Even though the High elves are marketed as “the most magical race” their High Magic does at times seem pretty bland. Compared to the colorful wizards of the Empire, evil sorceresses in audacious outfits and levitating giant toads a guy in a robe with a staff is not really that much of a hoot. I do, however, appreciate the defensive capabilities of the elf mages.
As my army build is now I prefer to include an Archmage over an Elf Prince (this may change when I get my griffon painted but quite now.. spoiler). Magic can really bust you up and as each elf needs to kill 3-5 foes before the points are matched it’s important to keep yourself well protected.
I mainly use the Archmage to cast Drain Magic and raise shields. If the opponent have a high dispel pool that turn I’ll use the Dragon Mage to fire off a lot of offensive spells (or whatever he can do) and perhaps even feint with the Archmage using some of the more flashy High Magic. If one of my units is in a vulnerable position I’ll try to get a shield up but Drain Magic is usually my priority. It’s not always an advantage to cast the advanced versions of the spell as raising the casting cost of a spell also means it’ll be harder to dispel if it does get cast. As a result the othe rplayer may opt to just power through a few spells which can be just as devastating. I’m always trying to make the effect of the magic phase as minimal as possible.
(and yes, I use the old Everqueen miniature. Always liked that one)