|Match Date||Sunday, August 3rd, 2003|
|Magus - 57.44%|
44 for - 10 against
|Magus - 24.25%|
Talk about Board 8 and the casuals being on completely opposite sides...
You're all aware of what the Magus hype was by now. If Crono was able to almost beat Mario, then certainly a character whom the CT faith all love vastly more than Crono should be able to be stronger than Crono; as such, Magus was the best chance at ending Link's shot at repeating in the Summer 2003 Contest.
And he was not only hyped as such (remember, Link vs Magus was this contest's "true final"), but he was almost hyped as possibly being more dominant than Link was in the future.
On our board, anyway. The casual bracketmaker looked at this thing and thought "Wow, Link kicked ass in 2002. Ganon and Zelda will be strong as well.... and who the hell is this 'Magus' character, anyway?" For a small while in the actual match, the casuals were shocked at the proceedings.
Remember back in the first round of this analysis when I noted that people actually thought that Link/Ganon would be a good match? That was the topic of the night for quite some time, and the casuals simply weren't aware of who in the hell Magus was. It's another case where the people who have played the game like the character's chances, but no one else knows who the character is at all. And for the first six hours or so of this match, Magus schooled the hell out of the casuals who went with Ganon based off of Link's success. Magus began the poll fairly well, and even though he slowed down a little bit as the early morning hours dragged on he was still able to increase his lead fairly easily. The only concern that people had is that Magus only had an 1800 vote lead after 6 hours, 30 minutes of the match had passed.
But most people simply chalked this up to Ganondorf feeding off of how strong Link was and respected how well Ganondorf was doing. These people didn't have any clue what was about to happen to their golden boy, nor did they actually envision the possibility of Ganon coming back and winning this match. Think USC hype versus Texas being slighted, with Magus as USC and Ganondorf as Texas. That's essentially how people felt this match would play out.
However, there was one slight problem. Ganondorf was only 1800 votes behind, and the morning vote actually favored him over Magus. It wasn't a drastic shift in vote intake, but it was enough for Ganon to cut off 36 votes with his first 15 minute update victory. Magus turned around and took 27 of this back, which was met with much relief.
Little did Magus know that this was the last update that he would win for quite some time, and that Ganondorf was about to give him the fight of his life. Ganon laughed off Magus's update win with a good hour and a half of small-but-solid update victories, and then at 9:45 AM EST, Ganon dropped the hammer by slicing off over 100 votes from Magus's lead and dropping it to under 1500.
Ganon had caught the full swing of the morning vote, and he had plenty of time to get back into this match. He followed up his momentous 100 vote update by going on a tear that saw Magus's lead drop to under 1000 before lunch. It took Magus 6:30 to build an 1800 vote lead, but it took Ganon less than 4 hours to get the lead under 1000. At this rate, Ganon could win the match with ease and he knew it. He followed up his getting Magus's lead under 1000 with two straight update wins of over 100 votes to bring Magus's lead down to 750. The time at this point was exactly noon, and at the rate Ganon was going (he cut off over 1000 votes in 4 hours, 30 minutes) he would be able to tie the match in three hours before winning by a good 2000 votes or so.
If panic didn't hit Magus's supporters after Ganon started catching the morning vote, it had definitely set in by now and all eyes were fixed on the poll to see which character would come out on top.
Unfortunately, for whatever reason Ganon completely ran out of gas after noon passed. He was able to ride the momentum of his massive morning vote (And his massive nose!) to continue winning updates, but he was winning them in much less stellar fashion than he was in the morning. Because of this, Ganon was only able to take off a few more hundred votes throughout the entire afternoon. After Magus's lead was dropped all the way down to the 200-300 range, Magus finally remembered that he had a pulse and began fighting back in the match. He wasn't able to gain back any votes for quite some time, but the important thing is that he was able to stall Ganon's advance from the late afternoon all the way until the evening vote began. Many a topic sprouted up about how Ganon couldn't get the lead any lower than 200, and finally, after an hours-long stall, the evening vote hit and Magus was finally able to begin gaining votes back.
Ganon tried as hard as he could to get back into the match, but everything he threw at Magus was answered with Magus either stalling him or increasing the lead outright. By the time the poll was in its waning stages, Magus's lead was at a comfortable 600 and Ganon was simply unable to make up all the ground in such a short amount of time.
It's difficult to say whether or not Magus won this match or if Ganon simply lost it, but the one thing most agreed on at this point was that Magus wasn't going to come anywhere near Link in the next round. If Magus had all of these problems with Ganondorf (who struggled with Tidus), how would he beat Link? The simple answer is that he wouldn't, though the way Magus would eventually perform against Link would set the stage for him to become one of the biggest frauds in the history of these contests.
As for Ganondorf, his combined differential through his two matches in this contest was +932. He went through two razor-thin matchups in this contest that no one who saw them will ever forget, and he was able to use his first contest appearance as a building block for future showings. There was a minor hiccup in 2004 when CJayC decided to give everyone their wish and put Ganon up against Link in the second round, but Ganon has been kicking ass ever since and has been as noticeable as anyone in 2005. And like with Zelda, Ganondorf is going to be an absolute beast in these polls after Twilight Princess.
I'm getting a little ahead of myself again, but if you ask me it wasn't necessarily Magus's match against Link that made him so overrated. Warning signs were all over the place that that match was a complete fluke that could be discarded for several factors. The issue is that before Summer 2005, whenever someone noticed that Magus could be a fraud, his match with Ganondorf was always the one that stood out as him being legitimate. I personally think that this match was every bit as responsible for Magus becoming overestimated as his match with Link was, and I often wonder if things would have taken a different course had Magus lost this match. He and Ganon have clearly gone in opposite directions since, and if this match were held again I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if Ganon broke 60%.
Interesting Facts Edit
- This is one of only three matches in contest history, and one of only two in the 4x16 format (the other being Aeris Vs. Tina) to occur between two lower seeds.
Oy, this cluster of a match. So many weird things went into this match, before, during, and after it. First off, Magus: the most hyped newcomer in the field. As I mentioned before, some people figured he could be a serious threat to Link, as weird as that sounds now. Second, Ganondorf: another hyped newcomer who struggled with an incredibly close match with Tidus. Two “badass” dark wizards with an awesome FFP match accompanying them. THE STAGE WAS SET INDEED
This one saw a literal ton of lead changes, reversals, and crazy F5ing from everyone on the board. The match was completely up in the air until towards the end, when Magus finally pulled it out. In a rematch today? Ganon totally wrecks Magus. Doesn’t change that these two were evenly matched back in the day and delivered one of the best slugfests in contest history.