Fire Mage Rotation (Night Fae)

Been playing since BC, electrical engineer so not totally stupid, 63 years old. Please give constructive feedback. This is THE most convoluted and mind numbing process to try and understand. I am hoping there is someone out there who can help. IcyVeins, Wowhead, Youtube, no help to me. Somehow something isnt getting through!! Here is THE problem and I am sure if someone could sufficiently answer, MANY would be grateful …

Here are the primary combat buttons on the keyboard. I use 1-0 across the top:
`) Tilde next to the 1 key is my Blazing Barrier

  1. Fireball - 2.5 secs during the proc- Instant Cast
  2. Combustion-12 Secs during the proc- 2 minute Cooldown
  3. Fireblast- 3 Charges take 3.5 secs - Instant Cast with 8.2 sec recharge
  4. Pyroblast-4.15 Secs during the proc - Instant Cast
  5. Scorch- 2.20 Secs during the proc - Instant Cast
  6. Phoenix Flames-3 Charges take 5 secs - 25 second recharge
  7. Shifting Power- 3.5 secs during the proc - 1 minute Cooldown
  8. Flamestrike - 4 secs during the proc- Instant Cast
  9. Dragons Breath - 1 Sec during the proc - 18 Sec Cooldown

Try to imagine a timeline and when each button is pressed for max efficiency. If YOU can do it, you are much smarter than I am. Since so many things are happening in such a compressed time frame, I have been a spammer since day one! I REALLY want to play this game right. For me this is a convoluted cluster to say the very least.

So in Korthia for example, I happen to pull three trash at the same time. I have approx. 10 seconds to deal with this trash. As a clothie with no ability to regen health, I am screwed unless I can get them down within 8-10 seconds (i know this is disputable but we are close)
With Pyroblast taking 4 secs all by itself and no other keys can be pressed during that time, I am generously at 50% health after pressing that one key! Blazing Barrier is on a 25 second cooldown. Of course I can Ice Block or Shimmer, or even Mirror Image, Alter Time among other things to mitigate. BUT I ask you… when you are looking at your cooldown numbers inside the button and each button is counting down differently, and you have 9 buttons not counting the mitigation ones, how is a new player, OLD player, anyone who wasnt trained correctly in the first place to make sense of this?

I would love it if anyone could sit down with me and show me how to properly play a Fire Mage. Good luck given the above. I have 12 alts (all classes) and have the very same problem on each of them. It’s time to get this all sorted out. I am not effective at Raiding or Mythics because of this.

Lastly, I am at a total loss to understand why our developer friends have not addressed this by now. No proper training videos leaving it up to youtube content creators or wowhead is just not getting through to me. Go ahead and call me stupid, but you are talking about a very large base of players who just want to understand and properly play the game. Thanks for making it through this!

It can certainly be overwhelming when starting a new spec and class so you’re definitely not alone. There are certain core principles every spec has that, once you understand, makes the decisions much more intuitive.

For fire, the vast majority of your damage will come during combustion windows. The goal is to fit as many instant cast spells into that cool down, whether that’s pyroblast for single target or flamestrike for AoE.

Truthfully though, I have always found YouTube videos to be the most helpful resource. I don’t think it’s feasible for Blizzard to explain how to play every spec in-game and so you just have to be comfortable going to Wowhead, Icy Veins, and YouTube. Search for “Fire Mage 9.1.5” for several excellent guides detailing every facet of the spec. You can read through guides but those are going to be several pages long and can typically be difficult to understand if you don’t already have a basic grasp of the rotation.

Good luck!

From the Mage Discord:

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Hi, Deve

Your questions are completely valid and I will attempt to give an answer which will be of some help.

Your mentioning that you have multiple characters that suffer from the same issues you’ve highlighted here lead me to believe there may be a concept-grasping issue that should be addressed first.

A mage, just like any class, has a rather exhaustive spell/ability book. While they (mostly) all have their use, many have a higher priority than others given the particular situation you find yourself in. As an example, Mirror Images is a fantastic utility/defensive spell which fulfills a purpose should you find yourself about to face-tank one or several dangerous enemies. However, given it’s cool-down time, you are not able to use it as often as, say, a fireball to their face. I know this seems obvious, but stay with me here.

All classes require understanding of each spell/ability and how they can be used in sequence or combination to benefit from their effects. Fire mages have a unique mechanic in “Heating Up” and “Hot Streak”. It would be of extreme benefit to you to open your spell book (P by default), and read each spell and ability, as well as the passives, under both the generic “Mage” tab (an image of a staff) as well as the “Fire” tab (an image of a fireball). When you do this, you’ll see the effects of these abilities and under what circumstances they are activated or triggered (commonly referred to as a “proc”).

For example, if you cast Fireball, a ball of flame looses from your hands and impacts your target, dealing damage. That spell has a chance to critically strike, meaning it will do roughly double damage (kept simple for instruction sake). With your engineering background, think of it like a logic system. If X is true, Y happens. In this case, if that fire ball critically strikes (“crits”), then your character will passively become affected with a buff called “Heating Up” for a few seconds. With default graphics settings, you will see two small flame-like indicators - one on each side of your character on your GUI. What this means, is that if the NEXT spell you hit the enemy with also crits, that “Heating Up” buff will transform into “Hot Streak” for several seconds. That Hot Streak (passive Fire mage ability) removes the cast time of Pyroblast and Flame Strike, as well as increases the duration of the burning effect.

This is a key element to Fire Mage play and fundamental to understanding how you can nuke those enemies without having to burn Combustion, which is a damage-defining cooldown for the spec. More on this later.

You needn’t worry about trying to cast a 3-second pyroblast for big damage if you can understand how to combine your spells and abilities in order to benefit from the class’ kit. In essence, when you look at Icy Veins, WoWhead or any other guide, and see a “priority” rotation listed, all you need to do is apply your logic system to it. That’s how they are laid out: “This is the top spell in priority, given that it’s available, off-cooldown, or that a set of circumstances are true”. If the set of circumstances are not true, then move down to the next priority spell/ability, and so on and so forth until you hit a spell that meets the True condition; then you cast/use that, and reassess.

While it is certainly overwhelming to think about at first, I assure you time and practice will ease this into not only muscle memory, but understanding of what needs to be cast and when and under what circumstances. Remember that even the most powerful casters must train themselves to utilize their full potential. As a Fire Mage, it’s all about those big, juicy Pyroblasts.

Which leads me to Combustion. There is certainly “one” best way to perform a rotation of abilities and spells within the window of the guaranteed-critical-strike Combustion window. However, that assumes that all of your Fire Blast charges, Phoenix Flame charges, trinkets, racials, and any/all other abilities are available and ready. This isn’t always the case, so I will briefly cover what to expect when inside the window. As this is almost always an issue that can cause discussion and even controversy (because math), I will refer you to the guides to see the exact optimal rotation for Combustion windows.

In short, when you activate Combustion, your goal (we’ll stick with single target), is to trigger/use as many Pyroblasts as possible within the 10 second window to capitalize on the guaranteed crit nature of the buff. In order to facilitate this, let us revisit the passives Heating Up and Hot Streak. When you activate Combustion, every spell will critically strike. Okay, well, since Pyroblast cast time is removed under Hot Streak, how do I get to that? The answer is Heating Up. In order to get to Heating Up, I need to crit with a fire spell (most of them, but not all, trigger Heating Up. A complete list can be found on Icy Veins, WoWhead, ect). For your convenience, I’ll list the three primary ones.

Fire Blast (highest priority)
Phoenix Flames (very good)
Scorch (short cast time, but no travel time and can be cast while moving)
Note: Fireball can be used just before entering Combustion, but for now let’s keep it relatively straightforward.

When you are outside of Combustion (the buff is not active), the typical spell sequence utilized by fire mages is to cast a fireball until it critically strikes and you gain the Heating Up buff. You then begin casting another fireball. Here’s where the magic happens (sorry, couldn’t resist). BEFORE the second fireball finishes casting, smack that Fire Blast spell button. Why? Because it can be cast while you are casting another spell and it is a guaranteed critical strike. Now, recall that you are casting a second fireball after one that already critically struck, granting the Heating Up buff. That Fire Blast has converted the Heating Up buff into a Hot Streak buff, which has now removed the cast time on your next Pyroblast cast within X seconds. As the cast of your second fireball (which you are presently casting) ends and you let it fly, hit the Pyroblast button at the same time (preferably just before) the cast ends and the fire ball looses. Now, you’ll see the fireball cast AS WELL AS the giant Pyroblast leave your hands at the same time. Because of how the game engine is currently, if either one or both of those spells critically strikes, it will count toward - you guessed it - granting a fresh Heating Up buff. If both of them crit, yessir, you are now the proud owner of a fresh Hot Streak buff for the next several seconds, since each critical strike with those fire spells has counted in-sequence and satisfied the requirement for Hot Streak, thus removing the cast time of your next Pyroblast again.

This is commonly referred to as “Pyroblast fishing”.

This chaining of fire spells in order to cast your big Pyroblast is the basis of Combustion. If every spell crits, then you needn’t cast Fireball. Now it’s on to using instant-cast spells that will allow you to pump as many Pyroblasts as possible within 10 seconds.

So, go to a training dummy, cast Fireball until you get a Heating Up proc, then begin casting another Fireball. As soon as you start casting the second fireball, cast Fire Blast, then cast Combustion (can also be cast during cast-times), and que up that Pyroblast by pressing the spell right before the second Fireball finishes casting. That’s the “standard” entry into Combustion burn - more or less.

Now, you’re in Combustion, your character is literally on fire, and everything you cast will crit, utilizing your class’ passives to remove the cast time of Pyroblast.

You should have a Hot Streak buff from the Fireball and Pyroblast both critting thanks to Combustion (see opener above). Cast the Pyroblast, hit Fire Blast. You now have Hot Streak again! Cast the Pyroblast and use a Phoenix Flames - they both crit = Hot Streak! Keep going. Use the Pyroblasts and instant-cast spells I listed above until your character stops burning and you’re back to the “standard” rotation I mentioned earlier - fishing for Pyroblasts - until Combustion comes back off cool down.

In short, Night Fae mage is all about doing everything you can to shorten the cool down on Combustion so you can get right back into it. That’s when 99% of your damage happens (slight exaggeration). It’s a fun, bursty style of play and can be very rewarding when well-practiced and executed perfectly. I have yet to do it as often as I’d like, but that’s the point of learning and training.

I hope this has been helpful. I’ll keep my eye on this thread should you have any more questions. My hope is that this gives a fundamental overview and direction for you to take the next steps on your journey of learning, understanding, and training to have fun and blast your enemies to cinders.


P.S. There are many, many, MANY more nuances that come with experience and learning. I highly recommend revisiting the guides when you feel you have a better grasp for the basics I’ve covered here. There is plenty more than what I’ve tried to lay out above. But I feel it’s a good start. Some of the more advanced players on these forums may have a few words for me, as my over-generalizations of spell sequences and function might cause their eyes to bleed, but I trust they will forgive me and allow the room for fundamentals before pushing toward nuanced optimization.


That is the best response I have ever gotten here! Very concise and clear. I saved this response in my files and will begin learning this right away. Thank you so much for taking the time to explain the basics in such detail!


Saving this to my Google drive. If you ever make a YouTube let us know.

Storm, that’s a great post. Well done! The only thing I could add is that there’s a lot to digest here and practice but eventually it all becomes second nature. Keep it up! I love playing Fire, wouldn’t play a Mage any other way.

You should consider remapping your key binds. I like to use all the buttons near my fingers that I use frequently 1-5, q, e, etc. wouldn’t it be more convenient putting combustion elsewhere? It’s a two min cooldown. You can afford to put it a little further away since you press it once every two min.

Hey Deve!

If you’d like I’ll gladly take the time to practice in game rotations with you, hit me up on Hiddentroll#13894 or Discord- Phil_Mckraken#2018

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Try working on your keybinds. Reaching 1-9 is tough

You can use modifier keys, like shift. Shift-3 is a lot easier to hit than 9.

Ideally, you don’t want to have to move your hand at all. You can rebind all the non-combat stuff into spells, like c, x, a, d etc, too (and then do something like control-c to open character page, since its not combat relevant).

If you’re using A/D to keyboard turn, that’s another habit to break, as its very slow. Mouse-turn instead by holding left/right mouse button to do a quicker movement.

Finally, you can use addons like bartender and weak auras to customize your UX. The Blizz default is pretty hard to use, as you have to look at bottom of your screen and your character back and forth all the time.

I do this, so everything important is in the center of my screen:

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