Casual Theorycrafting

I’m now wishing I had had an opportunity in school to pursue math further – not for career reasons, I just want to be able to understand what they are saying over at Elitist Jerks.

The mage section has been cleaned up a bit since pre-patch something or other months ago. If you’re curious:

However… there are two big problems with me getting information from EJ for my mage.

  1. Most, if not all, of the calculations and scenarios are assuming that I am deep in Ulduar and probably working on my 4-piece T8 set bonus.
    I wish. I’ve had my T7 4-piece for a bit now, but anything in Uld past Kologarn is a mystery to me.
  2. Most, if not all, of the calculations and scenarios are also assuming that I will be entering a raid with known variables – that I’m a member of a steady raiding guild with consistent attendance and can rely on particular raid compositions.
    I wish. The only raid comp I can guarantee is 1 mage (go me!), a tank or 3, some healers, and some other random people that are probably doing DPS. Oh, and we’ll cycle members out during the course of a raid. It’s always awesome when the leader calls for a Bloodlust and we realize the shaman was replaced 3 pulls ago. What do you mean the spriest can’t Bloodlust?

But, that isn’t to say that I did not pull some hopefully useful information from in betwixt the nonsensical formulas and the Incanter’s Absorption gimmick stuff. What follows is my version of casual theorycrafting – I don’t personally have many numbers to back this up but I’m putting the concepts out there. If you know something that’s more current/correct, please point me towards it.

It looks like I’m doing about right with my cooldowns. Excluding required burst phases (heart on XT or grounded Razorscale) I should be using cooldowns early and often. This has been a challenge for me in the past, but I think I’ve made some significant progress here. I don’t end a boss fight with a cooldown up anymore.

There was a related tidbit about the timing of Bloodlust and whether it should be called for early or in the last 35%. The general consensus seemed to be that it was best to use it early (again, excluding fights with required burst phases). Waiting until the last 35% benefits some classes (I can think of a hunter with Kill Shot and a warrior’s Execute), but not most. In contrast, if Bloodlust is used early, you are more likely to have all your DPS alive to make use of it and they will have their cooldowns available to pop with it.

An item that was reinforced was the need to be more aggressive in a burn phase. There are some fights that I still have mana left at the end. As my mage buddy said, if I have mana at the end of the fight I’m doing it wrong. So I have a goal of pushing the burn phases harder. I see my biggest challenge with this being learning how hard I can push. One fight I might have a pally giving me replenishment, but then he has to go to dinner and he gets replaced by an enhancement shaman. Whatever little pattern I had just figured out is now useless. I’m not really sure how to get around this. I’m guessing just a massive amount of trial and error. I still have my wand on my action bar somewhere…

One of the suggestions was to burn hard and fast out of the gate (assuming threat isn’t an issue) – Arcane Blast spam with cooldowns blown (Icy Veins and Arcane Power) until you hit a Missile Barrage proc (don’t cast before 3 AB stacks though). Repeat until you are low enough for a mana gem (Arcane Torrent as well in my case) and keep going until you are at the 30% or so to where you won’t waste part of your Evocate. Timed very well, you may be able to catch the Evocate in the last ticks of Icy Veins (which offers pushback protection as well as speeding the shit up out of your Evocate). For really long fights (KT still seems to take FOREVER) I probably would not use this method. Unless… I was getting some good mana regen or knew that a Mana Tide Totem was coming my way at some point.

Fascinating rotation change. I vaguely remember hearing that Arcane Barrage had been nerfed. I don’t understand the complexity of it, but I guess it had a damage coefficient as if it were a 3-second cast spell (longer cast spells have better damage coefficients) and it was reduced to that of a 2.5-second cast spell. Apparently this tiny little tweak made casting Arcane Barrage in a non-mobile situation less than desirable. The new thing (probably an old thing by now) is to to forgo casting Arcane Barrage unless you have to cast on the move or you need to clear your Arcane Blast stack for some reason and cannot cast Arcane Missile.

I tried it out last night, in a heroic and on the training dummy. Let me tell you, after what seems like an eternity of juggling Missile Barrage procs and watching those little arcane missiles of death streak towards my target while I’m yelling PEWPEWPEW at my screen… it was very hard to watch them crawl sluggishly towards the mob like a lazy Sunday afternoon. The rotation of Arcane Blast x3 followed by Arcane Missile, regardless of Missile Barrage procs (and assuming I’m not in a burn phase), is well, a little dull.

Over the past couple nights I’ve been hitting the training dummy to get some numbers. Unfortunately, I have the attention span of a gnat for this sort of thing, so I only grabbed 5 samples for each test bracket. Hardly statistically valid, I’m sure, but better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.


  • I only used Arcane Intellect and Molten Armor as my buffs. No food and no flasks.
  • I used mana gems and Arcane Torrent, but I did not use Evocation (that would have drug this out longer, see above for attention span issue, also using Evocate drops you out of combat with the test dummy and it was wreaking havoc with Recount). I used these as soon as it was possible for me to do so without wasting any mana regained.
  • I always opened with 3 Arcane Blasts with no cooldowns to simulate allowing the tank to gain aggro.
  • Arcane Power and Icy Veins were cast within 1-4 casts after the “aggro” phase. I generally try to cast Arcane Power right before an Arcane Bararge or Arcane Missile being used to clear an Arcane Blast stack, that way I’m not paying 20% more on the last Arcane Blast.
  • Presence of Mind is linked to an Arcane Blast and was cast when available after the “aggro” phase.
  • Mirror Images were cast after 10 stacks of Illustration of the Dragon Soul were up and when I was receiving the spellpower buff from the mana gem (T7 2-piece set bonus).
  • All tests went until OOM.

First bracket was my original spec with the 2 points doing nothing in Prismatic Cloak. This was a standard Arcane Blast x3 followed by either Arcane Barrage or Arcane Missile, depending on proc.

My average damage over 5 runs was 276,633, DPS was 2679.46, and average time in combat was 103.1 seconds.

For the second set, I kept my spec but tried the new Arcane Blast spam until a Missile Barrage proc (although I limited myself to no more than 6 stacks) to open and always casting Arcane Missile to clear the stack during the remainder of the fight, even without a Missile Barrage proc.

Damage average was 282,223, DPS of 2761.48, and time of 102.1 seconds. So there was a slight improvement in the damage and DPS, with a hardly noticeable drop in time available in combat.

For the third set, I used the no-Barrage rotation from the second set but moved the two points in Prismatic Cloak over to Student of the Mind.

5 runs later: average damage of 3159706, DPS 2742.82, and time in combat 115.3. More damage, more time in fight (they kind of go together), but a decrease in DPS from set 2.

I am happy with an increase in damage and very happy with an increase in the amount of time it took me to go OOM. That should help boost my confidence to push the burn phase and on long fights will give me a couple more seconds here and there to wait for mana gems/Arcane Torrent/Evocate to come off cooldown.

So that’s what I did Wednesday night, what about you?


4 comments on “Casual Theorycrafting

  1. telanarra says:

    in this episode of Blogreader Theater we have Telanarra reading the latest post on clear casting

    Act1 Scene1

    Blog: “I’m now wishing I had had an opportunity in school to pursue math further….”

    Telanarra: zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz



  2. Dark/Soth says:

    If your mana is lasting 12-13 seconds longer on the dummy with just self buffs and no food buffs, It will last considerably longer than that in a raid setting with full buffs and replenishment. More mana = More burn blast spam = Moar Deepz.


  3. telanarra says:

    mordeeps dun spam burnblast its more of a send in pet and spam arcance shot :)


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