This is the fifth post in an on-going series where I’ve been interviewing European members of the Fantasy Strike community to find out more about them (see #1 Nok here, #2 Kingheim here, #3 Sir here, and #4 Webletee here).
It’s been a while for one of these posts as I got into quite a backlog as I’ve been busy with other things, plus my Fantasy Strike focus (along with much of the FS community) had been looking to North America lately of course with the fantastic showing of Fantasy Strike’s first “Major” tournament at Frosty Faustings in Chicago. Those of you who follow me on Twitch might have seen my pre-event stream for that though, and there’s highlights from the best online matches I caught on stream on Agoners Youtube channel as always!
This time I’m talking to someone who’s been a strong if slightly infrequent European player for some time at Fantasy Strike – and someone who’s also known as a bit of a “combo & tech guru” for the game – Mitarashi Dango.
My name is Daniel, also known as Mitarashi Dango, or Mienaikage. I started using ‘Dango’ as a reference to an idiom I’m fond of: “Hana yori dango”. Mitarashi was added because a) mitarashi dango is delicious, and b) I could use M. Dango as a vague reference to M. Bison (Dictator, from Street Fighter). Dango are small balls made of rice flour on a skewer, and mitarashi dango is coated in a sweet glaze made of soy sauce and sugar, plus starch to thicken. I’d highly recommend it! The phrase “hana yori dango” means “dumplings rather than flowers”, an idiom meaning that function is preferred to aesthetics. It’s typically my attitude to most things!
Mienaikage is a really old pseudonym which means “unseen shadow”. I don’t use it so much these days as people have a hard time pronouncing it. I’m from London, UK, and travel to the US for a couple weeks a few times a year.
I can’t remember the first time I played Fantasy Strike, but I started backing on Patreon over 3 years ago and was messing around on and off with the builds posted from there. I started playing a lot more once it was on Steam early access.
My favourite characters are Jaina and Valerie. Character-wise I think I prefer Valerie. Gameplay-wise I’m not sure who I prefer, I find them both fun to play! I find fighting against DeGrey difficult, I feel like there’s something I’m not grasping about that character. Neb’s DeGrey is terrifying, and I’m not comfortable at all in the matchup when playing Jaina.
(Remy notes: If you don’t know who Mitarashi Dango is referring to, Neb is known as one of the best European players of Fantasy Strike. He entered Euro Strike if you’d like to see some of his matches. More have been recorded on my youtube channel too)
From other characters in the Fantasy Strike world I quite like Gwen, although I’ve never really played much Yomi. I’m not too into playing card games online and I don’t know of many people interested in person.
My FS ranked team is usually Valerie, Setsuki, and Midori. I chose them as they’re the characters I feel most comfortable with, although during the last EU tournament I dropped Setsuki for Jaina, as I’d lost 5 of 6 games with her before going into losers. Jaina I don’t typically play in ranked because there are a handful of matchups that feel like an uphill battle for me. I’ve considered picking up Grave as he feels pretty solid, but I don’t enjoy playing him as much as I do other characters.
I’m not really sure what my best FS achievement is… I’d like to have said that I’ve beaten CWheezy in a best of 3 set, but I was 1 chip away from that happening so I guess that will have to do! The distance between us is unfortunate, as fighting CWheezy is unlike fighting anyone else, and I hope to face him again the next time we’re within a playable distance.
My history with fighting games goes back to about 10 years ago when I started properly getting into the mechanics of fighting games, starting with SFIV. Over the years I’ve been pouring out tech info onto various different locations on the internet, starting here: https://sonichurricane.com/?p=618&cpage=1#comment-460
I’ve managed to score myself wins in a handful of tournaments. I once won a Yatagarasu tournament and a local KoFXIII one, alongside placing well in a few others. I have a habit of doing quite well in the early days of games as I can download tech rapidly, but have a tendency to trail off as time goes on.
Remy: I asked Mitarashi Dango how he came up with ideas for combo and tech videos like the one below:
Combos/tech usually come out of a single point of curiosity. Maybe I’ll stumble upon something during a match, maybe I’ll have an idea I want to try out of nowhere, or maybe someone will mention something that piques my interest. From there I then experiment with that idea and build around it. There’s some occasional thinking outside the box, for example, having the frame data line up, but not having the right spacing, so then I end up throwing in stuff that could potentially change that. Occasionally some ideas just come out of an accident that looked interesting!
Outside of fighters I mostly play Overwatch. I’ve also played a fair bit of Beat Saber but not so much recently. Other games I have been quite fond of in the past are Portal, The Swapper, Magicka, Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes, and Global Agenda. I also play a fair few board games. Most recently I picked up Fury of Dracula, and I’ve played it a handful of times but sadly have yet to play it to completion. Other board games I’m fond of tend to be along the lines of hidden information, like Resistance/Avalon, Coup, Battlestar Galactica, and Dark Moon. Once a week I try out a couple of light programming challenges as well.
Remy: I asked Mitarshi Dango more about his experiences with Overwatch when compared to the competitive experience of fighting games:
I suppose it depends on what level of competition you’re looking at. One of the biggest pain points in general online competitive Overwatch that does’t apply in fighting games is cohesion among your own team. e.g. Do the characters your team has fit well together, do your teammates communicate, do your teammates recognise and take advantage of openings you’ve made. In a fighting game, if you’re playing a disadvantaged matchup you can make your own decision to counterpick, but your ability to do that in Overwatch is limited to the role you have. If your teammate doesn’t want to counterpick for whatever reason, you’re stuck with that and just have to do the best with what you’ve got. I could go and seek out a team to play/practice with, but that tends to require scheduling and planning and I can’t really commit that much to a video game unfortunately.
I like Fantasy Strike because it has amazing netcode, good balance, and I don’t have to spend much time at all warming up BnBs with the characters. You can learn to play the whole cast without too much trouble. I’ve been curious about Tekken 7 for a while (I own it but have never played), but there looks to be an overwhelming amount of info I’d have to take in before I could actually start enjoying playing the game, since there’s the huge hurdle of getting past learning a character, then learning all of the matchups following that.
For advice at getting into Fantasy Strike, new players need to consider that there isn’t really much in this game that is “cheap” – if there’s a particular move or strategy that’s tripping you up, there’s usually a way around it (although it isn’t always obvious). It’s good to either go to training mode and either throw out some ideas, or simply ask other players what you might be doing wrong.
If the Fantasy Strike cast continues to grow I’d be most interested to see how Bal-Bas-Beta, Persephone, or Gwen do their thing in FS.
As for an extra shout-out, while it might not be particularly fitting for a fighting game blog, the world we live in makes me feel its paramount to state: Trans Rights are Human Rights.
Remy: don’t worry, I agree with you 100% on this and that’s a great thing to bring up!
Thank you greatly to Mitarashi Dango for taking the time to speak to me and for putting up with the long publishing delay!
I’ll finish with an extra tidbit that patreons of Sirlin Games will know, that there’s some HUGE news and things on the way in the not-too-distant future for Fantasy Strike too. I can’t talk about it outside of Patreon for obvious NDA reasons, however you should note that this is the common reaction amongst those who’ve seen what’s coming to Fantasy Strike –
So I’m really looking forward to the rest of this year in Fantasy Strike!