MTGOAcademy Unplugged: Best Magic Match of All Time!?

Many Magic players consider the Chicago Pro Tour Final 1999 between Bob Maher and Brian Davis as one of the best matches ever played in Magic history. We would like to give our users the opportunity to check out this thrilling 5 game battle. The commentators are Randy Buehler and Brian Hacker and they do a great job capturing the atmosphere of the event. To make it easier to follow the games we will also provide the decklists. Enjoy the ride!

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  1. I don’t understand why so many people think this is such a great match. As the commentators point out, Brian – piloting Necro (and I use the word pilot here loosely) – would have won if he played differently with just a little more thought. Especially in the light of the information that they got to see deck lists prior to the match. It’s entertaining to watch Bob Maher draw out of some crappy situations and pull off some godly top decks, but that’s not “great” so much as interesting.

    Maybe I’m just jaded because modern pros play at such a high level (for the most part).

  2. Great Videos!
    I love watching older matches since i am fairly new to mtg.
    These really are some of the best matches i have seen.
    I think that both players played very well. Brian made several play mistakes that
    cost him the game. I guess it just really just goes to show how much play mistakes cost you.

  3. I believe that this is an exciting match. I also agree that if Brian gave more thought he could have won a lot sooner. Same with his opponent – they both should start using strategy and plan their attacks while keeping the “what if” idea in mind. What if he blocks, what if he has an instant?
    One more thing. GO BRIAN!

  4. This also shows the difference in the level of play at pro tours then and now. Necropotence was a “build around me” card. you didn’t need anything fancy, it just won games. Timing of the cards you play in stuff like Faeries and such is what changes how the game is played. You now also have better decks and better players to face, I don’t think demonic consultation would be played right now. I don’t think this is the “Best” Magic ever played, I think the “Best” magic can be defined by the format that’s played as well. For instance, I think there have been some pretty good limited games played in draft formats that required attacks to go right and bluffing certain spells. Also, “Best” professional magic and “Best” casual magic are two completely different things. Is your goal to have fun or is your goal to win?

  5. Demonic Consultation is overpowered and would get played, assuming there was any sort of respectable deck with access to black mana.

  6. Can anybody explain to me why they are playing without shields? It just hurts me seeing so much value destroyed.

  7. Y, since that is 1999, no sleeves in Pro Tour – and while i agree that most of the Games were Fun to watch (mostly due insane topdecks ;o), its “sad” to see at least 2 of em were gave away through rather simpel misplays.

  8. I don’t think the matches were any good.
    Very entertaining, but not skillfully played.
    I mean even the commentators at that time knew that Davis’ brain has been fried over the course of the weekend and though he was playing pretty poorly. (“He should have won the finals 5:0.”)

    Maher played like your everday Legacy control player, solid but nothing new.

  9. Judging by playskill alone this was not one of the best matches in Magic history for sure. It has however the rare attribute to be full of suspense, with great commentary, and interesting play situations. Not always are the best played matches also the best to watch.

  10. I agree that while this is not the most skill intensive match ever played, it is very entertaining and a fun look into the past.

    Davis gets dogged pretty hard (rightfully so to a degree), but I imagine it had to be hard to be 17 years old and playing in the final sof your first pro tour ever, and knowing that 99% of the audience wants you to lose because your opponent is loved throughout the magic community and you are a no-name dude. That’s a pretty stressful situation to be in.

    It also shows how much the skill level across the game has grown since the olden days.

  11. I enjoyed the matches, but do not think they are remotely near the best of all time. Even though it was back in the day, there are just so many play mistakes from the necro player, especially because they saw decklists beforehand! (as hsoup stated)

  12. Wow that did not end how I thought it would. It looked like Brian had such an overpowering advantage in most of the games. If only he hadn’t made those few crucial mistakes I think he would have walked away the victor. And what was up with turn one necro unmask three out of five games? Lastly if I were in Brian’s position I would not have conceded so soon.

  13. Uh. Doesn’t have spin into darkness in hand at the end of game 5? Doesn’t he just remove 3 black cards, hit treetop for 3, gain 3, draw 3, win the game? why doesn’t that work?

  14. Shouldn’t Bob be drawing a card and losing life equal to its mana cost at the beginning of his upkeep…?