the rotation and therefore rune refreshes
  • Difficult to fit UA into the rotation (even with macros, requires extremely difficult and precise timing, making it unavailable at certain points in the rotation, such as when Frost Runes are available)
  • Extra RP is essentially wasted (from AMS soaking or other sources, such as a Druid’s Revitalize talent)
  • No movement speed buff (stuck with the Tuskarr’s boot enchant)
  • Capped expertise required since parries/anything that pushes the rotation back will have a negative effect on DPS

All this said, I’m going to test out ITx6 and post a parse of that compared to a parse of previous boss fights done with the DW Frost spec. If you’ve tried ITx6 post-3.2 or have pros/cons to add please e-mail me or post in the comments. All the utility in the world means nothing if one spec dominates in DPS.

Edit: Although I don’t have any parses because the person who usually records them wasn’t on for most of the raid, I found that I was doing competetive DPS – slight variations up or down most likely due to rustiness with the spec.

Time to respec.

Time to respec.

Blood-Caked Blade vs. Subversion

9 08 2009

Lately I’ve been finding myself having aggro issues with my DW spec, which has points in BCB rather than Subversion. People on EJ have been math-battling it out (no clear winner yet, it seems) but I’m finding myself leaning towards a Subversion build. While I don’t usually pull aggro, I find myself uncomfortably high on threat, to the point where I occassionally stop DPSing or Shadowmeld to avoid death by one-shot.

Since Subversion obviously provides its own boost to damage (unfortunately harder to quantify than BCB, which shows up in parses and so is more easily valued) as well as some nice utility, I think it might just be superior. However, not all tanks being equal, this talent swap should be considered on a strict case by case basis. If your tank is always far above you in threat, BCB is probably a better bet for you. If not (and some fights are extremely threat sensitive, such as Vezax, who is untauntable), seriously think about using Subversion instead of BCB.

On a side note, I’m going away from Monday to Wednesday night and won’t have access to my laptop, so this is the last you’ll hear from me (except perhaps a few tweets from my phone) until I get back. If you have a question or simply want to tell me something, I’ll most likely still have access to e-mail. Have a good first half of the week, interwebs.


Dual Wielding, Post-3.2

6 08 2009

I’ve had a chance to test out DW Frost in some raids, so I thought I’d share some observations.

Problem #1: Blood Presence leads to an extremely tight rotation with barely any room to Frost Strike enough to avoid capping RP

Solution #1. Switch out the IT glyph for something else

If I’m not using the extra RP, the glyph doesn’t do anything worthwhile. Your best option for a replacement is Glyph of Blood Strike, but you need to have either a Frostfire Mage or a Druid with Infected Wounds (unlike Torment the Weak, the Mage talent, the BS glyph requires a movement slowing effect in order to activate). Failing this, you can go with Glyph of the Ghoul or Glyph of Plague Strike, as I mentioned in my previous DW post.

Solution #2. Try an Unholy Presence rotation

Like the previous UP rotation (ITx6) this works best in heavy movement fights (more speed) and fights with something to AMS extra RP out of. One example is Ignis’ Flame Jets – a predictable source of absorbable damage. I tested it out on a dummy and it’s actually quite easy to do, especially if you’re familiar with the ITx6 rotation (which was much more complex).

There are a few spare GCDs here and there (the rotation ran very tight in BP but is far looser than ITx6 in UP) that you should always attempt to fill with either Raise Ghoul or Horn of Winter. Note that while the IT glyph is largely wasted on a BP rotation, it’s pretty much mandatory for UP. One fringe benefit to UP is that you are able to make more efficient use of Rime and Killing Machine procs since you always have spare GCDs to put them in as well as to weave Frost Strikes on KM procs (though HB should always be prioritized if you have Rime + KM).

Solution #3: Be more flexible

These days, lots of encounters have you running around like a chicken with a giant yeti chasing after it. Since this rotation frequently gets lots of RP (especially in situations where Resto Druids have Revitalize or where you are able to get RP from AMS) and sometimes reaches dangerously close to the cap, you should use time outside of melee range to your advantage. If you’re running around, make sure you’re firing off Rime-procced HBs (and even non-Rime HBs if you know you won’t be in range for a while) as well as Death Coils. This strategy requires forethought, however.

For example, don’t use up all your RP on DCs if you’re going to be in melee range soon. On the other hand, if you know you’re going to be able to AMS your RP to cap, then you should definitely toss out some DCs to avoid getting back into melee range with 130 RP you can’t use.

Solution #3: Not every Rime proc means more DPS, even though it does damage

If you’re running in BP, you should really only be using Rime procs if they coincide with KM procs. The reasoning is because we are so GCD limited we already have trouble using up RP on Frost Strike, so adding in additional GCDs will cause more problems than the ~5k damage a Rime proc provides. Keep in mind that while you are saving Rime for KM procs, you should not be saving KM procs for Rime. If you’ve got time to dump RP into FS, do it – don’t wait. This spec requires using every GCD available immediately.

Problem #2: Unbreakable Armor is very difficult to successfully fit into a rotation

Solution #1: Don’t spec into it

The downside to this option is that you lose the only cooldown you have, so all you get is sustained damage and no controllable burst. This is bad for fights that require such controlled burst (XT, Yogg) but not a huge hit for fights that don’t (Ignis). You also get a free point, likely put into either Subversion if you need threat reduction or filling out BCB.

Solution #2: Macros

I’ve started using 2 macros to try and fit UA into my rotation, and even still I’m getting messed up stuff with having one Blood and one Death Rune up, which is bad. The first macro goes like this:

/cast blood tap

/cast unbreakable armor

Ideally you do this when your Frost Runes aren’t up so you avoid using a Frost Rune to cast UA. You should also do this when your other Blood Rune is down. Now, to avoid getting messed up when you lose the Blood Tap buff, you need a second macro.

/cancelaura Blood Tap

Since what BT effectively does is give you a buff that turns one of your Blood Runes into Death Runes for the duration (and when it falls off, the affected rune always goes back to being a Blood Rune, whether you just Blood Striked or Obliterated with it), leaving the buff active inevitably screws up your rotation down the road. You’ll find yourself with one Blood and one Death Rune, somehow or another. This situation should be avoided at all cost.

I feel like I should have 3 problems to talk about but unfortunately I can’t come up with anything else right now. If you have any questions about the spec or the rotation, don’t hesitate to ask in the comments or by e-mail.

Dual Wielding Come 3.2

2 08 2009

Dual wielding is fun. It comes with a few inherent benefits: less competition for weapons, especially 1-handed swords (which you’ll only fight rogues for) and overall better physical DPS scaling. The downside, apparently, has been a revamp of the way the Frost tree works. From the fall of 32/39 spec to what’s live at the moment, for any spec going deep into Frost (i.e. not the 10/61 Unholy spec or the 17/54 Unholy DW spec), Frost Strike has been the highest source of damage in any given encounter. This is especially true with regards to the ITx6 Machinegun rotation, which sacrifices use of Obliterates in favour of Icy Touches (for more RP and therefore more Frost Strikes).

But in 3.2, according to the testing going on in the EJ DW thread, Obliterate has become the strongest ability in Frost’s arsenal. This is a little bit disappointing, for a couple of reasons. First, it makes Frost play more like Unholy in that you’re focusing your rotation on maximizing a U/F rune ability rather than on an RP ability. This has led to a new priority system that looks something like this (with a spec that looks like this), from highest to lowest priority:

  1. FF
  2. BP
  3. HB (if Rime + KM)
  4. OB
  5. BS
  6. FS

There’s also some talk of the Glyph of Disease making a comeback for DW (since it allows for an extra Obliterate/GCD for Howling Blast), but I’m not sure how well this will hold up in practice, given the target-swapping nature of many boss encounters these days. Disregarding that, though, the Disease glyph does not re-apply Improved Icy Touch, so if you’re the one bringing the 20% haste buff, you’ll need to be using IT anyways, making it a the glyph a waste. So what glyph choices are there for this spec, then?

The two obvious choices are Obliterate and Frost Strike, two of the spec’s main strikes. Things aren’t as clear cut for the third slot. The options are:

  1. Glyph of Icy Touch (more RP for Frost Strikes, with the downside that there are very little extra GCDs in this rotation, meaning you might not be able to use all the extra RP anyways)
  2. Glyph of Plague Strike (minor damage boost)
  3. Glyph of the Ghoul (requires speccing into Night of the Dead to be worth it, probably inferior to PS)
  4. Glyph of Howling Blast (since this rotation uses both diseases, the utility of being apply to skip Pestilence in AoE rotations is lost)

My initial instinct (if the Glyph of Disease becomes impractical/you have to buff the raid with IIT) is to go with Icy Touch, since having extra RP around can be helpful for interrupting, popping AMS/IBF and using Death Coils when you’re forced out of range of the boss. None of the other glyphs provide significant DPS boosts, so in this situation I’ll lean towards utility (just as currently I run with the Howling Blast glyph over the Obliterate one in my ITx6 spec).

I’ll come back to this topic as I learn more/when 3.2 hits. On a side note, there’s also the worry that DW will overtake the current top DPS spec (2h Blood) and end up being nerfed so that it doesn’t pull a 32/39 and blow every other spec/rotation out of the water.

Update Aug. 4/09: As far as Runeforges go, you should be using FC/FC unless you’re up against a fight that’s single-target enough to allow you to hit the boss without intervals longer than 20 seconds (the length of a Razorice stack), in which case you should use Razorice. You’ll also want two slow weapons for Frost DWing.

Goodbye, loyal sword?

Goodbye, loyal sword?