Pro Tour-Chicago 1999
Semifinals Feature Match
Christian Lührs vs. Bob Maher
In a semi-final matchup pitting two Pro Tour Gravy Trainers, Germany's Christian Lührs, playing Counter-Sliver, fell three games to one to hometown favorite Bob Maher, playing in his first top eight. In game one, it was Lührs, playing in his second consecutive constructed top 8, who got out to the fast lead. After tempting Bob into casting a number of counters, Christian was able to force through a Crystaline Sliver, and when it was joined by a Muscle Sliver, a Hibernatin Sliver and a Winged Sliver, even Maher's powerful Oath of Druids was unable to catch up, with Maher eventually forced to Swords to Plowshares his own Morphling in an attempt to prolong the game through life gain.
Maher's turnaround began with an omen. Tour organizer Jeff Donais knocked Bob's Oranguatan doll on the ground, but instead of Maher's luck forcing him to mulligan as a result, it was Christian who was forced to take first a six card hand and then a five card hand. To confound Luhr's problem, Bob was able to cast a second turn Powder Keg, and then get down an Oath of Druids with which he brought a Crater Hellion into play. It was soon after that Morphling finished the job.
Games three and four saw Lührs' struggle prove to be a fruitless one. In both games, Bob's combination of Oath of Druids and an arsenal of counters proved to be too much for Luhr's beatdown deck, as Morphling was able to clean up the scraps after Shard Phoenix and Crater Hellion laid Christian's army to ashes. Maher now moves onto the final, where the hometown fans will be cheering him on. Playing against Brian Davis' Necro deck, both players seem to feel the key to the matchup is Maher's Null Rod and Ivory Mask, and the numerous ways in which he can search his library for him.
BOB MAHER, JR DEFEATS CHRISTIAN LÜHRS, 3-1