The version 30 patch made some major changes to the Alchemy Lab making it FAR more useful than it was before! The most important change is only requiring 1,000 Alkashards instead of 10,000 to get ascension items, which is huge!
What are Alkashards?
Alkashards are a byproduct of using the Alchemy Lab. When you use the lab, you get around 2 Alkashards per hour of use. So needing only 1,000 means you can get the bonus every 20 days instead of 200! HUGE difference! When you use your Alkashards, you get a choice between some random items: Emblems, 3 or (rarely) 4 star ascension items, or some battle items. Personally, I can use all the ascension materials I can get my hands on, so that's what I go for. Here's my latest Alkashard Combine choice:
Is the Alchemy Lab worth it, though?
It used to be pretty terrible, I'll admit. But with the new changes, it's pretty darn good, I think! Besides just using Alkashards, here are some other options:
- Turn materials into other materials (my favorite is changing Common Herbs into other 1 star or 2 star materials, which you can do at first level!)
- Turn combat items into other combat items (I like to turn minor heal potions into 2 star battle items like Axes or Mana Potions!)
- Turn ascension items into other ascension items. (I'm actually not that impressed with this one, but it can be useful.)
Ok, I'm sold! How does it work?
You need to have Stronghold level 23 to get it, so it's pretty advanced. Convert a level 5+ building into the Alchemy Lab and you can research level 1 transmutations (which I would go ahead and do the very first one). Once you have that, you'll want to upgrade to level 5 (at level 1-4 you only get one slot to use, then 2 at level 5 and 3 at level 10). This is why you research level 1 right away. Then at level 5 while you're researching, you can start transmuting with your second slot! IMPORTANT - You are only able to research ONE recipe at a time! So if you jump straight to level 10, you will still only be able to use one slot at first!
What's the fastest way to get those awesome Alkashards?!
It depends... the absolute fastest is to get to level 10 so you have the three slots. At that point, doing the right transmutations, you can get 1000 Alkashards every 5 days! If you're like me, though, and have limited food, I stopped at level 5 and am getting a pull every ten days.
Fastest Alkashards: Do Level 6B, 7B, 8B for about 1.5mil food every 5 days and 1000 shards. Since 8B is every 2 days, you'll have to wait until 6 days for the first one, then only 4 days for the next.
Efficient food usage: 4B, 5B and 6B are the best to use if you're holding back on food usage. Then you can get two pulls in 11 days instead of 10, and you save 700k food!
Fastest Level 4 Ascension Items: Besides Alkashards, if you're looking for that specific 4s ascension item, you'll need to get to level 10 and research 10A and 10B (and use a LOT of gems). 10A turns a 3* ascension item (like a Compass or Fine Gloves into a DIFFERENT 3* non-farmable ascension item with a 5% chance to get a 4* non-farmable ascension item (like a Tome of Tactics). 10B turns a 4* into a DIFFERENT 4*. They also each give 1050 Alkashards. So if you want one specific 4* item, you can run 10A, 10B, and 8B and get an average of 2570 shards a week (but also cost 300gems/wk). On average, you'll get your specific 4* item once every 5 weeks, give or take.
Only up to level 5: 4B and 5B are the fastest for Alkashards. 120 Alkashards every day just running these two.
My personal preference: I don't only care about the Alkashards. I personally like 1A, 2B and 5B the best, so I only leveled up to 5 and got started!
- 1A turns any 4 of any 1 star crafting item into a random different 1 star crafting item. I have TONS of Common Herbs, so I use 4 of those. Since you can't get the same item back, I get a random other item to use for crafting (hopefully Crude Iron).
- 2B turns 1 star battle items into 2 star battle items. This turns ten Minor Mana Potions into a random 2 star item! Axes! Mana Potions! This doesn't only make Alkashards (4 every 2 hours), but also saves resources! Ten Minor Mana Potions is 5000 food and 10 Common Herbs (plus the 3600 food from the transmute) and you can get a Mana Potion, which costs 21,500 food and some 3 star items! It's a great savings!
- 5B turns the 2 star battle items into 3 star items. I tend to get a lot of the Potent Healing Potions, but rarely use them, so let's junk those and turn them into 3 star items! Heck yeah!
Anything else I need to know?
There's a great resource on the Empires and Puzzles wiki (Alchemy Lab post here), but it does have a few errors, like you CAN remove from the queue if you add too much. It gets updated pretty regularly, so hopefully they'll fix that. It's still a great resource if you want all the nitty gritty. Also, level 10A&B require gems to use, but can make 3* ascension items into NON-FARMABLE ascension items, which is pretty huge (but also random and costs gems). I don't spend much on the game, so this isn't important to me, but it might be for you! Random is rough, but you're guaranteed to not get the same item back, so that's a bonus.
Have any questions? Let me know in the comments!