Ambush League Guide


Ambush was introduced in Path of Exile with patch 1.1.0 as a softcore League, with Invasion as its hardcore counterpart. Ambush brings in Strongboxes, a special type of chest. When opened, Strongboxes release packs of monsters to surround and attack the Exile. The loot is released only when you have killed all the ambushing monsters.

They also have affixes that can be rolled with currencies. There are several types of Strongboxes you can find lying around, which are specialized into specific types of loot. Note: Corrupted Strongboxes have all their content Corrupted.

Strongbox Opening Showcase

Here is a showcase of some Strongbox openings where you can see all the Ambushing Monsters spawn, as well as a dreadful Ice Nova pop.

Strongbox Types

There are different Strongboxe Base Types which come with different rewards:

  • Strongbox - Assorted Items
  • Large Strongbox - Assorted Items with increased Quantity
  • Ornate Strongbox - Assorted Items with increased Rarity
  • Armourer's Strongbox - Armours & The Body
  • Artisan's Strongbox - Quality Currencies
  • Blacksmith's Strongbox - Weapons
  • Arcanist's Strongbox - Non-Quality Currencies
  • Cartographer's Strongbox - Maps & The Cartographer
  • Diviner's Strongbox - Divination Cards
  • Gemcutter's Strongbox - Gems & The Gemcutter
  • Jeweller's Strongbox - Jewelry (Belts, Rings, Amulets & Jewels) & Hubris

There is a special type of Strongbox spawning in Vaal Temple Map due to its special implicit added in 3.17 expansion, the Vaal Reliquary which contain various Corrupted Items & Vaal Orbs. On the other hand, Operative's Strongbox contains Scarabs and can only spawn if you allocate the Secret Operations notable on the Atlas Passive Tree.

Strongbox Modifiers

Prefix Modifiers

Strongbox Prefixes are making Strongboxes more dangerous by adding monsters or environmental threats. The latest have a hidden modifier adding a sound to the Strongbox: Chest plays warning sound.

  • Arctic - Freezes you when activated.
  • Contaminated - Spreads Caustic Ground.
  • Contested - Guarded by a Rogue Exile.
  • Frigid - Casts Ice Nova.
  • Incandescent - Ignites you when activated.
  • Intimidating - Guarded by a pack of Magic Monsters.
  • Menacing - Guarded by 3 Rare Monsters.
  • Ossified - Summons Skeletons.
  • Putrifying - Detonates nearby Corpses.
  • Rallying - Guarded by a stream of Monsters.
  • Reaper's - Revives nearby dead Monsters with Onslaught.
  • Scorched - Casts Firestorm.
  • Unstable - Explodes.
  • Vibrating - Casts Lightning Storm.
  • Whispering - Casts a random Hex Curse Spell when activated.

The Freeze, Ice Nova and Detonate Dead Prefix Modifiers are the scariest and can easily kill your character since they scale with Map Modifiers. This forces you to pay attention before opening Strongboxes, especially if you are playing Hardcore.

Suffix Modifiers

Strongbox Suffixes are enhancing Strongboxes rewards. Some of these can only spawn on a specific type of Strongbox.

Select Strongbox Type

Unique Strongboxes

Sometimes during your journey you will stumble upon Unique Strongboxes with special modifiers and rewards. You can also get them using Orb of Chance on a Strongbox with the right Base Type, but the chances are obviously rather low.

  • Ashes of the Condemned - Torment-related Strongbox.
  • Brinerot Cache - Lightning Warbands Strongbox.
  • Mutewind Cache - Cold Warbands Strongbox.
  • Redblade Cache - Fire Warbands Strongbox.
  • Renegades Cache - Chaos Warbands Strongbox.
  • Strange Barrel - Stronbox Barrel with a stream of Spiders. The most common Unique Strongbox.
  • Weylam's War Chest - Arcanist's Strongbox. Contains (20–30) additional Currency Items.
  • Kaom's Cache - Armourer's Strongbox. Contains a Kaom's Unique Item.
  • Deshret's Storm - Blacksmith's Strongbox.
  • Empyrean Apparatus - Cartographer's Strongbox.
  • The Maelström Cell - Diviner's Strongbox. Can only spawn with Shaper Influence active.
  • Perandus Bank - Jeweller's Strongbox.
  • Gifts of the Red Queen & Gifts of the Sacrificed - Vaal Reliquary. Can only spawn with a special Sextant modifier.

Engineer's Orbs

Engineer's Orbs are a currency used to improve the quality of Strongboxes, up to 20% Quality. It is the only way to increase Quality on Strongboxes. Just like Maps, Quality on Strongboxes is an additive increased quantity modifier. Engineer's Orbs are a common currency exclusive to Harbingers.

Moreover, the Tier 3 Vivid Watcher seed from Harvest can randomly give you the recipe "Upgrade an Engineer's Orb to an Infused Engineer's Orb" which is the only way to obtain Infused Engineer's Orb. Infused Engineer's Orbs increase the quality of any Rarity Strongbox to 30% and add a Guarded by 3 packs of Magic Monsters enchantment. On top of that they add special drops to the Strongbox depending on its type. For instance, Diviner's Strongboxes drop Stacked Decks and a random stack of Divination Cards, Gemcutter's Strongboxes hand you a Valuable Gem, Cartographer's Strongboxes can reward you with Guardian Maps.


Strongboxes can spawn as soon as Act 1 during the Campaign. There's also plenty of mechanics to determiniscally encounter them in your maps:


  • Rusted Ambush Scarab - Area contains 3 additional Strongboxes.
  • Polished Ambush Scarab - Area contains 4 additional Strongboxes.
  • Gilded Ambush Scarab - Area contains 5 additional Strongboxes.
  • Winged Ambush Scarab - Area contains 9 additional Strongboxes.

There are a few Sextant modifiers related to Strongboxes:

  • Areas contain 2 additional Strongboxes.
    Strongboxes in Areas are Corrupted. Strongboxes in Areas are at least Rare.
  • Strongbox Monsters are Enraged. Strongbox Monsters have 500% increased Item Quantity.
    Areas contain an additional Strongbox.
  • Areas contain 3 additional Strongboxes.
    Strongboxes in Areas are Corrupted. Strongboxes in Areas are at least Rare.
    This sextant modifier is only accessible using Elevated Sextants.
  • Strongbox Monsters are Enraged. Strongbox Monsters have 600% increased Item Quantity.
    Areas contain an additional Strongbox.
    This sextant modifier is only accessible using Elevated Sextants.

In Delve you can find Underground Stash rooms with several Strongboxes. You have to fight all the ambushing monsters from the Strongboxes to complete the encounter.

Incursion Room
There is an Incursion Room themed around Strongboxes:

  • Strongbox Chamber (Tier 1 Room)
    Contains 2 Strongboxes.
  • Hall of Locks (Tier 2 Room)
    Contains 4 Strongboxes.
  • Court of Sealed Death (Tier 3 Room)
    Contains 6 Strongboxes. Chance for Diviner's & Cartographer's as well as Unique Strongboxes is pretty high.

Kirac can sometimes sell you Maps with an implicit modifier:

  • Area contains 4 additional Strongboxes.

Shaping the Skies
The Atlas Passive Tree notable Shaping the Skies has a chance to give you a special Map Device Modifier replacing the old Monstrous Treasure Prophecy removed in 3.17:

  • Monstrous Treasure - Area contains (24–36) additional Strongboxes. Area's inhabitants are lying in ambush.

Harvest has a recipe related to Ambush:

  • The Tier 2 Wild Chieftain seed can give you one use of the Infused Ambush modifier for your map device which grants "Area contains 6 additional Strongboxes" to your map.

Atlas Passives

You can find quite a few passives and notables related to Ambush and Strongboxes spread in 3 wheels in the Atlas Passive Tree:

Small Passives

  • Strongbox Additional Pack Chance
    • Strongboxes in Areas have 15% chance to be guarded by an additional Pack of Monsters.
  • Strongbox Chance to be Reopenable
    • Strongboxes opened in Areas have 2% chance to be openable again.
  • Arcanist's Strongbox Chance
    • Strongboxes in Areas have 30% increased chance to be an Arcanist's Strongbox.
  • Cartographer's Strongbox Chance
    • Strongboxes in Areas have 30% increased chance to be a Cartographer's Strongbox.
  • Diviner's Strongbox Chance
    • Strongboxes in Areas have 30% increased chance to be a Diviner's Strongbox.


  • Backup Cache
    • Strongboxes in Areas contain Duplicated Currency Items.
  • Concealed Logistics
    • Strongboxes in Areas contain Duplicated Map Items.
  • Vault of Mysteries
    • Strongboxes in Areas contain Duplicated Divination Cards.
  • Twice Tempted
    • Areas contain an additional Strongbox.
  • Tamper-Proof
    • Strongboxes in Areas are Corrupted. Strongboxes in Areas are at least Rare.
  • Secret Operations
    • Strongboxes in Areas have 6% chance to be an Operative's Strongbox. Operative's Strongboxes contain Scarabs.


Ambush is a simple and fun mechanic, while being a good source of consistent income. Atlas Passives and Scarabs makes it relatively easy for players to encounter and farm them.


Written by Chewingnom.
Reviewed by Raxxanterax.


Jul 9th 2022
Article Created.