The current Standard format uses the sets Mercadian Masques, Nemesis, Prophecy, Invasion, Planeshift and 7th Edition, and several deck archetypes have emerged. Decks like Counter-Rebel, Fires, Counter-Angel, Machine Head, Nether-Go and Go-Mar have all been popular in tournaments all over the world, and decktypes like Turbo-Chant have also been tried out.
After six rounds of Rochester Draft, it was time for the German players to go Standard to determine who would make the final eight. Rumours had it that the players from Hamburg had built a secret tech deck that could beat both Fires and control and that the players from Munich had a tech deck as well, but nothing concrete had been leaked.
This is the deck breakdown from 2001 German Nationals:
- Fires 32
- Nether-Go 12
- U/W Control 10
- Orbosition 9
- Machine Head 7
- Burn 6
- Blue Skies 5
- Red Zone 4
- Counter Rebel 4
- Big Blue 3
- Fish 1
- Pirates 1
- Happy Hipposition 1
- Junk 1
- R Land Destruction 1
- 5cGreen 1
- Bridge 1
It didn't come as a big surprise though that Fires was the most popular deck archetype in Germany. Fires has dominated many tournaments, and 32 out of the 99 players who started the day had chosen to play Fires of Yavimaya along with a mixture of creatures and burn. Obviously, a lot of them had gone for the "if you can't beat them, join them" theory. But while about one third of the field had chosen Fires, there were other decks present as well.
One of the most interesting decks of the tournament was the mono-blue Orbosition deck. Nine people played some kind of Static Orb/Opposition deck, but five of them played the exact same version - Kai Budde, Patrick Mello, Marco Blume, Dirk Baberowski and Christian Lührs. "It is a kind of combo deck with Static Orb, Opposition, good creatures like Spiketail Hatchling, Merfolk Looter, Temporal Adept and Thieving Magpie and some counterspells," Lührs explains.
The Hamburg delegation chose to play Orbosition mainly because it beats Fires. With Static Orbs and four Glacial Walls, it is hard for the Fires players to use its resources properly. The Opposition is in the deck to tap lands, creatures or to tap the Static Orb so that the Orbosition player gets to untap. "It is a prison style deck," Lührs confirms. "We got it five days ago from a guy in Austria. Before that, it was played in the National Championship in Argentina, but that was a bad version. We expected quite few of these decks though, so we are prepared for the mirror matchup. But if someone goes Ritual, Plague Spitter, then we scoop."
Jan Brinkmann was one of seven players who had chosen to play the black and red Machine Head deck. "I figured that a lot of people would play mono blue Static Orb/Opposition decks, and the deck is quite good against Fires," he explains. Jan, who was 6-0 after the first day, thought about going for Orbosotion as well, but decided against it. "I didn't like the mirror matchup, the other players have more experience with the deck. So I need something that could beat the blue deck and not be too bad against the other decks."
In the first two rounds of the Standard portion, Jan defeated one blue/white control deck and one Nether-Go. Then he lost to Fires. Jan hoped though that the anti-Fires deck would make it to the top so that he could beat them and avoid too much Fires. "I should lose against blue/white too, but I got three Blazing Specters," he smiled, still referring to the saying "better lucky than good."
Janosch Kühn ran into trouble during the first day of the German Nationals. After going 3-0 during the first three rounds, he then went 0-3 during the next ones and so he went into the second day knowing that only a 6-0 record would put him in the top 8. "I play U/W Control without Millstones and Story Circles. I use Angels instead," he reveals.
Being 3-3 after the first day, Janosch figured he needed something that could beat all the Fires decks he expected to play against, and in the first two rounds he crushed two Fires decks. "I have a couple of counterspells, including Force Spike. I need a Wrath, then I get a Blinding Angel into play and save it from four Flametongue Kavus," he says, explaining how to beat Fires. Janosch admitted that the Orbosition deck looked good, though. "But I hope I can beat it," he smiled.
Holger Meinecke chose another common deck archetype. He didn't playtest a lot, and so he just took a deck that he liked - Nether-Go. "It is a solid deck. I think it is good against Fires, and it is okay against the rest of the field. The deck doesn't have a lot of bad matchups," he says. Holger had one unusual card in his deck though - a Mahamoti Djinn. "It gives me more options. I can use it if two Nether Shadows go to the graveyard. Besides, there are so many Flametongue Kavus out there, so I went for the Mahamoti over the Air Elemental," he explains. Holger didn't expect the Orbosition deck, and he didn't really like what he saw. "I haven't tested the matchup, but it could be bad. It will be pretty hard to beat them," he concluded.