PoE Strongbox Guide: Knowing What Each One Contains
Path of Exile is a vast place, with many rewards and punishments around every corner. One of the best examples of this are the strongboxes you will find throughout Wraeclast. Open the right one and you can find riches galore. The wrong one unprepared will find you waking up in your hideout missing a chunk of experience. But how do you know which ones contain rewards? With our PoE Strongbox Guide of course.
What should I be scared of?
Let’s start with the easy part. Out of the normal strongboxes (i.e., any that are not unique), there isn’t anything that is inherently scary about them. A strongbox is just that, a box with monsters and items inside. The danger comes from the modifiers on the box. Just like gear and maps, strongboxes can be the following:
- Normal (white)
- Magic (blue)
- Rare (yellow)
They will have increasing numbers of modifiers based on their rarity. For the most part, these modifiers are insignificant, or in some cases helpful. However, there are a few modifiers that you should watch for.
There are four big things to watch for when opening boxes. Two of them can be dealt with beforehand, two are after the fact. The first two are what happens when opening the box.
Two of the modifiers that boxes can have, include this:
- Freezes you when activated
- Casts a random Curse when activated
These two modifiers can be deadly. Being frozen when twenty enemies appear around you, or suddenly realizing you can’t cast spells because you’ve been silenced are both recipes for death. However, these two mods can be easily combatted by flasks. Flasks can be modified in order to have two modifiers, one prefix, and one suffix. Two of the suffix mods include: of Heat, making you unable to be Frozen, and of Warding, making you unable to be Cursed. Having two flasks to combat these modifiers will make these strongbox modifiers never be an issue.
The other two modifiers will require something that even the top Path of Exile players struggle to master – reading. That’s right, these are real-time dangers that you’ll have to acknowledge and react to. This has killed many a player’s dreams of hitting 100 in hardcore – I’m looking at you Ziz. Seriously though, these two mods are the most dangerous things a strongbox can offer. The modifiers are:
- Detonates nearby corpses
- Casts Ice Nova
Both effects happen around two seconds after activation, giving you time to read the modifier and run – if you’re fast enough. Detonates nearby corpses will explode all bodies near the strongbox, dealing enough damage to kill even the tankiest of builds, fairly easily. Ice Nova will, after a delay, shoot out a large radius of ice from the box. Ice Nova won’t be particularly dangerous at lower levels, but it scales up quickly in maps. The best strategy for combatting these mods is to simply jump away from every box after opening it. This will negate these mods entirely, at the cost of mild annoyance.
What should I look for?
There are a few strongboxes you should watch for. Diviner and Cartographer are the big money makers – and the only ones I bother looking for. Arcanist is definitely worth your time as well, although to a much lower extent. When I say ‘worth your time,’ I mean that you should roll them like you would a map. Many players bring some currency with them at all times specifically for strongboxes, but if you don’t have any you can always portal back and grab some when you see the two big money makers, they are pretty uncommon.
The Diviner boxes will show up every twenty or thirty maps, and they contain divination cards. Divination cards can range from completely worthless to multiple exalts. I personally have opened a House of Mirrors card twice from divination boxes, and I’m only mildly salty that one of them was in a void league and worthless. I also opened a Doctor card in SSF. Ignoring my ironic luck, clearly, the potential for quite a bit of money is there, and they are worth rolling. I personally always roll Diviners for at least one additional items modifier.
on the other hand, are a bit iffy. Cartographers drop maps, which are likely the highest priority items for you at the time. However, they only appear in Tier 13 or lower maps. This means that the investment you want to put into them will be directly proportional to how much return you can get. I have in the past rolled them for two additional item mods and found it not worth the investment, so I now roll them for a single additional item modifier, frequently paying for itself. The exception to these rules is if you manage to find a Cartographer in a tier 16 Temple of Atzoatl. Then it is definitely worth the currency for a second additional item modifier, as long as you’re in a league where maps are expensive.
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Are there Outliers?
There is a fourth rarity of boxes – unique. These boxes cannot be modified, but you can chance a normal box into them if you are very likely. They can have some incredible or worthless rewards, but they are on average better than many other strongboxes. There are a few with great rewards, but some of them are dangerous to deal with. The most dangerous is most likely The Maelstrom Cell, Diviner’s Strongbox. It summons four or five unique Shaper bosses to fight in a row, all of whom are quite strong and can be problematic for builds without high leech.
Most of the others can be dealt with head-on, and cannot be modified, so don’t worry about them too much.
Strongboxes can be a tough thing to get your head around, and there are many guides out there to deal with them. Many of them go a lot further into depth by modifying certain boxes as well. I personally take the easy approach, taking what’s given and only modifying the big-ticket items. That way it’s rarely a gamble, you’re almost always making money rather than spending it. But make sure to use our PoE Strongbox Guide to be careful with those dangerous modifiers and keep your flasks up!
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