Over the past two weeks, the top individual players from the ARMA Team League event have been battling it out to prove who stands above the rest on the individual stage. Through a grueling gauntlet and a positional masterclass, Abraham (Aistrom) emerged the champion once the dust finally settled. Let’s have a look at their journey to the gold medal!
Entering the event as the 10th seed, Abraham’s first match was against our friends from New Zealand Cyber777 and PIGGYYO and Chiral from the UK
After a very explosive game, trading points back and worth, Abraham finds them self in a timely sensei riichi only 700 points away from first place.
Seizing the opportunity for first place in their first hanchan the riichi button is slammed and the hand is converted against Chiral a turn later, scoring Abraham 2600 points and first place!
The fireworks continued to fire into the second hanchan as Chiral wins fast mangan in East 1 but Abraham fires back with one of their own completing a beautiful Riichi Tsumo Iipeikou Aka.
However the very next hand Cyber slams Abraham with a direct hit mangan, and of course when it rains, it pours! Dealing into back to back hands Abraham falls to last place.
Abraham wins a hand to pull themselves back into the game but the beating isnt over yet! Chiral surges ahead with a dealer haneman tsumo!
Seeing the writing on the wall, with their first place from the previous hanchan, Abraham smartly switches gears and looks towards a 2nd place to second their seat in the next round winning two back to back hands to put them in a comfortable 2nd.
And finally, with a bold All-Last Sanshoku Riichi, Abraham locks away the game after Chiral attempts to push a 2-bamboo after entering their own tenpai.
Along side Chiral who managed to overcome a -39.9 deficit, Abraham advances to the semi finals with a dominant +51.6
In the Semi-Finals, Abraham is joined by Chiral, Ekusok and lostmyid (Jiemei). Riding the momentum from their performance in the first stage, Abraham launches a quick assault with two quick wins firmly seating them in their eventual victory.
The foot did not come off the gas as Abraham going into their East 4 dealership converts another mangan with the help of some lucky ura dora!
After the previous hand Abraham went on to win several more hands including another mangan but also dealt into a mangan from Ekusok.
Entering South 3 Ekusok fires off an early riichi on turn 5. Feeling the groove Abraham riichis but traps themselves into a dangerous situation eventually dealing into an expensive Riichi Chiitoi Honitsu Ura2 for a dealer baiman reversal!
Not to be deterred with first still in reach with their dealership, Abraham forces a gutsy Chun Honitsu to push the game into their All-Last dealership taking the fight to Ekusok on their own terms.
A comeback wasn’t found however, as mahjong miracles don’t seem to strike twice in this game. Ekusok rushes a quick Hatsu Dora Aka to end the game. Even so, Abraham enters the second hanchan with good chances as Chiral and Jiemei ended the game in the depths of despair.
The second hanchan threatened Abraham with dying by a thousand cuts as they get pelted by tsumos and small rons from every player on the table. However A turn 9 Ippatsu Tsumo in East 3 begins their counter attack.
Deep into the game during South 2, Abraham sees an opening and takes a showdown against Chiral who is already in riichi. Its a fight of wait quality! Hell wait 1pin vs 69man
Unfortunately for Abraham who now feels the heat, Chiral takes the win finding the last 1pin in the wall for a Chiitoitsu hand.
All-Last, pressure high, Abraham in third place. Did they do their math? Rushing towards finishing a hand they find themselves on an alright wait but into the third row they face down two Riichis!!!
Jiemie is the first to find her wait, but theres a pause to do math! Eventually taking the tsumo, the harrow dawns as she realises it’s not quite enough to pass onto the next round!
In a clencher of a match for Abraham, they squeeze through to the Finals with a score of 3.4 placing in second.
Four enter, but only 1 will leave the champion, Abraham enters the Finals alongside Ekusok from Xianpon and unYYYowl and aesthete from the Champion Team Itchy Riichi Fingers.
Abraham has a quiet start being relegated to NPC status as they watch blows fly back and forth not yet having won a hand in the entire East round.
Entering their dealership in the South round, the game and by extension the title threatening to slip right through their hands, Abraham makes a bold riichi waiting on dora finding a quick ippatsu to reenter the race.
Again going cold, Abraham waits for their opportunity to strike which finally comes around in South 3 taking second row riichi. However in a bizarre turn of of events they face down a Toitoi hadaka tanki and a possible character Honitsu.
Thanking their lucky stars, Abraham draws their takame 6pin to convert on another 12000 points!
Abraham in mangan tsumo range of first, unfortunately doesn’t find a hand and deals into a riichi from aesthete who confirms their third place.
Once again falling to an early deficit, Abraham finds themselves in a pinch. South 1, last place 11400 points they begin their comeback with an absurdly quick Toitoi catching Ekusok who was trying to sakigiri dora by surprise.
It’s important to note that at this point despite being at 27,400 points Abraham is now only 4,400 points away from taking the title home as unYYYowl is currently in third place and will take a substantial hit from the uma.
Points are traded, hands go to ryuukyoku, the final hanchan proceeds to South 3, scores are tight, Abraham is in range but not quite there yet. Threading the needle they find a glorious 3 bamboo for an extremely important 2 han hand bringing them almost any win away from claiming the title.
At this point, it’s important to consider the scores. Doing the math if game were to end right here, the scores are as follow. Understanding this, Abraham needs only 1600 points to overtake unYYYowl but…….
FORTUNE SMILES UPON ABRAHAM, RYANMEN DOUBLE RIICHI. With an unbelievable Abraham fills their kanchan 46pin shape and proceeds to double riichi with the chance to end the game, the set, and the championship.
It was only a matter of time before the tiles came home, Double Riichi Tsumo Pinfu, Abraham claims the title.
From almost being late and ejected from the event, to a tight squeeze through the semifinals, to a desperate South 1 game state, Abraham overcame it all to stand alone, crowned as the first ever All Stars Invitational Champion.
With this they take home $50 cash, the trophy and a free entry to ARMO2023 later this year in Sydney!!!
An additional congratulations to unYYYowl, aesthete and Ekusok who took home 2nd, 3rd and 4th respectively. Whilst they did not bring home the title, they all played a splendid game and provided a spectacle to behold.
And with that, another ARMA Team League season finally comes to a close. But its not all over! Looking for more chances to compete?! We have the Team ARMA IORMC Qualifiers coming up in September!
The sign up link can be found here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScCxxiQBdj59GqPh5pQSqEo0vtravUBrvfRw_hzbWaTulnX3Q/viewform