I have played two different mages. After your comment, I tried a third.Like i said to The other user, play it and share your results
I quickly realized that posting results is not worthwhile. I don’t have huge amounts of playing time, so my sample would be small. (I actually spend much more time on forums because interruptions don’t ruin another player’s experience.) And I got a large number of very quick forfeits. Moreover, when complete games were played, my opponents often played extremely poorly, although to be fair, my own play was not very good either. I play almost exclusively on unranked — and because I have allowed my own ranking to drop by not playing ranked, I am sure ranked play would be worse.
Anyway, in cases where my opponents stayed in the game long enough to play them, I had no trouble getting enough patient mages to stick to play two very strong rounds. Although I have not yet encountered any control heavy decks, I found that opponents generally could only stop my mages in round one by over committing their removal. And I could outperform almost anything they played in the remaining rounds.
But I think we also need to recognize that not all players play at top levels. Ultimate balance might be judged by how well a card performs at top levels of play, but it also has to be manageable by the for more numerous players at other levels.
Based upon the number of quick forfeits and the lack of good games, I also conclude my opponents did not particularly enjoy the matchup.
But to take this discussion another direction, I very much enjoyed playing my last variant — a version of mages where my leader was shield wall and I focused on patience. Playing my cards well was a tactical challenge (one I am still not handling successfully), and the strategy was interesting. What I liked best about the deck was that I NEVER had a bad hand. There were lots of cheap cards, but every one of them was a meaningful contributor to the round in which I played it. I really appreciate not needing to rely on drawing gold cards, and I appreciate the flexibility in deck building afforded by the ability to effectively include a lot of inexpensive cards.
Rather than further nern evaluating balance, I would like to see more bronze packages boosted or introduced at the same level of effectiveness.