by Geddes Cooper
The finals of the JSS world championships pitted Sean Tracy, playing a Ponza variant, against John Cassidy, playing his own version of the popular Trinity Green deck. The heavy favorite in this matchup was deffinately Tracy because of the massive ammount of mass creature removal he had in the main of his deck and the board, but Cassidy's deck is by no means a pushover as it boasts 4 Blastoderms main as well as Yavimaya Elder instead of Birds of Paradise a quick way to get yourself out of trouble against Ponza. The first game was not the closest of games with Cassidy keeping a one land hand with two Llanowar Elves. Sean quickly capitalizes by casting Stone Rain on what at this time is Cassidy's only forest. Cassidy replies though, by casting Priest of Titiana followed by Yavimaya Elder which is a huge help against the mono red land distruction that Tracy is running so much of. After casting another stone rain on a forest Tracy makes the obvious play and casts Cave-In clearing the entire board and leaving Cassidy with no land and no permanents but Cassidy does get to search for 2 land from the Elders ability. Cassidy plays a few forests in a row and Tracy finally casts Masticore, and shorty after the game is over as Cassidy has no answer other than a few lowly elves to try and throw in the way of the 4/4 beast and Tracy makes quick use of Masticore's ability and takes the first game in easy fashion.
Game two was even worse for Cassidy than the first. He starts of with double paris and after drawing five keeps a hand with no land in it because of fear of going to 4 cards. Finally on his third turn Cassidy draws a forest and casts Llanowar Elves and says go. Tracy just draws and says go as his hand is very slow but has many threats in it. Cassidy draws and casts a second elf and serves for one with the other. On his turn Tracy casts Avalance Riders and comes over for two with it, then casts Cave In clearing the board for Cassidy and killing his own Rider. Most would have played that in opposite order but the game seemed very much in hand for him in any case. Cassidy fails to draw a land and one turn later Lightning Dragon hits the board and Cassidy soon concedes seeing he has no way to handle another 4/4 monster.
Fortunately in game three Cassidy gets to keep all 7 cards in his opening hand. His start is very slow as he has no one drops but his deck is only hosting 4 total. Second turn Rofellos by Cassidy is shocked end of turn and Tracy casts a quick Powder Keg and says go. Cassidy Fallow Earth's one of Tracy's land and that slows Tracy down quite a bit, who incedently decides not to put any counters on Keg most likely holding back to prevent small threats from getting the best of him. Forth turn Skyshroud Poacher is casted by Cassidy and Tracy misses a land drop on his turn putting him in a terrible possition. On his next turn Cassidy casts Plow Under on Tracy's only two land leaving him with none and costing him two draw fases but forgets to attack with Poacker seeing as he has no open mana to search with. Tracy takes a few damage the next two turns as he builds up his land to 2 again only to have Cassidy cast another Plow Under and practically sealing up the victory for himself. Tracy holds on a for a while with Cave In to kill the threats on the board but Cassidy played smart and was holding back and just casted a few more to keep the pressure on him and this match was quickly at an end as Cassidy had a third Plow Under to cast only to destroy any hopes Tracy had of staying in the game. A second Poacher with ample land rides Cassidy to a win and keeps him in the match at 2 games to 1.
Game four was a very slow start for both players. Neither casted anything turn one or two but Cassidy did get third turn Yavimaya Elder. Tracy kills Cassidy's Port with a dust bowl as he has another one in hand and takes a few damage from Elder before casting Seal of Fire. Cassidy makes what seemed to be a poor play by sacking Elder end of turn to get 2 land and a card. Cassidy casts Blastoderm on his next turn as well as LLanowar Elf but Tracy replies with Masticore on his turn. Cassidy swings for 5 and casts yet another Blastoderm and the match looks very well in his favor. Tracy pitches for Core and says go. Cassidy casts Plow Under adn serves with both Derms and gets through 5 damage 2 turns in a row putting Tracy at 8 and plays Rofellos. Tracy kills the elf end of turn and casts Lightning Dragon. At this point Cassidy is down to one Blastoderm as the other is out of fading counters and Tracy comes through for 4 damage. Cassidy loses the second derm from fading and has no threats or answers for Tracy's army of 4/4s. Another Rofellos quickly dies to core end of turn and Tracy comes through for 12 with Dragon and Core. Cassidy Draws and quickly concedes the match realizing he has no way to win. A closer match than most may have though but still a good way to end the weekend for both players. Cassidy goes home with $6,000 in Scholarship money and Tracy takes home a healthy scholarship for $10,000. Congratulations to Sean Tracy and the other Top 8 finishers and good luck in the future.
Tracy 3 - Cassidy 1
Tracy wins Junior Super Series Championship: $10,000 scholarship