This JSS quarterfinal match pits two 15-year-olds against one another. Edward Solis from San Antonio, Texas, has had a long weekend of Magic. Because he finished second in Southern Regionals this year, he was qualified for US Nationals as well as the JSS. So he played the first day of Nats as a "warm-up" for what he considered the main event, the JSS. His record in Nationals? 1-5. He seemed to figure out what ailed him, as he is now in the Top 8 of the JSS playing essentially the same deck – a very aggressive red/green beatdown and burn machine.
His opponent is Forrest Sullens of Mankato, Minnesota. Sullens is running a blue/green threshold deck featuring Nimble Mongoose and Werebear, plus Krosan Beasts in the sideboard.
Solis played first and came out with a quick turn-1 Basking Rootwalla and a turn-2 Yavimaya Barbarian before Sullens could get his permission on-line. Solis' turn-3 Call of the Herd was Memory Lapsed, and Lapsed again on turn 4, but Sullens was taking serious beats from the two early drops.
Sullens dropped a Werebear, but Solis Volcanic Hammered it. Sullens then played out a Nimble Mongoose with four blue untapped, and cast Fact or Fiction when Solis attacked again. By choosing the pile with two cards, he was able to get to threshold, allowing his Mongoose to take down the Barbarian. But the Rootwalla hit again, and Sullens was now in burn range. A Volcanic Hammer and and Urza's Rage sealed Game 1 for Solis.
Solis 1 – Sullens 0
Sullens agonized over how to sideboard, since his deck needed to run at maximum efficiency if it was going to be able to stop Solis's quick rush. Going first should help, but in order to win the match, Sullens would have to "break serve" and win at least one game in which he draws first (the match is best three of five).
But first things first, Sullens got to play first in Game 2.
Sullens had to mulligan a one Forest, six green card opening hand, but kept a new grip with four land, a Werebear, and a Fact or Fiction. The two competitors then started sweating as the cameras moved from the Mike Long/Alex Borteh match in US Nationals over to them, meaning they got to play for the crown with Randy Buehler and Pat Chapin providing running commentary.
Neither played had a one-drop, and Sullens decided to play a second Island to enable a freshly drawn Counterspell instead of dropping the Werebear. He didn't counter Solis's turn-2 Kavu Titan, but did counter the turn-3 Wild Mongrel. Solis then Reckless Charged his Titan and attacked for 5.
Sullens laid the Werebear, and could have countered Solis's Call of the Herd, but chose not to. He did counter the flashbacked Reckless Charge, however, leaving his Werebear vulnerable to Solis's one-point Earthquake. Solis attacked, and Sullens fell to 7.
Sullens had to cast Fact or Fiction in his main phase, netting a Hibernation and two other cards. But Solis just attacked him down to 2, and finished him off with Urza's Rage again.
Solis 2 – Sullens 0
Sullens seemed to be treading on thin ice when he mulliganed again to start game 3. Down a card and going second with no chances left, he needed a miracle.
The miracle didn't come. He had to mulligan again, this time to five cards. His five card hand contained only an Island for land, but he managed to find a second with Opt. Solis opened with a turn-1 Grim Lavamancer.
Sullens managed to Memory Lapse Solis's next two spells, but he never found a third land. Solis added a Call token, a Rootwalla, and a Yavimaya Barbarian to the table, and all Sullens could do was stare at the two Hibernations in his hand.
And it a matter of about six turns, Edward Solis had advanced to the JSS semifinals.
Solis 3 – Sullens 0