Ok so I am using a hybrid or the two concepts. I have the cards as one object with each card as a different animation. Then I have all the transformations as one object with each form as a different animation.
-On Left Click of card-X:
A. set array1,1 to animationName
B. sprite start animation array1,1 "&Idle"
Each animation starts with frames 1-4 to show the transformation then loops back to frame 5 from that point on.
What I am hoping to do is to use the value pushed to array1,1 to track stats for each of the individual transformations. But I haven't gotten that far yet. Just wanted to confirm that I found a solution, and hopefully that it will function with the rest of the design down the road.