We examine the influence of various substrate preparation procedures for ion-beam assist deposition (IBAD) texturing of MgO. IBAD-MgO nano-texturing is very sensitive to the nucleation surface, and surface roughness has an important influence on the texture of the MgO layer. We studied Hastelloy C-276 metal alloy as the substrate. The untreated substrate is leveled by either electropolishing, mechanical polishing or solution deposition. All three methods are applied to continuously moving tapes in long lengths. The RMS surface roughness decreases from 20-50 nm for the untreated substrate to 0.5 nm, 0.3 nm and 1 nm respectively. The in-plane and out-of plane crystalline alignment of the MgO layer improves as the roughness is decreased below 2 nm.