There are maybe two reasons in Dominion to buy Curses: either you want to 3-pile end the game, and you have a sufficiently large lead to buy the remaining Curses and still win, or you’re a mean-spirited player who loves attacking other players so much you’re willing to buy Curses just for the opportunity to give them to your opponents. This combo is for the latter type of player (assuming they can stay away from Pirate Ship games long enough to notice).
This is a risky strategy unless you can reliably draw your Ambassador with the Curse. Accordingly, it works best when you have a deck slim enough to consistently draw your whole deck. Note that you don’t actually have to return the Curse to the Supply in order to give one to your opponents, which saves you from having to buy up a bunch of Curses. It also lets you double or triple the attack with a Throned or Kinged Ambassador.
Masquerade can sort of substitute for Ambassador, but its biggest drawback is that your opponent will simply start passing the Curses back to you, thus negating the attack altogether.
Sample Game – Both players play Ambassadors, but fiasco goes for Gold instead of Laboratories, and while temporarily richer, the inability to consistently draw his Ambassador costs him in the long run as rrenaud’s consistent two Ambassadors per turn bury his opponent’s deck.
Sample Game – The Tactician allows both Ambassadors to be drawn and played, while the Haven at several points ensures the Curse is in the upcoming Tactician hand.
Generally, though, Coppers and Estates are crappy enough that giving them away, getting rid of them yourself, and buying something useful with that buy instead of a Curse is a much better option.
I think it comes in handy usually when your opponent is responding to your Ambassador with Chapel, and not Ambassadoring the Coppers / Estates back at you.
Sample game with an ideal version of this strategy:
“It also lets you double or triple the attack with a Throned or Kinged Ambassador.”
I had to read this a couple of times before I understood, and then re-read the text on Ambassador before I understood this aspect. And now it’s my favorite thing about this combo…
For those who are as thick as me: Ambassador says “Reveal a card… Return UP TO 2 copies of it to the supply… and your opponents must all gain a copy of it.”
“UP TO 2” includes returning zero copies of the card to the supply. This is something I’d never considered about Ambassador.
So the ideal curse-bomb is:
1. I have King’s Court, Ambassador, and a Curse in my hand.
2. I use King’s Court to triple-play Ambassador.
3. Ambassador #1: I reveal the Curse. I return ZERO copies of it to the supply. My opponents each take a curse.
4. Ambassador #2: The curse is still in my hand, so… Same as Ambassador #1.
5. Ambassador #3: I reveal the curse again, FINALLY return it to the supply this time, and my opponents each take their THIRD curse.
At this point I’ve distributed NINE Curses (in a 4-player game) among my opponents, while reducing my own Curse count by one… all in a single action. Beautiful!
This maneuver should be the first chapter of a book titled “How to Play Dominion like a Dick.”
I’d buy that book.