This is the sixth 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, #4 Webletee, and #5 Mitarashi Dango here).
Also, in case you didn’t already know I’ve started doing commentary & gaming livestreams for Fantasy Strike again – Monday Night Strike! So if you’d like get a chance to play against, or watch, some of these European FS players in real time, this is a great opportunity to catch some of them online. I’m hoping to make this a regular weekly “show” for at least an hour on the Agoners twitch channel, every Monday evening at approximately 8pm UK – 21:00 CET – so follow me on twitch to tune in then, or subscribe to the Agoners youtube channel to watch the highlights later on. Here’s the “intro” chat and first match I commentated from the first Monday Night Strike last week to whet your appetite:
Anyway, onto the interview! This time I’m talking to someone who’s been an absolute stalwart of the European Fantasy Strike scene since the early days of Fantasy Strike – Arnei.
Hi! My name’s Arne “Arnei” Wilken. I’m afraid the story behind my nickname, Arnei, is quite bland. I simply wanted an online handle that obfuscated my name towards strangers, while leaving it highly recognisable for people who knew me. It does have the added benefit of being endlessly confusing to pronounce for most people. Go on, try it. … See? That’s why no one actually calls me that.
Remy77077: I pronounce it like “Arnay” btw, as you’ve probably heard during commentary… I just assumed that is was pronounced like it was a Japanese name. Which is actually my “rule of thumb” of how to pronounce anything in any foreign language! If I imagine any foreign word is Japanese not English, I reckon I am much more likely to be closer to saying something correctly in it’s native language. There are a few notable exceptions like French, but it even works there at times. Basically, English is weird imo.
For avatars I use online, I generally don’t go with real life images, but use images of Shadow Labrys (Persona 4 Arena) and Orianna (League of Legends), like this one that’s my discord avatar for some time now:
I’m from Lower Saxtony, Germany. If you think you’re close, do contact me for some offline Fantasy Strike! I’ve been playing FS since, I believe, around the end of 2017, after the gambling addict was released but before the freaky fish man. Clocked about ~300 hours on Steam, which seems to be a fine number for what I’d call one of my main fighting games. Not that time spent on FS is terribly conclusive to skill level mind you ^^.
I don’t think I really have a favourite playable FS character, playstyle or otherwise. They’re all kinda cool and I tend to play everyone every now and then, depending on who I feel like playing that day (except Lum. Nope to that). But if haaad to pick, I think I’d go with Valerie. Swinging around huge, disjointed normals seems to be something I like having on my fighting game characters. [‘Disjointed’; adjective. Describes attacks where the hurtbox of the attack is not extended into the hitbox, e.g. sword swinging attacks or Kirbys up-tilt].
Also, who could say no to that smile?
It’s hard to answer who I least like to play against in FS… Maybe Geiger, cuz I have trouble figuring out the optimal decision matrix for all possible situations when fighting him. Maybe it’s any match-up where I need good reactions to win, as I am bad at that (and being relegated to online sure doesn’t help). Or maybe it’s any match-up that feels like it’s decided at round start 90% of the time, but then drags on forever. Argagarg can make you feel that way.
My favourite character from the world of Fantasy Strike would probably be Persephone, or maybe Quince. Just because they have that whole ‘puppet master’ thing going on. I do terribly suck with them when playing Puzzle Strike though…
When it came to the Ranked mode for FS, given that I lacked any favourite characters, my ranked team choice was based entirely around the concept of who people really struggle against on a low to mid skill level, while being easy enough to execute for me. #EazyWinz. That lead me to running Grave, Valerie and Midori. And now I’m stuck with them because I have by far and large the most knowledge about them/their matchups. If I feel confident enough at some point, I might switch in Jaina, Setsuki, Geiger or DeGrey, but for I now I’m still quite happy with my choice.
Remy77077: You still stick to “yellow Val” as your main right? Do you ever see anyone else pick that colour? It seems quite your calling card.
You actually picked up on that? Huh. No, I don’t ever see anyone else using it (which I’m kinda glad for, means I don’t ever get confused). Everyone else tends to pick base, black, purple or pride. I didn’t even like it that much at first, but it has grown on me. Did you notice I tend to pick yellow colours on my other characters too? That’s supposed to be a homage to ‘BananaKen’, who was/is an anime fighting game player and probably the best Shadow Labrys player in the world. Although he himself isn’t actually know for picking yellow colors, but bananas are yellow, so…
I think my greatest personal achievement in Fantasy Strike is either:
A. Defeating Sir for the first time ever in a tournament and knocking him into losers. Unexpected, to be sure, but that still made for quite the memory and achievement. He still overtook me in losers and placed before me in the end, but still^^
B. Making Masters in the first season of Fantasy Strike (we’re in Season 3 currently). The first time I felt capable enough in a fighting game to set myself an ambitious goal like that and actually make it. Hopefully I can keep it that way, but the competition will only get harder from here on out.
As for greatest gaming achievement in general, well, I don’t know about “greatest”, so I’m just gonna go with “Made first place in a really tryhard Mario Kart DS online tournament in a German Pokémon internet forum”. I even got a unique forum title for that. Those were good times.
In addition to Fantasy Strike, I also main Super Smash Bros Ultimate, more specifically Robin (projectiles and sword normals, but lacks defence and overall rather slow). Apart from fighting games I play RPGs more often than not, but I’m open to pretty much anything. To name a few: the Persona series, the Pokémon series, Mirror’s Edge, everything from SuperGiant Games, the Kingdom Hearts Series, The World Ends With You, League of Legends, Fire Emblem Awakening, the Bioshock series, the Portal Series, Sid Meiers Civilization IV, V and VI, … that should be enough for now!
I do try to be open to all kinds of games, not just the ones of digital nature. I’m lucky to have a bunch of friends who I can somewhat regularly play board games with, Terraforming Mars and Spirit Island have been the most popular this year. So yes, I do get to play Puzzle Strike with physical people at a physical table. I tend to try and push for 1v1 PS, but others prefer free for all apparently.
The things I like the most about Fantasy Strike are firstly, I can do moves way, way more consistently than in any other fighting game I’ve played. This means there are way less rounds that end with “If I had inputted that right I would’ve won”. Now I actually win those. And secondly, great online. It just works™. Really, Fantasy Strike is simply the fighting game that makes it’s players suffer the least. Other players might focus on gameplay or graphics, but having an online multiplayer game where you don’t have to deal with some form of Scheiße is just so valuable to me, excuse my German.
For a new player, my advice would be “Have fun”, in whatever way you choose to play Fantasy Strike. But specifically for newer players who have already spent a bit of time with the game and really want to get competitive online: Learn how fighting games work. This is not immediately obvious to everyone and therefore hard to pick up by just playing. And I feel like FS is even more unforgiving to the uninitiated than other fighting games. So I’d recommend to grab a basic understanding of how each attack has startup, active and recovery time and why simply mashing A after standing up will never ever work against a good player. Some of this information can be found on the FS website, but good resources shouldn’t be hard to find in this day and age.
If I could add any character to FS it would be Shadow Labrys of course! grins But since that is arguably unlikely, a more realistic prediction would probably be someone from the FS universe, right? In that case, maybe Gwen? I honestly don’t care too much, but given that the current zoner-to-everything-else ratio is so high, a non-zoner would be nice. But I’ll take everything with a fun and unique playstyle that isn’t Lum.
Remy77077: That’s another knock against Lum! What do you have against the lovable panda?
Certain situations playing against him I find really frustrating – for example where you read that Lum will item throw and jump at him. This’ll get pressure going, except if he gets Anti-Air-Coin™. The fact that you‘re gonna be sad 16% of the time even though you feel like you made the correct play sucks. (I am aware that the example situation will not/ should not occur much if at all in high level play, but still). I also feel that pandaball is an “overloaded” move for Lum – Wanna get past a projectile? Pandaball. Anti-air something? Pandaball? Control a ton of space because the move is fast? Pandaball. Safe on block while also leaving at a nice distance away from scary melees? Pandaball. Chip damage? Pandaball. Cross-up setup? Pandaball. Save against most reversals due to simply passing by them before they become active? Pandaball.
Remy77077: Any last thoughts you’d like to add?
“Don’t let the monsters lead you astray, and leave the house at least once a day.”… that’s enough wisecracking. Shoutouts to BananaKen and MixedMethods who are largely responsible for me playing and enjoying fighting games till this day. And of course shoutout to Remy of the Agoners, thanks for having me. When’s Euro Strike II? 😀
Remy77077: Hah! Well I don’t have anything formally planned yet for a Euro Strike II tournament, but you can probably guess that is something I would like to organise one day.
This just leaves me to thank Arnei for a fantastic interview. Lots of interesting thoughts there and a bunch of surprises for me.