Long time, no post guys!
Sorry for my long absence but work has gotten very busy for me. That and the semifinals kinda lost some of its mystique when I realized that Ritz is setting Kiyosumi for their “darkest hour”. (Metaphorically speaking, of course.)
Not that I’m against that decision. Kiyosumi came out too strong in the quarterfinals that everyone wanted them as the “final boss”. It was made worse by the fact that Side A was too rushed, it made the opposition came out looking like chumps.
Something has to give in order to generate the tension in the tournament back.
And that meant, something has to happen in the semifinal.
Here is just some brief thoughts about what happened to get my feet wet on the new year. Hopefully, a full commentary will on the way somewhere in the future with some mahjong analysis.
<Warning below this are spoilers. Read at your own risk. I highly would recommend to avoid this post until you are completely spoiled about the Side-B semfinals.>
Speaking of Kiyosumi’s darkest hour.
I kinda suspected something was afoot when I tried to analyze the semifinal vanguard match.
How Badass Yuuki is when she revealed that she got good at calling at the semifinal? How Hisa deliberately asked Yuuki to hide that new “skill” of hers? How Suzu was thrown a loop by the change of style?
And it was awesome!
Yet despite that, after some analysis I did wonder if Kiyosumi would have been better served in retaining Yuuki’s usual style for the match itself. Because despite Yuuki’s calling abilities cool entrance, I don’t think it helped in the semifinal very much.
For one, it destroyed Yuuki’s advantage – fast, almost stealthy valuable hands in exchange for “speed”. And I’m not that convinced Yuuki actually sped up for this match while she was calling. I checked. Given a few turns deviation – Yuuki’s speed in the east wind while calling did not seem to change one iota from when she is not calling.
And actually, there is some vindication for this hypothesis in the manga itself. Rinkai said it in their post-match discussion.
“the later into the game, the faster low value hands came together”.
< Unfortunately, can’t confirm this statement. Because Ritz didn’t show the 2nd hanchan’s East Round…. Or any of the 2nd hanchan for that matter. lol Ritz, are you trying to hide it or something? >
In any case, this makes my point about Yuuki’s new style not really that better than her old one. Or at the very least, the transition state between the two styles that she used in the semifinal is a clear inferior.
Yes at this point. I believe Yuuki’s quarterly style is better than the one she showed in the semifinal. Yuuki called in the quarterfinals a bit as well and yes, we could see her flow sense has improved since Nagano. Yuuki can hinder other players now. ^^ Contrast this with the semifinal wherein Yuuki only gets small if fast hands….
… Heck, according to this, only in the latter point in the game that we did not see did Yuuki’s speed advantage actually seems to kick in.
But, then again, that is if you only consider the semifinals…
As Rinkai further hypothized, this style change is for the finals when Yuuki is actually facing Teru. If you consider it that way, then the style has only advantages. After all, Yuuki’s explosive power mostly comes from the dora that she gets. But, in the finals all the dora will go to Kuro. If calling not only speeds up Yuuki’s hand but gives Satoha some idea of her hand for cooperation, then yes, this style is worth its weight in gold for surviving Teru’s round.
If such style change needs to be tested in a real match for it to be effective. Then the question for any strategist is would they be willing to be disadvantaged in the semifinals for a perceived gain the finals?
Some might think that the finals is what counts the most. But, remember a team must place at least second to advance and it doesn’t matter how much aces you have saved for the finals if you can’t go there. Look at Eisui.
I think it reveals a lot about a team or their coach, on how they decide this, especially since this is the vanguard match. (Which current zeitgeist say is the most important match of all considering it sets the tone for most of the matches)
Of course, regarding Kiyosumi, everyone should not be surprised that Hisa picked putting oneself in worst position for a future gain option considering that’s basically her philosophy and gamestyle. lol
Still, that was a hell of a risk. Considering, due partially to this decision that Rinkai run and got +51,000 and Himematsu +20,100 (which are most of the teams’ lead), while Kiyosumi got -17,800… a momentum that carried itself into the captain match itself. It doesn’t help that, from the protagonist point of view they seemed to go from one crisis to another.
<Mostly because Uzusan is there and that team has a really bad combination with Kiyosumi, In fact I sometimes wonder if they are there to give Kiyosumi a hard time…. Circumstance seems to have conspired that every single Uzusan member contributed a bit to giving Kiyosumi hell. lol >
In any case, as I look at Kiyosumi’s narrow 2nd place finish. Keeping in mind the major strategic decision that Hisa made in the semifinal vanguard, her willingness to sacrifice the semifinals for the finals.
I can only conclude that Hisa at the very least would think the semifinals as a strategic victory for their team.
They might have lost this battle but they could very well win the war, now.
P.S. It might because I’m a bit tipsy but rereading the nationals. Does it seem that Hisa is a bit leery of giving advice to Nodoka and Saki? Nodoka, I can sorta understand. But, Saki?
…. Come to think of it, Hisa’s treatment of Saki seems to be a bit weird in the semifinals.
Or maybe its the red wine talking. Thanks for listening to my ramblings.
Happy New Year people. ^^