Last weekend was the Battle of the Coasts tournament, hosted by Riichi Nomi NYC , masterminded by Queenie from the Pacific Mahjong League, with support from my club, the Seattle Riichi Mahjong Club. In this event, 32 players from both coasts teamed up to prove who has the strongest mahjong. The tournament rules were pretty standard. Uma was +15/+5/-5/-15, with the rules being the standard Mahjong Soul ruleset. Each table was one pair of players from the East matched with two players from the West, with random table positions, playing one hanchan1East+South match. Team mates were allowed, and encouraged, to use in-game emotes to signal their team mate, but what those signals meant was not allowed to be discussed beforehand.
The first round’s results were a bit odd. When the dust had settled the West Coast was ahead by 4.2 points, the equivalent of 4,200 points, or less than one solid toitoi2All triplets. Unsure if this was normal or not, we proceeded on to round 2, which saw the East Coast pull ahead with a score of 104.4, pulling them ahead to about 100 points dead, Rounds 3 and 4 saw even bigger gains, with the East Coast pulling out a 144.5 point victory, followed by a 143.6 point victory to finish out the first day.
The next day we finally started to pull things around. In the event’s Discord channel there were dedicated rooms for East and West players. In #west we finally started discussing team strategy, when it’s good or bad to pass up a win, and how to support your team mate. There was also a general vibe of “it seems impossible to overcome this point deficit so we may as well relax, have fun, and go for big hands.” In the first match of the day we still had an overall point loss, but at 5.8 points, it ends up being more of a push. At this point the West Coast was down 394.1 points overall, but considering how much better it was than the 140-something points we had been losing, it felt pretty good. Round 6, though… Round 6 we had more players finish with positive points than any round in the tournament at 22 (68.75%) with a median score of 14.2, gaining us 384.3 points and bringing our overall score up to -9.8. This herculean task was largely made possible by Ashyuna who pulled through with an incredible 92.8 which was the second highest score of the event, shadowed only by amyhaiku’s 97.9 in the same round.
In round 7 we still made some gains with a 19.7, bringing our total score up from -9.8 to 9.9. #west was ecstatic. We didn’t need a huge win to come out on top or buffer our lead for the coming rounds; there was only one round left and as long as we played smart and safe, being sure to maintain our lead instead of pushing too hard, we would have the trophy in the bag. Unfortunately, round 8 ended up being our single worth round with only 11 players finishing positive (34.38%) and a score of -194.6, dropping our slight lead to -184.7.
Despite the loss, I still had a great time with the event. The team dynamic is something I have some experience with, but normally it’s with teams of 4 against a large number of other teams, with only one representative from each time at the table at a time. In those events, you’ll typically feel like you’re weighing the team down or carrying them on your back. Here, it was much more collaborative, which made it overall more fun than the typical team events.
Keep a look out for more team events hosted by Riichi Nomi NYC in the coming months. If you’d like to watch the official stream VODs they’re available below.