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Subject: Openings: Shadows Flicker like Flame rss

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Jeremy Lennert
United States
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Opening Threads
A Spread of Rampant Green
River Surges in Sunlight
Lightning's Swift Strike
Ocean's Hungry Grasp
Bringer of Dreams and Nightmares
Shadows Flicker like Flame
Vital Strength of the Earth
Sharp Fangs Behind the Leaves
Keeper of the Forbidden Wilds

Spirit - Cards

Shadows Flicker like Flame has slow presence placement (no option to place 2 presence or to place presence while reclaiming), but rapid growth near the start of both presence tracks (+3 energy/turn from 2 spaces on the top, and +2 cards/turn from 2 spaces on the bottom). For many spirits, a rhythm of reclaiming on turns 3, 5, 7... seems natural, but if Shadows does this they don't get the fourth presence placement until turn 6, which I think is pretty late. I think you really want to try to squeeze that in sooner to take advantage of the nice presence tracks.

Here's my proposal for how to do that...

Growth: +3 energy, place 1 presence (from bottom)
Favors Called Due (gather 4 Dahan, 3 fear if they outnumber invaders)
Mantle of Dread (2 fear, target spirit pushes 1 explorer and 1 town)

Getting to 2 plays is necessary to trigger your very useful innate, Darkness Swallows the Unwary, which can generally stop an entire build chain before it gets started.

Favors Called Due should be used to bunch up Dahan in a spot where invaders will ravage next turn, ideally 4 Dahan in a location with multiple buildings.

Mantle of Dread can be used by an ally to prevent a blight by pushing a town that's about to ravage. This can be especially great for spirits that otherwise have trouble controlling their board on turns 1-2.

If you don't need to block a ravage, you can try to push an explorer who's about to build. However, this is tricky because someone needs to have presence in the affected land, and you don't know in advance where invaders will explore.

If you're not sure you can find a useful target for Mantle of Dread this turn, you can play Crops Wither and Fade instead and save Mantle of Dread for turn 2 (either will trigger your innate). Note: Crops Wither and Fade often benefits from your ability to pay 1 energy to target any land with Dahan, bypassing its 0 range, but try NOT to do that this turn (you'll probably want the energy next turn).

Growth: place 1 presence (from top), gain a power (minor)
Concealing Shadows (1 fear, Dahan immune to Ravage)
Crops Wither and Fade (2 fear, downgrade a building to next-weakest invader type)

If you draw a moon+fire minor, you can substitute it for Crops Wither and Fade.

Concealing Shadows is range 0, but you really don't want to use it from range 0, because it's only useful if the invaders are blighting. Instead, use your special rule, Shadows of the Dahan, and spend 1 energy to target it from any distance. (Probably on the spot where you used Favors Called Due last turn.)

You have exactly enough energy to play all your starting powers in turns 1-2 and pay 1 energy for a range extension on Concealing Shadows.

Growth: place 1 presence (from top), gain a power (minor)
Cards: 2 minors (or whatever is left)

If you prioritize elements, you have about a 65% chance of triggering your innate with the two minors you've drawn. This is (probably) your weak turn, but it's also when you start earning 3 energy/turn passively.

Growth: Reclaim all, gain a power

Depending how much you spent on your minor powers, you could have up to 6 energy this turn, which means learning a major power may be reasonable.

You should be able to play 3 cards on both turn 5 and turn 6 without needing to reclaim again until turn 7. (If you learned a major on turn 4, you'll have to learn new powers on both turns 5+6 to do this; if not, you can take energy once if you prefer.)

Variants: If playing with A Spread of Rampant Green, turn 3 is a good time to receive a Gift of Proliferation (it lets you play 3 cards on turn 4, while still allowing the first Gift of Proliferation to be used on someone who might need it more urgently).

If you choose +3 energy growth on both turns 1 and 2, you can afford to reclaim on turn 3 and reach 3 card plays on turn 4. But then you have to reclaim again on turn 5 (or go back to playing 2 cards). My recommended opening plays one less card on turn 4, but across the first 5 turns places 1 more presence, learns 1 more power, and generates 3 more energy (despite choosing the +3 energy growth less often).

You can also try placing presence from the bottom track on both turns 1+2 (while taking energy from growth), which lets you play 3 cards on turn 3 (if one of them is 0-cost). But then you're kind of stuck on turn 4, because no matter what growth you pick, you'll be short on either energy or on cards.
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George Aristides
United Kingdom
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Thanks for this; this opening worked for me in the few times I managed to go through the first two turns without having to contribute energy or discard a card to pass an Event effect...

Shadows is really punishing in that if you are forced to reclaim earlier, your mid-game is really stunted.
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