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General Notes Edit
Some general considerations about the mage:.
- An inattentive mage is a dead mage. Remember that above all else. If you're trying to pull a mob, keep an eye out for what's next to it. If you're using AoE, make sure you don't aggro any adds. The biggest mistake a mage can make is not paying attention. Mages wear cloth armor, so they can't survive mistakes in the way more resilient classes can.
- Frost Nova has a chance to break on damage, rendering it less usable when grouping than soloing; but it is always good to stop runners in their tracks, and to freeze a mob to prevent your healer from getting killed. Also note that with patch 2.0.1, Mages have been awarded a new offensive spell called Ice Lance. Ice Lance will hit a target with 146 to 186 Frost damage normally, and costs 150 Mana. However, if the spell is cast on a frozen target (affected by Frost Nova, Freeze (a Frost Nova ability available to the summoned water elemental), or Frostbite (a frost tree talent that has a chance to freeze a target to the ground upon receiving a chill effect)), the damage dealt by Ice Lance will be tripled. That means that, without any gear and with a frozen target, you can actually hit as high as 558 frost damage to a target. With a good combination of talents and gear, this attack can hit up to 1500–2000 damage in one hit.
- A mana-less mage is a dead mage. Mages have a variety of ways to get mana back once they are in combat, primarily Mana Gems, Potions, Evocation and Spirit-based regeneration.
- When using Mana Gems and Potions during long fights, use the highest gem or potion available as soon as you use up enough mana that none of the effect can be wasted. If the cooldown on lower-ranked potions finishes before the fight is over, you can use those consumables as well.
- Full Spirit regeneration only activates 5 seconds after the last spell finished casting, but the spell Mage Armor allows 35% of this regeneration during casting, and the talent Arcane Meditation allows an additional 50%, a total of 100%.
- Evocation restores a great deal of mana over a short time. In groups and solo, it lets a mage fall back and recharge a large portion of their mana supply when the situation is getting hairy or during long fights. It is a channeled spell, so the mage will need to be untouched and standing still to receive the full benefit. In combat situations where one may be hit, it is recommended to activate Mana Shield before using this spell, in order to prevent interruptions while channeling. Mana Shield uses mana while you are being hit, therefore another method to use before recharging with Evocation is to Frost Nova your targets (this may be a safer and more efficient alternative).
- There are situations where it's extremely helpful to have Rank 1 Frostbolt on your action bar, or even hotkeyed, (as well as Fireball Rank 1 for rogues (cast time of 1.5s and costs 30 mana). That one can be useful from preventing rogues to vanish again after being captured by your Frost Nova, Arcane Explosion etc...) The Chilled effect is identical in potency (though not duration) and is helpful for keeping mobs slowed down when they're too close for a full-power attack, or you're low on mana and are waiting on a cooldown.
- For the kiting or AoE grinding mage, you can't beat Enchant Boots - Minor Speed. An 8% increase in running speed, though it seems small, magnifies in usefulness when your enemies are only running at 50% speed in the first place, as they should be.
- The Mages' play style favors preventing damage (or more so, avoiding it all together), rather than taking damage and recovering from it during combat through the use of healing techniques or simply outlasting opponents due to increased stamina. In the case of a melee opponents, mages have some of the best tools available to prevent and avoid taking damage with spells like Blink and Frost Nova, as well as negating incoming damage through the use of Mana Shield and/or Ice Barrier. In the case of spellcasters, mages can shield themselves from damage with the use of their wards (Fire Ward, Frost Ward), removing damage in the case of curses (Remove Lesser Curse) and countering incoming magic (Counterspell) which essentially completely negates it. They can also slightly mitigate incoming magical damage through the use of Dampen Magic. When these spells are combined and used together, the resulting effect can lead the mage to end up taking no damage at all from an offensive combo from an enemy spellcaster. In all, the mage can be a tough opponent to beat if they choose to play purely defensively or if they need to escape.
- It is important to remember that as a Mage you are able to portal yourself and others to all major faction cities. Why spend all that time walking/riding/flying? Sit back, whip up a portal and relax. Similarly, it pays to keep an eye on the trade channel in major cities even when you're not looking for anything, as there are often people willing to pay gold for portal service, which is almost 100% profit.
PvE Tactics Edit
Single-target Tactics Edit
Handling Groups Edit
- Group of two mobs
- Frostbolt one, and as soon as Frostbolt finishes casting, start Polymorphing the second. The Frostbolt’s slowing effect will keep the first mob away from you for long enough to polymorph the second.
- Group of two mobs, fire mage
- Pull the first with Pyroblast or Fireball and wait for them to get close. Follow with Dragon's Breath and Blast Wave followed by Frost Nova
- Camp of more than two mobs
- Try pulling a single outlying mob, and immediately start running away until they reset. If only two mobs ran toward you, follow the above strategy for pulling groups of two. If more than two mobs ran toward you, try pulling from a different side of the camp. Pulls of three or more mobs are possible as a mage, but are generally more trouble than they’re worth when dealing with yellow or orange mobs (also see: Pulling groups as a mage). Remember frost nova is your friend when dealing with bigger mobs. Use your frost nova then pick a single target and use non slowing spells to break it from the nova. Then kite it to a safe area (the others will reset). Remember to use instant cast spells on your kited target (if you do not deal damage to it while kiting, you risk resetting the target).
Fire-Based Pulling Strategies Edit
- Opening at Range
- Pyroblast, if you take the talent, is by far the most damage a fire mage can open with. Otherwise, Fireball offers the most damage.
- Frostbolt's snare effect makes it an option against melee-based mobs, as it buys you more time to cast before the mob reaches you.
- Polymorph can be used to pin down a mob that is moving quickly, or in situations where you must pull two mobs at once.
- Combat at Range
- Scorch is a good choice once you have the Improved Scorch talent, especially if you have also taken Impact. It's the fastest fire-based spell gives you a greater chance of stunning the target.
- Fireball is also a solid choice, as it typically delivers higher DPS than Scorch.
- Wand is generally your last resort.
- Combat in Melee
- Fire Blast works well, as it is instant-cast and thus does not suffer pushback. However, you cannot spam it due to its cooldown.
- Scorch, with its short cast time can also be an option, especially if you have the Burning Soul talent.
- Arcane Missiles is an option if you take the Improved Arcane Missiles talent to prevent interruption. Also, if you max out Improved Fire Blast, you can alternate between the two.
- Frost Nova allows you to root the enemy and get out of melee range to cast another Fireball.
- Blast Wave dazes enemies, allowing you to Blink or pull back far enough to cast a spell safely, and it deals a good amount of damage.
- Cone of Cold will snare the enemy, allowing you to run away while you wait for other cooldowns to come up.
- Arcane Explosion is instant-cast and has no cooldown, but spamming it will use up your mana very, very quickly.
- Mana Shield can absorb damage if you're taking too much, and can also be used to buy some time in which to cast without pushback. Be careful, though, as this can empty your mana quickly.
- Dragon's Breath can be used by fire mages to disorient and interupt enemies in front of them for 5 seconds. You can then Blink or run away to contiue casting from a distance. Direct damage will break the disorient.
Frost-Based Pulling Strategies Edit
- Frostbolt repeatedly until near death.(if they start casting, cast Counterspell on them)
- Fire Blast if absolutely needed, otherwise, avoid as this is a mana costly spell. (Optional)
- Strafe away a bit and Frost Nova. (Optional)
- Strafe away or Blink and cast another Frostbolt (mob should still be frozen). If you have a high spell crit %, then spam Ice Lance while target is frozen to maximize damage and minimize mana used.(Optional)
- Repeat this process if necessary, and if the mob is close to death use wand/Arcane Explosion/Scorch to finish them off depending on their health level. If you're in trouble at this point and Frost Nova is on cooldown, you might want to throw in a Cone of Cold and get more distance.
Multi-Tree Pulling Strategies Edit
- First off, if your target saw and attacked you then you need to cast Polymorph and get some distance. Make sure you cast it at the right time so that the sheep doesn't wander into some mobs and get 10 adds. If your target is just wandering around and you're the one who starts the fight, then you can just proceed to below:
- Get to a good distance (preferably the very edge of your Frostbolt range) and cast Frostbolt, as this will cause your target to run toward you at reduced speed (unless he resisted).
- Activate Arcane Missiles and once that's done channeling, cast Fireball.
- By now, your target should have recovered from the movement speed debuff. (If you have points in the fire talent Impact, then that would work well and may buy you more time to hurl another Fireball)
- If your opponent isn't dead yet, wait for him to get close enough (feel free to throw in an instant cast offensive spell during this short second) and Frost Nova.
- Run away to a good distance and again pelt the target with a Frostbolt and then some Fireballs. He should be mincemeat now, but your mana could now use some recharging after this mana-intensive skirmish.
- In short: Polymorph if necessary, Frostbolt, Arcane Missiles, Fireball, Frost Nova, run away, Frostbolt or Fireball depending on target's current health.
- This tactic should really only be mostly used when soloing elite mobs or otherwise especially tough mobs in a one-on-one fight. Frost mages will especially find that use of this tactic is wise even if it is mana-consuming. However, non-Frost mages will still find this tactic surprisingly effective in spite of chosen talent investments, as due to this tactic's nature, whatever skills you pump your talent points into will only make certain spells used in this tactic much more potent.
Deciding which tree to use Edit
Tree choices are largely a matter of personal preference. In general:
- Fire tree spells offer the highest single-target DPS, as well as the talent Impact that can stun a target. Properly specced, it is generally considered to be the highest single-target DPS raiding tree. It offers valuable utility in the form of Improved Scorch.
- Frost tree spells offer a high level of control over mob movement through the application of slows and snares. Also offers high mana efficiency and damage mitigation. It offers valuable utility in the form of Winter's Chill.
- Arcane tree spells generate less aggro than fire or frost (60% compared with 90% for the other trees), and will land hits with fewer resists overall (including polymorph) and less resisted damage. Arcane mages are highly mobile as their damage does not rely on keeping buffs such as Improved Scorch and most their damage comes from the instant-cast Arcane Barrage, so they excel in movement fights. Arcane talents will also afford better magic resistance and better mana regeneration and other good damage bonuses to offset the high cost of the spells that you would cast.
Multi-Target Tactics Edit
In order to do this little combo you will need a Priest with you. This works best with a discipline priest who has improvements to Power Word: Shield.
- Have the Priest cast Power Word: Shield on you and the Priest.
- Run around and take on as much Threat as possible.
- When you have a suitable amount of mobs, have the Priest stay back and heal you while you continuously cast Arcane Explosion.
AoE Locations Edit
- Main article: Mage_Aoe_Locations
Blizzard-based Solo Frost AoE Grinding Edit
- See: Frost AoE Grinding
- The Pros
Solo Frost AoE Grinding (SFAEG) is the most entertaining play experience I've had. Nothing beats watching 8-12 even-level mobs drop down dead at the same time, except for maybe the look on other character's faces when they see you do it. Once you understand the spawns at a particular location, you can grind continuously. Exp from AoE grinding is far better than questing and far more exciting than solo grinding.
- The Cons
- By going this spec, you will inevitably be sacrificing your single-target DPS to get the correct frost talents. You will need more mana than other mages to tackle single mobs, but no other build can handle the number of mobs you can at the same time.
- At every given level, there are very few (usually only one) location where you can SFAEG. This is mainly because you need clusters of mobs where there are no casters or shooters.
- There is a significant amount of risk involved. Expect to die often as you learn how to AoE grind well.
- Basic Advice
- The Talent Build
Frost talents need to work in tandem with each other. This is why it makes most sense to switch once you have enough talent points, but not worth it to build up to it. The key frost talents in this build work to slow mobs down to a crawl while they take damage.
- 0/3 points in Frostbite. SFAEG depends on keeping an entire group of mobs tightly clumped together - Frostbite freezes individual mobs and separates them from the group.
- 3/3 Improved Blizzard. Blizzard forms the core damage of this tactic, and with 3/3 Improved Blizzard mages can get off 2 full casts of Blizzard starting from max range. With 2/3 points in this talent, they can only get 1 full (and 1 partial) cast done before the mobs reach them. Note that the Blizzard slow will overwrite the Cone of Cold slow, so they can't be used well together.
- Process of SFAEG
You need to know your location and spawns down cold to do this successfully. The paths of wandering patrols and the precise number of spawns must be understood. Also, you will need to know how far a mob will chase you before it runs away. You should SFAEG mobs that are between 2 level above you and 3 levels below you (Green or Yellow difficulty, never Orange). And you need to make sure there are no casters or shooters in the camp, or that you have eliminated them before hand.
- Cast Mana Shield (and after obtaining it, Ice Barrier). Do not cast Ice Armor because it will only unevenly slow down mobs, causing them to separate from the pack.
- Aggro as many mobs as you can. Pre-40, you need to do this on foot. Post-40, you do this on a mount. Having the mount significantly increases the number of mobs you can aggro at a time. Pre-40, you should aim for around 8 mobs. Post-40, you should aim for 10-12. You should aggro all mobs within a 50 yard area because you will need space to kill them.
- Run the mobs in a small spiral to make them cluster together. Once they are close enough, cast Frost Nova. (We'll handle exceptions below)
- Cast Blink and then strafe an additional 3-5 steps away. You are now at the maximum distance at which you can cast Blizzard. Cast the 1st Blizzard with the outer edge on the mob cluster. You should hot key Blizzard so you don't waste time with moving the mouse back and forth.
- When the 1st Blizzard is about to end, cast the 2nd Blizzard.
- At the end of the 2nd Blizzard, the mobs will be very close to you (or have already started to hit you). Cast CoC while stepping back. Then cast Frost Nova right after.
- Keep strafing away a little. Now cast a final Blizzard. On most levels if you are using the highest available ranked Blizzard, they will all die during this final Blizzard. During levels shortly before learning a new rank, you may need to run up and do an additional CoC.
Nothing ever goes perfectly. These are tactics for overcoming the common problems that occur with SFAEG.
- Your Frost Nova is resisted by a mob: If only one mob is resisted, you can use Cold Snap to recast Frost Nova. If this is not possible, you can often blink and cast the 1st Blizzard in time to slow that runaway mob. That runaway mob will hit you at the end of the 1st Blizzard. Cast Mana Shield, let the mob continue hitting you, and cast 2nd Blizzard on the rest of the mobs and continue as normal.
- Runners – Most humanoid mobs (preferred SFAEG targets) are runners. You need make sure they don't run away. Typically mobs will run away during the 3rd Blizzard or right after the CoC. In both cases, you should be able to kill them before they get outside of Blizzard.
- Equipment Advice
Get "of the Eagle" equipment whenever possible. Spell power gear has little impact on Blizzard (+150 damage will add 24 extra damage to a 780 damage Blizzard [this may be based on pre-2.0 formulas and no longer accurate, see the talk page]), so you're better off with more stamina to take damage and mana to cast an extra CoC or Blizzard.
CoC-based Solo Frost AoE Grinding Edit
The mana efficiency of Cone of Cold when combined with Mage Armor allows mages to kite mobs with high hp, which Blizzard-based tactics cannot kill before leaving the mage stranded with no mana. Some examples of elite mobs that can be soloed with this tactic are Zul'Gurub crocolisks and tigers and Silithus bugs.
See the Frost Control build for key talents. It is absolutely critical that mages take at most 2/3 points in Improved Blizzard, because any more and the Blizzard debuff will overwrite the CoC debuff, generally resulting in the demise of the mage.
- CoC Kiting Process
- Gather all mobs into as tight a group as possible. Some options for accomplishing this at level 60 are:
- Circle the group while mounted, until the mobs are so tightly packed they appear "stacked" as a single mob. Then dismount, and continue.
- After aggroing the mobs, cast Ice Barrier, Ice Block and allow the mobs to gather around you. While holding down one of the strafe keys, cancel Ice Block and immediately cast Frost Nova while moving away.
- Cast CoC while walking backwards (this is important to keep you out of their attack range).
- Walk the mobs around in circles (larger circles are safer in the beginning), while waiting for the CoC Cooldown to finish.
- Re-cast CoC as soon as the cooldown is up, while walking backwards.
- Repeat. Note that, as mobs reach low health, they will slow down. High health mobs have the potential to have as much as a 10-20% health difference within the group, due to critical spell hits. As such, different mobs in the group will be moving at different speeds, so tightening the circle you walk around them, to ensure that they all remain within reach of your CoC.
- Special Circumstances
Nothing ever goes entirely to plan, especially in the probability-based combat system that governs video games. Here are some common special circumstances, and how to handle them.
- One or more mobs resist: Immediately cast Frost Nova, and they should still all be within CoC range. If they are too spread out after they're frozen, move away and cast Rank 1 Blizzard 1–2 seconds before the Frost Nova debuff fades (don't use a high-rank Blizzard, because it takes too much of your mana pool). This resist management is why mages should not use Frost Nova as part of the standard process.
- One or more mobs resist the Frost Nova: Hope your Cold Snap cooldown is up, use it, and re-cast Frost Nova as above.
- One or more mobs resist the Cold Snapped Frost Nova: Try not to die. At this point, there is no formulaic response. Options that have been successful to some degree are:
- Use Blink and circle around the frozen and mobile mobs, attempting to keep away from the mobile mob while still keeping it close to the frozen group. Once they are all together, use CoC to re-slow them.
- Immediately Blink away, and throw down a Rank 1 Blizzard to start the slowing process, and keep the mobs at bay until your other cooldowns come back up.
- Clearcasting procs (if you're spec'd for it):
Frost Kiting Edit
- Note- Frost Kiting is NOT easy for soloing!
To start, put ALL 61 points into the Frost Tree, avoiding Empowered Frostbolt. This spec will allow you to kite, but not kill elite mobs. Its harder if the target can cast, but doable.
Start by applying Icy Veins Follow by spamming Frostbolt If you're kiting a caster, use your Counterspell When the target gets closer, back away, or blink behind it and run a short distance before continuing with frost bolt. If you back up, spam instants like Ice Lance or Fire Blast.
This spec is mostly for raiding. It can help with the Moroes fight if one of the warrior adds are up. Also in Slave Pens, its recommended to have a frost mage for this so as to keep the Defenders from killing the tank.
PvP Tactics Edit
Elementalist Talent Builds Edit
In PvP realms, the principal threat to the mage class is not mobs, but rather human players, who unlike monsters are aware of the strengths and weaknesses of the mage class. In PvP, the significance of the arcane talent tree is reduced, because against human players the key to survival is to inflict as much damage as possible in as short a span of time as possible, while taking as few hits as possible, as many melee weapons in high level PvP combat can match a mage for DPS because melee attacks prevent mages from reaching their potential DPS.
One approach to addressing this situation is the elementalist build, which consists of talents from the frost and fire trees. An example elementalist build invests in frost up to Shatter, and fire up to Fire Power, which when using Fire Blast against a frozen target results in a 60% crit increase, combined with a 10% increase in damage, and an additional 40% in DoT damage. The final talent point remaining in can be used to obtain Combustion for even further increases in crits, or for Ice Barrier.
World PvP Edit
Keep your buffs on at all times and keep a Mana-restoring gem with you. You never know when you might need it. If you get attacked then try to sheep them. It'll give you time to either run away or re-start the battle on your own terms. Frost Nova and Blink are also some ways to get out of sticky situations. If you initiate the fight, or you attack your recently sheeped opponent, use a long-cast high-damage spell such as Pyroblast.
Warsong Gulch Edit
Whether you get the flag or someone else does and you support them, your strategy is still relatively the same. If you have only one chaser and have time, then sheep them and run away. Blink is useful for getting some extra distance; don't use it unless you need it though, because when you really do need it, it might still be on its cooldown. Frost Nova, Cone of Cold and even a Frostbolt can be used to slow down enemies who are chasing you. Other than that, spamming Arcane Explosion is a good way to deal damage while running, but it eats your mana really fast.
Improved Blizzard is a nice talent to have in this battleground as there are many bottlenecks where a well placed cast will stop an entire group in its tracks. Even better, you can target it in such a way that the healers are separated from the flag runner, making him/her easier to kill.
Mages are also a vital component in breaking flag turtles because they can crowd control and otherwise disable up to two healers at a time, buying them time to launch massive amounts of burst damage at the flag carrier.
For Arcane mages there is a talent called Slow, which is an instant cast with no cooldown (apart from the global). This reduces cast time and movement speed to 50 percent. The best tactic is to use Frost Nova and then apply Slow or just Slow. This is very handy against Druids in their feral forms.
To Catch an Enemy Flag Carrier Edit
Frost Mage: Frostbolt > Frost Nova > Cone of Cold
Arcane Mage: Slow > Frost Nova > Presence of Mind > Arcane Power > Fire Ball > Counter spell (if a EFC is a caster) > Arcane Missiles. I have found that Slow annoys easily. It is a new talent and many people do not know how to debuff it. Every single spell up to Arcane missiles is instant (fire ball is instant due to Presence of Mind). You can deal A LOT of damage. You can knock out a weak EFC or severely damage a tank class. Also, if you are level 70, with the new spell "Spell Steal", you are able to debuff the flag carrier of beneficial buffs such as "Blessing of Freedom" or "Power Word: Shield", also at the same time granting yourself extra buffs.
To Protect a Friendly Flag Carrier Edit
Frost Mage: Frost Nova the big group of Enemies and apply blizzard.
Arcane Mage: Frost Nova the big group > Sheep the Warlock (or any high DPS) > apply slow to the Mage > Counter Spell another caster. Warlocks apply DoTs spells, which can kill a FFC even before he can get out of the opposition's base. If you apply a slow to a mage it doubles their cast time. This gives the FFC time to get out of range.
Mass PvP Edit
In mass PvP Blizzard with talents can be devastating. The Improved Blizzard talent (although it's wise to spend just one talent point in this talent) slows enemies down to 35% movement speed. Frostbite will also give a 15% chance to freeze the enemies instead of just slowing them. Finally, Frost Channeling will reduce the mana cost by 15%, making it a very mana efficient AoE.
Arcane Explosion tends to put you in suicide mode since you run into the fray of melee fighting, but it can be worth it with the great DPS. No other class can spam an instant cast AoE - apart from Priests with Holy Nova, but its DPS and DPM isn't very good. Blast Wave also requires you to get up close, but it also dazes the enemies giving you some chance to get away. With the Impact talent it has a 10% chance to stun those enemies, and when combined with Combustion it's a very devastating move. If you can find other mages willing to go into suicide mode with you, it's much more effective, because then the enemy will have to deal with two or more mages (getting heals from their own faction, hopefully) dishing out absolutely staggering amounts of AoE damage.
Arcane/Fire Mages are particularly effective at the "suicidal mage" strategy. The ideal build for this would include Impact, Ignite, Improved Flamestrike, Presence of Mind and Blast Wave. Arcane Power or Combustion could be figured as well in depending on which tree you spec deeper in. Basically, you would activate Arcane Power or Combustion, and then Flamestrike the enemy. Just this initial Flamestrike is almost guaranteed to have Ignited/Stunned at least one target, while also dealing substantial damage, and it's just the beginning. Quickly follow it up with a Presence of Mind / Flamestrike combo while rushing into the crowd. Once in the crowd, hit Blast Wave, Cone of Cold, and then spam Arcane Explosion until death takes you. You can also work Frost Nova into this to prevent the enemy from escaping the spam of instants early, or as a parting gift right before death. The combination of dual Flamestrikes and Blast Wave in such a short span WILL have critted and stunned several enemies. It is also possible that one enemy will get crit by all three, resulting in a deadly triple stacked Ignite.
In AV it can prove a worthwhile graveyard defense tactic to throw fully talented blizzard directly on the flag until you are too low on mana, or are killed. If you are low on mana, blink or run in and spam a frost nova and a few AoEs (nova even if you don't have shatter, immobilize is evil, it might keep you alive for an extra cast, and if nothing else an 8 second immobilize makes a nice parting gift). Dying and being resurrected is as fast or faster (if you release just a few seconds before the rez goes out) than drinking for the full duration, and you provide an extra distraction (4 or 5 people have will turn around and kill you, preventing them from killing one of your guys who might have more reason to live than you), and a little last act of defiance. The ideal situation is that your faction mates have the enemy distracted, and you are preventing them from capping and slowing them to a horrific speed (allowing your buddies to kite to their hearts content). Permafrost plus Improved Blizzard is 5% slower than Crippling Rank 2. Be aware you will draw attention, Iceblock if you like, it makes the enemy deal with you a second time. Try to time your deaths to be right before mass resurrections.
Another interesting tactic in AV for fire mages (if you have the flame throwing talent, which increases your Fireball and Pyroblast spell ranges to a whopping 41 yards) is to simply hang back and nuke the heck out of the opposing factions. A 36-yard Scorch isn't too shabby, either. The additional benefits of using Scorch over Fireball is that the former has better DPM efficiency: over the same amount of time, you'll use a lot more mana chain casting Fireballs instead of Scorches. Fireballs also have the added disadvantage of having very obvious 'exhaust tails'. They'll know which bugger is pounding the targets, and enemy Hunters (who may also have a 41-yard range) can pick you off rather easily. However, in a mage's arsenal of spells, nothing beats the single shot DPS potential of a Fireball. Another cool thing is when enemy Warriors and Rogues rush forward and come really close. True, the former will probably be getting loads of heals, but taking out about half of his health bar in one shot is quite exciting. For the latter, you'll probably only see them once they've cheap shotted you or somebody else, so not as fun.
I've found that using Frost Nova in WSG is a really effective tactic. If you're defending the flag carrier, and the opposing faction has caught up with you and are pounding the FC, pop a frost nova (or a blast wave. Better yet, use both! one after the other, of course) and suddenly you're running free with the opposition stuck behind you. For 8 seconds. AoE snares are worth more than their weight in Void Crystals (okay, maybe not). If you're attacking the enemy FC, frost nova works, too. Most of the time you'll be up against druids or shamans in travel and ghost wolf forms respectively. In this case, interception becomes a lot tougher, especially because frost nova and blast wave only work around you. Blink comes in especially handy, and it helps if you can accurately predict how you can intercept them. Finally, studying relative velocity and all that jazz can be useful. An interesting thing to note is that the shaman ability "Ghost Wolf" is able to be stolen with spell steal, allowing the mage to catch up to the now slowed down Flag carrier. One of the most irritating things of all is that a druid's shapeshift frees the caster from ALL movement impairing and root effect. Still, if you're specced for it, a combination of Frost Nova, Cone of Cold and Blast Wave will deter any FC and buy the rest of your forces time to catch up with him and pound him into the ground (hopefully).