Archmage is the Tier 5 upgrade of Path 1 for the Wizard Monkey in Bloons TD 6. It allows the Wizard Monkey to shoot bolts twice as fast as Arcane Spike, pop up to 11 bloons instead of 7 (12 to 16 with 5-0-1), deal 24 damage to MOAB-class bloons instead of 16, and 7 damage to other bloons instead of 5. Additionally, Archmage can use both the Dragon's Breath and Shimmer attacks alongside its normal bolt attacks at an extensive range. However, it does not come with benefits of the other lower Path 2 or Path 3 upgrades, and must be upgraded along either crosspath to gain benefits of either path.
Archmage is most useful for dealing considerable damage against groups of MOAB-class bloons. Against larger clumps of blimps, it can easily demolish them into much weaker bloons, but large clumps of Ceramics may spawn out of them. It is a good overall source of damage versus ordinary DDTs, and therefore can be used to beat Round 95 with minimal trouble, especially when paired with Overclock, but is only reliable on beginner maps. The Archmage is comparable to Pre-Emptive Strike, which also has the potential to spawn lots of Ceramics from destroyed weaker blimps, but without the single-target high-HP damage potential and with overall stronger but still pitifully weak Super Ceramic cleanup.
Due to its low synergy potential compared to alternative Tier 5 towers, the Archmage is often replaced with more favorable options at dealing high DPS, such as Perma Charge, Sky Shredder, or Grandmaster Ninja, which all can deal significantly higher ceramic and single target damage, be more versatile, and have similar prices to Archmage. Other less expensive Tier 5 towers such as Prince of Darkness, Super Maelstrom, and Sub Commander each have their own unique specializations and are more accessible in the later mid-game where they are most needed, in addition to scaling better in the late-game relative to their cost.
On the other hand, Archmage lacks a focused specialization, at best dealing high grouped blimp damage without adequate Ceramic-popping, and rather works best as a moderately expensive supporting DPS versus grouped MOAB-class as an accompany to the majority of more superior DPS towers. Adding Archmage to work well with a current defense can be difficult to do in practical CHIMPS games especially on Advanced and Expert Maps unless proper cleanup towers are added to balance its quick grouped MOAB-class damage with better Ceramic cleanup and high-HP blimp damage.
It is better to use a 5-0-2 Archmage instead of a 5-2-0 Archmage. This is because although it comes with a Shimmer that decamoizes bloons, the +5 pierce from Intense Magic increases the overall popping power much more than just adding additional Fireball and Wall of Fire attacks. With the +5 pierce to the magical bolts, they become far more powerful at wiping out multitudes of blimps. The +2 pierce to the Dragon's Breath attacks are highly beneficial as well.
On most occasions, the position of where the Archmage is placed should be based on track coverage, although preferably one where there is also a straight line around to make good use of the seeking curves.
Archmage can use its own Shimmer to decamo nearby bloons, but it is often still worthwhile to add Monkey Sense regardless, as Shimmer can be unreliable and may miss bloons.
A 5-0-2 Archmage excels at popping DDTs with relative ease on its own, though good Ceramic popping power is needed to clean up the remains.
It's worth taking note that the Dragon's Breath attack cannot pass through walls, even though its bolt attack can. If possible, place the Archmage at a spot that allows the Dragon's Breath to become optimized, as the Dragon's Breath attack can deal a lot of overall damage.
Combine Archmage with effective grouped Super Ceramic cleanup, as an Archmage is prone to producing dense clumps of Super Ceramics in the late-game thanks to its high grouped blimp-popping power but comparatively low Ceramic popping power. Archmage is actually one of the best options at popping many blimps at once. In practice, however, this phenomenon can be a nuisance to deal with especially on Round 98 where the majority of blimps are fortified and bloons become much faster.
While Archmage tends to lack effective synergy potential, its DPS can be boosted by Overclock to improve its capability at handling MOAB-class bloons and Ceramics.
Most buffs for the Archmage are inherited from those that benefit the secondary Dragon's Breath attack, although Version 2.0 had made its main bolt attack considerably stronger as a counter to grouped blimps. Overall, it is somewhat stronger than it was when first released, and remains a popular option among newer players.
Archmage adds more pierce (+0 → +4, 10 in total).
Archmage's Dragon's Breath attack range is now (correctly) correspondent to the Archmage's current range.
Archmage's Dragon's Breath now applies a burn Damage Over Time equal to Mortar's Burny Stuff to any Bloon it touches.