Since there's no real gigantic topic about Artificing to match the rather popular Knight threads, I'll make one!
My initial analysis is that playing an Artifice mage is like playing Tristana bottom lane. Your early game (pre-prep) is absolutely horrid. I find that, more often than not, if you can't get your prep in quickly, you're more than likely to just die if your opponent pressures you hard and fast. Below are two sample spars I had with a Serpent (Cresil). Granted, my curing might not have been completely optimal, but I did try.https://ada-young.appspot.com/pastebin/10ea40c4https://ada-young.appspot.com/pastebin/3d188bbd
That being said, once you do get your opponent prepped, and you begin your breaking (assuming they don't whore tumble), Magi have amazing salve pressure, especially with Timeflux. Depending on their priorities (and if they don't have passive hinderance), once you start scorching/freezing someone, you force them to either remain prone (prioritising the burns/freeze) or get a kill if you don't mess up your execution (prioritising legs). I'm still working on my technique, but here's a log of me killing someone with sub-optimal priorities against scorching:https://ada-young.appspot.com/pastebin/c57e887f
A few things I believe could be fixed:
1) We have very little hinderance before we go for breaks, making Magi extremely bad against several momentum classes (Apostate, Priest, Serpent, Occultist, etc). It would be nice to have some breathing room against these classes.
2) The margin for error with this class is -very- small. If you screw up your execution, you have to start from square 1, and in cases where you're fighting someone who has fast, heavy aff/health pressure, that can mean disaster. I believe that the main culprit with this is the increased amount of hits a Magi needs to break limbs. Yes, the balance got decreased, but in a lot of cases, especially for Magi, you hit for prep once, then have to mitigate affs/go on defence, so while it seems that the lowered balance time makes up for the increased prep hits on paper, in practice it's just adding -more- time to a magi's kill setup, and creating a bigger window to punish the mage for screwing up.
That's all I have for now. I will definitely do more testing, and if anyone has any suggestions on how to improve, please let me know. This is just my opinion on this, and I know I'm not the best at analysing the myriad options available in combat. If I'm missing something critical, feel free to point it out!
(Also, obligatory @Makarios