After playing through BG:EE 1 & 2 for a grand total of four times (not much compared to most of you, I know), it finally dawned on me that I actually prefer not to have mages in my party.
You read it right: I f***ng hate mages.
Also: I f***ng hate having six characters in a party. Three should suffice, four is pushing it, but six is a pain in the ***.
Too much downtime resting, too much maintenance, you only really need one mid-SoA, and their OP spell combos - admittedly game-changing ones - feel cheesy in the end.
A melee-centric party should be able to get the job done considerably faster and in fewer in-game days. Plenty of potions and trinkets to buy with all that extra cash you won't be spending on a mage. Or two. Or three.