This article is intended as an introduction to Ambassador. For a more recently updated and advanced article on Ambassador, click here.
This is the card that a $5/$2 player hates seeing on the board more than any other. Along with Chapel, Ambassador is one of Dominion’s two best openers. The first couple of turns are critical: if you fall behind in “Estate tennis”, your deck will quickly crash and burn.
The most common Ambassador dilemma early on is drawing it with 3 Copper + 1 Estate. Contrary to popular practice, Ambassadoring 2 Coppers (rather than 1 Estate) is the best play; deck-thinning is, at this point, more important than a marginal increase in your attack. Moreover, Ambassadoring the Coppers decreases the chance your opponent will Ambassador you two Estates while increasing your own chances for the same. Of course, it’s not a great move if you or your opponent are also relying on Moneylender/Coppersmith, but the point remains that you should almost always try to Ambassador two cards at a time in the early game.
In the midgame, you can start Ambassadoring early cards that have outstayed their welcome: your opponent will likely have little use for a late game Loan, Moneylender, or Chapel. If you have strong enough deck-drawing (perhaps your opponent foolishly passed up on buying an Ambassador), consider buying a Curse and using the Ambassador as a pseudo-Witch.
Like almost all attacks, Ambassador is great with Throne Room/King’s Court: just be sure not to give away all the copies of the card you are Ambassadoring! In addition, Ambassador is the rare attack that does not conflict with other attacks. No matter when you play it, it is always dealing damage to your opponents. Of course, you will draw hands where you don’t want to play the Ambassador, but it’s nice to have an attack that amplifies other attacks rather than cancelling them. It is especially powerful with Pirate Ship.
Ambassador is also a great defense, especially against opponents that opened with Mountebank, Witch, or Torturer. That doesn’t mean that those cards aren’t important if Ambassador is available (if you’re Ambassadoring a Curse, you aren’t Ambassadoring something else), but it’s certainly a better defense than getting a Moat and crossing your fingers.
Keep an eye out for Ambassador’s unique game-ending ability: it’s often to your advantage to gift your opponent a Province or Colony in order to force the game to end on your turn. (See, e.g., this game, where I win by gifting my opponent the last Colony instead of allowing him the chance to win with a lucky Tactician.)
Perhaps Ambassador’s greatest weakness is the dreaded Possessed Ambassador. But even then, opening Ambassador isn’t dangerous so long as you have a way to get rid of your Ambassador (Remodel, Salvager, an opponent’s Bishop). Indeed, stuffing your opponent with crap will probably keep him from Possessions and let you get first crack at them.
- Throne Room / King’s Court
- Curse (sometimes)
- Opponents’ Curse-giving attacks
- Pirate Ship
- Opponent’s Possession
- Opponent’s Militia (somewhat, but not as much as with Chapel)
- Chapel (somewhat; it’s viable to open Ambassador/Chapel, but probably not better than Silver/Chapel)
- Gardens decks