Today we bring you what will hopefully be the first of many Tenhou replay reviews, performed by our expert panel of wonderful volunteers. If you would like feedback on your games, please fill out this form. We welcome replays from players of any level!
This first installment is a review of a replay from a 4d R1814 tokujou player, brought to you by xGeo (6d on Tenhou) with additional commentary by Feng (7d). You can view the replay yourself here. Without further ado, let’s get stuck into it!
The following review was written with the opponents’ hands closed. This review will consist of screenshots from moments I (xGeo) thought were important or have comments on. General comments will follow.
We reach tenpai on the first row for pinfu dora 2. The clear choice is to riichi as the scores are flat, and we are the first to riichi. There is no reason to try to improve the hand as we will have 4 han guaranteed. Damaten here is a mistake.
At this point in the game, it is important to consider the opponents’ hands if you try to reach tenpai. It will become difficult to play later because of South player. Three are visible so it is unlikely that South will have lower manzu, and his discards indicate he does not need souzu. or are likely waits for South. North player has a clear bias for souzu tiles, so it may be risky to feed him any souzu. This hand may become riichi only, at which point it will not be worth it to push . In order to make worth pushing, then pursue chinitsu.
We have tenpai on turn 2 for iipeikou and potentially south. There is no easy way to improve the value of the hand, and scores are relatively flat. is also likely to be discarded if opponents try to push especially early on. (Early discard from West player is also promising.) Definitely riichi.
is actually more useful to you than . Terminal tiles are less useful to you when you have the 4 or 6. Here you have so is less useful. can be used for both offense and defense because it could become a yakuhai set and is likely to be safe later in the game.
We are dealer with tenpai at the end of the 2nd row for riichi only. It is not necessarily a bad choice to riichi only because we are dealer. However if we choose to not riichi here, then we should not take tenpai. Instead play and try to get tanyao, pinfu, or both. discard is also worse in this situation because it is next to the dora. Keeping gives us the potential to use the dora. In general, sitting on a yakuless tenpai is very risky.
With 4 pairs, we should consider chiitoitsu, especially since two and one are discarded. The player chose which is not very helpful if we decide to go for a normal hand by calling north. I think keeps options open for both chiitoitsu and a normal hand.
It is not a good move to pon . It will be very difficult to win the hand because many tiles are already discarded like , , and . It will require pushing dangerous tiles as well since we will have no safe tiles to fall back on. Also a kan was called which makes pushing against a riichi hand more dangerous. This hand is low value and does not have many tiles left to complete it. Pushing by ponning is a bad move here.
I would consider playing from this hand. is likely to become the pair for the hand as getting a triple would be worthless. triple will not be very valuable either. is a really awkward shape and requires to resolve it nicely. However can also incorporate the dora while leaving us with a good shape. If we draw first, then we can discard . The reason I choose over is that we still have bad waits like and . has more potential to become a ryanmen.
We have just drawn to improve into a ryanmen. At this point, the shape of our hand is very set. We should now try to discard dangerous tiles, like , before it is too late. should be discarded first. can be kept a little longer due to the 345 sanshoku chance and it’s also one chance. Because four are visible, the players who have not discarded are more likely to need it.
If we are dealt a hand like this, we should keep the option of honitsu available. Start by discarding terminals like and instead of honor tiles. It would not be good to go directly for honitsu by discarding because we have 2 dora. is also less useful because we have . Discarding terminals does not hurt tile efficiency significantly and keeps honitsu as an option at the same time.
The dealer just called and discarded . are quite risky for both the riichi and dealer. On Tenhou, I would fold against a last place riichi in South 3 because I do not want to risk dropping to 4th right before the final round.
Sitting on a yakuless tenpai is bad. If you’re not going to riichi, play which is safer because it is suji and give the most improvement options. We have also already discarded , so is not a useful draw. This hand could become chinitsu or pinfu dora 2. Again I suggest folding to not risk dealing into 4th place right before South 4.
If we have a starting hand like this, we should immediately think of honitsu. Honitsu dora 2 is mangan. Therefore honor tiles are more useful to us, discard to start. East and north should be easy to call.
Although you have a 4 han tenpai, it is very risky to push against 4th place. At higher ranks on Tenhou, I would play north and try to reach tenpai only if it can be done safely. However as a 4th Dan, there is no need to excessively avoid last in pursuit of first. The kanchan and shanpon wait have similar win rates, so is a better discard than . If deals in, it is less likely to be mangan because if deals in, the hand will likely have dora from .
We should consider 123 sanshoku with this hand. Also the hand is quite set already, so you can delay playing yakuhai and discard more dangerous tiles first like or as you most likely will not be using them. I think discarding is much better than because if we do not get sanshoku by drawing , then could yield another ryanmen. If becomes a pair, the you can consider ponning yakuhai or going for chanta. The other viable plan for this hand is riichi + dora 1.
I would discard because it may become dangerous later and does not have much backfire. If you draw , then you can incorporate it in your hand by playing . Getting a wait isn’t as desirable because only four are remaining (and the is also gone). Since you have a , is less useful. Iipekou is also unlikely because there is only one left.
Note from Feng: With only a 2.1k gap above 3rd place, you cannot afford to riichi here. Hence, you should force a hand that you can dama with. Just discard . This goes against tile efficiency but you should always have a plan at the start of your hand. Think about whether you can riichi or whether you have to meld the hand or not. Don’t just blindly move towards tenpai. The plan for this hand is to damaten or remain passive to avoid last. This hand may have a bad shape eventually so proceed with caution.
If we have reached this point, we should play the most efficient tile. is inefficient here. We lose the potential to form a pair with or . We do not have pinfu or a ryanmen final wait guaranteed, so setting your pair is not optimal. As dealer, we should be aiming for a faster hand especially since we have a dora. Riichi + 1han is fine as dealer especially if we can be the first to tenpai.
There are only two left at this point. is a better wait if you try to push. I would probably play to be left with ryankan and kanchan . At this point, the hand has backfired horribly, and we should not expect much from it. Trying to preserve 2nd place is fine. This hand is unlikely to be won and will most likely require calling for yakuless tenpai in case of a draw game.
Honor tile discard order
I notice you discard the wind of the player to your left most often (discarding winds clockwise). It is better to discard the wind of the player to your right first. See Haipai Efficiency – Part One.
(You may have read More strategy! Honors in the past, but the author has since then stated he agrees with the order described on mahjong.guide.)
Note from Feng: I believe that this is still much debated. I teach my players to discard left, top, then right. This is because your right player is always your greatest enemy. His win rate also depends on you, so don’t let him pon first. This is especially important when your hand is bad, because the more your right player melds, the more your discards are restricted. Also if the left player pons first, you get your next turn immediately. This makes you faster than any other players and on par with the dealer. This is supported by the pro players Tsuchida and Murakami. I actually feel more control over the game when I follow this order.
Tiles of the same suji
Keeping tiles of the same suji is slightly inefficient due to overlap. This is especially relevant for terminals. If you have a 1 and 4, the 1 is less useful. Same for if you have a 6 and 9. 4 and 6 can connect to every tile that a 1 and 9 (except for drawing another 1 or 9 of course). For this reason, you should discard terminals earlier than honor tiles (especially yakuhai).
I think a lot of less experienced players do not value honor tiles much. They have a bad habit of discarding all honor tiles first before dealing with lone tiles. Yakuhai can be offensive and defensive even if a copy has already been discarded. If you pair up a yakuhai, you can potentially get value out of it or it can become a safe discard later.