Interview with NZ FGC player Jamie ‘Zarzob’ Joe
Muttons: Congratulations on your Street Fighter V and Tekken 7 win at Crush Counter Capital! Can you tell us more about the event?
Jamie: Thanks! Crush Counter Capital is held in Wellington NZ, ran by a guy named Jackson under the name Expansion NZ. It’s the first tournament held under this brand and also the first fighting game major in Wellington.
Muttons: How did you find the event, especially being a first time major?
Jamie: I really enjoyed CCC. There were a few issues with the initial brackets with seeding which was sorted quickly, and the event ran into a lot of scheduling issues, but overall you couldn’t really tell it was a first time event as other events sometimes have these issues too.
Muttons: Can you talk about the New Zealand scene and how it is built around the Auckland and Wellington communities?
Jamie: Wellington has the second biggest FGC after Auckland I believe. With a few core members, they have some strong players. I believe JB and Blackout mostly run the scene down there. We also have an ELO rating system that runs off Challonge brackets created by JB that allows us to seed major tournaments easily.
In Auckland we have the kings of NZ FGC Dave and Sol running things under the banner of Standing Fierce, They’ve been doing it for a long time now and they also get help from a bunch of people behind the scenes.
Muttons: Who were the favourites going into Crush Counter Capital?
Jamie: There were quite a few favourites going into it. For Street Fighter V we had myself, Tingcos, Skyy, IronSOL, WaZa, Blackout, JB. And for Tekken we had NikolaTesla, Blackout, Cornwillis, and some new faces that also placed well. There was a lot of strong competition this tournament.
Muttons: Who was the toughest challenge that you faced on the way to the title?
Jamie: The people who I was most afraid of facing in tournament were Skyy, WaZa, and IronSOL. Unfortunately (thankfully for me!) they ended up being eliminated before I got to them. As for my actual bracket – Tingcos was definitely the biggest threat.
Muttons: Tingcos is one of your training partners correct?
Jamie: Yes that’s right. We’ve played together for years now and we are extremely familiar with each other’s play style.
In casuals for a long time the result between us has been in my favour, sometimes pretty heavily but in the past month or so he has levelled up a lot and it’s usually pretty even or in his favour a bit. We played a few casuals before day 2 and he got a bit of a download on me. It was in his favour in the morning so I was pretty worried he’d win, which he almost did! Even the character matchup is pretty even – Cammy (me) vs Ibuki.
Photo credit – Kouki Photography NZ
Muttons: Which player was the biggest surprise at this tournament?
Jamie: There was a FANG player from Palmerston North called MrJaybel who managed to knock Skyy into the losers bracket and almost beat Tingcos too. That took us by complete surprise. Skyy ended up facing him again in top 8 losers so I had to give Skyy some prep for FANG the night/morning before to beat him.
Muttons: Did you work on anything specifically before going into the tourney, any matchups or strategies?
Jamie: I have mental notes about some of the players but mostly I go in with general character matchup notes such as: against Urien I can do a meaty light and still block [reversal] EX headbutt.
Photo credit – Meet Marie
Muttons: Where did the handle “Zarzob” come from?
Jamie: Haha, this is a bit of a weird story. I was about 6 years old and I joined a Quake 1 clan which required a 6 letter name to look cool with the tag, and I thought it would be cool to have 2 Zs in my name. I thought of Zodzar in bed, but forgot by morning and made it Zarzob. Kept it for most games I’ve played, even have my car licence plate ZARZOB.
Muttons: That’s awesome haha. You’ve had your tag since you were six.
Muttons: How did you get into the FGC and when did you start making a name for yourself?
Jamie: I’ve been playing Tekken competitively for over 10 years now. I won Nationals in 2008 which won me a trip to the Philippines where I came third in an international tournament. As for Street Fighter I started competitively about a year before SFV release…
Muttons: Damn you got good at SF pretty fast!
Jamie: Couldn’t have done it without my training partners, and especially Tingcos who is a fiend for frame data, hitboxes, new tech etc. He is the main reason for my success!
Muttons: A wise man once said: “a man is only as good as his training partners”…
Jamie: And Skyy who has been bodying me and Tingcos since we started up until now (as much as he denies it).
Muttons: Since you’re originally a Tekken player, do you have any advice for the other side – Street Fighter players picking up Tekken for the first time?
Jamie: If you’re picking up Tekken for the first time, I find that frame data is much less relevant than in SF because of the plethora of options you have at any given time (sidestep left, right, crouch, backdash, 10f, etc) movement is extremely important and mixing up your options. In SFV the followup to something -2 is pretty static compared to Tekken.
Muttons: And how are you finding Tekken 7?
Jamie: I’m loving Tekken 7. Tekken 6 and TTT2 had the movement nerfed a lot to promote aggression and a lot of players didn’t like that, including myself. Tekken 7 has a good balance of movement options while not being too good that it’s over powered, so I really like it. It’s one of my favourite Tekkens for sure. I will continue to compete in both games.
Muttons: What is unique about the New Zealand scene?
Jamie: Unique? We are Gief nation. We have a lot of Gief players. Every tournament you go to in NZ you’re bound to face a Gief within a few games.
Muttons: What is the next big fighting game event coming up for New Zealand?
Jamie: NZ is pretty lucky this year getting a lot of majors. Redzone Rumble II will be held in Christchurch next month on August 12-14.
Photo credit – Meet Marie
Muttons: What’s the first thing visiting players should eat in NZ?
Jamie: New Zealand is pretty big on meat pies (with cheese), and fish and chips! Don’t forget the Watties tomato sauce with literally everything you eat…
Jamie: Shoutouts to my Salt Factory training partners Skyy, Tingcos, and CubT. Especially Tingcos for your in depth knowledge explaining mechanics to dumb asses like me to help us level up, my girlfriend for tuning in to support me this past weekend, and Dave for holding down the NZFGC.
Zarzob is currently not a sponsored player.
Thanks to Jamie for sitting down with us!