Skill Mastery: Mirror Image

Christian Belt
C. Belt|09.08.08

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Skill Mastery: Mirror Image

This is so going to be nerfed.

I'm sorry, I don't mean to be negative, but holy cow. For thirty seconds, this spell makes you a God.

Here's what Mirror Image does:

When used, it instantly conjures three copies of the Mage that cast it. These copies have their own health and mana pools, and act independently of you, like three like-minded pets set to "aggressive." The copies I was summoning would alternate between casting three simultaneous Fire Blasts and three simultaneous Frostbolts. These spells do more-or-less normal damage. The Fire Blasts were hitting for around 2,000 damage each, and the Frostbolts were hitting for slightly less, around 1,500.

I summoned them the first time in range of three level 70ish mobs. The copies immediately began attacking, one shotting two of the mobs before I even realized what was happening. I began casting at the third a second later, but it was dead before the cast went off. I then moved within range of the next mob and began casting a Frostfire Bolt at it. The copies followed suit, winding up three Frostbolts simultaneously. Their spells landed just after mine, and the level 71 mob died before it had even begun to move toward me. After thirty seconds, my copies died automatically, leaving three corpses that looked exactly like me lying at my feet.

At my computer, I burst into song, and lost control of my bowels.

I really wasn't expecting this at all. When I put this spell into my Mage wishlist a few weeks back, I was pretty sure it'd end up being something of a distraction technique, a bit of misdirection to confuse anyone targeting you. Your copies would appear to cast the spells that you were casting, and your enemy wouldn't know which Mage to kill. No DPS increase, no crazy one-shotting.

I was so wrong. So, so wrong.

For one thing, the distraction thing won't even work. The copies I was summoning often weren't even using the same weaponry I was using. They don't cast the same spells. They have green text hovering above their heads that says "MIRROR IMAGE," for crying out loud. It'll be pretty easy for anyone with eyeballs and/or brain cells to identify which of you is the real target. Good thing they won't live long enough to do anything about it.

If this spell stays in its current form, it will change the game for Mages. For thirty seconds every three minutes, Mages will become weapons of mass destruction. Your burst damage capability with this will be out of the realm of human comprehension. You may think I'm spewing hyperbole, exaggerating somehow, but I really am just giving you my honest impression of the spell.

Let me tell you a story.

After trying the spell out for awhile on Northrend starting area trash, I went in search of stronger prey. I flew into Coldarra, where I ran into this guy:

He's a level 80 elite, and apparently he had taken issue to my flying through his airspace. As you can see from my health bar, he'd taken a quarter of my health away with one hit. I considered fleeing, but then remembered my shiny new spell.

Touching down in the snow below, I turned and cast Mirror Image. Unfortunately, four other level 70ish mobs in the area saw my emergency landing and joined the battle. My copies immediately managed to draw aggro from all of them. I focused my attacks on the elite, and watched in amazement as his health dropped, and yet he never once turned his attacks from my copies to me. When he died just a few seconds later, I noticed that two of my copies were dead. The other one was busy killing the other mobs. I joined in, and when the carnage was over, it looked like this:

You may notice that my health is about where it was at the start of the fight. Also...I freaking soloed a level 80 elite with four adds. With absolutely no problems! I didn't have to kite anything, or CC anything, or use a potion, or Blink, or Ice Block, or anything else. I cast Ice Barrier, but nothing ever hit me. I just stood my ground and spammed Frostfire Bolt until everything died.

Which is why I'm so afraid Mirror Image will be nerfed. The spell as it exists right now is the ultimate "I-Win" button. It will rock faces in PvP and break damage meters in PvE. I'm so excited about using it that I can't wait to finish typing this so I can hop back on the beta servers and hunt down a Warlock or two to destroy with it.

So pray to whatever deity it is that you believe in; this one is worth saving. Barring a diety, send your prayers directly to Blizzard. Mirror Image is flat-out amazing.

I'll leave you with a shot of me and my three new best friends getting ready to nuke something.

Now if you'll pardon me, I have to go blow things up...times four.
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