The Let's Play Archive

Etrian Odyssey II: Heroes of Lagaard

by Dr. Fetus

Part 13: Class Discussions - Alchemist

Class Discussion - Alchemist

The rest of the portraits.
The EO1 class portraits.

Use a different class.

Seriously, use a something like a Gunner or something that can actually deal damage.

No? Fine. They're called Alchemists in Japan too. They're elemental attackers who can't survive in the front row, and have terrible physical strength. In the first game they weren't too spectacular. They were amazing earlygame, being the main reason your party could take down FOEs with their Poison ability that could tick for 255 damage with a maximum of a 250% base chance to land. They dealt a lot of damage to mobs and bosses. By the time the postgame came around, their damage kind of fell off, and they were usually replaced with something else. Although they could still pull their weight a bit by then.

Unfortunately, they got much worse in EO2. Atlus saw the need to nerf them and didn't give them that many buffs to compensate. Their power to clear mobs, and doing most other things was significantly reduced because Atlus turned them into a TP black hole. Considering that Alchemists rely on their skills to contribute, they can't do much in dungeon treks unless there's a specific target you want to take out. It also doesn't help that there's less ways to recover TP in this game, making it hard to keep an Alchemist around without them becoming dead weight very quickly. They don't have the TP to spam their skills anymore, so their only useful role is taking down bosses and FOEs. Which isn't something they can do all game.

The reason Alchemists fall off is because unlike the other classes, the Alcemist's skills run off the TEC stat and have a different damage formula. Their damage formula is nearly the same as the one used in determining the damage of a regular attack. Leveling up an Alchemist's damage skill is more like upgrading to a new weapon instead of increasing a modifier. (Yes, the FAQ on GameFAQs is wrong. Unless you see any info posted by users named Terence or Scy, you may want to double check your information.) Unfortunately, their strongest skills at max level are more akin to a 4th stratum weapon. So they can be decent enough in the early and midgame, but past the 4th stratum, their damage starts dropping off and they're just absolutely pathetic in the postgame. They're a contender for the worst class in the game, along with the Beast. At least Survivalists have some good field skills they can make use of. All Alchemists have outside of that is a built in Warp Stone. They were slightly better in the Japanese version, because the damage mitigation formulas somehow ran off of their own VIT instead of the enemy's. It didn't make that much of a difference since only 25% of it was used in the mitigation formula, and it got fixed in the US version.

Gunners pretty much make the Alchemist redundant, and they have other skills to fall back on. Magic users didn't really get good until EO4. The equivalent class in EO3 is decent and they do have a damage skill that is actually relevant in the postgame, but their elemental spells start falling off at that point.


Level 1
HP - 32
TP - 34
STR - 3
TEC - 8
VIT - 3
AGI - 6
LUC - 7

Level 70
HP - 369
TP - 214
STR - 30
TEC - 80
VIT - 29
AGI - 44
LUC - 51

Level 99
HP - 539
TP - 469
STR - 47
TEC - 97
VIT - 47
AGI - 63
LUC - 69

Alchemists are pretty squishy and you really shouldn't have them use their regular attack. They do have the highest TP pool in the game, but that doesn't matter when they can burn through it so fast. Maxing out TP Up is absolutely vital for them. Their TEC can reach the natural cap of 99 pretty easily, but you still want to max it out since that unlocks one of their best skills.

Fire Up/Ice Up/Volt Up

Max lvl: 10

The Alchemist's mastery skills. These are needed to unlock their spells and they increase the damage of their respective element slightly. They're a 2% damage boost at level 1, and a 11% boost at level 10. Unlike the first game, the damage bonus is applied directly to the base damage of a spell, so these skills are a bit more useful there.

As for which element to focus on, typically Fire and Volt are the popular options. While Ice is useful early, the amount of enemies that have an Ice weakness drop off after the first two Strata. People like having their Ronin learn their Fire skills. So if both of them are in the same party, Fire is taken to double down on that element, or Volt is taken for some extra coverage.

Phys Up

Needs lvl. 3 STR Up
Max lvl: 5

Another mastery skill, this time for physical spells. Yes. They have a separate skill branch for physical skills. These do run off their TEC stat and use the same formula as their elemental spells. Since this skill only goes up to level 5, you only get a 6% damage boost at max level instead of 11%.

Considering that the reason most people take an Alchemist is to get some elemental damage on their team, these skills are pretty useless and tend to be ignored. Also the terrible physical weakness distribution makes them even more of a terrible idea to take.


Needs lvl. 5 TP Up and TEC Up
Max lvl: 5

A passive that makes it so when a spell strikes an enemy's weakness, the damage is multiplied by an extra amount. It's an extra 5% damage boost at level 1, but at level 5, a spell that hits a weakness hits even harder by an extra 55%. As for what's considered a weakness, if an enemy takes 110% damage from an element (this includes not include the physical spells), Analysis will kick in. The Hexer's debuffs, such as Frailty and Dampen, can actually create artificial weaknesses for the Alchemist to exploit since they amplify the damage the enemy takes from all kinds of attacks. So there's something to keep in mind if you have both of those on your team.

It's a very good skill to take as it boosts the Alchemist's damage without increasing the TP cost of their spell, and it's a prerequisite to their big damage skill. Every magic user in future games had this skill, and later games made it kick in for the physical attacks too. But Atlus eventually thought this skill was too good and turned it into an active skill in Untold, and nerfed it even further by turning it into the Alchemist's Force Boost in the EO2 remake.


Needs lvl. 1 Fire Up/Ice Up/Volt Up
Max lvl: 10

The tier one elemental spells. They're the weakest and cheapest of the bunch. They're all single target spells that hit an enemy with the respective element. At level 1 these cost 8 TP, and at max level they have a base power of 113 while costing 26 TP. For comparison, the TP costs of these spells were 4 at level 1 and 6 at level 10 in the first game. Well technically level 5 since the TP cost stops increasing past that point. Yeah, ouch. These are the earlygame spells and will eat through your Alchemist's TP much faster than in the first game. Also you had access to Amritas from the very beginning in the first game, so TP issues weren't really something to worry about. For the record, their TP pool in the first game maxed out at 198 at level 70.


Needs lvl. 5 Fire Up/Ice Up/Volt Up and lvl. 5 Fire/Ice/Volt
Max lvl: 10

The tier two elemental spells. They have the same base power as the tier one spells, but the base damage has a 1.5 multiplier attached to it. They're actually the strongest of the elemental spells, and you should have at least one of these mastered. The TP costs are 18 at level 1 and 36 at level 10. In the first game, they cost only a measly 10 TP at level 1, and only increased to 14 TP at level 5. Levels 6 through 10 just increased the attack power. If you think that's bad, just take a look at the tier 3 spells.


Needs lvl. 5 Fire Up/Ice Up/Volt Up and lvl. 5 Fire/Ice/Volt
Max lvl: 5

These are AOE versions of the tier one spells. Each level of these spells is matched with a level of a tier one spell. Level 1 Tier 1 = Level 1 Tier 3, and L9 T1 = L5 T3. Yeah, they're slightly weaker than the tier one spells. In the first game the base power for these spells were actually in between the tier one and tier two spells instead of being weaker versions of the tier one spells. So the Alchemist's mob clearing power got a huge nerf. As for the TP costs, they cost 20 at level 1 and 52 at level 5! You can't max out these skills early since the Alchemist will be sucked dry in 1 or 2 casts. You might want to take these later, but only after you have easy access to some form of TP recovery. Oh as for the TP costs in the first game? They cost 16 at level 1 and a mere 20 at level 5. Once again, levels 6 through 10 just increased the attack power. When leveling up an Alchemist's skills, you have to be careful how many skill points you put into them or else they'll be dead weight fast.

GeneralYeti has some commentary on the names.

GeneralYeti posted:

Inferno - Aside from the literal definition of the word, it means 'Hell' in Italian.

Cocytus - Two Hell references in one day, oh boy! Cocytus is either one of the rivers - the 'river of wailing' that flows in the Underworld (going by Greek mythology) or the ninth and lowest circle of Hell, reserved for betrayers (going by Dante's Divine Comedy). The second option is more interesting to talk about, so Cocytus was actually frozen completely solid due to the constant flapping of Satan's wings - he was trapped about waist deep in the ice created by his own wings. My theory is that he flapped his wings because he was still rebelling against God; when he finally gave up, the ice would melt and he'd be redeemed. Or maybe I'm just making up literary analysis on the fly, who knows.

Thor - Norse God of thunder. Y'all know all about this guy.


Needs lvl. 1 Phys Up
Max lvl: 5

These skills inflict cut/bash/stab attacks to every enemy. These skills don't need a huge investment to unlock, but you're better off ignoring these. Chances are you already have physical attackers in the party. The base power and TP costs are the same as the tier 3 elementals. But the things you need to consider is that the mastery skill for these only gives a 6% boost at max level, so these spells are gonna be weaker than the tier 3 spells. And Analysis doesn't kick in for these spells, so there's even more damage you're missing out on. While there are a handful of enemies weak to stab, only three are weak to cut, and there are zero enemies weak to bash. Basically, these skills are skill point traps and you should ignore them. If you insist on taking one, take Piercing since the Alchemist can actually hit weaknesses with that.


Needs lvl. 10 TEC Up and lvl. 5 Analysis
Max lvl: 5

The Alchemist's big damage skill. It's a single target spell that hits an enemy with a strong untyped attack. There's no mastery skill associated with this, and since it's untyped damage Analysis can't activate. But it is pretty strong and can hit FOEs and bosses pretty hard early on.

The base power for this skill is 180 at level 5, but there's also a 1.5 multiplier attached. The TP costs are 20 at level 1, and it increases to 56 at level 5. So it's slightly more expensive than a tier 3 spell. Keep in mind that a max level tier 2 spell that hits a weakness and activates Analysis will do more damage than a max level Megido, and will save you a lot more TP. Megido is best used when there aren't any weaknesses to exploit.


Max lvl: 5

Sends your party back to the last Geomagnetic Field used. It's basically a Warp Stone in skill form. This ability is a bit questionable. For one thing, it only works with Geomagnetic Fields, not Poles. So if you entered the Labyrinth through the first floor or a Geomagnetic Pole and forgot the Warp Wire, this ability isn't going to help you. Interacting with a Geomagnetic Field does set the return point there.

All leveling this skill up does is reduce the TP cost. It starts off costing 30 TP at level 1, and halves for each level, costing 1 TP at level 5.

Gathering Skill: Chop

Force Skill: Eschaton

This is basically Megido as an AOE. The speed and accuracy modifiers are higher, and the base power is 200 instead of 180. It's devastating in the earlygame, but it becomes a lot less impressive later on, especially when other Force Skills actually scale much better later in the game.

GeneralYeti posted:

Megido - I believe we get the word Armageddon from the Greek New Testament; Megido means strong, apparently (from what my research says). Armageddon is thought to be the final battle between God and Satan, where Jesus and the Antichrist will face off and stuff. God's side will win (because they have the backing of, well, a God) and Satan and his crew will be thrown into Gehenna, an eternally burning lake.

Eschaton - Also called the End Times, Eschaton is the end of days described in Abrahamic texts; it's basically the time of terrible stuff happening before the second coming of the savior. So yeah, Eschaton (the thing that happens before Megido) is apparently bigger according to this game. Meh, whatever, can't ask them to be perfect. Fun fact: I couldn't stop typing Eschaton as 'Escahton' because my fingers didn't want to listen to what I was telling them.

Alchemists are pretty much one of the worst classes you can go with, and you're better off using a Gunner or something else. If you're only tackling the main game and not the postgame, which isn't something you should do unless you have a lot of free time, then you can keep one around as long as you have enough TP support. If you are planning on doing the postgame, retire them and replace them with a class that can actually do damage. By the time the postgame comes around, they'll be doing so little damage compared to a Ronin or Gunner, and running out of TP a lot on top of that. Even with a max level Megido and 99 TEC, they just can't compare to an actual damage dealer. Their prime time is before you enter the 5th stratum. Before then they're decent enough, but after then they'll be struggling to keep up.