This guide is aimed as a catch-all generic guide for low ranks and those who want to pick up the Mage role. Since META (Most Effect Tactics Available) changes every season, we will not be discussing which mages are better than the others but rather, understand what makes them work. Hopefully, a lot of the things written here will still be useful even when the game changes.
Official Listed Mages as of Season 19
Mage is one of the more straightforward heroes in Mobile Legends as generally, your goal is to inflict hero damage more than anything. An average mage in Mobile Legends have the following attributes:
It is important to have both magic and physical damage in every team composition to destroy enemy defenses. As a mage, you’re heavily team-oriented as your skills are meant for hero damage and not towers.
That’s why the most basic, and important skill you have as a mage is landing your skills on the right target and maximizing damage by executing the correct combos.
Types of Mages
In this guide, we will only be discussing heroes with designated Mage label, so other classes like Support, Tank and Fighter with magic damage will not be included.
|Midlaner||Most common role as of Season 19 since Project NEXT. Shares function with Support.||Wave clear, crowd control (stuns and slows), early power spike, zoning, vision, warding||Pharsa, Chang’e, Eudora, Luo Yi, Vale, Valir, Lylia, Nana, Selena|
|Jungler||Equips Retribution Spell to take objectives such as buffs and Turtle||Mobility, short cooldowns, the capacity to solo kill jungle creeps fast, early power spike||Harley, Harith*, Selena*|
|Offlaner||Special designation to counter enemy offlaner, or has an ability to hold a lane solo for prolonged periods||Wave clear, sustain, good 1vs 1 skills||Lunox, Zhask, Alice, Esmeralda, Harith|
*Functions as Jungler but as of this guide’s writing, not viable in higher ranks
I will be discussing Midlaner/Support or “traditional” mages in this section, as Jungler and Offlaner gameplay is better to be taught in their respective guides.
Some of the heroes categorized as “mages” that are not traditional are Kimmy (a Marksman hybrid), Harith, Esmeralda, and Harith as their builds and gameplay are special.
Basic advice for low ranks:
Team compositions are rarely filled properly and it’s okay. Just focus on improving your skills and growing your knowledge about the game. Mages are in between being the Carry and being a Support, that can switch towards two different spectrums in the same match. Carry mindset revolves around securing kills in teamfights while Support is more oriented on executing coordinated actions to secure objectives and winning clashes. In lower ranks, it’s more advisable to have a Carry mindset to make higher impact on the outcome of the match.
Usually, the most basic combo of mages is: Poking/Chipping HP to lower levels + Crowd control skill for setup + Highest damage skill/kill secure which is usually the Ultimate.
Learn your power spike and combo. Power spike means the level (usually level 4) or the item acquisition where you get significant damage for your main. Try hitting enemies in Practice Mode or A.I. matches to see how much damage your skills can make in one combo.
Mages are generally better off helping teammates. While some mages can lane alone, better to be with a teammate if you’re unfamiliar with the hero.
Practice manually aiming your skills than just relying on auto-locking/auto-aim.
Learn to poke and be patient. A lot of beginners overcommit and try to end the enemy just because their skills connect.
Positioning. Practice casting your skills at a) maximum distance from enemy b) inside the grass for invisibility c) behind teammates or under the tower.
Learn to retreat when your skills are under cooldown. Your auto/basic attack is useless a lot of times.
Be aware of your mobility. A lot of mages move very slowly so it’s a waste to travel from top lane to bottom lane. Maximize travel in one lane.
Practice clearing waves in between helping your teammates. Clearing waves give you gold to buy your items for better damage later. Practice One Wave Rule, or only one minion wave should hit your tower when you abandon it, else, go back to clear it.
Don’t splitpush or stray too far from your teammates just to push towers, it’s an invitation for death or condemning your team to be without their best hero damage dealer. The best you can contribute is to clear waves and let the minions do the pushing.
Intermediate Advice for draft pick ranks:
The game set up on laning are either 1-2-2 or 1-3-1. The former, 1-2-2 is usually a safer choice in early draft ranks like Epic and Legend, allowing the Gold Laner to have their own Support/Tank for safe farming, while Mythics prefer 1-3-1 as it offers a higher competitive advantage, but with higher demand on coordination and self-sufficiency of Offlaners.
|Laning||Description||Mage Role and Priorities||Risks/disadvantages|
|1-2-2||Offlaner (Exp Lane), Mage/Support/Tank (Mid), Jungler (Mid), Marksman (Gold Lane), Support/Tank (Gold Lane.||Reaching power spike/Level 4 asap, clearing midlane wave and dueling the enemy mage. You ensure that the midlane is in your control and zoned properly so the Jungler can always go back there safely and secure their buffs and Turtle. If mid is secure, the mage can help other lanes.||The mage is essentially blind and helpless from Jungler attacks or Initiators/Tanks. In most cases, will lose to 1-3-1 where the Tank/Initiator plays an active role in securing objectives.|
|1-3-1 or 1-1-2-1||Two Offlaners hold each lane, with a late game ADC/marksman on the Gold Lane. Tank, Mage and Jungler secure Mid and objectives.||While the goals are similar to 1-2-2 (power spike, taking control of mid, clearing waves and zoning buffs), you now have to work with the Tank. Depending on the draft, you might be able to hunt down the enemy jungler with the Tank or have to focus on defending your own jungle.||Need a lot of coordination between the Mage, Tank, and Jungler; and demanding for Offlaners to survive alone or even help with midlaners fight over objectives.|
Some general questions that people tend to ask:
Why the midlane? Why is it so important.
Because it’s the most direct highway to your base and the closest location to buffs and Turtle (which spawns on random sides). Read the discussions of this post.
Should I go with my tank or should I stay midlane to clear?
Depends on your mage. Some mages are already strong at level 1-2 like Eudora and can already be active in dueling the enemy Tank + Mage. However, some mages have devastating Level 4 like Pharsa and Chang’e that is needed asap. So if the Tank is leading you somewhere to help your jungle, then it’s a good trade-off, but if the two of you are delaying your own levels by unnecessarily “helping” an Offlaner that can handle himself, then it’s better to return to mid.
That’s why it’s helpful to learn Tank and Offlaner as well, as you know how the team can work together.
Should we invade?
Generally no. If yes, very dependent on your draft and enemy draft. If the Offlaner agrees to invade with the Tank (making it a four-man invasion with the Jungler ally), then go help and pray it works. Most beginner players have the wrong or outdated notion of Jungle invasion. Success isn’t just to steal the Buff or to kill the enemy Jungler, but a more realistic goal is to delay farm by harassing the enemy Jungler or resetting the buff’s HP. There’s only a handful of mages (or heroes) that can actually kill someone in a 1vs1 duel at Level 1: Thamuz, Lylia, Valir at the top of my head. For Tanks/Initiators, Hilda, Jawhead, Tigreal, and Franco can harass/reset the buff.
My tank is bad, what should I do?
Bad tanks do exist and the usual signs are: being passive and not rotating to secure objectives, overextending/too aggressive to the point the backline is left defenseless, wasting their best skills, not providing vision by checking the bushes, and poor positioning by being too far to respond to help teammates.
If the Tank is bad then, usually you’re left defenseless to enemy dives. This time you must be extra careful especially near grass that your tank won’t check. If your skills can be cast on the grass to reveal the enemy, then do so than stepping on it. Tower hug if needed.
My jungler is bad, what should I do?
Bad junglers get to Level 4 too slowly, can’t last hit Retribution and terrible in securing Turtle (especially if it’s already zoned properly). A bad jungler means midlane is a lot harsher as the enemy Jungler will be more farmed and aggressive. Unless all the enemy Jungler or most of their team is dead, don’t try to take Turtle as the enemy Retribution can easily steal it. If contesting only cost your death, then focus on defending the mid tower.
I can be powerful with the Purple Buff, should I take it?
No. Give it to the Jungler who need it since they get less Exp and Gold from minions the first minutes due to Retribution. Even late game, give it to the jungler that didn’t build mana and cooldown items to rush early game.
Should I help the jungler kill the creeps?
Generally no, like 99% of the time, unless you wear Roam. Hitting it makes it stronger and it will only delay the Jungler’s farm. What you can do is just position yourself in the grass area where the enemy may invade. Only the Roam wielder, the Tank, should help if the Jungler is having a hard time at level 1 (like Claude vs Blue Buff).
Should I wear Roam
Generally no. Tanks wear it above any others. If there’s no Tank, you can buy it to support a capable carry teammate (if you do have skills for Support). In very high-level games, the mage/support can also builds mask for the hyper-carry (Jungler-ADC), sacrificing farm and damage output. So if you’re playing in a level that makes the midlaner mage wear Roam, you’re already too good for this guide. Selena particularly can build Roam since she is bad in clearing waves and supports teammates nonstop.
Very important: It’s better to check individual guides for recommended hero builds. Moreover, items will change and will be revamped. Consider this a guide in understanding more than something to memorize, to help understand how mages are build in future updates.
Main item attributes – necessary to build for all mages.
Type of damage – Traditional Mages are either Burst, Burn, or a mix of both. Burst damage is huge and fast while Burn type depends on smaller but cumulative/continuous/stacking damage.
Mana – Demon Boots, Enchanted Talisman, and Clock of Destiny. For beginners with low-level emblems, always use Demon Boots so you wouldn’t run out of mana.
Sub item attributes – very important but depends on the type of mage and enemy draft.
Cooldown – Fleeting Time and Enchanted Talisman.
Utility/Support – Ice Queen Wand (slows) and Necklace of Durance (anti-heal or anti-regen).
Defense/Survival – Winter Truncheon, Immortality, Dominance Ice, Athena Shield.
Not that with the sustain/regen meta in high ranks, it’s almost mandatory for the mage to build Necklace of Durance.
|Name||Core Items||Description||Good with|
|Lollipop (Burst)||Clock of Destiny (lollipop shape) and Lightning Truncheon. Always together.||CoD gives mages tons of mana and HP while LT scales damage based on mana pool, making a good synergy.||Burst mages reliant with high reliance on Ultimate for delivering combos. Examples are Pharsa, Vale, Eudora, Cecilion, Kadita|
|Wand (Burn)||Glowing Wand and Ice Queen Wand. Not necessarily always together.||GW damages based on % HP of the enemy while IQW adds slows per skill cast. With two wands, the mage gets an additional 10% movement speed and this build synergizes with damage stacks, poke or % HP damage||Poke mages that don’t always rely on big combos but frequent casting. Examples are: Valir, Luo Yi, Chang’e, Gord, Yve.|
|Magic Power||Holy Crystal||This item can be combined with Lolipop or Wand. Adds magic power of 21-35% scaling with level.||Carry-type mages with good late-game magic damage scaling.|
|Penetration (Optional)||Divine Glaive (recommended) or Genius Wand (not recommended overall)||Pierces through the enemy magic-resistance items, good for bringing down tanky enemies.||Burst type mages and against tanky, shield-heavy enemies|
|Calamity Reaper||True damage after skill activation with added mobility.||Only Selena, Harith, Harley, and Esmeralda builds this in the mage list. Don’t build on another else.|
Note: Lollipop mages can build Wand after the core items, but Wand mages can’t go Lollipop.
TYPICAL ITEM COMBINATIONS AND SAMPLE ITEMS BUILDS
I change my build depending on the situation. Note that my Emblem level is maxed so it’s better to make modifications to suit your needs and your playstyle. There are a lot of builds out there that make sense or even better than mine so better check them out too and see if you like them.
Some special “mages” like Alice, Kimmy, Esmeralda, Selena, and Zhask will have their own unique builds so please don’t apply these samples to them.
Pharsa – maximum damage, no need for cooldowns. Burst mages like Aurora, Eudora and Kadita may have similar builds but can opt to buy Fleeting Time to use Ultimate more often.
Typical Lollipop for Burst Mage type. No need for cooldown as it’s already short.
Valir is more of a Support than Carry, his builds are made to slow down and melt enemy frontlines or divers for your teammate to finish off, rather than to be the main killer.
Wand Build due to continuous poke.
Lylia’s builds are flexible but since she’s no longer taking the Purple Buff unlike in the old meta, I prefer to build her with maximum cooldown and support (1st build) than building raw burst damage.
BAD ITEMS/ COMBINATIONS
Clock of Destiny without Lightning Truncheon – wasting that huge mana pool for no power spike. However, Lightning Truncheon can be build without CoD.
Lolipop + Enchanted Talisman (except for Alice). No need for so much mana. Takes so much time to build instead of investing for actual damage.
Enchanted Talisman + Fleeting Time. No need for so much cooldown. Waste of money, time and wastes your damage potential.
Concentrated Energy – Lifesteal/sustain and usually used by melee magic-damage heroes like Gatotkaca, Silvanna, and Guinevere. Not advisable for backline mages since their goal is not to get hit at the first place.
Blood Wings – So expensive when other mage items are better.
Feather of Heaven – Only Zhask builds it.
Subject to change in the future! But while it lasts here are some discussions:
|Emblem Talent||Description||Good with|
|Mystery Shop (unlocked level 20 and good for beginners)||Items get a 10% discount.||Generally for everyone, especially if you can’t farm properly.|
|Magic Worship||Extra burn damage if you damage at least 7% of enemy HP at least 3 times in 5 seconds.||Mages that deal continuous damage, long skill cooldown or those with good mana pool and wouldn’t need Impure Rage.|
|Impure Rage||Some mana regen and % HP damage||Poke mages that are mana hungry. Usually combined with Magic Shoes or Arcane Boots.|
Please consult or research heroes for specific tips and builds since this is only a generalized mage guide. My specialty are Valir and Chang’e so I’ll confidently answer any question about them. I can use other mages (Pharsa, Aurora, Lylia, Eudora) but I’m not confident in answering everything about them.