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Arcane Brilliance: Fun with utility spells

Hi, and welcome back to Arcane Brilliance! My little fire mage is only level 40, so for the complete experience, I've contracted with a friend of mine who plays a 70 mage, Skwisgaar. Skwisgaar is an experienced fire mage who is beginning to raid Black Temple and Mount Hyjal with his new guild.

Today we'll be tackling the use of utility spells. These are the mage spells that don't freeze, burn, or ... whatever arcane magic does. In fact, these skills may not help you in combat at all. But once you get used to them, it's hard to go back. How many mages have been driven crazy waiting for their hearthstones or zeppelins on alts when they're used to teleporting? How many warlocks desperately wished they could conjure their own food and water? And at times, we all want to turn our enemy into a chicken. So, without further ado, here's how to use (and abuse) utility spells.

Polymorph

One of the first utility spells you'll learn, Polymorph is invaluable for fighting multiple mobs -- especially for fire mages, who don't have quite as much survivability as other specs. Turn a mob into a sheep, kill its twin, and keep the mob tied up until you're ready (preferably after winding up a Pyroblast.) You can also use the Poly to run away. bandage, call in reinforcements, or pretty much anything else. Of course, it's much shorter in PVP than it is in PVE and suffers from diminishing returns, but it's still handy to lock one player up while you burn another down. Polymorph: Pig and Polymorph: Turtle are also available for extra humiliation.

Skwisgaar says: Polymorph is an immensely powerful heal over time used to assist the other faction against people who get on your nerves. It used to be so good back before all the diminishing returns and pvp crowd control time caps and whatnot; you could just chain sheep people until they logged off. It's pretty nice as another spell interrupt, like if you're fighting another mage. 3 schools of magic, you use up two interrupts, so they're basically doing no damage for like 10 seconds. They start casting again, when the school comes back up, you can chain cast polymorph-fireblast to interrupt their spell without healing them.

Conjure Food/Water/Ritual of Refreshment

Even more than "LOL AI plz" and "need port to Shatt", food and water will be your main source of annoyance from the general populace. There's a certain kind of person out there that will think, "Gee, why should I bother spending a miniscule amount of gold on food and water when I can just pester a mage to use up all his mana making me some and then forget to tip?" Nevertheless, conjuring food and water at the beginning of a raid or grinding session will save you a lot of time and money. The new Ritual of Refreshment makes this much easier in groups, as long as you don't have the one bastard who takes, like, twenty stacks for one AB.

Skwisgaar says: Until 2.3, I had a love/hate relationship with conjuration spells. It was irritating to buy food or /who mages leveling my rogue, so I had an appreciation for how useful it was that I didn't have to do that on my mage. But I got sick of farmers sending me barely coherent tells whenever i was loafing in towns, and my DPS suffering because some healer would open trade the last second before a pull. Ritual of Refreshment changes my perspective a lot, though. I don't even mind handing out manna biscuits to beggars because I always grab a bag full of them whenever I cast the spell and save some for later.

Conjure Mana Gem

Honestly, I really need to use this spell more. It's like a free mana potion that just requires a little preparation to create. Basically, you conjure up the gems and then use them when you need more mana. The max level gem is being buffed to restore around 2400 mana, and will actually have three charges! The only fun thing to do with these is save them in PVP until your opponent thinks you're OOM, and then pop it and kill him.

Skwisgaar says: Mana gems are awesome. That is all. Oh, and the class trinket in SSC makes them even more awesome. A mage in my guild has it and said that if he is lucky he can drink a potion and use an emerald and it will give him back 7k.

Teleport/Portal

This is pretty much what it sounds like. If you're Alliance (and out of combat), teleport can take you to Stormwind, Ironforge and Exodar at 20, Darnassus at 30, and Shattrath City at 60. Same with Horde, except you go to Undercity, Silvermoon and Orgrimmar first and have to wait until 30 for Thunder Bluff. Stupid night elves and tauren and their antipathy towards arcane magic. With a portal, you get a couple of friends to click on a hole in the air, and then anyone in your party or raid can go through. As you might guess, the potential for evil with these spells is nearly unimaginable. Skwisgaar has better stories than I do, but I distinctly recall a time when my guild's mages opened portals to all the major cities on top of each other after raids. You can also make a ton of money porting lowbies to Shatt.

Skwisgaar says: After some Domo wipes in my first guild, I made a portal, then ran up, fire blasted Domo, and ran in. I killed like 30 guildies who were sitting around alt-tabbed talking on Vent. You can also use a "please help summon" macro while casting Thunder Bluff portal during a raid. HILARITY ENSUES. Also, for style points, call out another mage for doing it on Vent, since portals don't identify the person who created them. Honestly, I try to be helpful unless someone demonstrates their own stupidity. I give people portals, I make them water, I sew things for them, I enchant their gear. Portal spells are part of the social aspect of the game, kind of like finding people of a particular profession to craft items you need for certain quests.

Blink

I have Blink bound to my 1 key, signifying that I'm kind of a noob. Blink instantly moves you 20 yards ahead and frees you from stuns and bonds. I love being able to blink past someone's aggro radius, kite mobs, and get away from things that are attacking me. However, this also leads me to spend a lot of time blinking INTO mobs. Big mobs. With teeth and claws. Plus, with a rogue main, I know that most rogues are smart enough to save that 5-point Kidney Shot until after you've already blunk out of something.

Skwisgaar says: Blink is irritating as hell. At least half of the times I've blinked I've either not moved, not gone more than like a foot, or actually gone BACKWARDS. It's nice to swap in speed shoes and blink and get to a boss before anyone else after a wipe, and there's a certain finesse to falling long distances and blinking to safety.

Counterspell

This caster-killer can interrupt a spellcast and prevent any spell from that school of magic from being cast for eight seconds. This is very irritating to a few classes, including shadow priests, retadins, and anyone who is attempting to heal themselves. Other mages and warlocks will most likely just laugh at you and switch to fire/frost/shadow. Talents that turn this into a 4-second absolute silence, however, make this irritating to EVERY caster.

Skwisgaar says: I've counterspelled alliance out of their primary magic school when they were really low fighting a mob. The "wait.. wtf?" dance they do is pretty funny. And back before meeting stone summoning it was fun to cs warlocks outside of instances and then run away to keep them from getting the rest of their group to the instance. Welcome to PvP servers!

Slow Fall

Well, what do you expect? For the price of an easy-to-find Light Feather, you can float like a cloud for 30 seconds. Unfortunately, you can no longer use it to get to previously inaccessible places, same as Blink, but it's still a vicious little spell in certain PVP situations -- particularly Arathi Basin, where mages enjoy seeing how many idiots they can get to follow them off cliffs. You can also POM/Pyro or Fire Blast your enemies while falling.

Skwisgaar says: Slow Fall is awesome but I wish they would remove the reagent cost. It would make perfect sense given that they just made blind reagentless. No need to farm or buy low-level mats for a spell that is still extremely useful at max level. In AB, I can go from defending lumber mill to reinforcing gold mine in about 10 or 15 seconds. Having people chase me is pretty awesome too. There's this split-second assumption that because it's safe for me to go there, it's safe for my pursuer, which is why I love both slow fall and underwater breathing.

Invisibility

Kind of a "meh" version of a rogue's stealth, this ability fades you out to invisibility over 5 seconds and makes you invisible for 20 seconds. However, you can only see other invisible targets or people that can see you. Skwisgaar and I once used stealth plus invisibility to go see Magtheridon before anyone on our server had really done much with him. If it weren't for portals, we'd have been toast.

Skwisgaar says: What's invisibility good for? 15 seconds until the arena match begins! 1, 2, 3, invis, 3, 2, 1, fade, go behind the enemy's starting position, pop cooldowns, wreck healer. It's also really handy getting away from people or buying time to med up in world pvp, and of course /dancing with people after a wipe in a raid. I like being invited to the post-wipe dance party with all the rogues and hunters. It doesn't always work, and you can't be sure of your positioning relative to your opponents like a rogue can, but it's still very nice.

Spellsteal

So. Awesome. This spell steals a random beneficial magic effect from a mob or opponent and gives it to you for two minutes. Like invisibility, it's not what you do, but what you do with it that counts. Mages in my guild seem particularly fond of stealing the Core Hound buff from Shadow Lab. PVP mages like grabbing people's shields or Avenging Wrath wings. A huge list of stealable buffs is available on WoWWiki.

Skwisgaar says: So good. It makes it way easier to burst down a healer by removing PW:S or HoTs. I have destroyed some 3-minute mages in battlegrounds by spellstealing their Arcane Power and using my Combustion. There is a reason you can't pick both of those talents, even at 70. I've never gotten the opportunity, but I've heard it's really funny when you steal Slow Fall or Levitate. They think they're narrowly escaping with their lives, when they are actually plummetting and taking durability damage.

What's your favorite fun use of a utility spell?

Filed under: Mage, Humor, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance

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