This is the seventh 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, #5 Mitarashi Dango, and #6 Arnei here).
Today I’m talking to another up-and-coming strong & regular European player…
My name is TheZipBon. It’s the name I use on majority of internet forums, game accounts and such. It’s a combination of Zip Zip and Bon Bon, two vehicles in Mario Kart Wii (I was a huge Mario Kart fan back in the day). I’m from Poland (Masovia). I’ve been playing Fantasy Strike since June 2019, so just a bit before the console release.
Playstyle-wise, my favourite FS character is Midori (as probably evident from my profile picture). His Dragon Form transformation is very versatile, not only making him a very threatening character, but also allowing him to quickly transform and deliver a more powerful punish than base Midori. It also pauses the game, so reacting to whatever the opponent is doing is easier. I also like how he can both play defensively (as well as offensively, in some cases) in human form and go on powerful, bulky offence in dragon form. Having 7 health points, a quick sweep and a parry is nice, too.
Character-wise my favourite character is Lum. He’s a very funny, light-hearted character and his jumping sound effect sounds like a bouncing ball, which is cute. As far as the Fantasy Strike universe, my favourite character would still be Lum. Outside of him (and the other characters currently playable in the Fantasy Strike game), my pick would be Troq Bashar, because of his awesome design and him being a perfect fit for an offensive grappler in FS, should Sirlin Games decide to add him in the future.
My least favourite character to play against in Fantasy Strike is Geiger, specifically when it’s a mirror match. I enjoy – or at least tolerate – every other matchup in the game (including Geiger vs. any character not named Geiger), but Geiger vs. Geiger is extremely awkward and makes me want to play another game. This is why I’m awaiting the upcoming nerfs – they will most likely make the Geiger mirror bearable (hopefully even fun). I don’t want to drop him though! He was the most consistent character throughout my adventure with FS and one of the reasons I bought the game in first place (specifically, watching a YouTube video and seeing Geiger’s ground super. It made be laugh out loud and left a good first impression) and is still someone who both gives me success and I find enjoyable to play. I’d rather wait for the upcoming Geiger nerfs, so other people drop him instead and I don’t have to play the mirror as often. 😀
Aside from that, the only thing I don’t enjoy playing against is a laggy opponent in a Ranked/tournament match. Luckily, these happen rarely enough for it to not be a concern – especially since majority of connections are actually playable, thanks to Fantasy Strike being powered by excellent networking technology.
My current ranked team consists of Midori, Geiger and Lum, because these three characters have proven to be the most successful ones for me and I feel comfortable playing them. It took me quite a long time to form that team, though, especially that 3rd slot. I think I’ve declared almost every character my main at some point in the game, before deciding to stick with my current team. For a long time I’ve played Grave, then Valerie as my 3rds alongside Geiger and Midori, but always felt like they were my weakest links. One day I decided to do a Lum solo-run in one of ThyPirateKing’s tournaments and realised he might just be the solution to my 3rd character crisis. And it more or less worked out. Sometimes I do change my team, as a sort of a counter-pick attempt against specific opponents in tournaments, though vast majority of the time I just stick to Midori, Geiger and Lum. I don’t have any plans to change that team, it would most likely take new character additions or major balance changes for me to consider it.
Remy77077: Here’s another match from later on in his playing career, click this link or skip to 41:37 (as unfortunately the embed video won’t skip to a timestamp) from our Euro Strike tournament with TheZipBon vs a very tough opponent in Mitarashi Dango (who went on to finish 3rd in this tournament):
(Remy77077: I asked TheZipBon what he attributed the kind of improvement you can see in his match videos to the most)
As far as my growth as a player, I think it’s mostly me playing the game a lot and – to some extent – labbing stuff like punishes and outcomes of interactions in training mode (which – as a sidenote – is very convenient, thanks to frame-step and dynamic frame data). I did take some advice from the Discord chat and the forums, too.
It is also worth mentioning that Fantasy Strike is the first fighter I got to play for real, because Smash Bros’ online modes are disconnected from the offline tournaments, due to different rulesets and input delay in online modes (not to mention gameplay being different from traditional fighters) and because I gave up on Skullgirls due to its extreme execution requirements. So you could say I started fresh as a fighting game player by picking up Fantasy Strike.
My greatest personal achievement in Fantasy Strike is probably placing 3rd in the Quarantine Rapport tournament. It was pretty much the most notable tournament I’ve played in (aside from Euro Strike) and many good players participated, so getting the 3rd place was something special for me.
I’d pick the same thing for me as my best gaming achievement in general. Fantasy Strike was the first game where I got to compete that wasn’t just Smash 4’s online tournament mode or something equally meaningless. Aside from that, I guess one could consider getting 100% in single-player games some sort of an achievement, but that’s more of happiness and satisfaction from experiencing the game, rather than feeling of accomplishment. It’s also not that notable, since I’m far from the only one who fully completes video games, heh.
Aside from Fantasy Strike, my favourite video games are the Spyro trilogy, Xenoblade Chronicles 1 and – if mods and hacks count – Brawl Minus and various hacks of Pokémon (hacks over the base games, because the former add difficulty, make more Pokémon viable and expand the available selection. Also because there are so many of them). I have more games that I really like, but the ones I mentioned (including Fantasy Strike, of course) take the cake. I also like board and card games, but I don’t get to play them often (aside from digital versions of some), because my friends and family aren’t too much into them or don’t have the time to play. Outside of games, I’m also interested in politics and technology/IT.
Remy77077: It’s really great you got to experience true competition then through FS! Amazing!
It truly is. Fantasy Strike’s focus on “game sense” and smart play over execution requirements, online play that’s almost as smooth as offline play and Linux support made a great combination that allowed me to actually compete in fighting games.
I also like how pretty much any input method is viable. I’m not aware of any fighting game where I can play with a sideways Wii Remote without gimping myself in some way. I play the game on keyboard and the default controls pretty much clicked for me, to the point where I often bind controls to be similar to Fantasy Strike’s, even when it isn’t a fighting game, heh. Cross-platform play with no limitations is great as well.
If you’re a new FS player, you should absolutely watch the spotlight videos and read the official guide after completing the tutorial, getting used to controls against bots and such. They’re actually very useful, more so than tutorials in many other games and include knowledge that fewer people have than one would expect, such as bouncing knockdown’s effect on combos. Also, don’t be afraid of experimenting, training mode is just for that. Maybe you will find something that would shape the meta in some way? Who knows!
The character I would like to see in FS the most is Bal-Bas-Beta. It would be interesting to see the differences between him and Argagarg, since they’re both defensive characters who like to play keep-away (in BBB’s case – in the Yomi card game). Also, more non-humanlike characters are always welcome.
One more thing to add: PLAY FAIR! Thanks for the interview!
Well I have to say if you’re anything like me, you will find that incredibly heart-warming to hear how much TheZipBon has gotten out of Fantasy Strike already and what it’s meant to him in terms of finding a game he can compete in. Truly a great story here, and not to mention, also exactly what Agoners is all about! As TheZipBon alludes to here, he’s no doubt looking forward to the game just as much in the future too. Keep Fantasy Striking out there guys, and I’ll be back with another interview again soon.