Alchemist Artificer 5e Guide

Published on June 5, 2023, Last modified on July 14th, 2023

Master the craft of alchemy with our comprehensive Alchemist 5e build guide for D&D’s artificer!

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What is the Alchemist Artificer?

The Alchemist takes the artificer’s propensity for creating and infusing magic items and adds another layer to it: magical elixirs. Alchemists are experts at creating potent elixirs, which allow them to imbue properties upon themselves and their party members.

They are also masters of elemental and healing magic, gaining multiple features that increase the potency of their support and damage spells.


  • Versatility: Alchemist artificers are the masters of flexibility. Thanks to their Experimental Elixir, Restorative Reagents, and Alchemical Savant features, they excel in both supportive and offensive roles.
  • Expertise with magic items: As an artificer subclass, they have access to infusions, allowing them to craft and modify magical items, on top of the Experimental Elixirs that they can brew.


  • Lack of specialization: While Alchemist artificers are versatile, they may not be as strong as classes that focus on one specific aspect, such as healing or damage output.
  • Dependency on preparation: As an Alchemist, preparation is crucial because you can only create potions without having to expend spell slots after a long rest. Also, seeing as the effect of your Experimental Elixir is decided beforehand, you’ll need to figure out what you’re planning on doing with it.
  • Random class feature: Because you can’t dictate the results of your Experimental Elixir roll, you might be left with something that doesn’t apply to what you’ll be getting up to during your adventuring day.
  • Half caster: Depending on the party composition, Alchemist artificers will have to strike a balance between using their resources for healing and damage. If they are the dedicated healer, they’ll use a lot of their limited spell slots keeping their party members alive.

Alchemist 5e Guide Rating Scheme

This guide is meant as a deep dive into the Alchemist Artificer subclass. For a full overview of the Artificer class, check out our artificer 5e Guide.

For our full class guides, we use the following color rating scheme:

  • Red isn’t going to contribute to the effectiveness of your character build at all
  • Orange Situationally good, but a below-average option otherwise
  • Green is a good option
  • Blue is a great option, you should strongly consider this option for your character
  • Sky Blue is an amazing option. If you do not take this option your character would not be optimized

For our subclass guides, we focus mainly on the Blue and Sky Blue options, because the other options are discussed in the parent guide or other subclass guides. We also discuss options that normally would be good for a typical build, but underperform when used in a subclass.

Alchemist Artificer Features

5e Alchemists  unlock several unique class features as they level up, which accentuate their abilities in concocting and wielding alchemical brews. Here are the key features you’ll gain:

3rd Level

Tool Proficency: You gain proficiency with alchemists supplies. Unfortunately, the most useful thing you can do with alchemist supplies is your brew elixirs and use it as a spell focus, so this proficiency doesn’t mean much beyond enabling subclass features.

Alchemist Spells: At 3rd level, the Alchemist Artificer gains access to a unique list of spells that reflects their focus on elemental and healing spells.

  • 3rd level
    • Healing Word: Great option even if you have a dedicated healer as it can be useful for resetting death saving throws from a distance and only requires a bonus action.
    • Ray of Sickness: Damage isn’t great but Poisoned is a nasty condition. Unfortunately, the save targets CON, a common proficient saving throw, and immunity to the Poisoned condition is also fairly common. Don’t try to cast this at Constructs, Fiends, or Undead at the very least.
  • 5th level
    • Flaming Sphere: Not the best damage, but AoE and the ability to move the sphere as a bonus action are useful if up against a horde of weak enemies.
    • Melf’s Acid Arrow: If you compare this with magic missile, this spell is just not worth it for a 2nd-level spell slot. A 2nd-level magic missile will do guaranteed 4d4 + 4 which is the same damage that melf’s acid arrow does after a successful attack roll and a full turn. Magic missile also has a better range, is better for targetting casters who are concentrating, and a less resisted damage type. Pass this spell all day long.
  • 9th level
    • Gaseous Form: This spell can honestly vie for the top “infiltration” spell over invisibility. Being able to fly and move through tiny cracks as an inconspicuous cloud can make getting into any heavily defended fortress a cinch.
    • Mass Healing Word: Like regular healing word this is used as a bonus action. This, combined with its low healing potential, means its primary use is also to revive downed teammates, but having multiple downed allies at once is quite rare.
  • 13th level
    • Blight: 4th-level single-target spell that targets a common save. It barely out damages 4th-level fireball and flat-out doesn’t work on some common creature types. SKIP.
    • Death Ward: Has an 8-hour duration and doesn’t require concentration so it could be a good spell to cast pre-emptively if you have the ability to regain spell slots during a short rest.
  • 17th level
    • Cloudkill: Not great in an open field but if you can get the drop on an enemy or contain a group of enemies within the spell it can be very effective because it deals damage turn after turn, as long as the caster keeps concentration. It can also be effective to block off a vantage point used by ranged enemies.
    • Raise Dead: A more powerful resurrection spell than revivify because it has a 10 day time span and can cure Poisons and Diseases. Unfortunately, if you resurrectee is missing their head or other body parts, you’ll have to wait until you get resurrection.

Experimental Elixir: Starting at 3rd level, you can create a experimental elixir whenever you finish a long rest. These elixirs produce a variety of effects when consumed, ranging from healing, granting a bonus to AC or speed, or even letting the consumer fly. Which effect you’ll produce is random, and as you level up, you can make up to three of them at the end of a long rest. These elixirs are all solid and this feature would have been sky blue if you could choose the effect.

One interesting part of this feature is you can use a spell slot to create more elixirs as an action. This can be useful when you need more for an upcoming adventuring day, but seeing as they are randomly determined, it’s not usually the best use of your action in combat. Also, seeing as the effects only last to the end of your next long rest, you can’t spam these potions before a rest to have more the next day.

5th Level

Alchemical Savant: At 5th level, you gain the ability to add your Intelligence modifier to any spell you cast that uses alchemical tools as its spellcasting focus that deals acid, fire, necrotic, or poison damage or heals the target. Seeing as this criteria reflect a wide variety of your spells, this is essentially a +5 to any of your damage spells or heals. This is an amazing pick up for your fire bolt which could easily be doing 2d10 + 4 each turn by this point.

9th Level

Restorative Reagents: Upon reaching 9th level, your alchemical prowess lets you bolster healing and resilience. Whenever a creature drinks one of your experimental elixirs, they gain temporary hit points 2d6 + your Intelligence modifier, and you can cast lesser restoration for free a number of times equal to your Intelligence modifier.

Turning all of your elixirs into buffed healing potions is a great way to keep them relevant throughout the campaign. As they average out to about 12 hit points of healing and you can create two potions to hand out, it can definitely take a bit of the burden of healing off you or other support casters in your party. Free lesser restoration is always worthwhile to have stocked and will certainly be of use in higher tier encounters.

15th Level

Chemical Mastery: At 15th level, you gain resistance to acid and poison damage, and immunity to the poisoned condition. More importantly, you can now cast greater restoration or heal without expending a spell slot. Heal in particular is amazing in this case, because artificers don’t normally get access to spell slots higher than 5th level.

The Basics of Playing an Alchemist Artificer

Playing an Alchemist artificer is a fun, non-linear build that combines strategic thinking, careful preparation, and a creative approach to problem-solving. Here’s an in-depth look at the essentials of playing this class:

Role in the Party

Alchemist artificers are fundamentally versatile, capable of filling several roles in an adventuring party. With their potent healing capabilities, they can serve as the primary healers, keeping the party in top fighting condition. Simultaneously, their buffed elemental spells and infused weapons can let them unleash some potent damage when required.

Preparation and Tactics

One crucial aspect of playing an Alchemist artificer effectively lies in preparation. Before each day, carefully consider the spells and infusions you wish to prepare. Think about the challenges you may encounter and the ways your character can address them. It’s always a good idea to maintain a balance of healing, damage, and utility spells to respond to diverse situations.

During combat, remember that the Alchemist artificer is not typically a front-line class. Even though you’ll have access to medium armor and shields, you’ll want to stay back from the heat of battle, supporting your allies with healing and buffs while hindering your enemies with your damage spells.

Alchemist Artificer Playstyles

Given the versatility of the Alchemist artificer, a couple different playstyles can be considered:

Supportive Healer: One of the most common playstyles for Alchemist artificers is as a primary support and healer. With access to healing spells and the ability to create healing elixirs, you can keep your allies in the fight for longer. The Alchemical Savant and Restorative Reagents features enhance your healing capabilities, making it so you don’t have to rely solely on your limited spell slots for healing. Beyond just healing, this playstyle also includes using your abilities to bolster your allies, such as by using your infusions to enhance their equipment or casting buff spells like aid, enhance ability, and haste.

Alchemical Grenadier: This playstyle emphasizes using your alchemical abilities to deal damage from a distance. You can use your Experimental Elixirs on yourself to give you an edge in combat, while damage staple spells like fire bolt, ray of sickness, and heat metal get buffed by Alchemical Savant. If you’re really wanting to lean into damage, consider taking the Elemental Adept feat to boost your element of choice’s damage (with the exception of necrotic and poison, unfortunately).

Ability Scores

Alchemist artificers gain Ability Score Increases (ASI) at 4th, 8th, 12th, 16th, and 19th level. Because their class and subclass features rely on INT, they will want to pump this first.

  • Intelligence: As an artificer, your spellcasting ability is Intelligence. It determines the power of your spells, the number of spells you can prepare each day, the saving throw DCs for your artificer spells, and your Flash of Genius feature. It also boosts the benefits of several Alchemist subclass features, such as Alchemical Savant. Therefore, Intelligence should be your highest priority.
  • Constitution: Constitution is important for all classes due to it determining your hit points. This is especially important if you’re the party’s dedicated healer, as you’ll need to be able to stay on your feet during the fight. Additionally, Constitution helps with concentration checks for maintaining spells.
  • Dexterity: Dexterity impacts your Armor Class, your initiative in combat, Dexterity saving throws, and is the key ability for several useful skills. While not as crucial as Intelligence or Constitution, a good Dexterity score can be very beneficial for an Alchemist artificer.
  • Wisdom: Wisdom is used for several important saving throws and skills. While it’s not a primary ability for artificers, having a decent Wisdom score can still be beneficial.
  • Charisma and Strength: These abilities are generally of lower priority for Alchemist artificers, unless you have specific multiclassing considerations.

Best Races for Alchemist Artificers 5e

Standard Races

If you’re using the Player’s Handbook to create your Alchemist artificer, consider the following options:


  • High: A +2 bonus to Dexterity and a +1 to Intelligence cater to artificer's primary needs. The bonus cantrip and extra language also add to their versatility.


  • Rock: Perfect ASIs, darkvision, and the Artificer’s Lore and Tinker are almost purpose made for an artificer.
  • Forest: The +2 to Intelligence is great and the +1 to Dexterity can help your AC. Plus, you get a free useful cantrip.

Tiefling: Tieflings get a +1 to Intelligence and +2 to Charisma. Their Infernal Legacy trait provides some useful spellcasting to help with the artificer's limited casting, and their resistance to fire damage is a nice perk.

Non-Standard Races

If you’re looking for more options for your Alchemist artificer outside of the standard ones offered in the Player’s Handbook, or if you’re using the Customize Your Origins optional rule from Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything, here are some solid options:

Aarakocra: Seeing as the updated aarakocra’s ASI array can be whatever you want, this option is much more attractive over the original aarakocra. 1st level flight is the main reason you’d be going with an aarakocra but doesn’t change the fact that you’re giving up your medium armor for evasion + movement options.

Astral ElfSacred flame and misty step are both great spells to add to your repertoire, as is the extra skill/tool proficiency.

Eladrin: Artificer’s don’t normally get misty step, so this is a solid baseline improvement.

Fire Genasi: Fire genasi provide artificers a great damage resistance and a couple solid offensive spells normally not on the artificers spell list, which makes a solid start for just about any artificer build.

Hobgoblins: A +2 to Constitution and a +1 to Intelligence align with an Alchemist Artificer’s key abilities. Their “Saving Face” feature can be beneficial in clutch situations.

Vedalken: Artificers are happy as long as they see a +2 INT bonus. Vedalken Dispassion helps when fighting other spellcasters, and Tireless Protection offers you the chance to get some skill or tool proficiencies you may not normally have access to.

Warforged: Warforged receive a +2 to Constitution and a +1 to a stat of choice. Their resilience and Integrated Protection feature are handy for any Artificer.

Yuan-ti Pureblood: +2 INT would of course be better here, but Magic Resistance is just so good that +1 will do. Once you hit 7th level, you can add your INT modifier to any saving throw with the Flash of Genius trait, ensuring that you will hardly ever succumb to negative magical effects.

Best Backgrounds for Alchemist Artificers

Seeing as the artificer’s skill list is lacking some important options like Stealth or social skills, choosing your background is a great time to fill these gaps:

  • Charlatan: Proficiency with Deception and Sleight of Hand, as well as  forgery and disguise kits, will add a lot of tricksy utility to your Alchemist artificer.
  • Criminal: Proficiency with Stealth and Deception can help your ability to sneak around and lie, which can further extend the Alchemist artificer’s usefulness. Proficiency with thieves’ tools is a big plus because it allows you to pick locks if you’re lacking for a rogue.
  • Guild Artisan/Guild Merchant: Both of these are flavorful pickups, provide some good skill proficiencies, and useful tool proficiencies.
  • Knight/Noble: History is a decent INT skill, and Persuasion is a great social skill for when you want to be the face of the party.
  • Urchin: Sleight of Hand, Stealth, disguise kits, and thieves’ tools are all solid proficiencies that will easily pay off in a typical campaign.

Best Spells for Alchemist Artificers 5e

We cover all of the artificer’s spells over at our artificer guide. The Alchemist subclass’ main change to these spells is damage spells that do acid, posion, necrotic, or fire—or healing spells if you’re going that route—are going to be a higher priority when you get Alchemical Savant at 5th level.

We already discussed the spells you get at 3rd level as part of your Alchemist Spells, but here are some spells you’re going to want to keep an eye on as you prepare for your day:


  • Acid Splash: If you can hit two creatures with this, it can end up doing more damage than firebolt, especially once you get access to Alchemical Savant.
  • Fire Bolt: Your go-to damage cantrip. With Alchemical Savant this will be outputting great damage.

1st level

  • Cure Wounds: You already get access to healing through healing word and your elixirs, so only pick this up if you're going to be the party's dedicated healer.

2nd level

  • Heat Metal: Amazing single target damage (as long as that target is wearing metal). Seeing as there's no save and you get boosted damage through Alchemical Savant, this will be potent turn-after-turn damage.

Best Feats for Alchemist Artificers 5e

  • Elemental Adept: Because Alchemical Savant can net you +5 to elemental damage spells, fire bolt or acid splash will likely be your bread and butter. Fire is probably the better route to go, because you also get access to heat metal and flaming sphere.
  • Fey Touched: An amazing half-feat that allows you to pump your INT and get a free cast of misty step once per long rest. For the 1st-level spell, hex is probably your best bet as it provides a debuff on top of added damage.
  • Shadow Touched: A free casting of invisibility and picking up a damage spell like that works with your Alchemical Savant feature, like inflict wounds, can help your Alchemist artificer diversify.
  • Resilient: Providing +1 CON can help with boosting your hit points because of your lackluster hit dice. Proficiency in CON saving throws will help with maintaining concentration on your spells.
  • War Caster: You don't need this for the somatic components ability and likely won't be making a ton of Opportunity Attacks. That said, the advantage on CON saves to maintain concentration will go a long way to help keep your spells up when you get hit.

Multiclass Options for Alchemist Artificer

Depending on your preferred playstyle, there are a couple interesting multiclass options for the Alchemist artificer. Unfortunately, the biggest downside here is Alchemical Savant only works with spells cast using your alchemist’s tools, so any spells you pickup from these other classes won’t work.

That said, there are some options that can net you spells that will be useful in other situations and class features that are synergistic.


Dipping one level into wizard gives you some spells that you can cast with your INT. The most common pickup here is find familiar. Dipping two levels into wizard gives you a subclass of your choice. Divination gives you Portent, making it by far the best option.


A one-level dip gives you a domain and some additional spells. This is really best for the healer/support playstyle as you could dip into the Life Domain, get heavy armor proficiency, some extra healing spells, and Disciple of Life for extra potent healing spells.

Alchemist Artificer 5e Build Example

In this build, we’re going to play an Alchemist artificer that balances the line between elemental blaster and healer. We’ll prepare spells that allow us to output as much damage as possible with our limited slots while also hanging on to a couple healing staples for when our party is looking beat up

Seeing as we have an odd INT score after character creation, we’ll take Fey Touched at 4th level to drive some more value. Not only do we get to +1 our INT modifier, but we also get a free casting of misty step each day and the hex spell which can help boost our damage output. From there, we’re going to max INT and then pick up Elemental Adept for higher tier adventures where we’ll be running into fire resistance more often.

Last, we’ll focus on getting our CON to a respectable level.

With spells, you can prepare from the artificier’s spell list after each long rest, but we’ll provide a baseline of what to choose to be a well-rounded build. All spells with * are permanently prepared because of features we pick up along the way.

You’ll see that we’re focusing on fire spells for our daily-driver damage-dealers. With the addition of Alchemical Savant and Elemental Adept, we should be able to get some solid value from fire bolt while holding onto spell slots for healing, buffs, or potent damage spells like heat metal.

To view the character on D&D Beyond, click the button below:

View Character Sheet


1st level
  • Race: Rock gnome
    • ASIs: +2 INT, +1 CON
  • Class: Artificer
    • Proficiencies: Investigation, Medicine, Alchemist's Supplies
  • Ability Scores (Point Buy): STR 10 (0), DEX 11 (0), CON 16 (+3), INT 17 (+3), WIS 10 (0), CHA 10 (0)
  • Background: Guild Artisan
    • Proficiencies: Insight, Persuasion, Brewer's Supplies, Dwarvish
  • Equipment: Dagger x2, light crossbow, scale mail, thieves' tools and a dungeoneer's pack
  • Spellcasting:
    • Add cantrips: acid splash, fire bolt
    • Add spells: absorb elements, grease, cure wounds
  • Magical Tinkering
2nd level
  • Infuse Item
    • Enhanced Arcane Focus
    • Enhanced Defense
    • Homunculus Servant
    • Replicate Magic Item
  • Spellcasting:
    • Add spells: Faerie fire
3rd level
  • Artificer Specialist: Alchemist
    • Alchemist Spells
    • Experimental Elixir
  • The Right Tool for the Job
  • Spellcasting:
    • Add spells: healing word*, ray of sickness*
4th level
  • Feat: Fey Touched
    • +1 INT (INT 18)
    • Add spells: misty step, hex
  • Spellcasting:
    • Add cantrip: minor illusion
    • Add spells: detect magic, disguise self
5th level
  • Alchemical Savant
  • Spellcasting:
    • Drop spells: grease, faerie fire
    • Add spells: flaming sphere*, Melf's acid arrow*, web, heat metal
6th level
  • Infuse Item
    • Spell-Refueling Ring
    • Resistant Armor
  • Tool Expertise
  • Spellcasting:
    • Add spells: invisibility
7th level
  • Flash of Genius
8th level
  • ASI: INT +2 (INT 20)
  • Spellcasting:
    • Add spells: enhance ability, blur
9th level
  • Restorative Reagent
  •  Spellcasting:
    • Drop spells: web
    • Add spells: haste, gaseous form*, mass healing word*
10th level
  • Infuse Item
    • Helm of Awareness
    • Repulsion Shield
  • Magic Item Adept
  •  Spellcasting:
    • Add cantrip: mending 
    • Add spells: dispel magic
11th level
  • Spell-Storing Item
12th level
  • Feat: Elemental Adept (Fire)
  • Spellcasting:
    • Add spells: revivify
13th level
  • Spellcasting:
    • Add spells: death ward*, blight*, summon construct
14th level
  • Infuse Item
    • Mind Sharpener
    • Armor of Magical Strength
  • Magic Item Savant
  • Spellcasting:
    • Add cantrip: guidance
    • Add spells: Otiluke’s resilient sphere
15th level
  • Chemical Mastery
16th level
  • ASI: +2 CON (CON 18)
  •  Spellcasting:
    • Add spells: freedom of movement
17th level
  • Spellcasting:
    • Drop spell: Otiluke’s resilient sphere
    • Add spells: cloudkill*, raise dead*, animate objects
18th level
  • Infuse Item:
    • Armor of Magical Strength
    • Boots of the Winding Path
  • Magic Item Master
  • Spellcasting:
    • Add spells: Bigby's hand
19th level
  • ASI: +2 CON (CON 20)
20th level
  • Soul of Artifice
  • Spellcasting:
    • Add spells: Creation

Sources Used in This Guide

  • BR: Basic Rules
  • GotG: Bigby Presents: Glory of the Giants
  • SotDQ: Dragonlance: Shadow of the Dragon Queen
  • ERLW: Eberron: Rising from the Last War
  • EEPC: Elemental Evil Player’s Companion
  • EGtW: Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount
  • FToD: Fizban's Treasury of Dragon
  • GGtR: Guildmasters' Guide to Ravnica
  • MotM: Monsters of the Multiverse
  • MToF: Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes
  • MOoT: Mythic Odyessys of Theros
  • PAitM: Planescape: Adventures in the Multiverse
  • PHB: Player's Handbook
  • SAiS: Spelljammer: Adventures in Space
  • SCoC: Strixhaven: A Curriculum of Chaos
  • SCAG: Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide
  • TCoE: Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything
  • TTP: The Tortle Package
  • WBtW: The Wild Beyond The Witchlight
  • VRGtR: Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft
  • VGtM: Volo's Guide to Monsters
  • XGtE: Xanathar’s Guide to Everything

Mike Bernier

Mike Bernier is the lead content writer and founder of Arcane Eye. He is a Adamantine best-selling author of Strixhaven: A Syllabus of Sorcery on DMs Guild and is a contributing author at D&D Beyond. Follow Mike on Twitter.

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