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The greatest match ever on camera?

October 12, 2010

Today I’m sifting through the archives of Magic history once again and bringing you what a lot of people consider is the greatest match ever on camera.

The stage

We are at Pro Tour Chicago 1999 and the format in question is Extended. And when I’m talking about Extended anno 1999 we are talking about a format where it’s perfectly “fine” to wield cards such as Necropotence, Demonic Consultation, Oath of Druids, Mana Vault and Tinker. Looking back from where Magic is today one thinks that it’s pretty unreal to see those kinds of cards in a Extended format…

Anyhow, after two days of play and 2 rounds of play on the Sunday stage two players sat down to play for the trophy. In one corner we have (to be Hall of Famer) Bob Maher Jr. playing a Oath of Druids deck and he is facing the rookie Brian David wielding the power of Necropotence (you can find decklists for each players deck in the previous link).

The match

You can watch the whole match here.

Game 1 ended in Maher’s favour despite a mulligan to 5 and Davis starting off with a turn 1 of Swamp, Unmask you, Dark Ritual, Necropotence. Davis would have probably won if he had use a Wasteland in the late turns which would have deprived Maher of a 5th land which in turn meant that Maher couldn’t hard cast a Force of Will on a drain. Davis also later conceded the game later (for some reason) at a point where he still could win the game, although his chances were slim.

The second game also ended in Maher favor after Davis choose not to play around the series of plays of; activate my manland and Swords it. Again, Davis conceded in response to that despite that was he still had a shoot to win. He still gained life from the Drain Life so he wouldn’t die to Maher’s offence the following turn. A topdecked Corrupt, Drain Life or Demonic Consultation for either of the two would have won him the game.

For game 3 Davis had once again a first turn Necropotence and this time he managed to ride it to the win. The 4th game was very similar to the second game. David didn’t have early Necropotence, instead he had a draw filled with Nevinyrral’s Disk and Dystopias which he used to get around Maher’s Ivory Mask and as well threw into counter magic. After a couple of turns of Maher drawing blanks David finally assembled enough lands in play in order to unload a series of Corrupts and Drain Life to the dome for the win.

The final game is epic. Davis took a mulligan to 6 but had once again the dream start of Swamp, Unmask you (taking Compost), Dark Ritual, Necropotence. He also drew a couple of Wastelands which for a turn or two left Maher without lands in play. But that wasn’t the end of it. After a series of iffy choices from Davis side Maher got enough lands into play and as well managed to draw enough countermagic to counter every single lifegain spell that Davis cast for the rest of the game which led to Davis be locked under his own Necropotence (i.e. he was at 1 life and didn’t have spells in hand to either gain life or get rid of his own Necropotence) which ended his ability to win the game.

Randy Buehler comments before the start of the final game that if Davis would have won the last game, he would have won the finals 5-0. It’s a little mean comment, but you can’t deny it’s true. If he made the correct choices through the finals he most likely would have won every single game. Davis had (from the records) played solidly the whole weekend but started to choke under the pressure in the finals, which makes the videos time to time painful to watch. So instead we got to see this picture crowning the Pro Tour:


Pro Tour Chicago 1999 Champion Bob Maher Jr.


And we also got a match forever remembered. Hope you liked and I will see you guys next time.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Erik permalink
    October 12, 2010 12:52

    Varför är det “the greatest game on camera” när en snubbe sitter och spelar fel hela tiden =S

    • balthazar88 permalink*
      October 12, 2010 14:43

      “Greatest” can mean a lot of things in this case. It’s not called the “greatest game ever” because it was a well played match by any means, rather the opposite. The match is fabled because of the hype and intensity from the crowd and the fact that Brian Davis threw away game after game that he should have won (basically “losing” 5-0). Those factor makes the game really a great thrilling watch.

      From those aspects is why the match is considered the “greatest match ever on camera”.

  2. October 12, 2010 15:16

    Samuel showed me these games when I’d played magic for 2-3 months. I made the right choices Davis didn’t every time. The games are just painful to watch.

  3. Christoffer permalink
    October 14, 2010 01:51

    Bara jag som tycker att det ser skumt ut när bob blandar med framsidan på korten mot sig?

    • balthazar88 permalink*
      October 14, 2010 10:05

      He finishes each shuffle cycle off with a shuffle with the cards facing down which (I guess) makes it a complete and correct randomization of the deck. Though I agree that with modern shuffling standards the way Maher shuffles in that match would raise an eyebrow for the most of us.

  4. Christoffer permalink
    October 14, 2010 18:22

    Kolla match 1, del 3 efter 4 minuter när han blandar. Det ser skumt ut.

    • balthazar88 permalink*
      October 14, 2010 20:30

      You are right, that was a very sketchy shuffle.

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