Let’s see how much did I get right? ^^
<ANIME WATCHERS AND THOSE WHO DON’T WANT TO BE SPOILED STAY AWAY FROM THIS POST>
This is the result.
My first post contains a match analysis, so we will use that first. I put my relevant hypothesis in a quote box for easy discussion.
This uncertainty is further compounded by the fact that Suzu’s power trigger depending on the power level of her opponent. Hanada and Naruka probably will not trigger it. Thus, Suzu’s bomb power is contingent on Toki, who, fortunately, is happily using them in the latest chapter. As long as the next chapter does not show Toki having stamina issues; Suzu’s bomb power will trigger in the subsequent rounds.
As for Hanada’s power, in the past, I thought that it was a bit useless except in special circumstance *cough* Teru *cough*. Past the latest chapter, it seems to be more defensive oriented in general than merely not going zero points. Apparently, even pro players were not able to get her to lose 20,000 points in a match.
Taking all of this into consideration, I think Toki even with limited future sight should be able to take the lead. I’m unsure who would go second between Suzu and Hanada but if Suzu’s power triggers, I’ll give the edge to Suzu. The last place would, of course, go to Uzusan unless Toki keeps using Naruka as a patsy.
I also made some hypothesis here regarding Hanada’s power which I’m omitting for brevity. The match, of course, didn’t go near the zero mark so there isn’t much data consider. We did find out that Hanada-sempai has pretty good intuition though.
As for my match breakdown. Toki got the lead as I expected. Contrary to expectations though,Toki got a power boost! Besides, seeing the turn before, Toki can now see the changes in the future which her actions wrought. Which is a pretty big deal!
And of course, said boosted future sight triggered Suzu’s bomb. And from the brief confrontation, Suzu’s bomb appears to have some rough parity even with Toki’s boosted future sight. It is not to be though, Toki and Hanada’s cooperation play is alive and well even at this stage. The two of them combined managed to almost shut-down Suzu’s bomb explosion.
If I have to rank them power level wise, I stand by my earlier prediction:
Level-up Future Sight!Toki > Bomb! Suzu > Hanada > Naruka
Despite the point-loss gotten by Suzu, I was impressed with her on this match.
Suzu wasn’t really shown to be a powerful player in Side-B. After all, her bomb doesn’t trigger well and when it does it usually got suppressed by a stronger player. Meanwhile, Toki was established to be one of the stronger players in Side-A. Furthermore, this is new and improved Toki. The fact that Suzu’s bomb has parity and even has an advantage offense-wise is a pretty big deal. It is possible that without a cooperative partner even Toki’s leveled up future sight might not be able to shut down Suzu’s bomb.
Which says scary things about people who dealt with them. *cough* Satoha *cough*
Good thing, she’s Teru’s problem now!
….Or perhaps, I misphrased, it should be it’s a good thing we have Satoha to help deal with Teru now!
Izumi is the sole Senriyama first year, but it is clear to see that she still needs more experience to be able to go head to head with her older peers. We were given several windows into her thoughts here and there; every insight and thought process was shown to be faulty in- and out- of the mahjong table. Not that it’s a bad thing, Izumi’s existence, let us see the “average” (for a given version of average) skilled first year in the interhigh – someone that might be skilled but still naive in their own way perhaps due to their lack of experience.
In contrast, the other players, especially Himematsu’s Yuuko and Shindouji’s Yoshiko provided solid past performances. Yoshiko was able to alter her playstyle to deal with Sumire’s arrows and Yuuko’s continuous positive points in spite of Mako and Hao’s dominance is silently amazing in its own way. Perhaps, in a sort of foil to Izumi, I believe it bespoke of experience in the interhigh.
As for Uzusan, while apparently Chikako has improved a lot and is a third year. I really don’t think, she’ll contribute much to this match due to her beginner status.
So, my ranking for this match would probably be something like this?
Yuuko=Yoshiko >Izumi> Chikako
Oh, this! The Sergeant! My favorite 5th Place match!
What do you say? About the match?
Well, just looking at the points it seemed like everything went right with my prediction. I would like to note that Usuzan got lucky in the last hand. Chikako lost a lot of points prior to South 4 and got them back in one hand.
Before that valuable hand in South 4, this is the score:
Usuzan (Chikako) : 68,900 (-14900)
Senriyama: 121,400 (+600)
Shindouji: 109,000 (8,200)
So if you’re looking at the scorecard, every player in Usuzan except Maya should have lost more than 10,000 points…
… Man. Usuzan… seriously. At the same time, can’t really blame Chikako for this. She’s a beginner after all. And while Chikako provided a degree of difficulty for Mako since she is her specific kryptonite. Ordinary players especially players that have reached this deep in the tournament will handily trounce her.
As we go down the lieutenant match, I expect that it would be down to Sera vs. Hiroe.
While Yuan seems to be a tricky fellow, she doesn’t really have the mahjong capabilities to back it up. On the same vein, while I acknowledge that our resident conspiracy theorist must be a good player. After all, Shindouji has an ascending power level in their player roster. She was still dominated by Sera last match.
Besides that, previous chapters have shown some build-up regarding Sera vs. Hiroe. After all, their both hailed as aces of their region (former ace in Sera’s case, but still….) and both are hotblooded so I expect there is some decent rivalry involved.
It is the perfect set-up. I highly believe that this match would be critical in determining the winner.
As for whom I think we’ll win between the two?
I favor Hiroe at the moment. Hiroe’s playstyle seems to have an advantage with “traps” for a lack of a better word. While Sera is good at scoring valuable hands, Hiroe I’ve observed can do the same with the added bonus of being good at reading the table and her opponents which combines in a decent table control and danger sense.
Its also been pointed out in the manga that Sera isn’t in the best condition right now due to losing the semifinal. While Hiroe’s “encouragement” seems to have gotten her started who knows what will happen in the match itself?
So Hiroe’s encouragement worked. Sera isn’t depressed when coming to the match and is fighting in her best condition. I like the camaraderie, and rivalry it showed. Hiroe instead of rejoicing that Sera isn’t the best condition obliquely tried to cheer her up the night before. It is consistent with what Hisa observed as well.
I really like how they are developing Hiroe’s captaincy as well. While Hiroe isn’t Himematsu’s strategist (that’s Kyouko), she’s more than likely, its heart.
That said with Sera in her top condition, this match as predicted became Hiroe vs. Sera.
And the conclusion…Right out of the mouth of the players, itself.
Both Sera and Hiroe are relatively even. But, if you pit Hiroe vs. Sera against each other, Hiroe is more likely to win by a small amount. But, in individual tournaments with the totalized score, the advantage is flipped and it goes to Sera.
To put it more bluntly, if you make a tournament and count the “number of wins”, Hiroe is probably better. If you count the “amount of points won”, Sera is probably better.
This is a playstyle issue.
Hiroe’s “trap master” playstyle, while capable of getting valuable hands excels at reading the table or as I term it “match control”. Hiroe makes hands specifically aimed at decreasing her current opponents’ chances of winning and while some of the said hands are big hands, some of them are not.
On the other hand, Sera is basically all about big valuable hands. While she can do what she can to hinder her opponents, Sera doesn’t make it a priority. We see this when Sera fought Ako, which basically turned into a “firepower” contest.
Once again, I think this will be a showdown between Usuzan’s Maya and Shindouji’s Mairu. Of course, I expect Funaq and Kinue could probably do something as well, especially Funaq, (since Maya’s ability isn’t exactly hard to spot) but considering how the Side-A Vice-Captain’s match went the person that could stop Mairu’s domination is probably going to be Maya.
On that note, Maya should take pointers from her fellow Vice-Captain (Mairu) and just use her left hand for every round so that her opponents would have no idea if her ability will activate. Unless there is a consequence for using that, it’s a pretty good tactic. Even if it turns out that Maya’s left-hand ability is “unstoppable” (Please note I don’t personally believe this), telegraphing a power activation is not a good idea. After all, it could be the difference between getting a ron or a tsumo which can be crucial depending on the situation.
In any case, this battle seems to be mostly occult free with the exception of the one hand where Maya’s power activates, making it hard to predict. While Mairu is undeniably occult since she has a power shared by Himeko, she plays more like a non-occult player than anything else. Beyond a mindset that demands Mairu to go all out once she made a reservation, said power doesn’t confer any advantage or disadvantage to her.
As for who will win in a showdown between Mairu and Maya…. Sigh…. I really have no idea. On one hand, Mairu practically dominated on the one match we are shown. On the other hand, Maya while not that dominant on her previous round still did pretty good.
As Funaq would say, insufficient data for this match.
This is the match wherein my speculations went awry so let’s have a closer look at what happened.
To have an easier bird’s eye view of the match, I made a simple table.
Despite the scorecard would imply, Mairu isn’t as overwhelming here as in the Side-A semifinal. That said, Mairu still puts a good showing, worthy of an ace player. While her offensive play has been noted already, Mairu is no slouch in defense either. Notice that Mairu is the only player that hasn’t eaten a ron. And even with three players going for quick hands to stop her reservation, she still managed to complete three of them. Though, to her opponents’ credit, two of said reservation is in the bonus round and can be skipped.
As for the other players, Kinue did well and she seemed to be developing some affinity with “round things” due to her experience as a soccer player. Meanwhile, Funaq ate a ron five times. Thankfully, for Funaq’s reputation as Senriyama’s strategist, most of them are fast cheap hands which by nature is hard to predict.
Finally, Maya. Considering, I’ve billed this as a clash between Mairu vs Maya, it seemed like our aspiring mahjong idol underperformed. But, a closer look shows that Maya did okay. Not as great as Mairu but good enough. The only blemish is the 11,600 ron she got hit by.
The multiple ron that occurred in this match is permissible. The direct hits that are happening in this match are done by fast and cheap hand which by their nature are hard to save yourself against.
11,600 points though.
That seemed to be pushing it.
Well, that is what I would say until I took a closer look.
This hand is actually cheap. Without the 3 dora (the red 5 of circles and the two north winds), by my calculations:
1 han = yakuhai
20 fu = basepoints
4 fu = non simples triplet
6 fu = rounded up
This hand is only worth 1 han/ 30 fu or 1,500 points. But, with the 3 dora, it became 11,600. Moreover, this hand is a two-sided wait for the six of characters or the nine of characters. And of those two I think Maya threw the nine of characters which is a terminal tile (supposedly safer to discard).
Oh well, tough luck to Maya. This things just happen.
….Unless, you have a power that can deal with it that is. ^^
Speaking of insufficient data, the captain match as always takes the cake for anything goes.
Himeko ’s power would depend on how much reservation Mairu managed to get. Sawaya, normally an overpowering player and would probably be my favorite to turn this match around already used most of her Kamuy in the semifinal. While apparently, some came back, Sawaya is most likely weaker than before.
As for Ryuuka, I don’t even know if she will have a power. Does her Toki fairy, replenish per match or does it have a long cooldown, making it something like once a tournament? What about Ryuuka’s anime-only heat vision? Is that even canon or not?
Kyouko is almost a relief in her stability. Her threat level would probably depend on what strategy she could make up on the fly. I expect that Kyouko also knows about Shindouji’s double aces, so she could probably guard on those reserved rounds. I don’t know how Kyouko can prepare against Sawaya or even Ryouka (especially since Ryouka just discovered her power last match) but then again, she found Saki’s “tell”, so this is once again a big question mark.
Well, as expected, the captain’s match was anyone’s game but Usuzan. Sawaya might have been able to turn it around if she has her kamui but she spent them in the semifinals.
And Ryuuka doesn’t have Toki-fairy (making it a limited ability like Sawaya’s Kamui with a longer cooldown period) but she has her “heat vision” which now has an official name called “limitless heaven”. Kyouko is the same as always, making up tactics on the fly.
I had a quick laugh when Kyouko wished Saki was there so she can know when abilities activate.
The last hand, in particular, is quite interesting.
It is basically a toss-up gamble.
Ryuuka discarded the fourth pei and allowed the abortive draw because she believed in Funaq’s research. That Himeko’s final key is only worth a sanbaiman thus putting Senriyama in the first place (unless Uzusan or Ryuuka get hit by said incoming sanbaiman).
Himeko, on the other hand, tried to surpass her ability and get a yakuman even until the very end. It is probably the right call and the best ending for Shindouji under those circumstances. That said, apparently without Ryuuka calling the last pon, Himeko would have a yakuman at the last hand. This shows there is a way to surpass the limitations. Conversely, considering that the ability can be surpassed, it might possible to block it as well. Oh well, we will never know, unless the ability somehow still works in the individuals.
As for Kyouko, I hope you won’t be too hard on yourself. Wind tiles are usually the first to be discarded and Kyouko goes first. I don’t see how she could have foreseen the aborted draw happening.
As I’ve said in this post, I’ve expected a Senriyama win the most. Senriyama has ace-caliber players in three positions and feels the stronger one of the teams in the Fifth Place Match.
Shindouji, as second place though, that I didn’t expect. As you can see with my match-up analysis, I was counting on Usuzan to do some suppression with their last two players which kinda fell through. And meta-wise, while I’ve felt that Ritz is trying to make Side-A look threatening and establish Kiyosumi as the underdog, sort of a darkness before the dawn trope. I also expected Ritz to establish an atmosphere of rough parity between the two sides.
A ranking like this just before the finals seemed like saying Side A > Side B.
…. which if you know my opinion is incredibly untrue…
That said, it is an incredibly close game and it could have been won by any of the three teams.
In any case, let’s just thank the mahjong gods in heaven ….
FINALLY, AFTER SO MANY YEARS WE ARE GOING TO START THE FINALS!