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How to win with Alchemist

September 7, 2012 by xeysz
Comments: 45    |    Views: 673713    |   

Build 1
Build 2
Build 3
Build 4
Build 5
Build 6

General Build

DotA2 Hero: Alchemist

Purchase Order

Starting items


Counter-harass (orb for aggression-see below)



Extended and Situational

No! (see below)

Hero Skills

Acid Spray

2 3 7 8

Unstable Concoction


Greevil's Greed

5 9 10 12

Chemical Rage

6 11 16


1 13 14 15 17 18

How to win with Alchemist

Alchemist is a very diverse melee carry hero. Chemical Rage lowers his BAT (base attack time) to the lowest number in the game (1.15 compared to 1.7 typical), allowing Alchemist to have the highest attack speed. It is therefore wise to build attack speed items on him as they have a greater effect on a hero with such a low base attack speed value.

Alchemist requires a high level of skill to play successfully. He is a hard carry with no escape mechanism, and abilities that can cause himself more harm than good if used improperly. This is why he currently has the lowest winning percentage of all heroes.

Pros / Cons

Alchemist Pros:

* Successfully carrying with Alchemist is amazingly gratifying
* Highest attack speed potential of all heroes with Chemical Rage
* Never has to go back to the fountain to regenerate; just spam Chemical Rage
* Very durable with core items and level 3 Chemical Rage
* Built-in farming skill Goblin's Greed makes ricing easier
* Losing barracks doesn't stop you from effectively farming lanes
* Acid Spray makes you a great tower defender - it is deceptively strong and can score kills if someone dives your tower early on
* High base Strength and Intelligence (25)
* High movement speed with Chemical Rage on
* Good night vision (1400 instead of typical 800)
* Can commit suicide!

Alchemist Cons:

* Extremely low stat growth
* No real escape mechanism
* Very weak early game
* Unstable Concoction's self-stun can easily become a disaster if used improperly
* Quite weak while not under Chemical Rage
* Can commit suicide!

Items Explanations

I will be spending a lot of time discussing the items you should be getting on Alchemist. He is one the most item-dependent heroes and this is where most Alchemist players go wrong. According to DotaBuff, Alchemist averages 328 Gold/Minute per game. This is not at all bad compared to Alchemist's pitiful winning percentage (currently below 40%). Alchemist's GPM is tied with Riki and Razor and ahead of Spectre, Chaos Knight, Sniper, Outworld Destroyer, Dragon Knight and many other carry heroes. What this shows me is that most Alchemist players don't much have trouble making money (thanks to Goblin's Greed); they just don't know what to buy. With the help of the information in the following section, I hope to guide players to spend their money on items that better suit Alchemist's play style and win more games as a result.

Starting Items:

Cost: 596 gold

1x Tango
1x Quelling Blade
1x Ring of Protection
2x Iron Branch

I like to start out with a Ring of Protection because it helps out Alchemist's low armor and it can be built into Tranquil Boots, which are fantastic for dealing with laning phase harassment. The Quelling Blade is necessary for last hits and the other items are self explanatory. If the opposing team has strong laners, you may want to swap the Iron Branch for more regeneration such as Healing Salve or more Tango.

Lane Phase:

Tranquil Boots are an excellent item for keeping you in the lane. As Alchemist, you never want to stop farming, so any item that helps your farm is a good one. Tranquil Boots can hold you over until level 6 when you can spam Chemical Rage for regeneration.

Soul Ring is a good item to pair up with Tranquil Boots. Use it to spam Acid Spray doe lane dominance. This item is better to get when laning against a melee hero as it will dissuade them from coming near the creeps, providing you with much safer farm.

Orb of Venom is an excellent item to get when you want to be a bit more aggressive in the lane. This item is situational depending on your lane partner and the opposing lane heroes. Pick it up only if there are opportunities for kills; the 12% slow makes a huge difference early game.

Early Game:

1x Mithril Hammer
1x Gloves of Haste
600g Recipe

Maelstrom provides Alchemist with exactly what he needs: Damage, Attack Speed, and a passive effect that helps with farming. Maelstrom has a 25% chance to deal 120 damage to 4 units in a 500 radius. This, along with Acid Spray, is perfect for jungling, and you can start clearing weak and medium strength neutral camps as soon as you complete it. See below for more information on how to clear the jungle effectively with Alchemist.

Maelstrom build into Mjollnir which is the real reason for getting it and the next item we will be buying on Alchemist.

If you are having an easy time farming the lane, you may consider picking up a Hyperstone instead of the Maelstrom, because the passive effect will break the lane equilibrium.

Core items:

Cost: 13700 gold

At the default 328 gold per minute it would take just over 40 minutes to farm your core items. I believe we here on DotaFire are better than the average. Aim to get these items by 35 minutes. 35 minutes into the game, an Anti-Mage will have finished his Manta Style

Think of Mjollnir on Alchemist as Battle Fury on Anti-Mage. This is our farming item, but it also helps us in many other ways. It's the perfect item for Alchemist and should always be your first big purchase, just as Battle Fury with Anti-Mage. We don't get Battle Fury on Alchemist because he does not benefit as much from the regeneration; Chemical Rage will provide enough of that. Mjollnir's synergy with Alchemist is incredible. It synchronizes extremely well with Acid Spray, Goblin's Greed and Chemical Rage.

Mjollnir gives Alchemist 80 IAS (increased attack speed), which as stated before, has a greater effect than on any other hero due to the 1.15 BAT while under level 3 Chemical Rage. Mjollnir's passive, Chain Lightning, has a 25% chance to deal 160 magic damage to 8 targets! With the bonus attack speed granted, this will be proccing very often, and helps dramatically while farming with Goblin's Greed.

However, Mjollnir has yet another effect which synergizes so extremely well with Alchemist. Static Charge, Mjollnir's active ability, places an electric shield around a target unit. The shield lasts 20 seconds and when the shielded unit takes damage, there is a 20% chance to deal 200 magic damage to the source of the damage, along with 200 more damage to two other nearby enemies each. THIS IS THE REAL DEAL! This is a huge amount of damage when you have your Mjollnir rushed early in the game. ALWAYS be spamming this ability. Enemies will not know what hit them during team fights. Use it on yourself while farming, use it before an engagement, use it on allies who are getting targeted down. Smart players will be dissuaded from attacking a charge shielded hero. Ignorant players will be punished. Use this to your advantage! I've saved lives by placing it on allies who were getting chased down, and also gotten kills by those who didn't decide to back off. Once when I had an early Mjollnir, and while being disabled by Shackles from Shadow Shaman, I got a triple kill just from the Static Charge effect!!! I died, but I took three down with me in a situation where had I not been charged they would have all survived. THAT IS HUGE!

Static Charged units can only proc this effect once per second, but with a 20% chance, if you are taking lots of hits of damage you will be putting out good DPS just for being there.

This is why Mjollnir is the perfect item to rush for Alchemist. It provides the stats you need, and it provides a passive attack modifier and active ability that help farming drastically and dominate team fights. It's like Radiance and Battle Fury in one, but with Chemical Rage's BAT reduction it scales even better.

If the opposing team has a Broodmother, Undying, Nature's Prophet, or other hero that can spawn many weak units, prepare to get tons of gold with Goblin's Greed from Chain Lightning procs on masses of units from Spawn Spiderlings, Tombstone and Nature's Call.

Assault Cuirass is another perfect item for Alchemist. It solves his very poor armor (+15 armor), further increases his attack speed by 55 (the goal of this build and in my opinion the best way to build Alchemist), and lowers the armor of nearby enemies by 5, which is a great bonus on top of level 4 Acid Spray's 6 armor reduction. The armor reduction also affects towers and the armor buff and attack speed aura helps the team fights. The only thing about this item is it does not stack with the bonus armor from Vladimir's Offering or other ring auras. I prefer to not waste an inventory slot for Vlad's and have someone else carry it for that reason.

Skull Basher is purchased after Mjollnir and Assault Cuirass. Your attack speed will already strike fear into your enemies, so it is now important to add more damage and a reliable stun. With our attack speed it is reliable. I use my level one Unstable Concoction to stun them for just enough time to get in melee range to start attacking them, in which the Skull Basher takes effect. They've now been stunned for more than enough time to assure a kill.

This item is a solid one built on many melee DPS heroes. Thanks to Goblin's Greed, Alchemist is one of the heroes who can viably upgrade it into the Abyssal Blade; the most expensive item in the game. I do not upgrade Skull Basher until my inventory has already been filled.


Tranquil Boots are the best early game to be paired with a Soul Ring. They help sustain lane phase harassing as well as assisting you in jungling early game.

Phase Boots are the most popular boots; the burst movement speed helps you land Unstable Concoction and they're a great source of cheap bonus attack damage early on

Power Treads give more good attack speed and increased stats

Boots of Travel are great for Alchemist mid-late game because he often has no inventory space to spare for Town Portal Scroll. Boots of Travel allow you to always be farming; teleport to whichever lane is being pushed and quickly clear the waves. If a fight brews on the other side of the map while you are farming you can quickly teleport into it. The +100 MS is a very nice bonus on top of the +60 MS from Chemical Rage and any MS bonuses from items and auras.

No boots:
Sometimes, in rare situations that do happen, you can do fine with no boots thanks to the move speed bonus from Chemical Rage. The situation where you do not buy boots is one where your early game farm was safe enough that you never needed them. If the match is a very passive one where you need to out-farm the opposing carry, you will both be spending all of your time clearing neutrals, so anything to give you the upper hand could help even if that means skipping boots. Another more common (but still rare) situation is to sell off your boots during LATE, LATE game in order to make room for another item. In both scenarios you should have a Manta Style or Sange and Yasha for move speed bonus on top of Chemical Rage. Six inventory slots is the only limiting factor for Alchemist late game, and boots can get in the way of an item that will have a greater effect. There are other situations where you may not need boots, but for how cheap they are and because Alchemist does not have an escape mechanism it is always recommended to buy them.

My personal choice? I usually go straight to Boots of Travel after disassembling Tranquil Boots.

Extended and Situational:

Alchemist is a very diverse hero. No item is unattainable with Goblin's Greed and because of this Alchemist depends on items to counter other heroes rather than skills and abilities. Once you have all your core items it's time to get the item you need for the situation.

* Black King Bar is necessary if the opposing team has lots of good magic abilities such as Tidehunter's Ravage, Leshrac's Pulse Nova, Dark Seer's Wall of Replica, Sand King's Epicenter etc. You will know if you need this item.
* Blade Mail is a handy item against glass cannons because Alchemist has lots of HP
* Butterfly gives more attack speed, damage, evasion, and armor all useful to Alchemist
* Daedalus is a good item if you are in need of more DPS
* Desolator further reduces your enemy's armor, on top of Acid Spray and Assault Cuirass; also works on towers on top of Assault Cuirass
* Divine Rapier a very powerful item. I once lost a game I should have won when I purchased a bunch of these and ended up feeding them. It's better when you're losing and need something to turn the game around; it can help you back door with Desolator and Assault Cuirass to do massive damage against structures.
* Eye of Skadi is a good well-rounded item that lowers the DPS of your target and increases your already amazing chasing power
* Hand of Midas is an excellent item that is rushed to help out with your farm. The bonus attack speed is icing on the cake
* Heart of Tarrasque gives more HP and regeneration. There's usually a better item to get
* Heaven's Halberd is an excellent item for disabling right click DPS heroes as well as giving evasion to survive against them, perhaps forcing them to purchase an MKB
* Manta Style is a great item, with MS and IAS boosts and giving illusions that every carry hero loves
* Monkey King Bar if the enemy has evasion ( Brewmaster, Phantom Assassin, Butterfly) or Riki's Smoke Screen.
* Sange and Yasha gives good stats, a good MS + AS slow that will proc a lot with your high attack speed, and valuable increased move speed

Don't get these!

Armlet of Mordiggian
This item is popular to get early game on heroes with lifesteal and on Alchemist because of Chemical Rage's regeneration. This item will only get in the way of Mjollnir and it encourages you to participate in early fights instead of farming. Don't pick this up unless you are trying out a ganking-oriented Alchemist (situational build based on team composition).

Battle Fury
This item is popular to get on melee carries and is well known for its passive effect which offers incredible aid in farming. It's popular to rush this item on Anti-Mage, Bounty Hunter, Faceless Void, Juggernaut, Kunkka, Phantom Assassin etc. These heroes all greatly benefit from the regeneration that Battle Fury offers, however Alchemist's Chemical Rage takes care of that for him. As stated above, Mjollnir synergizes much better with Alchemist as it gives more relevant stats and useful abilities for farming and team fights.

Blink Dagger
Some people like to get this item to help land 4 second stuns with Unstable Concoction. This small use is not worth the cost or inventory slot and it will set you back on the items you really need. If you are attempting a ganking build go for a Shadow Blade instead, which better synergizes with Alchemist.

Linken's Sphere
I've seen Alchemist players going for this item in an attempt for more survivability and to hopefully block Alchemist from stunning himself with Unstable Concoction. Unfortunately, Linken's does not block the self-stun. And as with Battle Fury Alchemist does not benefit from the regeneration bonuses which Chemical Rage takes care of. There are much better items to invest in.

Some people think this belongs on Alchemist. It doesn't.

This item is extremely popular to rush on Alchemist. HYHY of Zenith rushed it during a preliminary match at The International 2. However for just 200 gold more, Mjollnir is a better item in every way. It's much easier to build, with extremely cheap recipe costs and good prerequisite items as opposed to a 3800 gold Sacred Relic and 1350 gold recipe. Many, many Alchemist players are determined to get their <15 minute Radiance, and when they start dying before they can afford the Sacred Relic, they never give up. Clearly a disaster. Even if you can get the <15 minute Radiance, there's nothing it will do that a Mjollnir wouldn't do better, and it becomes more and more useless as the game goes on, whereas the IAS from Mjollnir scales better on Alchemist than on any other hero thanks to his 1.15 BAT while in level 3 Chemical Rage form.

Vladmir's Offering
This is not a bad item at all but its armor bonus does not stack with Assault Cuirass. Furthermore, Chemical Rage provides excellent health regeneration during fights. You wouldn't be purchasing this until after your core is completed and by then it's not worth the inventory slot. It's good to have this item on the team if there are several melee heroes and because of its cheap cost it's perfect for someone else who isn't getting as much farm as you to purchase it. Simply put: save your inventory space for bigger items and have someone else carry this item if at all.

Creeping / Jungling

Lane Techniques:

First off, never creep block the long lane / safe lane (Radiant Bottom, Dire Top). I see this way far too often, and it is entirely counterproductive. If the opposing team does not creep block their suicide/short lane, then their creeps will walk straight into tower range, and the tower will hit their creeps, pushing the lane and making it harder to last hit them.

While farming the lane, start attacking your creeps when their HP falls below 50%. To make this easier, enable console by entering "-console" into the launch options for Dota 2 under Steam. Then type this line into the console:
dota_force_right_click_attack 1

This way, all the last hits you attempt on the enemy creeps will be neutralized and the lane equilibrium will be maintained. It is very important to keep the lane as close to your tower as possible when laning Alchemist. If there's an enemy hero nearby make sure to attempt a last hit on the creeps to deny XP. If the enemy hero is ranged more XP will be denied than if he is melee. Ranged heroes earn only 18 XP from a denied creep if they are alone whereas melee earn 36 if they're alone.

Jungle Techniques:

In the map above the camps marked with a green dot are weak camps, yellow dots are medium camps, red dots are strong camps and blue dots are Ancient camps.

As Alchemist, Acid Spray and Goblin's Greed are two abilities made for jungling. Acid Spray deals good damage over time as well as lowering the creep's armor, granting pure damage at level 4 on all creeps except the Wildkin Warchief (7 armor) and Granite Golem ancient (8 armor). Goblin's Greed gives a lot of bonus gold for creeps that die easily and would otherwise give next to nothing.

As soon as you've obtained a Maelstrom you can start clearing the weak and medium strength camps.

In the map above, the large green spots mark where you can use Acid Spray to cover two camps at once. Use your quelling blade to cut a tree so you and the neutrals don't have to run around. This is the most effective way to clear the jungle.

A level 4 Acid Spray will clear the weak neutral camp entirely on its own.

Hero Synergies and Counters

Good teammates for Alchemist:

Babysitters / Lane support:

Stunners / disablers:

Heroes who feast on Alchemist:

Lifestealer excels at taking down durable heroes, and Alchemist is durable. Your high HP regen will only feed him more life. He also has magic immunity ( Rage) which he can cast to prevent you from stunning him, or even worse: stunning yourself. A very good ranged slow ( Open Wounds) only makes it easier for him to kill you. The one bright side is Lifestealer has low armor, so if you and an ally can chain stun him, Acid Spray makes dealing with him easier.
Counters: Assault Cuirass, Force Staff, Town Portal Scroll

Necrolyte is another hero who wipes out durables. His Heartstopper Aura will eat away at your health while he's nearby (forcing you to use Chemical Rage at inopportune times), and Reaper's Scythe will finish the job. If your team can focus him down he shouldn't be too much trouble.
Counters: Silences, Nukes and Disables

Alchemist is a melee hero and Ancient Apparition can cast all his spells from across long ranges. Ice Vortex can prevent you from reaching enemy heroes while also opening up a weakness to magic damage. Being chain stunned early game with Cold Feet is likely a death because worst of all, Chemical Rage is made almost useless by Ice Blast, which negates all regeneration.
Counters: Silencers

Ursa is very powerful in 1 vs 1 encounters against most heroes. Alchemist's low armor and lack of escape mechanism makes him particularly easy prey. Always avoid being out of position - never let Ursa get in melee range without a Blade Mail.
Counters: Slows, disables, Force Staff, Blade Mail

Heroes Alchemist feasts on:

Broodmother creates a massive army of weak Spiderlings and Spiderites with Spawn Spiderlings. Using your Acid Spray, Mjollnir and Goblin's Greed, they will die extremely fast and feed you TONS of gold. She has pretty low armor for an agility hero and she is also weak against Unstable Concoction, which can help shut down her ultimate Insatiable Hunger.
Counters: True sight - Sentry Ward, Dust of Appearance, Gem of True Sight

Undying has abysmal agility growth and therefore armor. Acid Spray and Assault Cuirass will help you take out what little armor he has. Drop an Acid Spray over the are where he uses Tombstone and prepare to be fed over 30 gold apiece per zombie! They die in 1 hit and Goblin's Greed will feed you hundreds of gold every time he uses Tombstone.

Heroes with low armor:

Doom Bringer Etc.

last words

This is my first guide! There are so many great guides that I felt I never had anything to add. Alchemist is my most played and most successful hero. I never looked up guides for him since I already knew how to play him. When I did look at the guides I saw most of them are as bad as his winning percentage, and none of them recommend stockpiling +IAS items to take advantage of his 1.15 BAT. Yesterday I noticed I had a 13 game winning streak with Alchemist, with a 23-6 record over the last two months and a 36-16 record with this Mjollnir -> Assault Cuirass build. So clearly what I've been doing has been working, maybe I can help other people do well with Alchemist! With his "biggest loser" stigma I just had to write a guide showing it is possible to play him successfully! Seeing other players' reactions - both on your team by players getting carried by an Alchemist - and the other team by players getting stomped by one - is one of the most gratifying things in Dota 2 for me.

some tips and tricks:

Use Soul Ring + Unstable Concoction to deny yourself if you need to!
Intentionally letting a level 1 Unstable Concoction backfire can trick the enemy into think you're about to stun yourself for 4 seconds, luring them to you!
Alchemist gains about the same amount of gold from mega creeps with a maxed goblin's greed bonus as other heroes get from normal creeps. Don't give up if you've lost your barracks!

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