Euro Fantasy Strike Players Series: #3 – Sir

This is the third post in an on-going series where I’m interviewing European members of the Fantasy Strike community to find out more about them (see #1 Nok here, and #2 Kingheim here).

This time I get the answers and information from a relative Fantasy Strike veteran who’s been playing the game nearly as long as I have (I think), and is one of the strongest players in Europe I’ve played against: Sir

My handle is Sir on both Fantasy Strike and Steam. I’m not from the UK, I was born in Ukraine and I live in Majorca, the largest Spanish island and a popular tourist destination, particularly among the Brits and the Germans. I get a great internet connection to all European players.
(Remy: I had previously assumed Sir was from the UK due to his name and how good our connection online is!)

I’ve been playing Fantasy Strike since its Early Access release on Steam. In fact, I’ve been following Sirlin’s work since I read ‘Playing to Win’ back in the day, so I found out through his Patreon that he was making a fighting game with the characters from his card game Yomi. I tried a couple of the very early Fantasy Strike builds only available to Patreons, and even then the gameplay was already surprisingly good. It really felt like it was in the sweet spot between Divekick and Street Fighter; easy to pick up, yet very deep.

Coming from Smash, that was exactly what I was looking for in a traditional fighting game. I wanted to play against humans right from the start, instead of grinding the execution skills in training mode for weeks to unlock the real game. Don’t get me wrong, I like hard and competitive games. I practised a lot of hard tech for Melee, and I used to play Starcraft 2 at a high Masters level. But I no longer had enough time or patience to practice some arbitrary non-transferable mechanical skills for a game.

I remember my first matches of Fantasy Strike. I could figure out how to do stuff on the fly. When I saw a combo for the first time done against me, I could go “Oh, so you can do that”, and then go and do it myself on the first try. When trying if a move worked in a given situation, I could be sure that I wasn’t messing up my inputs, so the feedback was immediate. It was clear why things did or did not work, without the need to lab it. The game is still very hard and the better player consistently wins. But it’s hard for all the right reasons, not because of artificial complexity.

My favourite character is Jaina. I like zoners with an aggressive playstyle, and character-wise Jaina is a reckless zoner. She can have many projectiles on the screen at the same time, which makes her zoning very intricate. Yet she has a flying knee that can combo into another flying knee. That’s my favourite move in the game because of the aesthetics and how satisfying it feels. Her divekick is also great to pressure many characters.

The character I like least to play against is Setsuki because she’s the most evil character. She can steal a round in seconds with nasty mixups. Also, she’s double-plus-evil with lag because of how fast she moves around. [In particular, the rook hugger’s Setsuki is a nightmare because she just teleports around, haha (don’t put that in Remy!)]. However, it’s fair because you can bully Setsuki once you knock her down.

My current ranked team is Jaina, Geiger and DeGrey.

Rook was the first character I played. He is the perfect grappler in the sense that he has every tool a grappler wants. Destroying projectiles, knocking down from full screen, a good poke, a great jump in attack, an air super that beats every air attack and knocks down, you name it. I was sure I was going to main Rook…

However, I felt my sense of timing and reactions were poor, so I wanted to learn a zoner. I picked Geiger, the most stylish zoner. The way he just stops time and casually strolls towards the opponent to whoop them like a sir, that’s very classy. I fell in love with his long reaching fingers of death poke and forward jump attack. I find that kind of aggressive control of distance with normal attacks really fun. Hence, Geiger became my new main character.

Then I tried to learn Jaina. It was kind of hard to grasp how to play her, because there’s a lot going on with her arrows. It’s more nuanced than the projectiles of other zoners. I also picked up Grave. I went back and forth between Jaina and Grave. I felt I did better with Grave, but Jaina was overall more exciting. Eventually I grew tired of hearing Grave and his “zizuing” (the voice line of his projectile) all the time, while Jaina grew on me and became my favourite character.

Also, I realised that I didn’t have enough patience to slowly walk up with grapplers and that I preferred zoners. So I replaced Rook with the ultimate zoner. No, not Argagarg – Lum. He’s happy to sit back and throw items, which forces the opponent to come at him. I played a lot of Lum because of his unique and hilarious moveset. All the new situations his items create force you to improvise and make Lum a very fun and rewarding character to try to master. But playing Lum against Argagarg or another Lum may be too much fun going on. It’s actually exhausting.

Lately I replaced Lum with DeGrey because I wanted something more straightforward. I like DeGrey because all his moves are very satisfying. The amount of visual and audible feedback on his hits is insane. It makes every hit feel very powerful. The juggles on counter hit also add to that feeling. In some ways, DeGrey can zone because of his ghost, which makes his playstyle and pacing different from the rushdown characters.

My greatest achievement in Fantasy Strike is getting prize pool money in the tournament Fantasy Strike Summer Solstice 3 (5th/6th place) and in ThyPirateKing’s Tournament #8 (3rd place). Also, in the Fantasy Strike Launch Tournament, I knocked the rook hugger into Loser’s, but he then took it back 2-1 in Loser’s Finals, so I ended up in 3rd place. But really, now that I think of it, the best thing I’ve ever done was in TPK’s Tournament #4, in which I eliminated Remy from the tournament he was also casting. Heh, nothing personal, Remy. I just wanted you to keep casting. I ended up in 4th place, and Remy got to cast how I was knocked out.

Remy: Hahaha thanks! I am not sure that beating me is that huge a feat! But I do highly recommend all Fantasy Strike playes check out ThyPirateKing’s weekly tournaments here. They are really good fun.

For gaming nowadays I mostly play Fantasy Strike. Sometimes I play Tekken and Smash locals with my IRL friends. I also play CSGO with my buddies; it’s a great team game. I have good memories from when I played Starcraft. Sometimes I wish I could play it again, but getting my skills back is too much of a time commitment. It’s frustrating struggling to relearn something I used to be able to do easily.

Oh, and I think the card game Codex is amazing. It’s extremely deep and skill-based because of the way you build your deck during the game. It makes MtG and Hearthstone obsolete because it has none of their huge problems. And it has a fair business model! I hope one day Sirlin can make an online version.

What I like about Fantasy Strike is how much it focuses on fundamentals and decision making. Just having better mechanical execution is not enough to win. It’s not about fighting the game’s controls. It’s about fighting your opponent with good positioning and precise timing, and adapting to what they do. It emphazises the skills that make a fighting game deep and fun.

My advice to new players is to play against people as soon as possible, watch the in-game character spotlight videos to get a sense of how every character works, and join the official Discord so you can get advice if you are struggling with some matchup or tactic. But really, just play a lot to develop your game sense and improve your decision making, focusing on understanding what went wrong and why every time you get hit.

If FS is added new characters, I would love to see Menelker, because he’s all about playing to win, and would look very cool.

I want to thank Remy for running the Euro Strike tournament and helping the EU scene. I’m sure that Neb will win since he’s the best European player by far. I’m hoping I make top 3. There’s many strong players in the tournament. New European players like Kingheim have quickly gotten very good, and veterans like Arnei have improved a lot lately. I expect to see many great matches!

Remy: Thanks so much to Sir for that, and some great and really in depth answers that he took a lot of time to explain. I’ll be back with another player interview soon, but first, it’s time for Euro Strike!

8 thoughts on “Euro Fantasy Strike Players Series: #3 – Sir

  1. I do enjoy this interview series, keep it up! Didn‘t think Sirs favourite is Jaina, I for sure thought it would be Geiger. Given how good his Geiger is, not just because of his name ;).

    (Also yay, I‘ve been mentioned. Feels weird)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for dropping a comment Arnei! It’s really good to know if people are enjoying them! 😀
      That’s all I need to know to keep doing them!

      Is there anything you wished I’d asked Sir btw… ? (cos I might be asking you one day too 🙂 )


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