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PvP Guide: The Fire Mage

#1
Warning: This guide is long and comprehensive. If you don't want to read it all, just pay attention to the headings and bold colored text.
It is structured like Armo's mage guide here: viewtopic.php?f=49&t=49787. Refer to it if you need general mage help, since this guide is specific to pvp only.
Lastly, don't hesitate to suggest anything that I missed.
I will edit this later to include ice mages as well.


Stats
Reviewed from a pvp viewpoint.
Focus: Your most important stat. It increases the power of all your spells, as well as your max energy. High power is crucial for a pvp fire mage. However, max energy is far less important because either you or your opponent should be dead long before you run out of energy.
Vitality: Your second most important stat. It increases your max health. Staying alive is the next best thing besides killing your opponent.
Dexterity: Dexterity is luck, and as a pvp fire mage, you want a reliable build that means winning every time. Counting on some dodges is not reliable at all, not to mention that your opponent could be a druid or a mage. Do not put points into this.
Strength: Absolutely useless for mages. Do not put points in this.

The perfect focus to vitality ratio is highly debatable. However, I recommend using a 3 focus : 2 vitality build, meaning that you spend 3 points on focus and 2 points on vitality per level.


Abilities
Maxing all of them won't hurt, but train the abilities at the top of this list first.
Fire Magic: This decreases the chance that your spells get evaded. Max this as soon as possible.
Skill Evasion Abilities: These are hard to raise, but ideally these should be maxed too. Unlike dexterity, you don't have to sacrifice power or health to raise your skill evasions.
Ice Magic: The only ice magic skill you will use often is energy shield, so raising this ability will slightly increase your shield power. Try to max this.
Novelty: If you have a novelty weapon with a decent proc, consider maxing this. If you miss all your auto attacks, you cannot proc.
Wand: If you are using a fairy wand with a 20% proc, you should max this.
Hand to Hand: Not really important. Hand to hand mages with fire damage gear (even radiant earthstone) do much less damage than mages with focus gear.
First Aid: Does not matter at all.


Skills
The crux of being a pvp fire mage is having the right skills.

What to Spend On
A pvp fire mage should put points into these five skills only.
Fire Bolt: Arguably the best DPS skill in the game. It has a fast cast time (1 second) and cool down (5 seconds), while doing decent damage. This skill is rarely interrupted. Damage formula here: viewtopic.php?f=49&t=55462
Firestorm: Your second damage spell is a nuke. It does more damage but takes longer to cast (2 seconds) and cool down (15 seconds). Taking damage while casting can easily interrupt this skill.
Fire Attunement: Boosts the damage of fire bolt and firestorm. Do not start a fight without your attunement up. Cast time is 2 seconds and cool down is 2 minutes.
Lure of Fire: A necessary debuff. Lowers the target's fire resistance, thus increasing their damage taken. Cast time is 1 second and cool down is 12 seconds.
Energy Shield: A shield that eats up damage, effectively increasing your max health. Most importantly, it prevents interruptions; your spells cannot be interrupted if you don't lose health. If you log out, your shield strength is set to 1 damage. It lasts 90 seconds, casts in 2 seconds, and cools down is 1 minute.

What to Not Spend On
Do not waste points on these other popular mage skills.
Incinerate: A wimpy damage over time skill. It does not get boosted by fire attunement, takes too long to deal damage, and does too little damage. You want fast damage, and you want high damage. A pvp fire mage can kill most characters of equal level in 2 to 3 hits, except high health warriors. By the time incinerate does just one tick, your opponent should already be dead. Do not spend any points on this, but you might want to use it at level 1 for long arena fights (see strategy section).
Energy Boost: Do not put points into passive skills like this one. Pvp mages should never sacrifice power for energy. As mentioned before, either you or your opponent will be dead long before you run out of energy. To solve your out-of-pvp energy problems, buy energy sigils with gold or platinum.
Freeze: Freezes enemies up to a certain level, making them unable to attack. This is actually a good skill, but costs far too many skill points to use. Use a Shalebone Arctic Stormskimmer to get a similar skill without having to spend points (see gear section).

Skill Rotation
1. Buffs (fire attunement and energy shield) before pvp
2. Ice prison (if you have the Shalebone Arctic Stormskimmer)
3. Lure of fire (if it misses, cast again as soon as possible)
4. Fire bolt
5. Firestorm
6. Fire bolt
7. Energy shield (if possible) and/or Ice barrier (if you have the Icecrystal Pendant of the Storm's Eye)
8. Fire bolt
9. Firestorm
10. Keep using fire bolt and firestorm

Point Distributions
Since low levels (1-29) have few skill points,
Fire Bolt: Max this first (if possible).
Firestorm: Max this second (if possible).
Lure of Fire: Max this third (if possible).
Fire Attunement: You won't have enough points for this. Equip fire attunement rings to boost this skill to level 15.
Energy Shield: You won't have enough points for this. Energy shield is less important for now because you should have high health from lux items.

At medium levels (30-59), you will not have enough skill points to max your all your important skills. If X is the number of skill points you have,
Fire Bolt: X/4 (round up if needed here)
Firestorm: X/4
Fire Attunement: X/4 (you should still be using four fire attunement rings, getting +14 on top of this)
Lure of Fire: X/8
Energy Shield: X/8

At higher levels (60+), you will be able to equip royal rings, and should have enough points to max fire bolt, firestorm, and fire attunement:
Fire Bolt: Max (and then your best +skill ring to go over the max)
Firestorm: Max (best +skill ring)
Fire Attunement: Max (swap out rings to get up to +14)*
Lure of Fire: Half of remaining points, rounded up (best +skill ring)
Energy Shield: Half of remaining points (swap rings)

Rings
For levels 1-59, use royal, grand, greater, and lesser fire attunement rings, which will add a total of +14 to your fire attunement skill.
For levels 60+, your ring setup should look like this (the order does not matter):
Slot 1: Best fire bolt ring
Slot 2: Best firestorm ring
Slot 3: Best lure of fire ring
Slot 4: Royal fire attunement ring / Best energy shield ring / Second best fire bolt, firestorm, or lure of fire ring / Best focus ring

For leveling, use either of these rings in the fourth slot. For pvp, use any of these rings in the fourth slot, and ring swapping is highly recommended for fire attunement (and energy shield too, if you want). Ring swapping is covered in depth under strategy.


Strategy
If you plan on staying a low level pvp mage, feel free to skip this section entirely. Mages are so overpowered in low level pvp that just having good gear will win you almost every fight. Strategy becomes more important once you pass level 50 and start dueling people with golden blades, level 50 lux bracelets, etc. These items balance the battlefield by adding more fire resistance. Once you pass the level 100 threshold, luxed out full vitality warriors can easily defeat a mage that doesn't use the right strategy.
Use the following tactics to maintain an edge in high level pvp.

Ring Swapping
An effective strategy that will temporarily boost your power. The idea is that you equip as many rings as possible for your buffs (skills that you use on yourself: fire attunement and energy shield), cast your buffs, and switch your rings back to combat skills.
This is the exact rotation:
1. Equip four fire attunement rings (royal, grand, greater, lesser), adding +14 to the skill.
2. Cast fire attunement.
3. Equip up to four of your best energy shield rings.
4. Cast energy shield.
5. Swap rings back to fire bolt, firestorm, lure of fire, etc.
6. Start the duel.
Keep in mind that the above is the most extreme case of ring swapping. If you think you can easily beat your opponent, then it is not worth the effort of swapping rings. Also, you can just swap one or two rings instead of all four.
Be careful of resisting your own buffs. Never cast a lower level attunement until a higher level attunement has expired. If you want to recast while a high level attunement is active, swap your fire attunement rings back on. If you cast a level 20 fire attunement while a level 25 fire attunement is active, you will resist your own attunement and will be a sad mage for the few minutes while your attunement is cooling down. If you cast a level 25 or level 25+ fire attunement while a level 25 attunement is active, you will be fine.
The same problem applies for energy shield. For this reason, it is sometimes better to not swap rings for energy shield if you plan on double shielding.

Double Shielding
One of the most famous mage tactics: using energy shield before and during a duel. Simple, but powerful. Double shielding will annoy your enemies, but your health will be grateful. Getting your timing right is the key.
Energy shield lifetime (how long a new shield lasts): 90 seconds
Energy shield cool down (how long it takes until you can cast a new shield): 60 seconds
Duel request expiration (how long it takes for the expire message to pop up): 30 seconds
Duel start delay (how long it takes to actually start fighting after hitting "OK"): 10 seconds
Case A: Someone sends you a duel request
1. If you intend to pvp when you are in castle, and you want to double shield, keep casting your shield every 1 minute.
2. Someone sends you a duel request. Cast your fire attunement (swap rings if you feel like it). Accept the duel when your remaining shield lifetime is at about 40 seconds, or decline it if your energy shield lifetime is too far off. Remember that a duel request expires in 30 seconds.
3. The duel will take 10 seconds to start. You can cast a second energy shield when your the lifetime of your first one is at 30 seconds, so it should be ready when you start fighting.
4. You begin the fight and take heavy damage; either your shield is gone or you think it will soon pop. If your enemy is a warrior, move away from him or her and cast your shield. If your enemy is not a warrior, spam tap your shield until it goes up. Be careful not to resist your own shield by badly swapping rings, or just don't swap energy shield rings at all.
Case B: You send someone a duel request
1. Cast your buffs. Send a duel request when your remaining shield lifetime is about 50 seconds.
2. In the slowest scenario, your opponent stalls for almost 30 seconds before accepting the duel, and the 10 second delay kicks in. This means that your first shield will last for 10 seconds when the fighting starts, and your second shield will be ready at the start of the duel. When your shield falls in 10 seconds, cast it again.
3. In the fastest scenario, your opponent accepts instantly, and the 10 second delay kicks in. This means that your first shield will last for 40 more seconds, and your second shield will be ready 10 seconds after fighting starts. After 10 seconds, cast your shield again.

Anti Sigil (Arena)
This is a fairly simple tactic that should only be used in arena, since sigils are enabled in arena but are disabled in duels. If you are trying to kill a much higher level character in the arena, and he or she has many health sigils (usually 1000+), respawning and attacking again will be futile. By the time you run back or your idol timer cools down, he or she will have regenerated full health.
Sigils work out of combat only. The way to stop enemy sigils is to cast a damage over time spell, like incinerate or frostbite. If your ice magic is high, use frostbite because it lasts 30 seconds. Otherwise, use incinerate, which lasts 20 seconds. The purpose of throwing a DoT spell on the sigil monster is not to deal damage (your DoT spells should stay at level 1).
When a character has a health draining effect on them such as strangling vines or incinerate, the character is "in combat" and has slightly bent knees. While your DoT is on the target, his or her sigils are disabled. This gives you enough time to get ready and attack again while his or her health is low. Cast your DoT when you are close to dying, then respawn or idol and continue fighting.
Using this strategy, you should eventually be able to take down a stubborn higher level character. If the opponent is smart and does not have a huge ego, he or she will exit the arena and regenerate health.

Gear
There are so many pvp gear combinations that addressing all possible mage equipment levels 1-150 would take way too long. Here is my advice for pvp gear:
1. Always choose focus gear instead of fire damage gear. A level 100 mage with full meteoric armor, a focus of the seer, and a focus pendant will beat a level 100 mage with full radiant earthstone, a fiery triumph axe, and a spectral talisman.
2. For levels 100+, I highly recommend getting a Shalebone Arctic Stormskimmer. The "Ice Prison" skill that it grants is a 10 second freeze with a 1 second cast and 60 second cool down. Unlike the normal freeze skill, ice prison can freeze any level enemy, saving you a ton of skill points. At the start of a duel, quickly lock your enemy with ice prison, replace your staff with focus weapons, toss on a fire lure, and blast away. Most players will be dead before they can even touch you.
3. I also highly recommend the Icecrystal Pendant of the Storm's Eye for levels 100 and above. The 500 damage energy shield is instant cast and extremely useful in a bind.
4. The quest line armor (warden, meteoric, frozen, dragonlord) are all decent armors. Try to equip a set to get the bonus. Onyx, obsidian, and beastbone are also good armors.
5. Health is equivalent to focus. I use a level 100 Icecrystal Brooch of the Heart, which gives 500 health. Since 1 point in vitality = 6.25 health, that's equivalent to 80 vitality. I used a rebirth and took 80 points out of vitality and put them into focus, so I now have the same health and 80 more focus. I like to imagine it as an Icecrystal Brooch of Focus.
6. Luxury items become necessary in the higher levels. If your opponent is fully luxed and has a decent build, then you will probably need full lux as well.
Feel free to ask me here or in game about specific gear recommendations.


Special thanks to Legolas15, Lonkar, Harnol, Vybz, and Francaiss for making this pvp guide possible. You guys have supported me the entire way.

I might add to this guide later if I think of more stuff. I'm open to suggestions and questions; don't be afraid to comment! Mail me in game or respond here.
Last edited by Swan on Sun Jun 15, 2014 7:49 am, edited 7 times in total.

Re: PvP Guide for Fire Mages

#3
Very detailed, great guide, should get sticked.
Ive had a duel with one fire mage who used inc, it is not the best skill imo as well, with my health (3575) it doesnt get to hit me that often, it can be useful if the opponent has high health, but i guess that would be useful only as extra extra skill (6th, if u have enough skill pts)

Since mages use skills gear, they have lots of skill pts, and most of times enough for another skill (6th), what would u recommend spending those few pts at? I thought that if u have enough pts, and ur planning to use ice prison, put those pts in ice shards, during ice prison cast both lures, then u have extra dps skill between firebolt and firestorm, not ice blast tho due crap casting time.

Could also use inc, extra per tick, or prob one of the best options is Cloak of Fire, cast before fight, extra dmg against melee opponents, useful with ur lure unlike ice shards, and 5 extra pts from dl.
CriminalFromBelenus


Criminal - Lvl 227 DPS Warrior


Proud General of Elementals - Ali rules :)


BlackMamba wrote:i think we should all agree that crim is the man and noone should ever mess with him

KiyKiy wrote:Don't be that guy. Nobody likes that guy. Nobody likes marcus.

Re: PvP Guide for Fire Mages

#5
Thanks for the sticky!

Criminal wrote:Since mages use skills gear, they have lots of skill pts, and most of times enough for another skill (6th), what would u recommend spending those few pts at? I thought that if u have enough pts, and ur planning to use ice prison, put those pts in ice shards, during ice prison cast both lures, then u have extra dps skill between firebolt and firestorm, not ice blast tho due crap casting time.

Could also use inc, extra per tick, or prob one of the best options is Cloak of Fire, cast before fight, extra dmg against melee opponents, useful with ur lure unlike ice shards, and 5 extra pts from dl.

Cloak of fire: I wouldn't recommend using this because its wasted points if you duel another mage. In pvp you always want to avoid having wasted skill points. Also, skills don't trigger cloak damage, and every class will use skills on you (double attack, rupture, double shot, shadowstrike, etc). And even if you duel a full auto ranger, the cloak damage is too small. Cloak is a support only skill best used for power leveling characters.
Ice shards: Damage too low without attunement. Not worth the skill points imo.
Incinerate: Damage too low because attunement doesn't boost, takes too long to deal damage. I'm level 150 and I throw 2-3k fire bolts and firestorms, which means that anyone with less than 4k health is frozen first, then dead 3 seconds later (assuming no evades). Not worth the skill points either imo.

If you have extra skill points, I highly recommend putting points in freeze even if you have ice prison, because 2 freezes is way better than one.
(Mage) Freeze: Cast time 2 seconds, cool down 25 seconds, effect lasts 13 seconds
Ice Prison: Cast time 1 second, cool down 60 seconds, effect lasts 10 seconds

If you have two freezes, here is your rotation:
1. Equip ice prison skill before duel and make sure that it is ready
2. (Mage) freeze
3. Lure
4. Fire bolt when freeze effect is at 1 second left
5. Firestorm
6. Ice prison
7. Replace staff with focus weapons
8. Wait for ice prison effect to reach 1 second, then use fire bolt + storm
9. (Mage) freeze again (it should have cooled down)
10. Wait for freeze effect to reach 1 second, then fire bolt + storm

As you can see, with two freezes you can pull off 6 large hits while taking minimal damage (your opponent should be frozen and helpless 95% of the time). This is way better than getting a little bit of extra damage by using another damage skill. I'd personally use a second freeze myself, but I don't have the skill points. I'd be jealous of anyone who does though. There are some high level Arawn mages with sufficient skill points to use this pvp build and the money to get the staff, and it makes my eyes bleed to see them waste such awesome potential.

But if two freezes isn't your thing, just max all your five core skills (bolt, storm, attune, lure, shield).

Re: PvP Guide for Fire Mages

#6
6th skill doesnt always have 37 pts to freeze up to lvl 190 or since its pvp, even up to lvl 200 sometimes, so when freeze isnt an option, what would u use?
Cloak true, not the most dmg, but better than nothing
Inc, same as cloak.
ice shards, with lure of ice at lvl 1, it doenst hit low at all, will hit a bit low on warriors, but it can still deal some decent+ dmg to other classes, and while skills are on cooldown, then why not? not a have to max, even at lvl 30 or 25 it can be decent, better than waiting for cooldowns.
CriminalFromBelenus


Criminal - Lvl 227 DPS Warrior


Proud General of Elementals - Ali rules :)


BlackMamba wrote:i think we should all agree that crim is the man and noone should ever mess with him

KiyKiy wrote:Don't be that guy. Nobody likes that guy. Nobody likes marcus.

Re: PvP Guide for Fire Mages

#7
Just to clarify, I would only consider a 6th skill if you have a huge overflow of skill points (due to mordy skull, mordy rings, etc.). The pvp guide I wrote assumes that you don't have mordy gear (which is true for 99.99% of mages) and recommends 5 skills only.

Criminal wrote:6th skill doesnt always have 37 pts to freeze up to lvl 190 or since its pvp, even up to lvl 200 sometimes, so when freeze isnt an option, what would u use?

In my experience, a pvp mage with 2 freezes can sacrifice quite a few points from energy shield because they take so little damage. That, possibly combined with a freeze ring, should allow you to get to the necessary level. Double freeze mages are pretty epic, so I might try to upload a video later showing how it works.

Criminal wrote:Cloak true, not the most dmg, but better than nothing
Inc, same as cloak.

I still have to disagree with you on this. With the wide range of new offensive skills for all classes (double attack/shot, shadowstrike, longshot, rupture, stinging swarm, shatter, lifesteal, etc.), any class can simply slam you with skills instead of autos as soon as they see that you're cloaked. That renders your cloak and all the points you spent on it completely useless.
Even if you do get autoed, the damage is abysmally low. For me, a level 35 cloak with 1600 focus and 1850 fire magic says that it does a maximum of about 350 damage per auto in the skill menu. In reality, it averages around 200 damage per auto in pvp, even with a fire lure. At my level (150), 200 damage is far too insignificant when we're talking about rogues and rangers with 3k+ health and warriors with 7k+ health.

The damage on incinerate is also quite low. If I put incinerate at level 35, it displays a maximum damage of 1100 damage per tick in the skills menu, but does around 600 every two seconds in pvp. Yes, 600 damage every two seconds is better than nothing, but its not better than a freeze skill.

Criminal wrote:ice shards, with lure of ice at lvl 1, it doenst hit low at all, will hit a bit low on warriors, but it can still deal some decent+ dmg to other classes, and while skills are on cooldown, then why not? not a have to max, even at lvl 30 or 25 it can be decent, better than waiting for cooldowns.

Leveling ice shards as a 6th skill is similar to leveling incinerate. Again, I think that putting the points in freeze would benefit a pvp mage more than the damage that you get from ice shards.

Remember that these are just my personal opinions, and if you don't agree, that's totally ok :)

Re: PvP Guide for Fire Mages

#8
Im sure myself that freeze is better, but at some point u will start gaining pts for 6th skill, and since most wont have the best gear, 37 extra pts or 39 isnt always possible, thats i said that besides freeze, what would be the best option.
If u can get a freeze mid battle, then yes, its great.
CriminalFromBelenus


Criminal - Lvl 227 DPS Warrior


Proud General of Elementals - Ali rules :)


BlackMamba wrote:i think we should all agree that crim is the man and noone should ever mess with him

KiyKiy wrote:Don't be that guy. Nobody likes that guy. Nobody likes marcus.

Re: PvP Guide for Fire Mages

#9
Neato.

The funny thing is, the recent skill rings does not have a lvl req, meaning a low lvl can equip royals no problem (for recent skills like attunes)

Took this approach with my lvl 1 mage acc for amusement, and the results made me start something I could not stop...

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