Mages are one of the first major non-hireling buyables to be unlocked in Mine Defense. They are unlocked when your total gold exceeds 5M and have an initialize price of 10M, scaling at the same speed as the hirelings as you buy more. There are a large number of upgrades associated with purchasing mages, as well as a number of mage upgrades that can be bought with mana (a currency earned when mages kill enemies).

Initially, hired mages are used to defend your wall by attacking invading goblins and spiders. After purchasing 5 mages, a new tab will unlock that allows you to assign them to one of three tasks.

  • Fighting - Mages attack enemies in order to defend your wall
  • Meditating - Mages generate additional mana passively
  • Delving - Mages increase your gold per second and can be upgraded to find various gems

The best strategy for assigning mages depends on where you are in the game - initially it is usually best to assign them to fight as it allows you to idle without needing to return to click on attacking goblins. Once you have enough to defend your wall, you can start assigning them to delving to increase your gold and drive you further into the game. After purchasing the Dark Portents upgrade, meditating mages can become very powerful and will be your primary source of mana until you unlock Neurocrysalises, at which point you may want to assign all mages to delving (except for the number you need to defend your wall) in order to get as many high level gems as possible, though you may wish to wait until you have gained a 12x imbuement multiplier for each hireling type first.

Mage aura (Edit)

Mages can be powered up to provide a percentage boost to fighting mages' damage, meditating mages' mana production, and delving mages' gold found per second. To power up mages, click on the mage icon surrounding the mine on the main screen until an aura graphic surrounds the mage, and keep clicking until it stops getting brighter. Do this for each of the up to six mage graphics you have unlocked on the main screen (unlocked by hiring multiples of five mages, up to six maximum) to achieve maximum mage power. At maximum power, the mage aura will provide a 50% boost in efficiency or a 100% boost if the Dark Portents upgrade has been purchased. The Dark Portents upgrade itself is unlocked by keeping the mage aura above 80% for a total of half an hour.

Hireling imbuement (Edit)

In addition to purchasing mage upgrades with mana, you may also use mana to imbue your workers with unnatural abilities to increase their productivity after purchasing the Dark Portents red upgrade. Each hireling type gains an imbuement multiplier, starting at 1, that is increased by .2 for each imbuement level purchased. This multiplier is multiplied by the hireling's base efficiency to increase the amount of gold, mana, or other resource per second generated by each hireling of that particular type.

There are three series of upgrades with one upgrade unlocked per hireling type upon reaching a 2x, 6x, and 12x imbuement multiplier: the nightmare series, arcane series, and eldritch series, respectively. The nightmare and arcane series upgrades each double the amount of mana gained for each enemy killed by your mages, except for Nightmare Neurochrysalises and Arcane Neurochrysalises, which increase neurochrysalis mana production by 1% and 2% per mage, respectively. This means there are currently 12 nightmare upgrades that double mana gain per kill and 12 arcane upgrades that do the same, giving 224 = 16,777,216 mana per goblin and 5 * 224 = 83,886,080 mana per spider killed by your mages. The third series of upgrades, eldritch, each unlock 10% of your alchemists' speed, and the first upgrade of this series purchased unlocks the Alchemist's Lair structure, allowing you to hire Alchemists. The Eldritch Neurochrysalises raises the neurochrysalis mana production rate by 3% per mage.

Optimal strategy

To ensure that you advance as fast as possible through the levels of imbuement, the optimal strategy is to imbue the cheapest hireling type up to a 2x multiplier (so the button reads 2.2) before moving on to the next cheapest hireling, and so on. This allows you to purchase the nightmare upgrades, increasing your mana gain and making the wait for the next imbuement purchase as short as possible. Upon purchasing all nightmare upgrades, follow the same strategy to unlock each arcane upgrade.

Mage requirements (Edit)

Some upgrades, mage upgrades, constructs, dragons, and other game components require a certain number of mages to unlock. This table shows the required number of mages for each.

Mages Unlocks Additional Requirements
Miscellaneous
1 Mana -
1 Mage aura -
2 Death Ward goblin trap (2 hours) Purchase Delve Greedily
5 Mage Deployment game screen -
10 Imbuement Purchase Dark Portents
25 Night Terrors goblin trap (10 hours) Purchase Delve Greedily
Mage Upgrades
5 Enhanced Fireballs -
5 Advanced Delving Techniques -
5 Magical Optimization -
40 Elemental Pickaxe Purchase Heaven's Fury, Glowing Mind's Eye, and Spell of Focus
Upgrades
10 Dark Portents 5Qa total gold and keep mage aura above 80% for 30 minutes
10 Magic! -
35 Durable Mana Channels Keep mage aura above 80% for 1 hour
50 Dumbledore's Finest -
50 Eternal Energy Keep mage aura above 80% for 2 hours
75 Mana Overcharge Keep mage aura above 80% for 3 hours
100 Merlin -
150 Deity-ish -
260 Advanced Magick Purchase HEART! and Dark Portents
300 Instant Power Keep mage aura above 80% for 12 hours
Constructs
280 Mage Tower 1Qi total mana and 250M total stone
400 Fire Shrine Win 500 military campaigns
Dragons
500 Fire Fire shrine level 50
600 Blazing Fire shrine level 75
700 Inferno Fire shrine level 100

HEART!

The HEART! mage upgrade doubles your pick efficiency for every 13 mages you hire up to 260. This table shows the number of mages required for each stage of the upgrade and the multiplier at each stage.

Mages Pick Multiplier Mages Pick Multiplier
13 2 143 2048
26 4 156 4096
39 8 169 8192
52 16 182 16,384
65 32 195 32,768
78 64 208 65,536
91 128 221 131,072
104 256 234 262,144
117 512 247 524,288
130 1024 260 1,048,576

Update info(Edit)

  • Version 0.97 - 06/09/2014
    • The buttons for adding and removing mages from a category no longer jump around
  • Version 0.95 - 16/08/2014
    • Mage tower meditation boost grows more slowly
    • Neurochrysalis boost to mages is not as strong
  • Version 0.94 - 09/08/2014
    • Added two new buildings (Mage Tower)
    • Added many new mage upgrades
    • Added several new upgrades, including boosts to mages meditating to hopefully make them relevant again
  • Version 0.93 - 02/08/2014
    • Added another mage upgrade for increasing gem quality
  • Version 0.92 - 25/07/2014
    • Added a new hireling to boost mana gain and two upgrades to go with it
    • Added 3 new mage upgrades that increase the chance of high level gems
  • Version 0.91 - 19/07/2014
    • Many balance tweaks during the early and midgame
    • Holding ctrl allows you to move 10 mages or alchemists at once, or buy 10 hirelings at once
    • Added upgrades that improve mage aura behaviour
  • Version 0.90 - 12/07/2014
    • Added a new tier of imbuement upgrades
  • Version 0.87 - 27/06/2014
    • New spending system (some upgrades now cost mana)
    • Batch imbuement - you can imbue 5, 10, 25, or max levels at a time
    • Fixed a bug with mages giving gems
    • Mages meditating now give less mana, as it was broken late game
  • Version 0.85 - 21/06/2014
    • Red mage upgrade now only requires mage level to be 80% or higher, and doesn't require spiders
    • Fixed a bug with mage aura bonus being calculated incorrectly
    • Mages have had their concealing role replaced with meditating, on account of concealing being almost useless
    • Mages now look much, MUCH cooler, courtesy of Bit Krab
    • Mages can now find higher level gems
    • Added quite a few new mage upgrades
    • Added higher level imbuement upgrades
  • Version 0.82 - 14/06/2014
    • Added a new red upgrade available after wizards have spent half an hour at maximum power, assuming spiders are unlocked already (check the power level in the mages tab)
    • The first goblins and mages now have a click here box so it is more clear that clicking them does something
    • Wizards can now increase the power of hirelings at the price of mana (after the new red upgrade is bought)
    • Added late game upgrades that increase the mana gain per kill to speed up mana gain
  • Version 0.80 - 07/06/2014
    • Mages can now be powered up by clicking on them
  • Version 0.78 - 31/05/2014
    • New mage upgrades
  • Version 0.75 - 24/05/2014
    • Added a second red upgrade, for when you get the goblins under control
  • Version 0.72 - 17/05/2014
    • Mages can now target more than one goblin per tick
  • Version 0.65 - 03/05/2014
    • Added lots of new mage stuff (hint - buy 5 mages)
  • Version 0.55 - 27/04/2014
    • Introduced mages and made goblins stronger to account for them