Looking ahead to the Climax of the Tournament!

The dust has settled on Side-A and we now know who will be waiting for Kiyosumi on the final round. And of course, the preview on Season 1 has already spoiled that Kiyosumi will be going as well.

This essentially meant that we know 3/4 of the finalist and make our prediction

Vanguard

Teru vs. Yuuki vs. Kuro vs. ???

The current situation is bad, make no mistake about it. Presently, Teru looms in the horizon with the threat of ending the match in the vanguard round. Whoever will go up with Kiyosumi needs to bring something on the table.

Our choices are:

Naruka – judging from her performance in the semifinal, the situation will go from bad to worst. I can easily imagine a school going down to zero with a Teru vs Yuuki&Kuro&Naruka combination.

Suzu  – slightly preferable to Naruka specially her explosion mode. Suzu’s explosion is unplanned and from what I gather random, so it may not reflect on Teru’s magic mirror.

Its an iffy chance but its a chance for survival. But, that’s just the problem .Survival. That is the only victory this combo could hope to achieve. and as much as I love Teru, I want a combination that can challenge her at least.

Satoha  – my pick for the most interesting configuration for the vanguard match. She’s the only hope to stop the 1 woman Teru  domination. Perhaps, she may not be able to win (evidence suggest that Teru still defeated her in last year’s individual tournament)  but her presence meant that its not certain that Teru will get 100,000 points and over.

That and someone will need to cooperate with Yuuki to take advantage of her new style. Currently, Kuro is a lost cause in the cooperation front. Though, Kuro would undoubtedly be helping by gobbling the dora. ^^

Sergeant
Mako vs. Sumire vs. Yuu vs ???

The match-up as it is would be favorable to Kiyosumi. The manga has been slowly dropping hints that Mako might be able to take the two on; For example Mako’s favorite yakuman – all green –  is doable in Yuu’s presence.

Sumire’s power is a bit iffy. But, Mako vs. Aislinn has shown that Mako can sense when her opponent is building momentum. Sumire will hide her tell in the finals but Mako doesn’t need a visual tell like Yuu. She can probably dodge Sumire’s arrow using her power.

All in all, Mako is set to win the sergeant match barring unforeseen variables. Which is why the player going up need to upset this. 

Our choices are:

Chikako: The beginner player from Usuzan. If she goes up, she might cause some problem for Mako. We have confirmation that Mako’s view is “hazy” because of her.

Yuuko: Nothing much is known about her. But, she did gain the only positive score in Mako’s round last time…

Hao: The MCR champion from Rinkai. She might be unused to Riichi but that doesn’t make her any less a threat. Beside that, she is a bad match up to Mako. Hao using MCR style makes Mako’s database of past games quite useless. As depicted in the manga, Mako can’t see anything.

The pick for the sergeant match is a bit hard compared to the vanguard where Satoha stuck out like a sore thumb. But, if I have to choose it will be Hao > Chikako > Yuuko. Yuuko really won’t be able to bring much in the sergeant match unless something happens in the next chapter. Chikako would be an okay pick since she weakens Mako’s ability by being there.

But, Hao is the most interesting match-up. Not only is she dangerously powerful by herself but her MCR style counters Mako’s power so well. But, the most interesting thing about it  is even if Mako loses this match in the semi-final. It doesn’t guarantee that she will lose again in the final.

The thing about Mako’s ability is she gets progressively harder to beat the more match she personally witnessed or played with her opponent. Since Mako played Hao once already, she will have an idea about Hao’s MCR mahjong and will probably not be flying blind in the finals. What will happen then, who knows.^^

Lieutenant: 

Hisa vs. Ako vs. Takami vs. ???

Tricky match-up. But, I believe that Kiyosumi has the advantage for most of the match. Ako is a very skilled player but I don’t think she will be a match-up for Hisa. Her training match showed Mihoko dominating, (though I admit that we didn’t see the whole thing)

Anyway, if we take in consideration that Sera =< Hiroe (Retard Master). And Hisa when she finally get rid of her nerves is on par with Hiroe. Then, we can say that Hisa > Ako. Of course, I don’t think it will be a total curbstomp in Hisa’s favor either. Ako should be able to get a few cheap hands or two here and there.

On the other hand, Takami should come into play at the last round due to her harvest time. If she did get the last dealer, multiple consecutive yakumans are going to come up in the woodwork.

So what we need is a player that can fight Hisa head on for most of the round and help nip Takami’s yakuman domination in the last round.

Since, the lieutenant match isn’t even starting on the main manga, I can’t choose. But, Hiroe should be an okay pick for this slot. And it would be nice to see Hisa vs Retard Master Round 3. The player coming from Rinkai is supposedly a monster so they should be okay as well. Sadly,  I haven’t heard much from Uzusan’s player except that she needs more work… ..

Vice Captain 

Nodoka vs. Seiko vs. Arata vs. ???

Another match-up where Kiyosumi holds the advantage. Say what you will about Nodoka but she is pretty competent as long as there are no occult stuff involved. And Arata and Seiko’s ability isn’t too far off the norm of digital that Nodoka will crumble.

So as always, the player that will come up from Side-B needs to challenge Nodoka.

Uzusan’s vice-captain is rumored to be very strong so she can possibly do it. Rinkai’s Megan is looking pretty tough as well considering she held of Cold Touka. Kinue… she would be my least pick for this match. Though, I did think she did a good job of defending in her last match.

Captain

Saki vs. Shizu vs. Awai vs. ???

Ok. The last match and probably the hardest. Still, considering Ritz choices it will be the captain who will make Saki’s job harder.

Uzusan ace is here. An ace that is above other aces as the manga is hyping up. Probably the reason why Hayarin is scared as well. That would be a good choice for the finals…

Kyouko is here again. She will probably have some anti-Saki plan after facing her three times in the final.

Another probably monster from Rinkai …

… Its kinda hard to pick anyone in Saki’s match. All of them looked interesting, not to mention, I don’t know anything of the two of them. Sigh…  T_T

Author notes: 

Looking at the final match-ups, the current situation is really slanted in favor of Kiyosumi except for the obvious. (*cough* Vanguard *cough*).  The fourth team going to the finals need to be something that can upset that status quo. From the first two matches, it looks like it will be Rinkai. ^^

And yes, I favor them to go up currently. I want them to live up to the title of International all stars and all the hype they receive.

If not, I want Himematsu to go up. They have a balanced team strength that while not overwhelming will still prove a challenge even in the finals.

Last, is Usuzan. Sadly their first two players haven’t impressed me. But, then again it was stated that their strength is concentrated in their Vice-Captain and Captain. So depending on how stupendously powerful the two was that I can excuse the earlier players’ deficiency. I may yet  want them in the finals. ^^

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12 Responses to Looking ahead to the Climax of the Tournament!

  1. Cytrus says:

    Vanguard: Naruka – no go, Suzu – explosion will trigger if it's indeed related to the power levels of the opponents, but Teru will work around it anyways, Satoha – best combo. Kuro should cooperate if Haruue tells her to, and with Yuuki obviously switching to an anti-Teru syle in the semis, there's little reason for Haruue not to notice th possibility.

    Sergeant: Chikako – whatever, Yuuko – flashback time and revealing a specialty possible, Hao – if Mako ends up destroyed in the semis, it'd be revenge time, but it's not that necessary considering recent developments.

    Lieutenant – I disagree on some of the power levels here, but all in all Hiroe is the only standout player so far – let's wait for the actual match…

    Vice captain – Nodoka's theoretically screwed either way, as she won't be able to negate any of the two abilities guaranteed to be present at the table so far, since neither targets her directly. On the other hand, nobody (including the potentials) here has anything particularly explosive, so I wouldn't expect the points to change to much here. Nodoka will make up with speed whatever she loses to the abilities.

    Captain – everything depends on the outcome of Kyouko vs Saki here. If things are resolved in the semis, we'll get a power player from one of the other teams, if not, a third round is nearly guaranteed.

    Ritz seems to favor Himematsu, so they're my number one candidate to pass right now (as mentioned, a lot depends on the Kyouko match). But Rinkai is probably the school which could be written most easily for a satisfying battle between equals. Uzusan sadly seems like a throwaway school at this point – they resemble Shindouji too much, and even if the final duo turns out to be deadly, sitting through the first three players getting owned only for the next two to regain all the points twice would be boring…

    • Cytrus. I'm still not through with the series, you inadvertently gave me. ^^

      Anyway…

      Vanguard: Yes. Of course. Kuro would probably cooperate if Harue tells her so. Still, I wonder how effective it will be. Sorry. But, I'm still boggled by the fact that Kuro didn't notice everything that was going on her match. And I suppose cooperation needs some opponent reading skills.

      Sergeant: Ok. I agree that it isn't necessary but it will be interesting.

      Lieutenant: Too little data. Yeah. I don't have much to go on so those are purely guesswork and opinion. ^^ .
      But, Mihoko = Hisa according to the Individuals. And I saw Ako looking like she was losing to Mihoko on their practice session. Though, probably Hiroe>Hisa. But, then again. We will see this in the next match, assuming they will not cooperate and gang up on the theoretical third monster player.

      Vice-Captain: Currently, against Arata and Seiko. I think that Nodoka will do well. She won't get a large lead though, but she won't lose points. Just like how she always do. I guess.

      Captain.
      Yes. A large part of the outcome will be affected by Saki vs. Kyouko. Ritz did build up a nice conflict there.

      And conclusion.

      Himematsu might have the advantage of going a third time against Kiyosumi.(I count that as an advantage. Because It is easy to set up a story arc if you will face an opponent three times.)

      They already have some huge chemistry with the team. Hisa vs. Hiroe and Saki vs. Kyouko for instance.

      But I'm still rooting for Rinkai in this…

      Oh… god. This is going to be long and complete speculation and prediction.that might or might not be true… I think you just inspred me to make another blog post. ^^

      • Cytrus says:

        Eh, Kuro xD. I don't hold it against her that she did not work out /how/ the Subara/Toki cooperation worked. That she did not notice there was cooperation going on in the first place was… let's not comment on that.

        Still, there are some very simple tips Harue can give her: call on Teru's ippatsu turn, give other players central tiles to call on for tanyao whenever you're not close to going out yourself etc. Not expecting tactical genius here story-wise. Kuro's development so far has all been ability-related, and I don't expect that to change.

        I actually see things as Mihoko > Hisa under all circumstances, except in a direct confrontation, where they're indeed equal. Basically all developments so far seem to lead to this conclusion. Hisa and Mihoko dominate similarly point-wise in the prefecturals, but Mihoko does so against an elite ability user where Hisa has low-end mob characters to compete with. In the individuals, Mihoko stands as the top of Nagano, not even threatened by Nodoka and Saki, Hisa gets fourth (or was it fifth, after Nanpo?).

        They end up equal in direct confrontation because Hisa is basically the anti-Mihoko. Mihoko reads her hell waits, but it doesn't matter, since Hisa just lucks into a tsumo anyway. Mihoko reads other players, but Hisa plays psychological warfare and makes them play unlike what they would usually do. It only makes me respect Mihoko more that she can play evenly against her worst match-up presented so far.

        Ako obviously gets dominated by Mihoko, because Mihoko reads her like she does everyone else, and Ako has no probability manipulation to save her butt with a tsumo. In the end, Ako is probably < Hisa at this point, but mostly because she tries to play a speed game in a setting where all 3rd years get a free speed boost to their draws…

        And yeah, in the end, Nodoka will do as she always does – that's kind of the theme for the character, isn't it ;)? Slow and steady wins the race.

        • Hmmm… I see them more or less as equal though. I think it was implied that Hisa wasn't into the individual until she chanced upon the Saki-Nodoka conversation. As for Mihoko standing at the top. Koromo didn't enter and Saki threw half of her match.

          Though, I do agree that Mihoko > Nodoka. And she's certainly in the top 5 players of Nagano.

          Anyway, finished my speculation in the current matches. I blame you for that Cytrus. ^^

  2. mhazaru says:

    Fantastic write up as always! Really looking forward to the clashes between Hiroe/Hisa and Kyouko/Saki.

    One thing that I've been wondering about Teru's match up – in the preview, we saw the lanterns in the mirror behind her. I guess her power has something to do with being able to 'see' everything (obviously), but the fact that we were seeing *her* power was interesting. It gave me the impression that, somehow, one of the other players was able to turn her own power against her (figure *her* out).

    Running with that possibility, who could have done it? I don't really see Suzu/Yuuki/Sahota/Naruka doing it, so maybe Kuro will get another trick/power up her sleeve soon?

    • Thanks. ^^

      As for Kuro getting some perception power and using it on Teru's power. I don't think so.

      Kuro and seeing things. Do not mix. She was utterly oblivious to the by play in the table.That her developing spontaneous seeing powers after one day would look tacked on even if Ritz managed to develop it in the best possible way.

      If Kuro must have some sort of new trick or to level up to speak. It should be something related to her epiphany last match. Perhaps, her dora restriction might be relaxed or outright removed?

      Though, the best way to foreshadow that has been missed already. Ritz should have made a throw away comment when Kuro and Harue is playing together while the match was going on. With that epiphany it was within reason that Kuro's limitation is gone but nope we saw that the penalty is still in effect.

      So not that one as well.

      Maybe increasing basic skills is the answer. Hopefully, it will give Kuro some situation awareness so she will be better prepared for the cooperation play that will surely happen next match.

      Anyway, as for the idea that someone can use Teru's mirror against her. I think it has some merit. But, barring anyone who has a specific power to do so Your best bet will be Saki.

      To manipulate Teru's mirror, someone has to know her power or at least Teru intimately. Beside that, Saki destroyed a magic mirror while on the other room by her her aura alone as a collateral damage. Maybe that is telling us something….

      Of course, Saki vs. Teru isn't going to happen yet. Pity.

      The rest of the vanguard has just to deal with Champion. They don't even need win, just limit Teru's onslaught will do.

  3. Kiukun-Nadralexe says:

    Just passing by and wondering if you are going to update this post at the same time the match evolve in the manga or wait for the semi to end?

    Personally, I am also rooting for Rinkai, maybe simply because they seem to be the most worthy of being in the final; they have a strong team, competent in every position, the two other having weak link in their team.

    The match I am wondering what is really going to look like is, obviously, the captain match of the final. Seriously, even without knowing the fourth player, a match between Shizu, Awai and Saki ….. All go deep in the wall. I mean Awai always kan with her ability and, because of double richii, always throw away the tile she takes from the dead wall …. possibility of Saki ronning on it? Or maybe as a "counter" to Saki, using the kan of Saki to up the number of kan dora for Awai ??? And Shizu in the middle blocking the vision of everyone (more or less), wonder if it will really affect Saki ….. it affected Koromo only after a day of game and with Koromo at half-power. Shizu got better since but will it be enough ??

    Add a fourth player in the middle to add to the confusion …. Ah well

    • I'll see what I can do. But, my forecast is accurate enough that it didn't need to be changed. (yey me! lol)

      And regarding Rinkai…. sigh… To be honest, Rinkai and my support of them is a bit weird.

      Its without a doubt in my mind that I want Rinkai to go to the finals. They're actually competent for one. Not that the other teams aren't but Rinkai feels more threatening – for barring Seiko like failure at their last two players Rinkai is probably the strongest team in the tournament. And its the finals, I want the strongest team to be there to serve as some sort of final boss.

      But, once the finals came, I think I will find that I won't support Rinkai for 1st. Because as much as I've said that they are looking like the strongest, I'm also aware how that came to be.

      Just look at the members. 4 are international student. Heck, the 3 newcomers have won some acclaim at a prestigious international tournament. Its no wonder why they have the strongest team around. But, its also the reason why I won't support them winning it all. Because frankly? Perhaps because I see it often in a few college sports irl. But, the win will smell a tiny bit foul.

      Its not cheating but its kinda like asking Stephen Hawking to fight someone in high school algebra. Of course he's going to win, they're not on the same league.

      And the current Rinkai no matter how you slice it is kinda like that. After all, this is the Japanese National High School Tournament. Keyword, Japanese and not a world tournament.

      There is reason why I call Rinkai the rigged team, no matter how I'm personally fond of them.

  4. Willows says:

    Nice article, though I will say that Hiroe is a far more skilled player than Hisa and even Hisa implied that when she first played her.

    But in regards to the players I really hope Rinkai make it into the finals as their players are pretty bad ass – especially Satoha and Megan. I can't wait to see Nelly play, as she's being hyped to be a very strong player.

    • nightsentinel09 says:

      Its kinda hard to take Hisa's result and thoughts for the quarterfinals since most of them is psyching herself out of the game. The semi-final result though speak for itself. …. Even if I personally think that Hisa is a bit reckless there. (even if its kinda expected).

      In the end, I believe that while Hiroe might have an advantage, its too small that any changes in the game like different opponents would give different result. Something like this. Hisa <= Hiroe

      And I'm also rooting for Rinkai at this point to go with Kiyosumi for the finals. ^^

      • Willows says:

        Perhaps, though remember – Hisa's been ronned quite a few times by Hiroe and, Hisa's yet to do the same to the over-confident-trap-master. 😀 Not to mention Hiroe is really familiar with Hisa's playing style and is quite good at reading her mahjong hands, so it's unlikely she'd get directly hit by Hisa in the future.

        Ako, while a skilled player, would probably get hit a lot from Hiroe too; Ako plays similarly to Haru from Esui (she makes a lot of calls, albeit to speed up her hand – unlike Haru) and since Hiroe's good at reading hands – it's a poor strategy against her (like what Hiroe pointed out to the miko).

        And as for the infamously bad Takami – her mahjong skills are lacklustre to say the least, so she's no threat until her last hand when she harvests her yakuman. Hiroe would probably play into someone else's hand just to end it before Takami wins (like she did in her match against the Wind Goddess).

        Speaking of which, Hisa did manage to get a direct hit, and a tsumo, on Choe and that was after the French girl started singing – which was pretty badass. Therefore, who knows? Hisa and Hiroe have both got what it takes to play against the bosses of the mahjong world and survive – but Hisa's pretty much the only one out of the two who scored a direct hit on one of those. So if anything at the very least it's
        Hisa = Hiroe.

        • nightsentinel09 says:

          Heh. The Lieutenant match is probably the only match where I would favor a Himematsu player match up.;All the others is from Rinkai ^^ If only because the clash between the two evenly skilled Hisa vs. Hiroe is going to be fun to watch. Though, I haven't completely discounted Choe yet, Rinkai is in such a favorable position for the whole match that it is conceivable that they are holding some aces.

          And yeah, I agree with you, Ako while skilled isn't quite on par with Hisa or Hiroe and Takami is not much of a threat when it isn't the last round. Thus, unless Ritz throw a curve ball and put Uzusan up, the advantage will be on the players going up on Side-B.

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