High level alchemy (sometimes refered to as alching or HA) is a level 55 magic spell that converts items into coins (gold/gp). It works in the same way as level 41 magic low level alchemy but gives a higher financial reward of 60% of the speciality shop value compared to low level alchemy's 40%. Even if not taking the time to maximise profits high level alchemy can still be used as a great magic training method at low to mid levels. It's also a good method in F2P and for ironmans to make money from their general skill training. Because of the ability to alch from a noted stack you can train very quickly without the need to be near/use a bank, if just doing this method with a noted stack you can generate nearly 80k magic xp/hr. Profits will of course vary lots although there are always some high buy limit items that will almost always be break even or slight profit with high level alchemy.
A benefit over normal merching (trading items on the GE with the intent of profiting from the difference in buy/sell price) is once you have the item you will always know what price you will get from high alchemy and you will always be able to receive that value as soon as you want, whereas with merching the prices or demand can change very quickly and you can have a hard time selling and can often result in a loss. All prices referenced in this guide are correct at the time of writing, they should always be checked before making any investments as exchange prices change frequently. Other magic training methods can produce more profit and be more reliable but generally high level alchemy is not bad to train, especially as it can be trained alongside other skills like agility, farming and hunter, or even other magic training such as the tele-alching method, combining high level alchemy with a teleportation spell.
The normal input cost of 5 fire runes and 1 nature rune is 277 gp, though because profit margins can be so small this can and should be decreased with different run, stave and item combinations. Using a staff of fire will bring total costs down to 252 gp. The lowest setup you can use is using 1 nature rune, Bryophyta's staff and the tome of fire to bring total costs down to 235 gp. In the latter method Bryophyta's staff costs around 9m gp and saves on average 1 nature rune in 15 uses, so it may not be the best method for everyone as it's quite a large initial investment for marginal savings. I will assume the standard setup of 1 nature rune and a staff of fire for the remainder of this guide.
To perform high level alchemy just select the spell in your magic tab then select the item in your inventory, it will perform one action at a time then return to the magic tab, so you must repeat the process. With optimum speeds you can alch around 1200 items an hour, less so if you are banking if for example you are an ironman mainly doing this method to train magic. Some commonly crafted items and their current profit margins from high level alchemy are as follows: rune med helm – 183gp, rune scimitar – 112 gp, rune longsword – 289 gp, rune full helm – 249 gp, rune battleaxe – 255 gp, rune chainbody – 263 gp, rune kiteshield – 281 gp, rune platelegs – 283 gp, rune 2h sword - 313 gp, rune plateskirt – 282 gp, rune platebody – 230 gp.
As previously mentioned you can combine high level alchemy with other training methods including other magic training methods. For agility, when you run in-between each obstacle you can alch a few items, although not when you are actually on the obstacle itself. It's quite a hard skill to master, you may choose to just employ its use on the longer distances between obstacles, for example from the end to the start of an agility course again. Other skills with large running distances are ideal for training high level alchemy also, such as hunter on a birdhouse run and farming doing farming runs. Of course during quests as many have you travelling long distances with little to do as you travel. The main method of training alongside another magic method is tele-aching, the method is simple but very click intensive, firstly you alch an item, then immediately use your teleport spell then as soon as you are able to (1.8 seconds) repeat the process. Combining with the Camelot teleport will gain 144'600 magic xp/hour whilst going to Ardougne will gain 151'200 magic xp/hr but is more expensive as it requires an additional law rune to use. Later, at level 80 magic you can perform stun-alching to perform this you will need to use armour to reduce your magic attack bonus to -65 so you always fail to hit them with stun and can thus keep repeating the spell, to combine it with high level alchemy, simply perform the high level alchemy spell and then, from a safe spot, perform the stun spell, you should gain around 170'000 magic xp/hr with this method. Because the stun spell is relatively costly, and may cut into any alching profits you should use an optimum setup of a lava battlestaff (allowing for both alching and stunning to be performed without having to change staves), 1 soul rune and 12 water runes, which brings the cost down (removing the need for 12 earth runes) from 252 gp to 204 gp.
A few of the speciality shops will buy certain items from you for a higher price than the high alchemy value. An example of one is Grum's Gold Exchange in Port Sarim which will buy a gold necklace from you for 315 gp if they have no other gold necklaces in stock, whereas the high alchemy value is only 270 gp. In addition the following general stores buy at higher prices or the same price as high alchemy value: Bandit Camp, Rogue's Den (the same price) and the West Ardougne general store.
Because of the ever changing market prices tools have been made by the community to show current market prices and profitably through using high level alchemy. One of the most popular is the website alchmate.com, I will cover some of the options on the site which also gives other statistics and tools for other methods such as super heat and selling sets on the GE. Alchmate assumes you are using a fire staff as I have been but lets you change the variable price of nature runes, which at the time of writing is 252 gp. Then you can sort market prices by either the most recent price, stable price (an average taken from 3 days of trading) and the GE official price. You can set whether to include members items or just show F2P only items. There is the ability to sort by market price, high alch value, the difference between the two (profit, which includes the cost of nature rune), GE restriction (how many you can buy in any 4 hour period) and trade volume (which gives values for buying quantity, selling quantity and demand). It also shows when the items price was last updated, which is usually within the last hour for most of the profitable items, although some items way below being profitable won't be updated for a few hours. All the categories are important, often you will see the most profitable items have low GE restrictions and trade volume and/or a high initial cost. Whilst it may be tempting to multiply the difference by the GE restriction value it can often not be possible to buy that many of certain items, and possibly only a few will be purchasable within the bracket of profitability.