In Garthe’s Hands #21: Mixed Outside Hand: Keep it Closed

I’ve seen a lot of Mixed Outside Hands completed for 1 or 2 thousand points lately and it reminds me of the way my old Ultimate frisbee team used to play offense. Not the one that’s been national champs for the last 10 years, the one before that which never won anything.

Guys would cut back to the disc and make spectacular diving and jumping catches all the time but for a total of like 4 or 5 yard gain. We’d inch down the field one dangerous throw after another until we got to the goal, and then just when we were about to score, somebody’d fumble that last spectacular catch and all that work was for naught. I don’t need to explain Ultimate frisbee to you (similar to Rugby or American football) for you to know that in the end the whole point is to score, yes?

It’s the old win the battle but lose the war tactic. People go to all that work to finish a Mixed Outside hand and then only gain a couple thousand points. Those few little gains still lead to a pretty good chance of a fumble on the last hand and a loss.
First let’s make sure everyone remembers what this hand is. “Chanta” in Japanese, the Mixed Outside hand is a hand in which all the groups including the pair contain at least one Honor tile or a 1 or 9. That means that all runs will start with a 1 or end with a 9. All triples will be 1’s, 9’s or honor tiles. The big issue here is that concealed, it’s a 2 point hand but bumping or chowing will drop it down to 1 point.

Mixed Outside hand can be worth quite a few points if played correctly, and in most situations, that will mean keeping it concealed. There are some situations where you’ll want to steal tiles, particularly when the Lucky Dragon is a 1, 9 or honor tile. However, in most situations stealing tiles is going to turn what might have been a game winning score into that 4 or 5 yard gain my frisbee team was so excited about.
Let’s say your hand looks like this:

Active ImageActive ImageActive ImageActive ImageActive ImageActive ImageActive ImageActive ImageActive ImageActive ImageActive ImageActive ImageActive Image

It’s the first hand of the South round and you’re in the South seat 1000 points out of first. Active Image is the lucky dragon. On the 6th drawing round the guy to your left, the dealer, discards Active Image which you take and discard Active Image to be one away from ready. Next draw, the dealer declares Reach and now you’re pretty committed to going for a hand that at best will get you 2000 points and may even end up missed win if Active Image comes. Better to wait for the last Active Image; if someone reaches, especially the dealer, these tiles are probably safe. If other stuff comes, you can still drop them and get to ready with different stuff. Let’s say Active Image comes and then Active Image. Now you’re waiting for Active Image which of course is not a good wait right next to the Lucky Dragon and all, but at least you can Reach and possibly Self draw and in games with Hidden Lucky dragons maybe even get lucky there. Sure you have to get lucky but getting lucky here means you get at least 5200 points and maybe even 8000 or 12,000 if you hit the jackpot. Taking Active Image early means you’ll still have to get lucky to finish the hand and you’re already limitted in how much you can get to 2000 points.

And that’s the way my other frisbee team plays. They go for the goal, and sure they have to make some spectacular catches on 60 yard throws, but if they make them they get the score, not just 5 yards. They’re also World Champions right now. My other team plays in the Co-ed division now.

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