|The subject of this article was removed from World of Warcraft in patch 4.0.1 but is present in World of Warcraft: Classic.
Spell Critical Strike Chance
Winter's Chill is a mage talent that gives the mage's frost spells a chance to apply the "Winter's Chill" effect. Each application of the debuff increases the critical strike chance of all spells cast against the target by 1%. The debuff stacks up to 5 times.
This talent is most useful when it is maxed out. Any lower makes it likely that the 'Winter's Chill' will not stack, as not all your spells will be applying it; maxing out the talent means that every frost spell you cast will apply this debuff. Because the effect expires after 15 seconds, a new Winter's Chill must land every 15 seconds to maintain the stack, otherwise it will expire and must be re-stacked.
The debuff has a separate resist from the spell; a frost spell that hits the target for full damage may still have the debuff resisted. Also note that any damaging frost spell will attempt to apply the debuff, including Frost Nova. This talent is highly recommended for frost mages seeking to raid, and is still very useful for frost soloing.
Winter's Chill versus Improved Scorch
This effect does NOT stack with which provides the exact same bonus. As such, a single charge of either will not allow the other to be applied to the mob, making mistaken Winter's Chill or applications costly in terms of raid DPS and time.
A mage must decide which to use in his or her spell rotation. While this would naturally follow one's chosen spec (either Fire or Frost), careful consideration of either Winter's Chill or Improved Scorch may prove very beneficial to one's build and strategy.
Currently, Improved Scorch is preferable to Winter's Chill. That's because Improved Scorch applies the full 5% buff with one hit. On the other hand Winter's Chill can be applied by any Frost damage spell, including and , whereas only Scorch applies Improved Scorch.
When it comes to speed of application, Improved Scorch is fully applied with one hit. Blizzard is the fastest way a Frost mage can apply Winter's Chill. Blizzard gives a debuff per damage tick - with its 8 ticks of damage, a single Blizzard is enough to stack all 5 applications for the maximum critical strike bonus.
In terms of debuff duration, Improved Scorch has the advantage. It lasts 30 seconds compared to Winter's Chill's 15 seconds. This means a Fire mage does not have to Scorch often to maintain the debuff or lower his DPS. However, Winter's Chill is refreshed by any Frost spell from a mage with the Winter's Chill talent, making it the easier to maintain of the two debuffs. Because even high-powered, damaging Frost spells can be used to maintain Winter's Chill, a Frost mage will not lose as much DPS as a Fire mage who has to switch to Scorch to refresh Improved Scorch on a target.
Winter's Chill is naturally tied to the other debuffs and advantages of the Frost magic school, namely snares and roots. Spells like Blizzard and both also have AoEs, with the former being a channeled spell and the latter cast at instant speed.
For parties and raids, in the event another mage is present who uses the talent opposing one's own, communication must be made so that either applications of Winter's Chill or Scorch do not cancel each other out or that the stronger debuff is used.
- Patch 4.0.1 (2010-10-12): Removed.
- Patch 3.1.0 (2009-04-14): Increased critical strike chance is now 1%, down from 2% per application of Winter's Chill. In addition, the critical strike chance of Frostbolt is increased by 1/2/3%.
- Patch 3.0.2 (2008-10-14): reduced to 5 ranks to 3 ranks, Frost damage spells have a 33/66/100% chance to trigger the effect and the effect increases chance to crit with all schools of magic.
- Patch 1.12.0 (2006-08-22): The effect of this talent will now still be placed on the victim if the caster is killed before their spell reaches the target.
- Patch 0.9 (2004-08-17): Removed 2 ranks.