Round 9 Feature Match: Bob Maher vs. Brian Kibler

Posted in Event Coverage on May 12, 2004

By Aaron Forsythe

Bob Maher, the newly-appointed Juggernaut, took his undefeated record into battle with Brian Kibler in Round 9. Maher's black-blue deck is nothing short of insane, loaded with removal, card advantage in the form of multiple Gravediggers and Thieving Magpie, and all-around solid creatures. Kibler's red-white deck is also good, and luck gave him a Shivan Dragon in the very last pack. Kibler's main deck Karma (due to the five black drafters at the table) could blindside Bob.

Game 1

Seismic Assault

Kibler came out quick in Game 1 with Canyon Wildcat and Ridgeline Rager. Bob dropped his Magpie and blocked Kibler's 2/1, losing the Bird to Shock. Gravedigger brought the Pie back for more, but Kibler had Pyrotechnics for it the second time.

Maher went to work on Kibler's hand, first with a Mind Rot, then with a Ravenous Rats once Kibler was down to one card. That card? Shivan Dragon.

"How's that taste?" asked Bob. Kibler said nothing, simply playing out the Seismic Assault he drew. Bob's next draw was better, however: a Zombify that put the Magpie out for a third go-round.

Bob kept hitting with the Magpie and playing good spells--Diabolic Tutor, Giant Cockroach, Abyssal Specter. Kibler was twiddling his thumbs with just the Assault and a Standing Troops (his Aven Flock was hit with Dark Banishing--another platinum hit from Maher).

The tables turned when Kibler, still ahead in life 17-14, drew the Karma. Maher had been playing the card advantage game, and was clearly way ahead there, but hadn't really been trying to develop a potent board. Suddenly he found himself with 5 Swamps in play facing down Karma and Seismic Assault.

Maher took five from Karma, attacked Kibler down to 12, then played Primeval Shambler and Royal Assassin. The race was on. Kibler played Diving Griffin and had one card left--most likely a land.

Maher fell to 4 from the Karma and then went for the throat. He Unsummoned the Standing Troops, Vicious Hungered the Griffin (going to 6), and attacked with everything, pumping the Shambler twice. That would be 12 damage, killing Kibler unless he had a land. Of course he did, and discarded it to kill the Gravedigger, surviving at two life.

But now Bob would not die to Karma--the Vicious Hunger gave him a one-point cushion. Kibler needed to peel a land to win.

Hid did peel a land… but he didn't win.

I guess he got excited, because as soon as his main phase began, he clicked on the Mountain in his hand, and the Mountain slid into play. Talk about your classic misclick.

Maher 1 - Kibler 0

Game 2

The second game was very, very good, and I suggest watching the replay if you get the chance. It involved Bob Coercioning the Karma out of Kibler's hand, and then fighting through both Circle of Protection: Black and Seismic Assault to win the game. But as great a game as it was, it cannot hold a flame to the Kibler misclick. Neil Reeves, at the event as spectator, commented that this might now be remembered as the "Kibler Played a Land Invitational," and said that if Maher wins, he should ask to have Kibler sitting atop a Mountain worked into his card art somehow.

I'll leave you with the last bit of the chat log from that fateful Game 1:

10:46 INV_BrianKibler plays Mountain.
10:46 INV_BrianKibler: dwsfiovjkgvpSD
10:46 INV_BrianKibler: vEW
10:46 INV_BrianKibler: RVewmhbvpjbhn\
10:46 INV_BobMaher: oh my god
10:46 INV_BobMaher: oh my god
10:46 INV_BobMaher: oh my god
10:46 INV_BobMaher: oh my god
10:46 INV_BobMaher: oh my god
10:46 INV_BobMaher: oh my god
10:46 INV_BobMaher: oh my god
10:46 INV_BobMaher: oh my god
10:46 INV_BobMaher: oh my god
10:46 INV_BrianKibler has conceded from the game.

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