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There are times where a component has an intrinsic value, but the value isn't listed in the component requirement. In these cases, can you use a focus?

Some Examples:

  • Healing Elixir from Unearthed Arcana requires an Alchemist's Supplies. It doesn't say "An alchemist's kit worth 50gp"
  • Detect Thoughts Requires a copper piece, which has a value of...a copper piece. It doesn't say "A copper piece worth 1 copper piece"
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RAW, yes

The rules simply state that a component pouch holds all the material components "except for those components that have a specific cost":

Component Pouch. A component pouch is a small, watertight leather belt pouch that has compartments to hold all the material components and other special items you need to cast your spells, except for those components that have a specific cost (as indicated in a spell's description)

It is worth noting the pouch is an individual thing (it holds items "you need to cast your spells" specifically). It is accepted that a wizard might prepare new components off-screen (the same way she researches a new spell before leveling up, for example).

Many classes can use a component pouch or a spellcasting focus interchangeably. The rules show a little inconsistency here, literally telling us that the pouch can be used "in place of the components", instead of holding these very components inside. The "cost is indicated" condition is being repeated once more:

A character can use a component pouch or a spellcasting focus (found in chapter 5) in place of the components specified for a spell. But if a cost is indicated for a component, a character must have that specific component before he or she can cast the spell.

By the rules, your spellcasting focus is equal to your component pouch, and a component pouch holds all the material components you need "except for those components that have a specific cost". If a spell you cast says it requires a copper piece, your component pouch has to have a copper piece, or you can use a spellcasting focus, no problem here.

Exceptions are table-dependent

I have to say, the 5e moved away from the "counting every bat guano left" mentality. Now, you just have all the cheap components and can easily buy any expensive one, which makes such specific details redundant. See What's the point of requiring specific inexpensive material components?

However, specific component descriptions are still here, and some tables can take this into account.

For instance, there are components with no price specified, which are unique, and therefore can not be contained in a long-prepared component pouch. A good example is "an object from the location you wish to find" from the Find the Path spell:

Find the Path

Components: V, S, M (a set of divinatory tools— such as bones, ivory sticks, cards, teeth, or carved runes — worth 100 gp and an object from the location you wish to find)

Since spellcasting focus is usually used as a 100% equivalent of a component pouch, I assume it can not replace a unique material component.

See Are material components with unique attributes unable to be replaced with a component pouch or spellcasting focus?

Now about the Alchemist's Supplies as a material component. Keep in mind it is from UA, so it's still a playtest material. As written, the Healing Elixir can be cast with a spellcasting focus, and, presumably, with a component pouch. It does not deplete the supplies, so in-world explanation might be the following: the spell needs one particular thing from the Alchemist's Supplies; this thing can also be in your pouch, or a spellcasting focus can be used instead.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Related On Unique components and foci \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Jan 10 at 16:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm honestly not sure the unique component piece is helping the answer. There seems there is still a lot left unclear in the linked question (and in Crawford's referenced tweet in it) that it's adding ambiguity to your answer rather than supporting it. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Jan 10 at 16:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch I've rewritten the answer a bit, please check it out \$\endgroup\$ – enkryptor Jan 10 at 16:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think you're right and accepting this - but the implications stink. Seems like a major misstep by WoTC. Too many shenanigans about obvious things (like with simulacrum get swept up in this that should require having the component. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Jan 11 at 17:06

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