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
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. ^^
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.^^
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… ..
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.
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
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. ^^