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Get yourself a flaming staff.

Worrying about power damage keywords should only be a problem until 4th level. If it's a problem after 4th level, you either have different priorities or are going after an obscure element (like thunder).

For example, for your fire mage above, grab an Flaming accurate staff, and focus more on power selection. (Grab corrosive mist for 7, color spray for 3 (dazed is fantastic), and Twilight Falls for 1.) You'll note that all of these powers do something on top of damage. While damage is great, and the best status effect is death, being able to shape how the battle goes is more interesting and helps to achieve that end. As a wizard, you shouldn't be doing the most damage in your group (help them with optimisation!) and you should be arranging matters such that enemies don't have a chance to truely mess up your group.j

Get yourself a flaming staff.

Worrying about power damage keywords should only be a problem until 4th level. If it's a problem after 4th level, you either have different priorities or are going after an obscure element (like thunder).

For example, for your fire mage above, grab an Flaming accurate staff, and focus more on power selection. (Grab corrosive mist for 7, color spray for 3 (dazed is fantastic), and Twilight Falls for 1.) You'll note that all of these powers do something on top of damage. While damage is great, and the best status effect is death, being able to shape how the battle goes is more interesting and helps to achieve that end. As a wizard, you shouldn't be doing the most damage in your group (help them with optimisation!) and you should be arranging matters such that enemies don't have a chance to truely mess up your group.j

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It sounds like you have a very acceptable fire-focused intention. I suspect one of the things that is complicating matters is the fact that:

The Mage Wizard can select 2 Encounter powers per level, so that offers some variety. It helps that the DM lets us waive the restrictions on the number of powers we can use per day. I think that's why he makes the monsters so strong in each encounter, so they don't get wiped out easily.

Therefore, much of the normal optimisation advise, which assumes that you're holding to the normal rules starts melting away as the vicious circle of buff and counterbuff begins. (I faced this problem in a "by the rules" game when the DM reacted to the party's increasing optimisation by ramping up monsters, which caused us to optimise more, which...)

From a pragmatic perspective, save ends effects suck. While much of the game is well modelled, there is precious little balance to save ends effects, and the pendulum swings back and forth: standard monsters have little to no defense, but elites and solos become effectively immune as the game design progressed through the monster manuals. It takes a very deft touch in monster creation (if you're creating monsters "from scratch" to respect player agency in the inflicting of status while simply not going "nope!" to either them automatically winning or to them automatically being ignored.)

I, personally, have always enjoyed the more controlly-type controllers, and so my wizards, druids, psions, and invokers have focused on debuffing and forced movement. So long as you rely on effects that are more difficult to shed (either being end of next turn or encounter long) then you can focus on being to reliably land them, rather than inflicting sufficient debuffs to the monster's saving throws (that'll only be countered by the next monster) to maintain the debuff. The same thing is true in the other direction. I've played paladins who granted +9 to saving throws by smiling. This led to the DM completely foregoing the use of save-ends effects until the DM and I agreed to voluntarily limit that feat to a +5 bonus.

My recommendations are:

Nothing is as powerful alone compared to a party that is designed to work together.

Stop focusing on solo optmisation. It's a trap. Instead, try to make sure the party is designed to work together to achieve your desired requirements. Everyone will have more fun, and you're unlikely to bear the brunt of your DM's nerfing alone.

Have a side conversation with your DM: Explore what debuffs he's comfortable with.

Boundary setting is important. If you have a chat over coffee as to what he considers reasonable, you won't find the powers nerfed in the middle of a game. Set up, describe, and agree upon expectations for your character's capabilities such that he knows what to expect (such as to provide you maximum Fun) with the minimum of unpleasant surprises. As 4e is very much combat-as-sport, the joy is in the execution of plans within a chosen narrative (yes, story matters, to provide a need and justification for mechanics) than it is finding unusual solutions to the DM's prepared set-piece battles (many other systems are far far better at simulation).

It's very hard to alter characters in midstream without a retcon. Be honest and do a proper retcon, don't just knudge.

A character is the combination of her parts and their interactions, not just the parts alone. If you're changing a character's rasion d'etre, be honest about it, and change the character completely to fit your new requirements.

Get yourself a flaming staff.

Worrying about power damage keywords should only be a problem until 4th level. If it's a problem after 4th level, you either have different priorities or are going after an obscure element (like thunder).

For example, for your fire mage above, grab an Flaming accurate staff, and focus more on power selection. (Grab corrosive mist for 7, color spray for 3 (dazed is fantastic), and Twilight Falls for 1.) You'll note that all of these powers do something on top of damage. While damage is great, and the best status effect is death, being able to shape how the battle goes is more interesting and helps to achieve that end. As a wizard, you shouldn't be doing the most damage in your group (help them with optimisation!) and you should be arranging matters such that enemies don't have a chance to truely mess up your group.j