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Epic Moments in Professional Magic

What separates Magic the Gathering from a purely strategic game like Chess is the chaos of randomness. Yes, we've all been hit with mana-screw or mana-flood, but the random nature is integral to the game of Magic. Over the years, many memorable moments have been created by timely top decks and miraculous sequences. Today we'll take a look back at some of the most epic moments in professional Magic.


Kibler vs Finkel, Pro Tour Dark Ascension

Our first top deck took place only a few years back. It was a Standard format where Primeval Titan, Ponder, Delver of Secrets and Lingering Souls were all legal (eat your heart out Modern). Kibler was on a RG Ramp deck, Finkel on Esper Spirits. Technically the top deck happened the turn before lethal, but Kibler drew into a third Galvanic Blast with Finkel only at 10 life. Metalcraft enabled Kibler to deal 12 total damage for only three red mana. However, Finkel had counter magic in hand to complicate the situation. Finkel chose not to block an incoming Wolf token, dropping him to 8. The Negate in hand took care of one Galvanic Blast, but Finkel fell to the remaining two metalcraft .

Craig Jones' $16,000 Lightning Helix

Probably the most famous of all top decks, Craig Jones won a cool $16,000 off this timely draw at Pro Tour Honolulu. Lightning Helix off the top was an amazing top deck, but give credit to Craig Jones for playing to his only outs. Instead of taking the conservative line of using Char to control the board, he gave himself the best shot to win and produced one of the most memorable moments in Magic history.


Gabriel Nassif Cruel Ultimatum

The French phenom Gabriel Nassif was one of my favorite Magic players when I first started watching professional Magic. Always entertaining and putting on a show for the fans, Nassif calls his own top deck by arranging and readying his mana for Cruel Ultimatum.


Titans on Top

The Worlds 2010 match between PVDDR and Matignon ended in a flurry of haymakers that left spectators scratching their heads. You'll need to watch the video to get a full appreciation, but here was the sequence of cards played: Jace, the Mind SculptorJace, the Mind Sculptor, Grave Titan, CancelGrave Titan, Grave Titan, Memoricide.


Never trust a man with Arabian Nights Mountains

If you want to learn how to play Burn, watch this match. A Master Class in Burn from Patrick Sullivan. Never trust a man who sleeves up Arabian Nights mountains.


Gabriel Nassif Ignite Memories Dodge

The 2007 World Championship was the stage for one of the most unlikely sequences in Magic history. Both Nassif and Chapin are on the metagame-breaking Dragonstorm deck. Nassif had his back against the wall when he needed to survive five copies of Ignite Memories while only at 9 life with a hand containng Grapeshot, Ignite Memories, Rite of Flame. I'm no mathematician, but those odds don't look good! Spoiler alert: he survived and landed himself on this list. It was so unlikely that Chapin wrote a song about it:




That's it for today. What do you think the best top deck in Magic history is? Are there any that I missed on this list? I'm sure there are, so please leave them in the comments below!

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