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Pre-Nationals 2001

Alright everyone. It's that time of the year again. Everyone's favorite time … Nationals! It's that time where everyone comes together to compete for those few spots to be on the National Team to represent our fine country at Worlds. Not to mention, that $25,000 + first place prize seems pretty sweet compared to what wizards gives other National champions.
Now reflecting on my past Nationals experience (which my only trip to Nationals was last year), I had a blast. Not only was I impressed by the facility that the event was held in, I was impressed at how everything came together and flowed so well.
I took the trip down to Florida last year unqualified for Nationals in hopes to grind in just like hundreds of other players. Well, I only got to play in one grinder since I happened to do so well, but I missed qualifying by one match. Basically in order to grind, you have to go 6-0 since it is single elimination. The top 4 from each grinder last year made Nationals, and hence going 6-0 got you into the T4. Well, I piloted my rogue Phyrexian Ghoul deck jokingly titled "My Dixie Wrecked" to a 5-1 record. I played Stompy, then Wildfire, then Replenish, then Rebels, then Rebels again. I was 5-0 and all I had to do was win the next round. Well, to make a long story short, I lost to Bryce Currence and his "Trinity Green" deck.
Now I was pleased with my performance even though I did not qualify for Nationals. I did get a box of product for my troubles, but I did realize something important. Rogue decks are something that always have to be on the lookout for. I can't count the number of times that I killed someone on the third turn with my deck and they said something like, "I can't believe that you just beat me! That deck is horrible and you got lucky!" In fact I playtested for a couple of months before Nationals with this deck and fined tuned it with the proper card drawers and search cards so this deck was very consistent.
For those of you who do not know how the deck worked, it went - First Turn Birds of Paradise. Second turn Phyrexian Ghoul. Third turn Academy Rector - Attack with Ghoul, Sac Rector for Pattern of Rebirth to put on the Bird, Sac Bird and use Pattern to go get a Rector, Sac Rector to get a Saproling Burst, make 6 guys, sac them to the Ghoul for a total of 20 damage on turn 3. This deck was very consistent and had many good defense cards like that of Reverent Mantra and Parallax Wave.
But let's get straight to the point of this article. What will people be playing at Nationals? We all know the different archtypes, but you do have to be on the lookout for those rogue decks. Even the National Champion Jon Finkel used a rogue black deck to pilot his way to $25k last year. But you really can't get ready and playtest for those rogue decks that you might be paired up against. You just have to be prepared for all of those different archtypes that will be at Nationals. Hell, I'd play a rogue deck that was geared to beat the other archtypes. But you can't build one deck to beat all the others or everyone would be playing that deck.
So once again I ask the magic question. What is everyone going to be playing this year? Well, we all know the main answer, and that is Fires. People just can't get enough of Fires. Don't get me wrong. Fires is a great deck since it is very consistent and it has many answers to a lot of different cards. Not to mention that the deck is very fast and has the potential to kill on turn 4. Even though there will be a lot of Fires in Florida this year, I also think there will be a lot of Blue. Wow, Blue! Not just in the form of Draw-Go or straight counter decks, but the new deck that is seeming to do well. And that deck my friends is Orb-osition. I think this deck is great and has some really good potential. Two players made T8 in the German Nationals with this deck because this deck is very, very good. Once this deck has the lock, it is almost impossible to get out of it.
This deck of course uses Static Orb and Opposition as the lock cards that keeps your opponent from doing anything. This deck also uses very good creatures to help out early in the game and to help slow your opponent down. Cards like Glacial Wall help block those early big creatures like Blastoderm, and cards like Spiketail Hatchling make your opponent wait until they have one more mana or they will have their creatures countered early on. The deck also uses Merfolk Looter to help draw cards to search out the key cards to get the lock out early. Also Temporal Adapt helps the fight as you can bounce whatever you want. The reason this deck is so good is because Static Orb is one of the few artifacts that turns off when it is tapped. So at the end of your opponents turn, tap your Static Orb and then untap all of your permanents on your next turn.
Most of the Orb-osition decks use very few counterspells. Usually only running 4 counterspell and 4 thwart. This is because the deck shouldn't need anymore counters then that. A typical Orb-osistion deck that you should see plenty of at Nationals would look something like this:

4 Static Orb
4 Opposition
4 Counterspell
4 Thwart
4 Glacial Wall
4 Thieving Magpie
4 Spiketail Hatchling
3 Merfolk Looter
4 Opt
2 Temporal Adept
2 Rishidan Port
21 Island

The sideboard for this deck has 3 Prodigal Sorcerer, 3 Stinging Barrier, 2 Temporal Adept, 3 Hibernation, 2 Boomerang, and 2 Dominate. This is a very unusual looking sideboard, but it does work very well.
Since this deck was the talked about deck at German Nationals, this deck will see a lot of play. But of course not as much as Fires will see. Everyone and their mothers will be playing fires but Orb-osition will show a strong following as well. I think that the T8 will look a little something like this:

3 Fires
2 Orbosistion
1 Machine Head
1 Green White
1 Rogue

So Hopefully I will be able to predict the results from Nationals. But I wish all of you that attend the best of luck and I wish that everyone could win. I unfortunately won't be able to attend this year, but you bet I'll be following it on the Sideboard and I will be there next year. Have fun in the Grinders and in the Main Event. And I can't stress this enough - Watch your stuff carefully. Even though I hate to say this, there are a lot of dishonest magic players out there and I had 2 boxes full of packs stolen from right in front of me last year. Just watch your stuff. I hate to end this in a bad note so I won't. It's a great experience so I encourage everyone to go and have fun. Enjoy it! Any Questions or Comments you can email me at

- Motumbo -

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