Tomorrow is the US release of Mythic Hellfire Citadel, which marks the beginning of the 6.2 progression race. With a week of Heroic Hellfire Citadel behind us, we now have an even better idea of how Mages will play out in the coming months. Similar to the previous tier, I like to make final adjustments to my mythic predictions, based on how heroic raids have gone. It is an addendum to the previous thread, which I recommend reading first if you haven't done so already:
State of the Specs (June 20) - http://altered-time.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=1663" target="_blank
We've also been able to use the week to take closer looks at the last minute hotfixes made before 6.2, such as the buff to Frost's 4T18 set bonus. Despite frustrations with tier token drop rates, some lucky players have been able to acquire 4T18 and trinkets, allowing them to contribute valuable data. The following information builds on all this activity from the past week, to better evaluate how things will pan out.
[/color]An hour after I wrote this article, Tome of Shifting Words was nerfed 33% for Frost Mages. I have updated the charts and conclusions to include this nerf. The big picture changes slightly; Frost is still strong, but no longer dominantly so.
Frost 4T18 and Class Trinket
As mentioned in the previous thread, SimC was not utilizing Frost's 4T18 set bonus and the Archimonde trinket very well. Since then, I've updated robofrost to play nicely with 4T18's 14 second duration Water jet, and improved the trinket usage by quite a bit. Shatterlance now affects 99.95% of all Ice Lances, up from ~70% in the previous version. The results showed that the 4T18 set bonus is rather overpowered, when combined with the class trinket (http://www.wowhead.com/item=124516/tome ... ds&bonus=0" target="_blank):
450s, single target
4T18 is now valued at ~7.09%. This is on par with most other set bonuses.
The tier bonus increases the rate of FoF generation from roughly ~9/min to ~14.5/min. This directly impacts the strength of the class trinket, which increases Ice Lance strength.
450s, single target
At a 17.2% gain over an empty slot, the trinket has been brought back in line. It's still the most powerful trinket available to Frost for single target or low target cleave, but no longer ahead of all other options by a gigantic margin.
The trinket bolsters Frost's single target and low target cleave competitiveness immensely.
450s, single target
With Ice Lance being strong on two targets, Frost's position as the king of cleave is further reinforced. The other two specs don't come anywhere close.
450s, two targets
However, it is worth noting that Frost single target in raids is slightly less than in simulations. 14 second Water Jet is quite hard to utilize optimally in hectic fights. The Shatterlance playstyle (Frostbolt+Ice Lance ad infinitum) is also fairly rigid and not always encounter friendly.
At mythic gear levels, it is hard to say what will happen; The ring synergizes extremely well with Arcane's mechanics, due to a combination of Arcane Power, Prismatic Crystal, and the class trinket. Whether Frost will fall behind depends on how the ring interacts with pets and Prismatic Crystal, the details of which we won't know until we see the ring in action.
Prophecy of Fear - Frost
The Mannoroth trinket, Prophecy of Fear (http://www.wowhead.com/item=124230/prop ... ar&bonus=0" target="_blank), was being triggered by Icicles. This was confirmed as a bug, and was fixed with a last minute patch (Build 20171) before the release of 6.2. This has no effect
Prophecy of Fear - Arcane
SimC updates suggest that Prophecy of Fear has gotten even more desirable for Arcane Mages, by aggressively triggering the proc with Arcane Missiles. This doesn't really change anything for Arcane, because it was already by far the strongest trinket. What it does change, is how the different specs stack up in terms of AOE damage.
Arcane Power, Incanters's Flow, Rune of Power, and Mana Adept all affect damage done by the trinket's explosion effect (http://www.wowhead.com/spell=184075/doom-nova" target="_blank). This allows Arcane to be fairly competitive in terms of AOE throughput
450s, six target
Unsurprisingly, due to the RPPM nature of the trinket, this AOE strength is extremely unreliable. This also means that Arcane cannot be depended on for reliable AOE burst damage. The cleave/AOE might as well be considered as uncontrollable and incidental cleave, which is still nice for bosses such as Tyrant Velhari and Archimonde, but not for the likes of Xhul'horac and Mannoroth which require steady AOE throughput for cleaning up dangerous adds.
Spec Predictions - Updated!
With the rise of Frost as a top single target and cleave spec, some adjustments need to be made to the predictions. HFC has also shown some encounters that benefit greatly from sustained cleave. Arcane can no longer be safely assumed as the top spec for most fights. My expectations are adjusted as follow:
Arcane > Frost > Fire for single target encounters.
Frost >> Arcane > Fire for two target cleave.
Fire >> Arcane > Frost for stacked, sustained AOE (Uncommon in HFC).
Most progression mages will likely be running dual spec Frost/Arcane.
It should be noted that HFC has a very wide variety of encounters: Iron Reaver, Gorefiend, Kilrogg and Zakuun are single target focused. Velhari, Socrethar and Archimonde are cleave heavy, Hellfire Assault, Iskar and Xhul'horac require heavy AOE. All three specs will have their fights to shine in.