My Alchemists questionnaire received 56 responses. This is the most responses I’ve received for all of my questionnaires. A huge thank you to the Alchemist community!
The Alchemist’s Guild at this time feels at a nice spot within the meta. Longshanks shows a winning chance of 48.5%, with Smoke being the stronger captain at 50.2%. I feel that Alchemists are in a good position balance-wise, but could have some small changes to perfect this even further.
First off, I asked the question “What is this Guild’s main playstyle?”, with the following options: take-out centric, goal centric, opportunistic, and ‘based on captain choice’. While the first two are quite obvious, “opportunistic” can be interpreted quite ambiguously. For me, this choice meant that the Guild’s win condition is mostly based on which team their enemy is. Reactionary play, if you will.
The Alchemist community can be seen to be hugely agreed, that their team has quite the reactionary play, but that their win condition is mostly based on which captain they play. This is something I already expected, knowing that the Alchemists play the control game pretty well, and can either go for goals or take-outs. What I didn’t expect, was the huge response for ‘captain dependence’, based on the results of the next question that I asked.
Smoke has a HUGE backing, but this is not based on the fact that he’s a very strong captain. It’s mostly that Midas is less strong, and Smoke can also play for the goal game and so is more adaptable. Looking at Longshanks, Smoke is at a nice 50.2% win chance, while Midas is hanging at the bottom of the leaderboard with only 41.7%. These results and statistics make it hard for me to understand why nearly 50% of the Alchemist community chose ‘captain dependence’ as their playstyle. It seems that nearly everybody only plays Smoke anyway.
The question here is “what part of the Alchemists has to receive a buff to get Midas up to snuff, but not further empower Smoke?” This is not an easy question to answer, as basically making Midas overpowered shouldn’t be the solution. I myself feel that Midas has the problem of not having the option to decently go for take-outs (except maybe for a ring-out strategy), while Smoke does have the option to just play for the 2-2, or maybe even the 3-0, due to her ability to go for long-range, non-linear goal runs, and having access to other, very good scoring squaddies. What might help, is toning down Smoke’s ability to go goal runs on her own, while making sure that Midas is up there with the likes of Shark, Brisket and Corbelli in goal runs. What are your thoughts?
A less important question, but still valuable when checking balance, was checking which Mascot was valued the highest. As it turns out, just as I expected, Flask came out the victor. Why did I expect this?
Flask is just very much more all-round, with his influence efficient trait Beaker Keeper, and his free Smoke Cloud for Smoke to jump to. Naja has her uses as a ball killer due to 2” Unpredictable Movement and being a 5+, and has some niche uses for Hypnosis, but that means she mainly only sees play in match-ups where the Alchemist can get outscored.
While I feel that this is not ideal balance-wise, I can see the reasoning for designing a more all-round versus a niche mascot choice. This makes choosing a 12 hard, which is exactly what it should be.
The most valuable squaddie was where I hoped to see lots of variation in choices. That would mean that most squaddies are seen as ‘valuable’. Getting perfect balance wouldn’t be possible, but I’m very much happy with how this turned out.
While Crucible is voted as the actual most valuable squaddie (Great Balls of Fire is just amazing), Katalyst, Venin, Calculus and Mercury all have decent turnouts, and there’s even some votes for Vitriol and veteran Calculus. I’m actually only missing two squaddies; Compound and veteran Katalyst. I’m expecting to see those two come up in my ‘least valuable’ question later.
The Alchemists Guild’s squaddies seem to be quite well balanced, having some strong and some weaker picks, but overall being seen as valuable nonetheless. Again, great design when the hoped outcome is having a hard time upon deciding a tournament roster.
As expected, veteran Katalyst has the majority of the vote for being the least valuable squaddie.
This can mostly be attributed to him being seen as a major liability, while not having the desired killing output to make up for it. For being a 2+/1 with only 22 health points, I agree that his damage output is quite lacking. When considering a 4+/1 opponent with the burning or poison condition, his three attacks would net him 3×2 momentous damage + 3x Burst of Fumes, resulting in only 9 damage; maybe 9 on his target and 3 on other targets within 2”. When charging, he’ll only do 8. Sure, his damage ceiling is much higher than other options within the Guild, but the actual only setup model he has to increase his dice probability is Compound, who will only reach his KD on a charge.
It’s easy to see why Venin (11) and Katalyst (10+KD) are chosen as mainstay melee damage dealers, as their damage output is a tad higher, while being (much) less prone to being bullied or taken out as easily.
Other votes are for veteran Calculus, Venin, Vitriol and even Crucible; all also having been chosen as ‘most valuable’ squaddie, which makes sense in knowing that everybody plays their Guild differently.
Still, veteran Calculus has more ‘least’ votes than ‘most’ votes. I think this is because of the ‘Spigot-syndrome’; she’s called Calculus, of which the original version is considered a definite mainstay for the team. The veteran version is more of a niche pick, when considering a 3-0 list.
What’s very much amazing to me is Compound’s total amount of 0 votes in both questions. I think this is mostly due to him being a full-on niche model; you’ll not play him in every match-up, but when you play him, he’ll be very important to succeed in carrying out your gameplan.
Lastly, I asked for people to show me who they’d include in their tournament rosters. It very much seems that people just leave veteran Katalyst at home and bring all of the other Alchemists along, while there are some that see some value in some of the Union picks, but these seem mostly to be ‘snowflakes’, with even less picks than veteran Katalyst.
As expected, the Alchemists are actually in quite a nice place at the moment, but there are some points of interest. These points are the Smoke vs Midas disparity, and the lack of positive impact veteran Katalyst has on a game. I feel that these are the two points that’ll have to be addressed for the season 4.2 patch in Q3-Q4 of this year, but the third captain and Free Cities Draft rookie might be able to shake things up even further. We’ll see…
I hope to see more room for debate when looking into other Guilds, as the Alchemists seem to be very much agreed on what the state of their team is at this moment. As they actually only have 13 models to choose from, the choice for a 12 is therefore much easier.