Underrated Strategies: Goblin Alchemist

05.12.17 | RehcraM 903

"Bob and weave, you fool!"

With a distinct character, blazing of flavour and with hilarious quotes (that among other things features the ever so smooth Marvin Gaye), the Goblin Alchemist is easily my favorite Warcraft 3 character. Unfortunately, we rarely see the peculiar Goblin/Ogre duo in competitive play. This leads many to believe that Alchemist is a lousy hero choice with no use. However, I think there is more than meets the eye with this lovely brute.

Overview of Goblin Alchemist

From the official lore of Goblin Alchemist:

In this unconventional pairing, a fanatical Goblin master rides on the back of his Ogre slave. Despite undergoing a series of chemical treatments to enforce compliance, the Ogre sometimes shows signs of independence and even outright defiance. However, these outbursts are swiftly quelled by the Goblin master, who can be like his concoctions -- harsh and volatile. Though personal differences may at times distract this duo, when it comes to biological warfare and raw, brute strength, the Goblin Alchemist and his Ogre slave are truly at the top of their game!

Before going into the playstyle, I think a reminder of the spell-kit is in order, since we see the character so infrequently.

Healing spray

Sprays waves of healing mist that heals units in a target area.

Mana

AoE

Effect

75

25

3 waves at 40/55/70 HP healed each

 

 

Chemical Rage

The Alchemist causes his Ogre to enter a chemically induced rage, increasing movement rate by 50% and increasing attack rate.

 

Duration

Cooldown

Mana

Effect

15 sec.

30 sec.

25

25/75/125% attack rate increase

 

 

Acid Bomb

Hurls a flask of acid at a target. The flask breaks upon impact, splashing a powerful acid on nearby hostile units. Decreases armor; deals slightly less damage over time to nearby targets

Duration

Cooldown

Mana

AoE

Effect

15 sec.

12 sec.

75

20

5/10/15 max dmg/sec., armor -3/-4/-5

 

 

Transmute (Ultimate)

ls a target unit instantly, transforming it into gold which is added to your available gold! Transmute cannot be used on Heroes, or creeps above level 5.

Duration

Cooldown

Mana

Range

Effect

Instant

45 sec.

150

65

Kills Unit, Gains Gold Depending on Unit

 

Playstyle

First off, I would never recommend anyone to pick a hero solely because of their ultimate, but I must comment on how ridiculously powerful this one is. I would almost rate it as high af Metamorphosis. If you manage to achieve chrysopoeia and get the Midas touch in a drawn out game, you can get an economical lead while chipping away on your foes army.

Alchemist has the highest base damage with a staggering average of 41,5 at level 1! Granted, his attack rate is rather bad, though, which is where Chemical Rage finds its use. It is also worth noting that the Goblin Alchemist can attack both ground and air units without needing an orb effect.

Picking Goblin Alchemist as a counter

It is almost impossible not to love Yumiko. Time and time again we see him shaking up the meta; choosing Bloodmage as first hero, skipping barracks, etc. In recent times we have also seen him use his Goblin Alchemist to counter Pandaren Brewmaster.


                                Moon vs. Yumiko - NSL 4 LB Round 1

 

The Healing Spray can completely annul any attempt of AoE damage against your army. This includes Breath of Fire, Fan of Knives, Blizzard and several other spells that can be annoying to deal with.

Acid Bomb shines the most when your opponent masses a ton of small pesky minions, like ghouls or archers. Applying a damage over time effect on them as well as reducing their armor make them drop like flies. Even late-game, where the damage might not be as strong, armor reduction is still very impactful.

Juggernaut Alchemist

The much riskier (and rarer) alternative is going full on beast-mode, aiming to get the lvl3 Chemical Rage as fast as possible by picking Alchemist as the first hero. One could argue that this is a strategy, where the ogre takes complete control and turn Goblin Alchemist into Ogre Juggernaut.

You may have noticed I have not touched upon the Achilles' heel of the hero, which namely is his extremely low armor (being only 1 until level 5). Goblin Alchemist dies quickly if your opponent focuses him. But will your average ladder opponent think of going on the aggressive with an Ogre on steroids running after them, shredding everything on his way to pieces? I am doubtful.

To mitigate the weaknesses of Alchemist, items such as ring of protection, slippers of agility, etc. can be of great use.

Conclusion

I do not want to be in denial: The Alchemist has some glaring short-comings. He does, however, definitely also have some unseen potential, mainly as a counter to AoE. The biggest upside about Goblin Alchemist is that you in my experience always have a blast, whether you win or lose, when you make the opponent taste your fiery potions!

Comments

This post has actually inspired me to start with Alchemist as first hero as an orc! :D “For the highest bidder!”
I'm very happy to hear that. Hope you'll find him as entertaining as I do! I have actually found him quite usefull against Orc players (playing Human myself). Good luck playing him as Orc!
Great article! Once I get my Firelord stuff figured out I might try moving onto the Alchemist, haha. There's gotta be a place for him somewhere!
Thanks, man! Your Firelord experimentation is fun to follow. Let me know if you find a good niché for Alchemist!
Great hero in FFA
Alchemist is such an interesting hero. Having the highest average damage, while at the same time having the lowest armor. Also, the only hero with a melee attack that can attack air. Great article, looking forward to more!
A L C H I B O Y S
How would you play this hero on every race? I would like to hear your thoughts. And once more thing to add. What stats / spells would you change to make him more playable?
Human: T2 rifle/caster push with Paladin. Usually I make Paladin second, but I have been suggested making Paladin first and then Alchemist. That way the duo works a lot like DK/Lich (First hero for healing/sustain and the second for damage, being protected by the first hero). I've found that t2 push especially works well against Orc. Alchemist can also be used effectively as a reactive play for humans, since people love to do Panda/Warden harass on Human players. Night Elf: With Night Elf you can (just like with Human) creep big camps early on. Alchemist first needs to be levelled up fast to work as the bruiser he is. Night Elf can also heal him up with moon wells, which is a big deal. This is a big issue for Human, since Alchemist only has 1 armor from level 1-4, so he will inevitably loose health.
Orc: I won't recommend Alchemist first for Orc; BM is simply too good not to use. If you play against mass air (human with gryph/hawk for example), he can work as a third hero, since he can lower their armor from level 1 and attack air naturally with his attacks. Undead: They cannot creep big camps nor heal him, so I wouldn't recommend Alchemist first for Undead. We see that Undead is very flexible when it comes to their third hero, so I could see him being used to utilize his AoE healing if you've got a lot of fiends/abominations. UD is probably the hardest race to make him work in. I'd love to give him more armor. It's not the most fun change, but it is what he is in dire need of.
As you said, Alchemist potential could rely on healing spray... I don't understand why healing spray heals enemy targets too. They should fix this and upgrade his armor as a tank hero early on. Btw, are you going to write some news about the map making contest? :) I would love to see those maps in a tournament or even in ladders
Hey Lancer, B2W didn't really make a big announcement but they said they will have a tournament with these maps. Here's a link to the tweet https://twitter.com/Back2Warcraft/status/939049497623252992
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