I’ve been raiding as arcane since my mage first hit 80 and I really do enjoy the spec. However, I seem to be having issues keeping up in ICC. From what I can tell the issue is largely due to the fights requiring a lot of target switching and movement. The combination leads to an unfriendly environment to a spec that is entirely based on cd management. Both arcane and ttw/fireball specs way heavily on the fact that the target you are attacking will be slowed. Generally this is the case as every tank has a attack speed debuff that is applied to the target.
But what happens when you switch targets?
Marrowhatshisface does an ability called stormpike graveyard which impales 1 target in 10 and 2 targets in 25. The impales have 38k health in 10 man and need to be burned down as the person gripped takes a lot of damage. This forces me to interrupt my arcane rotation to attack and break out the person rooted. If they are near by this is as easy as targeting and going on with my next nuke… but often you have to move to get in range of the target since not everyone groups up after the whirlwind. The impale also will not have any slowing effects on it so I lose 12% base damage right from the start. Additionally this can mess with using cd’s and lead to you critting the impale that has 4k health left with an 18k arcane blast wasting damage.
Lady deathwhisper is even worse… because generally as ranged dps you are working on burning down the mana shield… and the boss isn’t being tanked which means no slowing effect and 12% less damage. Saurfang for the most part isn’t a big deal as the adds are generally being slowed by some kind of kiting effect… but all of these things makes me wonder if I wouldn’t be better served raiding as frost for these fights.
Last night after ICC we went to knock out sartharion who we had for the weekly raid thing. I decided to go as frost and managed to pull 6.2k dps largely without breaking a sweat. As arcane for the entire night I couldn’t break 5k dps. This is extremely frustrating because I did more dps in ToC then in ICC. Now I know that on sarth I can do over 6k easily on sarth as arcane… but the fact that I did over 6k as frost… really makes me think that using frost in ICC may not be a bad idea.
I mean with frost TTW is going to be up nearly 100% of the time as frostbolt slows… so every time I target switch I won’t lose 12%. I can fight the entirety of Deathwhisper with that 12% increased damage that I would be missing as fire or arcane. On Saurfang… well I could drop the frostbolt glyph for ice barrier and my frostbolt would make an AMAZING kiting tool. Heck the 20% healing reduction may be helpful too if mortal strike debuffs fall off. For all these fights ice barrier would help ease the healing load on me because I'm usually the squishiest member of the raid.
I also bring replenishment so our SV hunter can go MM and a nice 5% crit buff which would help other casters in addition to our frost DK. I mean I know in a 25 man environment I would be crazy not to go arcane… but in our 10 mans… if frost is around 10% less damage then arcane… but arcane relies on a 12% buff that isn’t there… does that mean frost comes out ahead?
What do you all think? Am I crazy? I think I’m gonna try it next week and see how things go. Oh and 23k deep freeze crits are pretty cool.