Wednesday, August 10, 2022

What Happens When Mages Ponder

You'd think that I would know enough about Mages in Classic (and TBC Classic), but every so often something pops up that catches me by surprise.

Like how I was helping my questing buddy's Mage run through Sunken Temple --I was on Linna-- when one of the pulls went a little haywire. We managed to kill off the pack, and then my questing buddy mentioned that "I didn't know you could Ice Block and break a sheep."*

I paused a second. "I had no idea either."


Most of the time I'm sheeped in Alterac Valley my Ice Block is on cooldown, and when it isn't I'm likely about to die anyway so I'd rather not waste it. And in instances where you can get sheeped, such as Sunken Temple and Zul'Farrak, Ice Block may be available (if you pick up the talent in the Frost tree) but it's typically not what you're thinking of when you get sheeped. Especially with a 5 minute CD and the potential to get sheeped multiple times in one pull.

And to be fair, Cardwyn 1.0 has been Fire Spec for almost two years, so I'd kind of forgotten that Ice Block for all specs was a change made in TBC Classic. I'd probably have continued in blissful ignorance --courtesy of the leveling grind Card went through-- until sometime in Wrath Classic.


While that's one example of me learning new tricks, there is one surprising part of TBC Classic where I, uh, by accident kind of broke the game.

Okay, maybe it's by design, but it was waaaay too much fun to not do it.

If you're a Mage in TBC Classic you're familiar with the Spellsteal Level 70 spell. For the uninitiated, Spellsteal allows a Mage to steal a buff that is currently on an enemy and use it for yourself. This is the how a Mage can perform Mage Tank duties during the High King Maulgar fight: the Mage uses Spellsteal to take the Spell Shield buff from Krosh Firehand, rendering him vulnerable to spells, and the Mage (mostly) invulnerable to the same. In my case, I've used Spellsteal from time to time with Neve in Alterac Valley, stealing heals and other assorted buffs from enemies, often to their displeasure (and Neve's inevitable death).

The other day, I had gotten it into my head to farm some Runecloth on Cardwyn 1.0 to replenish my depleted supply, and since I could also use some extra Winterfall Firewater as a cheap melee DPS buff I figured I'd head out to Winterfall Village in Winterspring. The Winterfall Firbolgs drop both items, and Winterspring is typically empty anyway, so why not?

Now, anybody who knows anything about WoW probably perked up their ears when I mentioned Winterfall Firewater. It has two effects: you get +35 to your Attack Power for 20 minutes, and you get a bit of an increase in size for the duration while it is active. I used to use it with Azshandra all the time until one fateful Blackrock Depths run where I was heading to the entrance of the instance and I jumped down from the outer walkway within Blackrock Mountain onto the ledge below, which serves to break my fall at about the halfway point in the drop so I don't plummet to my death. Well, that was the idea, but Az had consumed some Winterfall Firewater and had correspondingly grown large enough that she couldn't fit properly on the ledge, and so she bounced off of it and died in the lava below. 

My groupmates had a good round of laughter at my expense. 

"Helluva way to find out if your butt is too big, Az!"

I still use Firewater from time to time on Card when I'm goofing around, even though she doesn't need it at all**, just because she can then almost look a Draenei in the eye. But I did use it on Briganaa and Linnawyn when they were out in the field, because it's a cheap buff and I acquired a ton of them when I was working on the Wintersaber mount grind. 

But my supplies were running low, so I headed out to Winterspring.

While I was obliterating Firbolg for fun and profit, I took a note of something:


The buff that you see there is the Winterfall Firewater buff on the Firbolg. All of the Winterfall Firbolg have it, so at first I didn't notice anything. But do you notice the highlight around the buff? That means the buff was a candidate for Spellstealing.

When I was last farming up here, Card was L66, and that buff wasn't highlighted. After all, Spellsteal is only learned at L70.

But that got me to thinking.

So I used Spellsteal and yes, I noted the slight size increase and I got a 2 minute version of Winterfall Firewater with a boost to the buff itself:

Instead of 35 AP like the regular
version, this one was 70 AP.

Convinced this was a cheap way to amuse myself, I attacked another Winterfall Firbolg and used Spellsteal there.

And much to my surprise the little bump in height happened again.

Sure enough, there were now two Winterfall Firewater buffs active:

I checked, and the buffs did actually stack in Attack Power as well. So I wondered if this was like the little "cheat" to the system in Karazhan, where a Mage using Spellsteal and a tank keeping one of the Ethereals with their stackable caster buff could get up to 10 stacks of said buff and absolutely obliterate Netherspite.***

Well, it wasn't exactly the same, as the Spellsteals for Winterfall Firewater were separate buffs, but...

I drank one of the Winterfall Firewater potions Card had on her (after one of the buffs had fallen off) and....

Now this is interesting.

I went out and killed a few more Firbolgs, stealing their buff, and each time Card grew a little more. It didn't seem like she was that large...

But when I ported to Theramore as my questing buddy needed a hand with something, I was greeted by this:

This is with four stacks.

I sent that screencap to my questing buddy, who said "She's huge!"

I mean, I've had multiple buffs before, with Heroism + Firewater + Alterac Valley Belinda buff, but this was something entirely different.

Just exactly how many stacks could I do at once? 

Mana would become an issue, as would killing the Firbolg I pulled. But I figured "why not" and at my earliest opportunity I went back to Winterfall Village and got to work.

I discovered that 8 stacks was the practical limit given my constraints...

I could hit 9 stacks, but one would fall off just as soon as I put one on, so I just left it at 8 and ported into Stormwind.

"I look like a raid boss!" I said out loud, and then I tried to exit the Sanctum:

"I can't get out the damn door!" I cried.

So I had to wait for a few stacks to burn off and only then could I squeeze through.

"Who's the Archmage now, Malin?"

I should have checked what my Attack Power was, but just being able to game the system like this was awesome. No idea if this would work in Wrath Classic, but I've the screencaps to prove that it does in TBC Classic.

Totally worth it.


*Or maybe it was a frog. Can't remember and I'm tired.

**It's a melee buff, not a caster buff.

***We tried this out one Friday night with a friend who'd just specced Fire for the first time --so she even wasn't aware of using Combustion or the Fire Mage rotation at all-- and she absolutely dominated us in the DPS meters.

EtA: Corrected some grammar.

EtA: Corrected some more grammar.


  1. Replies
    1. I've been trying to figure out how to show up in the middle of Stormwind like that without having to worry about fitting through the door, and I think I'd need a summons from a Warlock to do it. And probably an extra helper out in Winterspring to kill mobs quickly so I can Spellsteal even more than 8 stacks.... But you know, I'm kind of fine with it as-is.

    2. You could just port to Shattrath and terrify the masses there for a bit... or are you still avoiding even setting foot in Outland?

    3. For 1.0, yes. Deuce will go to Outland soon enough --she's almost there even with me having turned the Joyous Journeys buff off-- but I could do this on Neve. It would have to be a port, however, as the Hearth location for both Scryers and Aldor is inside with an extremely small door for exit.

  2. Oh my goodness, that is awesome. And hilarious. Hilariously awesome; awesomely hilarious.
    I've gotten used to using Spellsteal as a Purge when I'm out and about, but I don't often pay much attention to what the spell I've stolen is doing to me! :P

    1. Winterfall Firewater is one of the few buffs that I know of that alters your size. There's also Heroism (Shaman) and the Noggenfogger Elixir, but I can't think of much else.