Four-time Grand Prix Top 8 competitor Justin Cheung is heralded as one of the top players in the Asia Pacific region and has just returned from Pro Tour Born of the Gods with a satisfying 50th place finish.
Wielding Esper Control as his weapon of choice, he has stumbled a little this weekend and would need to win out to make his fifth Grand Prix Top 8. Currently standing at 18 Pro Points, he is also in good shape to repeat the feat of becoming Australian National Champion once again.
His opponent Joshua Foley is at the exact 7-2-1 record and is piloting a unique Bant concoction of his own, featuring Kiora, the Crashing Wave, Advent of the Wurm and Selesnya Charm to go along with all the goodies that the Azorius Senate has to offer.
However, Cheung was the one to stumble on land drops, with just two, and allowed Foley to successfully resolve a topdecked Kiora, the Crashing Wave without contest. However, Foley chose to tick up Kiora rather than Explore her other options and it gave Cheung time to find a third land to cast Detention Sphere.
A quad of Detention Spheres keeping opposing Planeswalkers in check.
Foley forged ahead with Sphinx's Revelation for 4, restocking his hand while charging in with six Soldier tokens. Cheung was forced to use Ultimate Price on one of them, signaling that he did not have the Supreme Verdict to get out of the fix.
He did have his own Elspeth, Sun's Champion though, and managed to stabilize with Jace, Architect of Thought. A few Planeswalker activations coupled with a massive Sphinx Revelation put Cheung back into the game but Foley wasn't about to give up, sweeping the board thrice with Supreme Verdicts before eventually succumbing to the onslaught of 3/3 Soldier tokens.
Cheung recovers from a bad start to take Game One, bringing the epic 35-minute game to an end.
With just fifteen minutes left on the clock, Foley decided to bring in Brimaz, King of Oreskos and Archangel of Thune to supplement his "Advent of the Wurm beatdown plan", but found himself with the grindy triple Sphinx's Revelation draw.
After cycling a pair of Azorius Charm, Foley's next move was Jace, Architect of Thought. Cheung stopped it with Dissolve before untapping and resolving his own copy, which in turn granted him a replacement Dissolve.
This reduced Cheung to just a single card in his feeble grip and that was enough to convince Foley that Cheung was out of countermagic. Foley fired off Sphinx's Revelation (for more than I could count) and equalized the score by burying Cheung with card advantage and a duo of Archangel of Thune and Mutavault.
Foley equalizes the score and both players take yet another draw.