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When I play spy, it always seems that when I have to go to my gun, it's always a desperate situation. I have a real hard time getting head-shots under pressure, and I can't imagine willingly trading in damage and firing speed. What is a play style for the Spy that will allow me to effectively use the Ambassador?

5 Answers 5

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Play style
The play style to take advantage of the Ambassador is something like a behind-enemy-lines sniper. The best way to think about it is as a long-range backstab, since it requires precision to use effectively, but when you are successful, you will take down enemies very quickly.

Ambassador = alternatives
Per usual, your goal as a Spy is to sneak behind your enemies. Normally, your next goal, apart from sapping the Engineer's structures, would be to get in position to backstab your enemies, but with the Ambassador, you have the option of trying to get in a few quick head shots instead, which lets you attack your enemies from further behind than normal, allowing you to play more cautiously than normal as well.

Ambassador vs Revolver
Since the Ambassador emphasizes head shots, and since head shots are easier to get on enemies who are unaware of your presence, the Ambassador is more suited for initiating conflict in situations where a back stab attempt is unfeasible or risky, such as when you come across a sniper equipped with the Razorback, or a Pyro. It would be better thought of as a weapon suited for 'back-of-the-head' shots rather than one simply suited for head shots.

The basic Revolver is more suited to ending conflict by finishing off survivors of failed back stab attempts, or holding off enemies who are pursuing you. Also, since it is normally more powerful than the Ambassador, it is also better for finishing off an Engineer's buildings, especially after you have began sapping them.

Summary
If you are successful at sneaking behind enemy lines but have difficulty in getting up close for back stabs, the Ambassador can be an effective alternative.

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    "It would be better thought of as a weapon suited for 'back-of-the-head' shots rather than one simply suited for head shots." This is why the Ambassador's headshot icon shows the bullet entering the head from the back.
    – user2974
    Commented Aug 18, 2010 at 19:39
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    @Powerlord: I never noticed that, haha. +1 for paying attention to the icons.
    – Ian
    Commented Aug 24, 2010 at 14:40
  • All the headshot icons are from behind now. The Sniper Rifle kill icon wasn't originally, but Valve then changed it a few months ago.
    – user2974
    Commented Aug 24, 2010 at 20:43
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Ambassador goes very well with the Cloak and Dagger, allowing you to find the perfect hiding spot and take your time with lining up a headshot, or waiting for an enemy to walk into your field of vision.

Trying to get a headshot while fleeing with a Dead Ringer or under time-pressure with your normal cloak watch is much less effective.

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    I agree. Having said that, the L'Etranger (the gun added in the September 30th update) is extremely useful when used with the Dead Ringer, as every time it hits, it increases your cloak by 15%.
    – user2974
    Commented Oct 19, 2010 at 17:21
  • @Powerlord I would go so far as to argue that the L'Etranger is the go-to gun in general now.
    – TheQ
    Commented Oct 19, 2010 at 19:00
  • It really depends on how you want to play it, though. Having said that, I have the entire set of new items, which can be... very interesting when used with any of the three cloaking devices, but the biggest benefit to the set bonus is with the Dead Ringer.
    – user2974
    Commented Oct 19, 2010 at 19:39
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Become the Sniper Spy.

It is true that as a panic defence, the Ambassador is less effective than the default pistol, unless you got a very good aim. But it does open up new strategies, mainly to dispatch unsuspecting enemies at distance. A fair alternative, if you can't get into the knife range. Also snipers with the Razorback.

There is one trick you can pull with the Ambassador against tanking engineers that isn't really viable by other means. If you can't get to the engineer by normal means, or it's too risky, seek out a place where you see both the engineer and the sentry that is outside the sentry's range. Pull out the Ambassador, snipe the engineer (should take one or two head shots) and then shoot the sentry.

You have to remember, if you wait a couple of seconds between shots, the Ambassador is 100% accurate in relation to the crosshair. You'll know when you can make an accurate shot, when the crosshair stops shrinking.

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  • There are two things about your answer that I would like to clarify. First, killing enemies at a distance is not viable because the Ambassador headshots do not deal crit damage at a range farther than 1200 Hammer units(barely the length of the 2Fort battlements). Its damage is also greatly reduced by damage falloff. Ambassador's use mainly is in short to medium range situations. Second, it takes approximately 1.25 seconds for the Ambassador to regain full accuracy. Perhaps update your answer to reflect that?
    – unrealapex
    Commented Dec 19, 2022 at 4:24
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    @HazyBoba This answer is over a decade old. If you have more up to date and accurate information, you should consider writing your own answer.
    – DJ Pirtu
    Commented Dec 19, 2022 at 9:25
  • I understand that, but your answer is still valuable, it is just slightly outdated. But perhaps it can stay that way to reflect on how the Ambassador was back then. Good suggestion!
    – unrealapex
    Commented Dec 19, 2022 at 16:51
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For me, the best time to use the Ambassador is on snipers with the Razorback. Since your knife becomes essentially useless on a Sniper with a Razorback, the ambassador is a great alternative. Since the sniper is likely to be standing still, thinking the shield will protect him, it's quite easy to get a solid headshot on the first shot, and a body shot will usually finish him on the second shot.

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  • True, but the default revolver works just as well for a razorback sniper. By the time they de-scope and pull out their kukiri, they're dead. Commented Mar 4, 2011 at 21:04
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Focus on hitting consistent headshots, that is where the Ambassador shines.

The Ambassador is useful in situations where going for a backstab is not favorable. For example, if a Sniper has his Razorback equipped, it is much easier to kill him with a headshot of the Ambassador and a quick following bodyshot rather than break the Razorback and possibly get gunned down. Your opponent will not have enough time to react to your two shots. A tip is it is much easier to hit a headshot on an opponent if they are unaware of your presence/know you are a spy.

Over the years, the Ambassador has received several nerfs to make it less overpowered(some of these nerfs have made it considerably weaker today). One of these nerfs is its cooldown. When the Ambassador came out, it was possible to spam it and deal headshots. This was extremely broken and Valve promptly fix it. Now, once you fire wait 1.25 seconds(about the time a reload takes) to fire again with perfect accuracy. Shots fired during this cooldown will be extremely inaccurate and will not deal headshots. You will know that it is accurate when your crosshair returns to normal size.

Remember that good aim and timing your shots will help you become more consistent with the Ambassador.

One final note I would like to make is due to the heavy nerfs the Ambassador has received over the decade, it might be better to use one of Spy's other revolvers if you find you are not able to hit consistent headshots. Besides dealing crit damage on headshots, the other revolvers outshine the Ambassador. The stock revolver is an all-around good option. If you want to focus on backstabs, consider using the L'Etranger.

See the wiki page for more detailed information and statistics.

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