The Silver Showcase gripped viewers on Thursday when players opened some of the only remaining sealed Beta booster packs in existence, and the quarterfinals Friday after the first day of the Pro Tour featured some of the most iconic cards in Magic's 25-year history.
That brought us to Saturday's semifinals, where Hall of Famer Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa squared off against Jason "Amaz" Chan, one of Twitch's most popular card game streamers. The Pro Tour Hall of Famer had rolled easily through the quarters, while Amaz leaned on one of the most iconic cards of all time in Shivan Dragon to punch his ticket. Meanwhile, former Pro Tour winner Stanislav Cifka would have to go through Jon Finkel, widely considered the best player to ever sleeve up a Magic card.
It was PV and Amaz who started things off, and Damo da Rosa got out to an early start. A Pestilence from Amaz, however, was the perfect answer. It brought the streamer back into the game, but PV had one of the strongest cards in early Magic, Prodigal Sorcerer, to finish things off.
The second game was a different matter entirely, as Howl from Beyond on Black Knight set up the card everyone most hoped to open: Fireball, doing exact what it's done for 25 years and sending its caster to victory.
In fitting fashion, it was yet another iconic card from the earliest days of the game that gave Amaz another improbable win, as he took on the best players in Magic's history and emerged victorious. Hypnotic Specter has terrified enemies for more than two decades, and with an Oubliette to clear the way and an Unholy Strength to make it truly deadly, Amaz knocked off the Hall of Famer.
One member of the championship match had been set, and next up was the greatest Magic player of all time against the former Pro Tour champion and Hearthstone luminary Cifka.
Like the first match, Pestilence featured heavily, as Finkel deployed his copy and used it to threaten full control of the board while also complicating combat with Tor Wauki. Cifka, meanwhile, used Vampire Bats to poke in damage at Finkel before playing out a 4/4 Shimian Night Stalker.
Still, Finkel remained disciplined and didn't burn through his Pestilence. That is, until Cifka matched it with one of his own. That resulted in a large combat that cleared the board and left Finkel at a low life total, one that quickly became zero as Cifka found Fireball to finish things off.
That sent the pair into a second game, and again Finkel had Pestilence, though it was significantly worse when he fell behind on life to a Guardian Beast that consistently pressured him. Of course, with Pestilence and a grip full of cards, no game is out of reach.
Until Cifka tapped out for Mind Twist, that is. Just like that, Finkel's hand was gone, and a few quick attack steps later so was his life total, as Cifka dispatched Johnny Magic and moved onto the finals.