Doras (ドラ) are a lesbian mahjong player’s waifu. Especially for Kuro, #1 Achiga player. To be a proper lesbian player, you need to learn the Way of the Matsumi Kuro. That way, you can be a master lesbian like her.
Every time you have a dora tile, your hand increases by one han. If you have two, you get 2 han. It will also not be unusual to get 4 hans. It is a common tactic to dismantle a sequence for the sake of getting a dora. Why? Your hand may need the boost from the dora in order to be a proper lesbian hand.
Reading doras is fairly simple.
See that faceup tile on the upper-left corner? That’s the dora indicator. It indicates the dora is the next character. In this case, it’s the three bamboo. The location of the dora indicator varies based on where the dealer breaks the wall; however, it will always be a face-up tile on the dead wall, a stack of tiles where you will never use.
I currently do not have a dora tile, but the player on my right side has one. To use that dora tile, he’ll either have to make it a set or a pair. If I was him, I would get a sequence (1-2-3-sou or 2-3-4-sou). Already, his hand would be boosted by 1-han.
If the dora indicator is a 9-sou, the dora will be 1-sou. It just cycles around.
The quirks of doras come when your dora indicator is a honor tile. This frustrates even me, an intermediate player. I still don’t get the hang of it and grumble whenever I see them pop up.
If the dora indicator is east, the dora is south. Yes, you go clockwise. Mahjong rules love clock directions. So it basically goes like:
What happens if the dora indicator is one of the dragon tiles? Well, remember this amazing mnemonic device written up by bitmap and canon_chan:
Dragons GRoW — Green-Red-White.
Once you understand how to read doras, they are simple and powerful to use. I recommend people to try fitting dora tiles into their hand before discarding them. It really helps elevate your score.
Don’t be a Mastumi Kuro~
Yet, doras are also dangerous tiles. Other players will be aiming for it. It will not be surprising if a player discards a dora tile and then, another rons on that tile. But if you just keep dora tiles, you basically become a Matsumi Kuro: your hand is incomplete and discarding any tile is dangerous. This is exactly one of the many reasons why Matsumi Kuro in Achiga-hen is one of the worst players in the Sakiverse; she might build a strong hand but it’s practically worthless if she can’t finish it and she can’t defend against other players. It doesn’t help that she is really hot and I want to f(ry~
My word of advice? When you must discard a dora, make sure other players have discarded the dora too. Furiten (振聴 or フリテン) is a complex rule where you cannot ron on a tile or a set you already discarded. Because this rule exists, you should exploit it when you have to. More will be discussed on this rule later.
It is also important to realize doras are not yaku, requirements to finish a mahjong hand. While they boost the score, they don’t complete a hand. Just having a dora tile doesn’t mean you can win on the hand; it’s still incomplete. You need to make sure your hand adhere to only sets and a pair. I will elaborate more on yaku at a later time.
Uradora (裏ドラ) is the second of four types of dora that gives you bonus points. Whenever you riichi and win the hand via a ron or a tsumo, you get to see the uradora indicator; that’s because uradora literally means ‘underneath the dora.’ And you really have to get the tile underneath it and flip it to see the indicator tile. You read it the same way as you read a plain dora indicator. Getting uradoras is more of a luck thing unlike doras so don’t get disappointed if you don’t get one.
A more useful dora is the akadora (赤ドラ), literally meaning “red dora.” Akadoras don’t need a dora indicator. Rather, the akadora is a red five of any suit. Just like the dora, you basically need to put the akadora in a set or a pair.
Only one of each suit exist except for pins — it has two.
Be careful of discarding them. Players might chi and pon to rake up the akadora. This will be discussed at a later time.
There is another dora that I will cover in the next next chapter. But even so, with knowledge on these two doras, one can play a massively lesbian hand and overpower the game. Turning a weak hand into a strong hand with a mere tile is something lesbian players must learn. It will also make you to begin to realize which tiles are dangerous to discard.
We are still a long way from learning the basics of mahjong, but it’s good to cover one giant step in the Way of the Lesbian.