Reigning Australian National Champion Justin Cheung is no stranger to the Grand Prix Circuit and has enjoyed great success in the region, racking up four lifetime Top 8s to date (Sydney 2013, Brisbane 2013, Auckland 2012, Auckland 2008). Beneath his silent demeanor is a cheery personality and an ingenious mind.
So why did he choose to run Esper today? "I didn't really have a lot of time preparing for this event since I was practicing for Modern and this list was suggested to me by a friend. I played a lot of Mono-Black in the past but I felt it was losing its position in the metagame, so I decided to make the switch."
As we speak, Cheung laments that was not doing as well as he hoped and will keep his fingers crossed for a Top 32 finish today. Standing at 18 Pro Points, two more will propel him into Silver, granting him an invite for upcoming Pro Tour Journey to Nyx.
"I don't think I will be able to make it for Grand Prix Beijing, but I'm considering to go to Grand Prix Taipei if I can't win a PTQ here." I cheered him up a little by bringing up Pro Tour Born of the Gods and his face beamed with a radiant smile. "During the last round in Valencia, I drew the last match to lock in a Top 75 finish. It was a nice surprise to finish in exactly at 50th place!"
When questioned about his chances for the Player Championships at the end of the year, he humbly professes that it would be a long shot to clinch one of the two Asia Pacific slots.
"Lee Shi Tian of Hong Kong just made the Top 8 last week in Valencia and Zheng Jingwei's in the Top 8 today. I'm not even qualified for the next Pro Tour so we'll see how it goes."
With just two more rounds to go, we wish Justin the best of luck as the Top 8 starts to shape up. Cheers!