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Elements or Card Plays

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robb8888
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Elements or Card Plays

Under another topic (https://greaterthangames.com/forum/topic/ocean-hungry-grasp-clarifications-11469), dealing with Ocean's Hungry Grasp, these two comments were made:

jffdougan wrote:

See, by going to max elements on the energy track, you can accomplish the same thing - you've got one moon, two water, and one earth on the energy track at various stages, and being able to hit one water/one earth with two card plays is pretty trivial as Ocean.

Ameena wrote:

But you need more turns to uncover enough of that track to access all the Elements - you can get to three card plays on the second turn (or technically the first if Green is around, even if you can't use them all till the second turn).Similarly, I always go to three card plays on Wildfire as fast as I can, but that's more so I can reliably access my Blight-clearing Innate before I start chucking out Blight with every placement...

At least to me, this is one of the great Growth debates, which also happens most frequently with Sharp Fangs:  When you have a Spirit that has elements on its Energy track that you need for your innates, is it better to (1) take Presence from Energy, to uncover the elements so you hit your innate more often, or (2) take Presence from Card Plays so you can play the cards that give you your innate more often? 

I used to be in the #2 camp, but to make that work, you often need to draw more minors, and unless those minors also fit your elements, you're going to have turns when your increased card plays still won't get you your innates.  It's not a firm preference by any means, but I think I lean towards #1 now -- get your elements, then you can hit your innates every turn even if you have bad card draw luck. 

What are other people's thoughts?

TakeWalker
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I usually go for elements. I know I do with Fangs and Ocean. With Bringer, it's a near necessity to hit that Any space.

joneirik
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Having just started playing Branch/Claw expansion, and tesiting Sharp Fangs a good bit, I've ended up favoring the Energy Track, much more reliable to pull off the power. And I find the power to be about 50% of the efficiency of Sharp Fang (at least so far). Combine with select place presence + draw power card, it was very rare I needed to reclaim.

 

Tried going for card plays a few times, every time I ended up burning through cards and having to reclaim much more often, but also struggling to get the power to trigger about half the time, without basically ignoring what the actual cards do and cast them only for the elements.

 

So for Sharp Fangs definitively in camp #2.

jffdougan
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For what it's worth, here's what Eric had to say about a year ago.

rampsnakes
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I personally typically go for plays with both ocean and fangs. I believe playing more cards as ocean usually results in you getting more energy due to being able to drown more stuff, while also allowing you to affect more lands. That said ocean’s reclaim can be pretty awkward so this path has it’s downsides. I usually go straight for card plays with fangs, unlocking 5 plays and reclaim 2 before even uncovering the animal. You do still want ranging hunt to go off as frequently as possible though so I draft card focused on plant/animal. If you get an animal card in either of your first two power draws you’ll have enough to use ranging hunt on turn 2, and when you get to your reclaim spot it helps your consistency significantly. The main benefits to this are being able to use your second innate(one of few ways of dealing with blighted lands) and playing more cards per turn lets you impact more lands. The only real issue is that you need to draft rather cheap minor powers as you’ll be working with 2 energy/turn; even less when you reclaim.