I've been looking at the rules for magic on the battlefield for a while now
and wanted to get some opinions on the way the system works. First, a point
in the rules the eluded me for a long time which changed my perception of
the way magic works on the battlefield: Offensive magic may be cast at any
DISENGAGED unit in the wizard's area or one area away.

It used to be that I thought the mage could target any enemy unit in the
same square. My group played this way for a long time.

This by itself makes the idea of putting a mage on the battlefield a bit
risky. Even if the mage is of relatively high level and can cast two spells
that result in a D result (that's extremely high level, extremely rare, and
extremely expensive), those spells are really only useful at the beginning
of a battle; i.e., while the enemy is approaching the mage's position.
After the enemy units have engaged, the wizard can no longer target them
with magic until they once again become disengaged.

Since the best a low level mage can hope to do is one or maybe two Rains of
Magic Missiles, you have to wonder why any regent would go to the expense
of paying for the components and support cost of even a mere magician on
the battlefield. Why not simply pay for an extra unit of archers?

It's true that even a lowly magician could also contribute defensive magic,
but even magicians are uncommon in Anuire.

I suppose there are psychological effects too, especially if the mage does
make a difference in one or two significant battles. But it seems very
risky for even a magician to participate in a battle personally; the risks
are high and the chance of making a significant difference seems to be
pretty low. It would seem like magicians and low-level mages would take to
the field only as a last resort.

Obviously, a blooded mage can make a big difference with realm magic, but
blooded mages capable of casting significant realm magic are even rarer and
consequently far more expensive!

I suppose there's also a prestige factor in being able to field even a
magician or two in battle, but pragmatically it seems like a mage probably
costs the regent more than than he's worth on the battlefield. (Off the
battlefield may be a completely different story of course, but that's
another discussion.)

I welcome comments and differing viewpoints.