Vital Strength of the Earth

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SETUP

Put 3 Presenceicon.png on your starting board: 2 in the highest-numbered Mountain, 1 in the highest-numbered Jungle.

PLAY STYLE

Powerful but slow: has potent Power Cards and an excellent Energy income, but starts wtih only one card play per turn, and Growth is limited to adding one Presence per turn.
Also slow to change: learning new Powers carries slightly more cost than reclaiming played Power Cards

COMPLEXITY

LOW

GROWTH (PICK ONE)
Reclaimall.png
Reclaim Cards
+ Presenceicon.png

2
Rangeicon.png

Add Presence
Gaincardicon.png
Gain Power Card
+ Presenceicon.png

0
Rangeicon.png

Add Presence
+ Presenceicon.png

1
Rangeicon.png

Add Presence
Energy Plus 2.png
Gain 2 Energy
PRESENCE
Energy 2.png

Energy/Turn
Energy 3.png

3
Energy 4.png

4
Energy 6.png

6
Energy 7.png

7
Energy 8.png

8

Cardplay1.png

Card Plays

Cardplay1.png

1

Cardplay2.png

2

Cardplay2.png

2

Cardplay3.png

3

Cardplay4.png

4

SPECIAL POWERS

EARTH'S VITALITY

Defend 3 in every land where you have Sacredsiteicon.png.

GIFT OF STRENGTH

SPEED RANGE TARGET
Fasticon.png
No Range.png
ANYSpiriticon.png

1 Sunelement.png 2 Earthelement.png 2 Plantelement.png Once this turn, Target Spirit may Repeat 1 Power Card with Energy cost of 1 or less.

2 Sunelement.png 3 Earthelement.png 2 Plantelement.png Instead, the Energy cost limit is 3 or less.

2 Sunelement.png 4 Earthelement.png 3 Plantelement.png Instead, the Energy cost limit is 6 or less.



SUMMARY OF POWERS

         
         
         
         
         
Offense Control Fear Defense Utility



Lore

Vital Strength of the Earth is a spirit of the support and sustenance that growing life gains from the ground below. It finds animals (including humans) quite interesting, but they fall outside of its bailiwick. While it is not a Spirit born of sunlight, its cycle of life is ultimately nourished by the sun, and the sun's constancy and power align well with its nature.

It is old, and its strength runs deep; while most Spirits have heard tell of the Serpent Slumbering Beneath the Island, Vital Strength is one of a few which can sense its uneasy sleep. It is patient and unhurried, though it understands the need to act with more alacrity when dealing with humans. (If you take too long, they forget what you were working on together and pack up to move elsewhere, which is such a shame.) It has good ongoing relations with multiple Dahan clans, treading carefully around their attitudes towards debt and favors; it does not see the world from the same angle of reciprocity, status, and obligation that the Dahan do.

From the Playmat

A spirit of great and unhurried power. The life that earth yields up to roots, the ground supporting the life that lives upon it. The patience of seasons and of stone.

It is not usually a direct benefactor of the Dahan - rather than giving blessings it prefers to work in concert with them, lending power to joint undertakings.

Currently it is trying to rouse itself to fight against the Invaders, but this swift and direct action runs somewhat counter to its nature.


Starting Cards


Sunelement.pngEarthelement.png

SPEED RANGE TARGET LAND
Fasticon.png
1
Rangeicon.png
ANY
Invaders skip all Actions in target land this turn.

Earthelement.pngPlantelement.pngAnimalelement.png

SPEED RANGE TARGET LAND
Slowicon.png
1
Rangeicon.png
ANY
Gather up to 2 Explorericon.png.
Gather up to 2 Dahanicon.png.

Waterelement.pngEarthelement.pngPlantelement.png

SPEED RANGE TARGET LAND
Fasticon.png
Sacredsiteicon.png
1
Rangeicon.png
ANY
Remove 1 Blighticon.png.
Defend 4

Sunelement.pngMoonelement.pngFireelement.pngEarthelement.pngPlantelement.png

SPEED RANGE TARGET LAND
Slowicon.png
Sacredsiteicon.png
1
Rangeicon.png
Dahanicon.png
2 Damage.
If target land has at least 3 Dahanicon.png, +3 Damage and 2 Fearicon.png.


Suggested Power Progression

Rouse the Trees and Stones (Minor)
Call to Migrate (Minor)
Poisoned Land (Major - Forget a Power)
Devouring Ants (Minor)
Vigor of the Breaking Dawn (Major - Forget a Power)
Voracious Growth (Minor)
Savage Mawbeasts (Minor)

General Strategy

Some things we see:

  • Growth: Every single Growth option adds exactly one Presence. Vital Strength can't blast out Presence quickly, but it does so steadily and inexorably.
  • Growth: It has a strong Reclaim option, and a weak Gain Power option. Vital Strength does much better than other Spirits with frequent reclaims, possibly using the same Powers multiple turns in a row without sacrificing expansion. (Earth and Sun are both elements of constancy.)
  • Presence tracks: It has amazing Energy gain, but very low Card Plays. It can take all game to reach 4 Plays, which Lightning's Swift Strike could achieve on Turn 1 if it wanted to.
  • Innate Power: Gift of Strength - This is basically "double a Power Card's effects", phrased as "Repeat a Power on the same target" to avoid a zillion ambiguities about what's meant by "double". This seems pretty awesome, but it looks hard to trigger: it requires 3 different elements, and even the base level will take a bare minimum of 2 Power Cards to trigger, so it's not going to be a factor in the very early game. The higher levels let it affect more costly Power Cards, which sounds great, but perhaps hard to accomplish.
  • Special Rule: Earth's Vitality - Wherever Vital Strength has a Sacred Site (more than one Presence), it Defends against the Invaders. "Defend 3" reduces total Invader damage by 3, which will completely negate the damage done by a Town (2 damage) + Explorer (1 damage), a fairly common situation. In addition to the benefits of preventing Blight (avoiding Presence loss, not losing the game), this can help set up Dahan counterattacks to take down smaller Invader groups.

What do its Unique Powers look like?

General patterns:

  • Holy moly, those are expensive! Three of the four cost 3 or more Energy to play. Vital Strength is going to need that good Energy gain, and couldn't play two of its Unique Powers on Turn 1 even if it had two Plays.
  • But with that expense comes a lot of raw power; those costly cards are much more potent than most starting hands. Vital Strength can shut down the Invaders hard - though it'll have a bit of a tendency to overkill, spending lots of energy to achieve more than is really necessary.
  • Only one of the cards (Rituals of Destruction) has Sun + Plant + Earth. Triggering the Gift of Strength innate with only 2 Power Cards will require that Rituals of Destruction be one of them.
  • There's not a lot of Fear generation - none, outside of Rituals of Destruction.

Individual cards:

  • A Year of Perfect Stillness completely shuts the Invaders down in one land - no Ravaging, Building, or Exploring! Of course, the Invaders rarely focus on the same terrain twice in a row, so you'll usually only prevent one Invader Action; its breadth is more about flexibility. It can stop a new City being built, or prevent an overrun land from Ravaging - particularly valuable if the land's already Blighted. (Though because it prevents the Ravage altogether, it also precludes Dahan counterattacks.)
  • Draw of the Fruitful Earth entices Explorers and Dahan. Gathering Explorers out of lands where they're about to Build is very effective, though since this Power is slow that use will always be a bit speculative. It's also this Spirit's one method of moving Dahan, which is important for Rituals of Destruction (below).
  • Guard the Healing Land both Defends against the Invaders and removes Blight. As often as not, you'll only need one effect or the other in a given land, but when both are useful, it can turn a pending catastrophe into something completely harmless. It can only be used near a Sacred Site. However, Defends stack, so if you use this on a land with your Sacred Site, it'll reduce Invader damage by a total of 7!
  • Rituals of Destruction is a very strong offensive power, but can only target a land with Dahan. (Vital Strength of the Earth provides the magic and the raw power for the Ritual, but needs the Dahan to execute its other pieces: making patterns upon the land to help channel the Ritual's energies, bringing special ritual materials or items for it to focus upon, and calling lesser spirits to aid.)

Overall: Early in the game, Vital Strength of the Earth can completely handle whatever problem it focuses on, but only has the Energy and Card Plays to focus on one thing at a time. Rituals of Destruction is a big offensive hammer, and is also key in triggering Gift of Strength easily, but needs a little more Dahan movement than Vital Strength starts with, so will require either drafting Dahan-moving cards or coordinating with other Spirits, with the latter often preferable due to Vital Strength's constrained Card Plays. By late game, it will have most or all of its Presence out, and can gain 8-10 Energy/turn: enough for excellent defense with its starting Power Cards, or for an incredible beatdown if it's picked up some offense-oriented Major Powers.

Links to Guides

Sacredsiteicon.png Phantaskippy's guide to Phantasms, part 2: Vital Strength of the Earth.