The Let's Play Archive

Etrian Odyssey

by Crosspeice

Part 53: Alchemist Overview


Can equip: Staves, Light Armor, Clothing

While all of those other dumb classes are stuck hitting things with metal, Alchemists can summon forth the very elements to hit enemies on a whole other side of weaknesses and resistances. To go without elemental damage for most of the game would be very silly since you miss out on Conditionals, fun weaknesses and just more variety in your attacks. While the Alchemist has an... interesting skill interaction in terms of damage and falls behind late game, they can quite happily sit at the back and destroy stuff all day, especially those resilient to physical attacks, they're great!

Definitely a back line fighter, with the worst HP in the game, low STR, low VIT and pretty slow as well with mediocre AGI. They only excel at TP and TEC, meaning they'll do a lot of damage with their elemental attacks... but that's about it. They have one real role and they do it very well, but they would be rubbish at anything else. Since they're so simple, they at least have plenty of SP to be a tri-elemental wizard if you know what to go for.

Unlocks: Scavenge (LV3), Sight (LV5), Warp (LV7), TP Regen (LV10)

With such a massive TP pool, Alchemist's don't need much of a boost and since it's only 30%, it's up to you to figure if you want it or not. I mean, might as well, right? But there's only a 40TP difference between level 1 and 10, so maybe level 3 if you want to get Scavenge? It's a toss up.

The TP costs of their skills in this game can get pretty high, so it can be a nice boost. But like with the other stat boosting passives, you'd typically want to save this for last if you're going for it. TP management in this game isn't a huge deal.

Fire Up/Ice Up/Volt Up
Fire Up Unlocks: Fire (LV1), Flame (LV5), Inferno (LV5)
Ice Up Unlocks: Ice (LV1), Freeze (LV5), Cocytus (LV5)
Volt Up Unlocks: Volt (LV1), Thunder (LV5), Thor (LV5)

The main bulk of the Alchemist's skills revolve around Fire, Ice and Volt damage and you think it's just like any other weapon boost, right? Nope! Due to how elemental attacks are plugged into the formula, increasing these skills very very slightly boosts the damage of the elemental skills. Like 3 extra damage at most, since the base damage for the skills before it gets inflated by TEC is very small. See, each elemental skill has a slight boost to the base damage it does separate from its base power you normally see. You might think that's pretty cool, but, uh, it's only 10 max. And the stronger skills actually decrease that number as you'll see later. What these skills is boost that by an amount... so not at all, as 10 x 1.3 is 13... and since the game rounds down, it means the stronger skills get less bonus damage. It's pathetic and I'm telling you this so you know to only get these skills up to level 5 to unlock the better skills. They are the epitome of trap skills. But you ain't seen nothing yet.

Why the fuck are these skills so terrible? Did they plan for Alchemists to operate differently from a mechanical standpoint, and then changed it to something else late in development or something? Anyway, since these skills sucks ass, let's talk about elements instead. So, which one should you go with? Well, you can go with all of them in this game. You'll have to build your Alchemist very specifically for those, but a tri-elemental Alchemist is a very strong party member to make some use of. That said, if you go this route, prepare for a much weaker early game than going Poison or something. But the long term payoffs can be worth it.

Unlocks: Poison (LV1), Venom (LV5)
BUG: Does literally nothing.
BUG: Poison damage is hard capped at 255.

Yeesh, Toxins should be pretty good to make Poison strats good until the 5th stratum. As it is due to bugs and caps, Poison shouldn't be used past the 2nd stratum, as it becomes really bad to use. Because Toxins does literally nothing, it's not worth spending the points getting to Venom, the only reason to go the Poison strat is to easily deal with 1st and 2nd stratum FOEs (and Bosses if you somehow land it). That's it, past those instances, these skills are useless. It's annoying that Toxins does nothing, otherwise Poison and Venom would cap at level 7 instead of 9, so you've got to waste more SP getting to the cap. If there wasn't a cap and Toxins did something, then a Boosted Poison would do 575 damage, letting you oneshot most 5th stratum enemies with Venom. Ah, what could've been... If you go for these skills for the lulz (like I am), then you need to Rest later on so your Alchemist can actually do things late game.

This would be a good passive if it worked. But it doesn't. What a shame. Because of all the bugs, the Poison skill branch is essentially dead and has no viability. Granted even if it worked properly, it would still have issues with bosses since they're incredibly resistant to Poison.

Fire/Ice/Volt Unlocks: Flame (LV3)/Freeze (LV3)/Thunder (LV3)
Prerequisites: Fire Up LV1/Ice Up LV1/Volt Up LV1
A single target Fire/Ice/Volt strike. Uses the Head.

So now that we know how meh the mastery skills are, it means these skills don't get much better, as the bonus damage is barely noticeable and your TEC and the base power of the skill matter so much more. Which is fine, they're supposed to be moved on from to the next tier level, but they're good and cheap at the start to deal some damage and hit weaknesses. But get them to level 3 (aside from Volt, you'll see why) to unlock the next tier and just move on. Like we're doing now, NEXT!

why does the damage boost suck?

Anyways, the tier 1 elementals are purely there for earlygame. Take a few points in these so your Alchemist can do things from the get go, and never touch them again. You'll probably want to focus on Fire first, since some 1st Stratum FOEs and bosses are weak to it.

Prerequisites: Fire Up LV5, Fire LV3/Ice Up LV5, Ice LV3/Volt Up LV5, Volt LV3
A single target Fire/Ice/Volt strike. Uses the Head.

Now we get to the strong stuff, but you might notice the damage boost for these skills decrease as you level them up. This makes the mastery skills even worse, so if you're gonna max out these skills, you technically make them weaker (though like mentioned before, only by a few points, completely negligible). Anyway, these skills are pretty strong and will do you quite nicely, but it's best to use the Fire and Ice nukes for weaknesses. Volt works better with the next tier, so going for Thunder is not recommended, so don't bother going for it. Also these skills keep getting slower and slower, so they'll be the last attacks to go off, but hopefully will do the most damage.

why does the bonus damage decrease when you level it up!?

And yeah, this is why you don't want to put more SP in the tier 1 spells more than you have to. A level 10 tier 2 spell deals almost 3.1 times more damage than a level 10 tier 1 spell.

As for when you should go for these, you can put off Freeze for later. Flame is a bit of a bigger priority, since the 1st Stratum boss is weak to Fire, so you'll want to invest a bit in it as soon as you can. But you can ignore that for the 2nd Stratum boss, since it's weak to Volt. The 3rd Stratum boss is weak to Fire, so you'll want to max Flame out by then. And the 4th Stratum boss is weak to Ice, so you'll want to max out Freeze by that time. And those 2 skills should cover all the important big fights to go for, letting your Alchemist do a ton in them.

Prerequisites: Fire Up LV5/Ice Up LV5/Volt Up LV5
A multi target Fire/Ice/Volt strike. Uses the Head.

Same as before, except it hits every enemy. This is why you go for Thor instead of Thunder, as most enemies in the game have less of a resistance to Volt compared to the other two. So you'll do the most damage to them overall, while doing the most damage to them with Flame and Freeze when they have a weakness, or resistance to Volt. Simple, really, especially since there's not a huge power difference between max level tier 2 and 3 skills, Boost aside. Just make sure you've got enough TP to spam these skills, cause they are very costly, but totally worth it.

The tier 3 spells are only 25% weaker than the tier 2 spells, so you're not losing out too much damage when investing in Thor. And a level 10 tier 3 spell is about 2.95 times stronger than a level 10 tier 1 spell. Yeah, those kind of suck. Their only saving grace is the TP cost, which isn't really an issue at all in this game.

You'll want to snag Thor before fighting the Stratum 2 boss, since it's weak to Volt, and that fight has some minions in it, so the AOE will help deal with those. As for when to max this out, feel free to do so whenever. It's not really a huge priority. Once they're done grabbing all their important skills in the tri-elemental skill build, your Alchemist will be very versatile and well equipped to destroy all who stand in their path!

Prerequisites: Toxins LV1
Attempts to inflict Poison on a single target. Ailment skill, uses the Head.
BUG: Poison damage is hard capped at 255.

For only 1 level in Toxins, Poison is really good against 1st and 2nd stratum FOEs, so it's good to take for that. Otherwise single target ailment skills are pretty meh since you want to roll the ailment chance as much as possible. Still, this skill has a really good infliction chance so you'll probably get lucky sooner or later. However, due to the cap, you, well, cap out at level 9 and going up to 10 only increases the infliction chance. So it lets you do way more damage at the start of the game, but cause of the bugs, it becomes very outclassed very fast, so don't have these skills on a late game build.

This skill can give your Alchemist a much stronger earlygame since it gives your party a way to take on FOEs much earlier than intended, giving some nice exp intake for your party. However, this comes at a cost. Because of the bugged Poison mechanics, this falls off much earlier than intended, and leaves the Alchemist with basically nothing when that happens. Not too much of an issue in the later EO games, since you can just rest up the Alchemist and reallocate those skill points elsewhere. But that's not really something you can do easily in this game. Resting isn't available from the get go in EO1. You have to wait until level 30 to do so! Not only that, resting in this game costs 10 levels! They really wanted you to commit to a skill build back then. And because of that, it might just be better to throw out the Alchemist and make a new one instead of just waiting to respec them.

Prerequisites: Toxins LV5
Attempts to inflict Poison on all enemies. Ailment skill, uses the Head.
BUG: Poison damage is hard capped at 255.

Poison is great against FOEs, since you'll want to chew through them quickly, but Venom is for normal enemies, which can oneshot most 3rd stratum enemies. If there wasn't bugs, you could go as far as oneshotting 5th stratum opponents, but it's better to invest in the elemental skills instead of these. Your party can handle the other enemies instead of constantly rolling for instant kills, since as your Alchemist will go last, the poison damage will be more than enough and be mostly wasted, so why bother? Not that it matters past the 2nd stratum, honestly.

It could have been something worth considering if the Poison mechanics weren't so bugged, but since they are, this skill is completely worthless and can't hope to compete with the tier 3 elementals.

TP Regen
Prerequisites: TP Up LV10
Recovers a certain amount of TP each turn starting from the second. Passive.

If the Medic didn't need this, then the Alchemist won't, it's too small of a number to be of any use considering how late you should get it.

Let's see... at level 70, a max level TP Regen would restore about 2.525~% of the Alchemist's TP per turn, and only the Alchemist. While a Troubadour's Relaxing would restore 5% or 10% TP per turn to the entire party. Yeah just chug an Amrita or something instead of getting this skill. By the time you'd be able to get this skill, TP recovery is even more of a non-existent issue than it was before.

Prerequisites: TP Up LV5
Reveals all FOEs on the floor until you move. Field skill.

If you're really desperate, you can use this skill instead of the excellent maps available on GameFAQs, but it stops working when you move, meaning Stalker could be better? Still, if your Alchemist has TP to burn and you're mapping where the FOEs are going, it can be very useful, especially since FOEs usually lead the way forward. Ah whatever.

There are a few points in the game where this would be useful, but aside from that, it's not really something you need. And even if you decide to take it, there's no reason to ever put more than 1 point in this.

Prerequisites: TP Up LV7
Returns you to the last Geomagnetic Pole you interacted with. Field skill.

What, you forget the Warp Wire or something, you dummy? I suppose it's good insurance if you forget it (I, uh, totally won't), but a Magnet does the same thing. Also why did you bring a Magnet and not a Warp Wire? Anyway, this skill doesn't do anything if you came in from B1F, for obvious reasons. I guess it couldn't hurt to have, but seriously, stop forgetting your Warp Wires.

Also like with Sight, even if you do decide to get this, there's no reason to take more than 1 point in it.

Prerequisites: TP Up LV3
Increases the chance of getting drops after battle. Passive.

Since the Alchemist has more freedom in their SP compared to the Medic, you can max this out if you want after you've done everything you want with the elements. Though a troupe of Alchemists might not be the best to go after the strong enemies with low drop rates. Again, because the drop rates in this game can be absolute garbage and I don't care to entertain them, I'll be using the AR code. Yaaaaaaaaaaay.

I guess this can be a nice convenience. But if you're going to hunt for certain rare drops in the post-game, the Medic is a far better candidate for this skill, because this class doesn't tend to get used in the post-game since their damage output is a little lacklustre compared to the other options you have. Also Medics have much higher LUC, so they're better at getting item drops than the Alchemist anyway.

Alchemists can also Chop, but you should GATHER that I'm running out of ways to say don't bother taking it.