The best advantage of a mage is the ability to stack lots of protection through imbues.The gear you want depends on what you plan to hunt and eventually you want gear to cover every type of spawn.
Complete gear set should look like this:
This should cover all spawns in the game you would be hunting.
You can swap out the Dwarven Armor (Death/Leech) and the Elven Mail (Fire/Death/Leech) for Soulshrouds eventually.
I personally think Soulhexer is over-rated as the life leech from Cobra Rod is generally much better. The practical reason to buy a Soulhexer is for the 12% Ice Protection in spawns like wz9 and ebb and flow.
Technically a Cobra Rod upgraded via the Exalted Forge is a stronger/better rod than the Soulhexer.
Gnome Legs is good, but in the spawns you'd use it you take holy damage too, so Soulful Legs are fine (energy lib/furious crater).In the other spawns where you need energy protection you take earth damage too, so Gill Legs are fine (bashmu/wz7).
Because of the above, its better to buy Soulstrider first or simply sell your Gnome Legs to pay for them (in my opinion).
Spirit Guide (Holy) for energy library and furious crater, Shoulder Plate (Energy) for places like falcons.
Earth imbues on a spellbook are generally not necessary as we get huge amounts of earth protection through Dreamwalkers, Theurgic and Umbral Master Spellbook - plus all the higher level spawns have secondary elemental damage so we usually imbue for that instead (Death in cobras, Fire in issavi goannas on a Shoulder Plate for example).
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