PoE Strongboxes: Ambushing Your Gambling Addiction
Greetings Exiles! Today we will be taking a closer look into the risk and reward surrounding PoE Strongboxes and how to get the most out of these (at times) dangerous little gifts from the 1.1.0 Ambush League.
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Strongboxes probably never get much attention from the majority of the player base. I would be extremely surprised if many people realized the potential of these little beauties and how for very little investment, they can occasionally yield great rewards.
We will not only be talking about how to maximize them in terms of currency, but also how to better survive the occasional rip-tastic boxes we come across. Let’s face it, we have all at one point or another opened one of these bad boys without looking only to find our self either ripped back to Standard or losing a substantial chunk of our experience.
The game holds 11 types of Strongboxes and with 11 additional Unique Strongboxes. Not all of them are worth rolling (using currency to change the prefixes and suffixes) extensively, some however, will be worth the gamble. Below I have listed each Strongbox along with my recommendation for crafting. Each Strongbox can essentially be treated as an item as you can use every currency to the same effect.
Arcanist’s Strongbox (spawn rate 4.3%): this juicy little fella has the potential to drop every form of currency that DOES NOT affect item quality in the game, yes, that’s right boy’s and girl’s, even the fabled Mirror of Casandra. The modifiers to look for here are:
- 6+ Additional Items and/or 35%+ Increased Item Quantity (IIQ)
My approach with an Arcanist box is to just use an Orb of Transmutation (if it is not already of Magic quality) and follow up with Orbs of Alteration and Augmentation respectively until one of the above modifiers appears. This CAN be a cash cow, I personally have never had anything of real value drop here or even received a return after using Chaos Orbs to re oll the properties.
Armorer’s Strongbox (spawn rate 6%): contains pieces of Armor. At higher levels of maps you can get some fantastic bases out of this, and in some cases, a few 6 link chest pieces. If you can afford to you want to ensure the box contains the following:
- Items are fully linked and Contained items have +2 additional sockets.
Keep in mind that this box’s Unique version is “Kaom’s Cache,” which can drop a Kaom’s Heart Unique chest. Using a Chance orb here to roll its rarity can definitely pay off and in some cases scouring and chance spam may net you an early 400 Chaos sale.
DISCLAIMER: regarding when to use Vaal Orbs on Armorer’s, please never please Vaal it if you have already rolled +2 Sockets or Fully Linked Items. Despite what lots of people have put out there, the Vaal Orb increasing the chance of a 6L is completely independent of the +2 Socket and 6L modifier.
Artisan’s Strongbox (spawn rate 6.9%): this box will only drop currency that improves the Quality of items, such as Armor Scraps, Whetstones, and so on. I generally just drop an Orb of Transmutation if I am low on Scrolls of Wisdom (these vendor for 2 Scrolls each).
Blacksmith’s Strongbox (spawn rate 5.7%): now, you might be thinking “Sweet! Same as an Armorer’s, I’m gonna get me some 6 linked weapons!” Weapons require far more in the way of RNG to be worth anything regardless of links. A 6 linked, low dps weapon will not fetch much, especially if its base is undesirable and not worth crafting. As a result, I advise we treat these the same as the above Artisan’s boxes.
Cartographer’s Strongbox (spawn rate N/A): this box can actually prove to be quite useful in boosting your map pool or Chisel supply. Use only Transmutes, Alterations and Augmentations that you want, and it includes the following:
- Increased Item Quantity, + to Chest level and/or Additional Items.
Diviner’s Strongbox (spawn rate 1.9%): this is where you can make enough currency in the 10 minutes you take to reroll its modifiers to fund the ridiculous build Mathil is playing. Sadly, these are extremely rare, this past league I had more raw Exalt drops than I found Diviner’s.
In the event you do come across one, it is absolutely worth using a Portal Scroll to head back and stock up on Alchemy, Scouring and Chaos Orbs. The modifiers you want are this:
- 35%+ Increased Item Quantity, Contains 6+ Additional Items and + to Chest level.
Gemcutter’s Strongbox (spawn rate 3.3%): as the name suggests, this will cause the grown to be littered with Skill Gems with varying degrees of Quality and Level. This can lead to the acquisition of some early level 20/20 Quality gems if you’re lucky enough. The modifiers you will be looking for are:
- Increased Item Quality, Additional Items, Increased Item Quantity, Contained Gems Have Experience, Contains an Extra Vaal Gem and Contains Support Gems.
I have never gambled too much currency on these.
Jeweler’s Strongbox (spawn rate 7.5%): generates some bling in the form of amulets, rings, belts and Jewels. It will not be worth gambling here until you are in a high level zone able to drop higher Item Level bases (Item Level can be identified by holding Alt whilst moused over). I generally attempt to generate the following modifiers in zones level 70 and above:
- Additional Rare Items, Additional Items + to Item/Chest Level, Increased Item Rarity and/or Quantity, Items are Mirrored (a Mirrored item means it has been duplicated, this also prevents it from being crafted), and Additional Unique Item. This is worth Vaaling if you manage to get +to Chest and Item level on the box.
Large, Ornate and Normal Strongboxes: I have put these together in one category because you probably won’t be putting more effort into these outside of an Orb of Transmutation if have a spare in your inventory.
Surviving the Risk Factor Before the Reward
Here’s what I believe to be the most dangerous prefixes and a brief description on tactics I used to survive them.
Arctic (freezes you when activated): I usually run with a Freeze removal flask if I am not using Kaom’s Roots or the Juggernaut Ascendancy. Simply Pre Pot your flask as you open the box.
Putrefying (Detonates nearby Corpses): open and use your movement skill to get out before you start killing the mobs, which can easily one shot you if you are using something like Dark Pact to aoe the entire box.
Unstable (explodes): same method as above, open and use that move speed skill.
Vibrating (casts lightning storm): “Really Doc? Lightning Storm?…” Yep, believe it or not this has claimed my experience a few times when playing tired. Once again, open and run.
Whispering (casts a random Curse when activated): I opted to put this in as dangerous because for newer players having Vulnerability cast on them could easily result in a death, especially if all the mobs are dealing physical damage and bleeds. If you are running a Curse Removal flask then pre pot, otherwise the only thing you can do is be aware of the curse and the monsters spawned.
We have reached the end of yet another guide. As always POE is about player choice, there is no right or wrong way to do anything ever in Wraeclast. If gambling is your thing then slam the hell out the boxes you come across. Hopefully, I have helped you make some informed decisions as to how to spend your hard earned currency in this regard.
Stay safe Exiles!
– Doc. Moo.