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Day 1 Blog Archive

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Day one of GP Stuttgart 2007 is done and in the books, and well-known names lead the way for tomorrow. Among them are Oliver Ruel, as one of six undefeated players, Richie Hoaen, André Coimbra, Gabriel Nassif, Shuuhei Nakamura, Tomoharu Saitou, Guillaume Wafo-Tapa, and more. The new season kicks off just where the last season petered out. Many names are similar, but some are coming into their own right this season.

Think Marjin Lybaert, the young and promising Belgian pro. He is currently a level 4, and that's just the start of what he can do. Not only has the young gun the ability to play, he also grabbed a healthy handful of Olivier Ruel's posing fun. Point a camera at Marijn, and you'll at least see a smile, and most likely some unusal play-acting.

As for the Magic that went on with the cardboard, the winning decks were generally green and featured Elves. Faeries also proved a successful tribe, with Pestermites everywhere. But it was the black touch that made most decks the powerhouses that they were: Shriekmaw and Eyeblight's Ending did not see a sideboard all day. The other side of the spectrum, those few decks who had no black (but most likely Forests), relied mostly on Mirror Entity, which is in the minds of most players a legitimate bomb that needs to be dealt with.

Tomorrow, we leave the randomness of Sealed deck and enter the ordered world of draft. We will get to see some of the best players on the globe draft, and so can you, if you keep your browser pointed to www.magicthegathering.com!





EVENT COVERAGE

  • 10:55 p.m. - Undefeated 'till They Die
    by Hanno Terbuyken
  • 8:40 p.m. – Tiebreaker Heartbreaker
    by Rich Hagon
  • 8:10 p.m. - Feature match round 8: Torben Jährling (DEU) vs Marijn Lybaert (BEL)
    by Hanno Terbuyken
  • Blog - 7:38 p.m. - Assorted Picture Reporting
    by Hanno Terbuyken
  • Podcast - 5:40 p.m. – Staying Alive
    by Rich Hagon
  • 5:39 p.m. - Feature match round 6: Shuuhei Nakamura (JAP) vs Tomoharu Saito (JAP)
    by Hanno Terbuyken
  • Blog - 4:03 p.m.- Bonus Feature Match
    by Hanno Terbuyken
  • Blog - 3:04 p.m. - Feature Match Round 4: Jelger Wiegersma (NLD) vs Adrian Oliveira (ESP)
    by Hanno Terbuyken
  • Blog - 1:34 p.m. – The Pod Race
    by Hanno Terbuyken
  • Podcast - 12:30 p.m. – Three In A Row
    by Rich Hagon
  • Podcast - 11:30 a.m. – Inside the GP
    by Rich Hagon
  • Blog - 11:24 a.m. – Building with the Pros
    by Hanno Terbuyken
  • Info: Day 1 Country Breakdown (Green)
    by Event Coverage Staff
  • Info: Day 1 Player List (Green)
    by Event Coverage Staff
  • Info: Day 1 Country Breakdown (Blue)
    by Event Coverage Staff
  • Info: Day 1 Player List (Blue)
    by Event Coverage Staff
  • Info: Fact Sheet
    by Event Coverage Staff
BLOG


 
  • December 15th, 11:24 a.m. – Building with the Pros
    by Hanno Terbuyken
  • Lorwyn Sealed is a rocking round-a-bout of mana-fixing and bombalicious delicacies. During deckbuilding. And it's not always easy to dredge the most out of the shallow Sealed pools. "Unfortunately, the number of 9-0 decks opened is much higher than the number of decks that will be 9-0 at the end of the day", proclaimed Simon Görtzen.

    It wasn't as hard for Amiel Tenenbaum. The French level 4 pro was the first player to finish his Sealed deck. His 40 cards are spread among two colors, blue and white. Amiel has put a black polish on his assortment, splashing Shriekmaw and Eyeblight's Ending. The removal in Lorwyn is heavily skewed towards black and red, and the two colors are among the most splashed today. "It's a very good Merfolk deck", said Amiel Tenenbaum, and it's his first Lorwyn Sealed deck, too!

    The new season kicks off with many colors for Frank Karsten.
    The same went for Dutch level 4 Frank Karsten. He had aced the draft portion in New York, and his Lorwyn Limited experience made him build a four-color deck. "I only played four colors", Frank explained, because he had fears for his mana-base. A considerable number of Fertile Grounds and two Vivid lands enabled his prismatic experience: "I just added good cards from all colors. My card quality is okay." Changeling Titan and Briarhorn spearheaded his green charge, and only the red cards were left on the bench.

    Frank offered some insight into the building process: "It's not just the mana that makes building a deck difficult. The bigger challenge is to balance the tribal elements with the good cards." That being said, a decent tribal theme is hard to get in Sealed deck. More often than not, players are faced with the dilemma Frank described: "My cards are fine, I just didn't know what to do with it."

    Sly Shuuhei looks forward to an X-0 record.
    Someone who did know what to do was Shuuhei Nakamura. His three-color deck brought a smile to his face: "I can make X-1 with this", he proclaimed. His only worry was the mana, because with just three mana fixing elements, he was balancing on a precarious edge. On the other hand, Shuuhei had three Mulldrifters, Merrow Reejerey, Imperious Perfect and assorted Elves. His three-card black splash dipped into Nameless Inversion and Mournwhelk.

    German André Müller, PT Valencia finalist, was not as sure. "I thought I had the good deck with nice synergy, but my deck lacks punch." Like Amiel, he went with blue-white, and splashed for three black removal and a single Tarfire. André had enough time to think about his deck, while he waited for the first three rounds to end – he had three byes, just like every other pro player on level 3 and up.



     
  • December 15th, 11:30 a.m. – Inside the GP
    by Rich Hagon
  • As we embark upon a new season of top-level Magic, we bring you a special look at the Grand Prix experience from Inside the GP. Our intrepid coverage reporter Ben Coleman has bravely put his credibility on the line by signing up with 1339 others to face the trials and tribulations of Lorwyn Sealed Deck. We follow him every step of the way, from booking the flight, to drafting with the Pros on Friday night, right through to his final build. GPs are some of the best fun you can have playing Magic, so when you've listened to this, get your flights booked for next year and come see us!

  • Click here for the Podcast!


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  • December 15th, 12:30 p.m. – Three In A Row
    by Rich Hagon
  • We'd like to make it clear that not many people get to win their first three matches at a Grand Prix, so don't blame us if it doesn't happen to you. But Ben Coleman got an ok deck this morning, and you can follow his progress towards a possible collision with one of the big boys of Magic in round four. Meanwhile, we look back at Worlds in the company of Top 8 man Roel van Heeswijk, and reminisce about Valencia and the new Extended PTQ season ahead with Germany's Andre Mueller. Top Pros and top prose - you get it all on magicthegathering.com.

  • Click here for the Podcast!


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  • December 15th, 1:34 p.m. – The Pod Race
    by Hanno Terbuyken
  • One on the right, one on the left, the race was on between the two pods. Both halves featured 668 players each, among them 16 of the 32 players at Pro Player level 4 and up. In the blue half, you could see Jim Herold, Andre Müller, Shuuhei Nakamura, Gabriel Nassif, Olivier Ruel, Tomoharu Saito, Helmut Summersberger and Sebastian Thaler.

    The other side of the stage – because as you know, the tables are always greener on the other side – featured a French-Dutch connection with Portugese-Belgian spicing: Frank Karsten and Ruud Warmenhoven, Raphael Levy, Antoine Ruel, Amiel Tenenbaum and Guillaume Wafo-Tapa, and Paulo Carvalho, and shooting star Marijn Lybaert.

    The green side has fewer level 3 pros, but among that crowd is current Invitational winner Tiago Chan. That means that only tomorrow will Chan have to face the likes of Richard Hoaen, PT Valencia Top 8 player Tine Rus, and Dutch pro Robert van Meedevort.

    As for the countries represented, both sides combined have enough Germans to fill a small GP by themselves: 685 German players fill the chairs on either side of the central stage. Next up, the French, with a total of 147 players and split evenly across the hall. In third place are the 82 Belgians, headed by Marijn Lybaert.

    So, which half is harder to play in – and win? It's a tie. The competition is stiff on either side, and with 668 players to plow through, you need stamina, sharp skills and a solid deck more than weaker opponents. And as the pros come in for round 4, it's not going to get any easier.



     
  • December 15th, 3:04 p.m: Feature Match Round 4: Jelger Wiegersma (NLD) vs Adrian Oliveira (ESP)
    by Hanno Terbuyken
  • Game 1:

    Not very confident, the Spanish youngster Adrian Oliveira still took home the match.
    Adrian led off with a barrage of artifacts, showing Pringleaf Drum and Runed Stalactite. Mana fiying was also on Jelger's mind, as he bourght Tideshaper Mystic to the table. Adrian equpped Shepshearer with the Stalactite, making it a double changeling.

    Oblivion Ring from Jelger took care of Adrian's Inkfathom Divers, and the Dutchman cracked in for three with Tideshaper Mystic and Streambed Aquitect. Stonybrook Angler from Jelger promised to clear the way through Adrian's Mulldrifter and Shapesharer.

    The young Spanish player placed his head in his hands. While he could add Kithkin healers and Sentinels of Glen Elendra to his side, Jelger had the bigger beaters, especially when Hillcomber Giant decided to throw his bulky weight around.

    Adrian went for a full-on brawl, sending all but the Healers to inflict heavy damage on Jelger. The Dutchie took eight damage, went to 7 life and had to accept Oblivion Ring on Oblivion Ring, returning Adrian's Djinns to play.

    On his next attack, Jelger attempted to tap Adrian's Shapesharer. But the equipped Changeling copied the creature and tapped away another one of Jelger's precious blockers. The way was clear for Adrian to take Game 1.

    Jelger Wiegersma 0, Adrian Oliveira 1

    Game 2:

    Wizened Cenn from Adrian promised a Kithkin beatdown. The race of little men has been heralded for its fast and explosive starts during the weekend. Expect to see them happening during the draft tomorrow. But for now, Adrian could not take advantage of the tribal boost, as Merrow Reejerey is certainly no Kithkin.

    Not very confident either, Dutchman Jelger Wiegersma lost two swift games.
    Drowner of Secrets from Jelger managed to get Summon the School into Adrian's graveyard via the Clash, but Adrian had Shapesharer yet again, which made a promising board. Inkfathom Divers let Adrian set up his next draws just like he wanted them, taking Drowner of Secrets into account.

    While the players had traded little blows so far, Jelger upped the stakes with Cloudgoat Ranger. A pumped Kithkin Greatheart attacked, Adrian blocked it away. Yet Wings of Velis Vel gave the Spanish an easy way of tapping away and flying over the little army that Jelger had, and he took the win in two swift games.

    Jelger Wiegersma 0, Adrian Oliveira 2



     
  • December 15th, 4:03 p.m: Bonus Feature Match
    by Hanno Terbuyken
  • After the round 4 feature match was done, I turned to the corridors of the green zone, where Invitational winner Tiago Chan and French mainstay Amiel Tenenbaum had already traded bullets to a 1-1 standoff. The third game in their match would see one player walk away with his first loss of the tournament. 18 minutes were left on the clock when the two players shuffled up for Game 3.

    "I hate this kind of deck that looks good, but has too many cards that don't really do anything", commented Amiel about his forty cards, and lamented: "Should I keep a one-land hand?"

    "I have all the power of my deck in my hand", Tiago replied, "but I have no land."

    Both players decided on a mulligan.

    Tiago Chan and Amiel Tenenbaum locked in the heat of battle.
    "Great!" Amiel said on seeing his next hand. Both players kept their hands, and the French led with double Silvergill Douser: "Beatdown!" Amiel was drawing land off the top, which Tiago would have dearly loved: He had kept a one-land hand with a Wanderer's Twig. But the Portugese had to discard instead while stuck on two lands, and Amiel was happily adding creatures to his board. Turtleshell Changeling and Wellgrabber Apothecary for Amiel were a problem for Tiago, who already was at 11 life before playing his fist releveant spell. Moonglove Extract killed Amiel's Kinsbaile Balloonist, but Tiago was at 5 life and still in trouble. Thieving Sprite did not do more than chump-block. Amiel Neck Snapped Tiago's last blocker, and that was game for the Frenchman.

    Amiel Tenenbaum 2, Tiago Chan 1



     
  • December 15th, 5:39 p.m.: Feature match round 6: Shuuhei Nakamura (JAP) vs Tomoharu Saito (JAP)
    by Hanno Terbuyken
  • The only two Japanese players at Grand Prix Stuttgart have gone undefeated through the first two rounds (after three byes, of course), and now these two wingmen of high-speed Magic combat met in battle. Shuuhei Nakamura is currently a level 5 pro and one of the most travelled GP veterans. Tomoharu Saito is the reigning Player of the Year, with a comfortable lead.

    Game 1

    "I'm gonna hit the brakes and he'll fly right by."
    Shuuhei jumped off the deck and shoved into overdrive with Kithkin Daggerdare, Elvish Handservant, and Stonybrook Angler. Tomoharu's first boost was a Tar Pitcher on turn four, tailed by Fallowsage and Springleaf Drum. Lignify from Shuuhei on the Fallowsage blasted a bird through Saito's turbine, and the Player of the Year plunged to 8. Shuuhei clearly had his fellow countryman in his sights, just waiting to launch a devastating missile.

    Tomoharu used Marsh Flitter for an evasive maneuver, creating two little plastic piglets as his wingmen. Shuuhei was closing in, having Mirror Entity ready to take Tomoharus breath away, and Tomoharu lost part of his squad to chump-blocking.

    He called in Benthicore and used Tar Pitchers long-range fire to kill the Mirror Entity. Shuuhei refueled mid-flight with Mulldrifter, but Tomohrau gained speed. A stealth attack of the Benthicore took Shuuhei to 14, Incandescent Soulthingy gave Tomoharu some much needed firepower and Ghostly Changeling combined with Tar Pitcher for close air support, killing Shuuhei's Mulldrifter.

    The level 5 was sent into a tailspin. He pulled out of the dive with Cairn Wanderer and Footbottom Feast, when Tomoharu closed in from above, firing off a Weedstrangle and Thieving Sprite. Tomoharu thought long and hard before deciding to close in for a final attack, and received a slow-play warning.

    Shuuhei looked about done in, but he called in Mulldrifter and Tideshaper Mystic, and added Miror Entity to his team. Shuuhei went to 10, then 8, and it didn't look like he'd get the upper hand in this battle again. The squad under his command was outmatched by Tomoharu's superior numbers.

    Axegrinder Giant and Benthicore tried to take Shuuhei down for good. Mirror Entity flared up to distract and kill the Benthicore, but Shuuhei's left engine died in the backlash. When Footbottom Feast returned the Benthicore, Shuuhei crashed into the ocean waves.

    Shuuhei Nakamura 0, Tomoharu Saito 1

    Game 2:

    "Tower, this is Ghost rider requesting a flyby. "
    Shuuhei had the better take-off, with evoking Mulldrifter and Merrow Reejerey. He lost his momentum when Benthicore via Incadescent Soulstooek from Tomoharu sent his Reejerey to its grave. The players paced themselves neck to nek, Shuuhei trying loops with Mulldrifter and Tomoharu deciding on a defensive tactic, by holding back and not wasting his ammunition.

    Another Mulldrifter, this one bound to hang around, equipped Shuuhei with mirror Entity. Tomoharu answered with Pestermite and Scion of Oona, two fast maneuvers Shuuhei couldn't see coming. He fell to 10, but now his Mirror Entity was loaded. With just ten minutes left in the round, Tomoharu blew a bunch of mana through his exhaust pipe to get back the Benthicore via Footbottom Feast.

    Tomoharu also revived his Flamekin Spitfire via Warren Pilferers, and the Spitfire rained bullets on the Mirror Entity. Shuuhei took the highway to the danger zone, sent in all his allies, and took Tomoharu to six. Quick as lightning, Tomoharu shot back, but when Shuuhei crashed Saito's blocker with Lignify, he had cleared the way for a lethal shot.

    Shuuhei 1, Saito 1

    Game 3:

    Both players were on aftterburner now, and raced each other to the extra turns. Because of Saito's earlier warning, they had seven instead of five extra turns, but the two players played so fast that they long overshot the end-of-round announcement. They thought they had two extra minutes, not turns. When they finally noticed their mistake, both the players and the judge agreed that they were in the third extra turn

    Despite the frantic close quarters dogfighting, the two Japanese masters knew that neither would win this fight. The game ended in a mutual truce, adding a draw to both player's records, and evoking two looks of dissatisfaction on their faces.

    Shuuhei 1, Saito 1



     
  • December 15th, 5:40 p.m. – Staying Alive
    by Rich Hagon
  • Nobody gets to win GP Stuttgart during rounds four, five and six, but plenty of people get knocked out of contention. In a show packed with goodies, we bring you coverage of three mammoth matchups in round six, featuring Ruel, Nassif, van Heeswijk and more, plus more big-name interviews and the continuing saga of Inside the GP.

  • Click here for the Podcast!


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  • December 15th, 7:38 p.m.: Assorted Picture Reporting
    by Hanno Terbuyken
  • A cold lady guards the entrance: This Angel of Despair keeps watch even at -5 degrees (Celsius, obviously).

    Before the hordes of 1336 players entered the hall, the rows of green and blue tables stood ready to receive them. The venue, by the way, had the cleanest floor of all GP sites I've ever seen.

    Santa Claus Jan Länge had lost a bet. His friend Daniel Lopez had promised to pay all his travel expenses to Grand Prixs for the next season if Jan made day two at GP Krakow. Well... he didn't make day two, and that meant GP Stuttgart in a Santa Claus costume.

    What's wrong with this picture?

    The guys from Panini, the publisher that sells the Magic books in Germany, had set up a table to present their product, from the Magic books to calendars and various fantasy graphic novels.

    Jörg Unfried, a former member of the German National team, had a run-in with a Treefolk. Which happens, when you work in the woods. While he and a colleague were cutting down a tree, multiple things went wrong. The tree started to fall towards Unfried instead of away from him. The Magic player saved his life with a quick jump, and the falling Treefolk just missed him by inches, breaking his leg instead of his skull. Unfried collided with another tree because of his jump, and broke his arm as well. Even though he can already swing on his crutches, he'll need the walking aid for some more time.



     
  • December 15th, 8:10 p.m.: Feature match round 8: Torben Jährling (DEU) vs Marijn Lybaert (BEL)
    by Hanno Terbuyken
  • Marijn Lybaert is probably the hottest player to watch on the European circuit right now. He had a comet-like rise to level four in the last season, and caught the eye of various Magic commentators during PT Valencia. In Geneva, Marijn landed a Top 8 finish that gave him a head start, and we are expecting great things from the young Belgian. He was undefeated coming into this round, just like his opponent from Germany.

    Game 1

    Marihjn opened up game 1 with Goatnapper. "I love Goats", qipped the Belgian. Marijn also had Fire-Belly Changeling, while Torben had to make do with Cairn Wanderer and Elvish Harbinger. Marijn denied Torben the pleasure of beating with Elvish Champion via Consuming Bonfire. Torben added Jagged Scar Archers to his side.

    Torben had Marijn down to 12 when he lost his Wanderer to Marijn's Weedstrangle – revealing a Weedstrangle of his own in the ensuing Clash. Better than that, though,was his Makeshift Mannequin, returning the Cairn Wanderer to play and prompting a curse from Marijn, who was left with a single Fire-Belly Changeling.

    The Belgian rising star had Peppersmkoe to deal with the Mannequin'ed Wanderer. But Torben simply replaced one Wanderer with another: Moonglade Wanderer joined his team. Marijn had far more cards in hand, and Liliana Vess to come in. He hoped for the powerful lady to turn the tide, but unfortunately for the Belgian, Torben topdecked Peppersmoke on an empty hand to remove Marijn's only blocker. Torben could attack and kill Liliana unimpeded.

    What can the young Belgian not do? Losing, apparently.
    Marijn rebuilt with Lowland Oaf and Skeletal Changeling, evoked Mulldrifter and looked confident. Warren Pilferer brought the Mulldrifter back for another round of card-drawing. Marijn attacked Torben down to 6, made Boggart Harbinger and Marsh Flitter, and zoomed in for a kill. Despite Lignify from Torben, the Belgian played Final Revels and Torben extended his hand. A bit early, mayhap, as there was still at least one game to come up.

    Torben Jährling 0, Marijn Lybaert 1

    Game 2

    "You also misbuilt?" Marijn queried, and went to shuffle his deck. A "good luck" from Marijn later, and they were off. Marijn shaped his hand with Ponder on turn two and played Goblin Harbinger on turn three. "Do I have to find something? No more Goblins...", he said, looking through his library.

    Torben had nothing but Jagged Scar Archers. Marijn's Spiderwig Boggart was the yang to Torben's Sentinel of Glen Elendra yin. The German was churning out Flash fliers at the end of Marijn's turn and put up a show of strength with Elvish Champion, standing in for the Archers. Marijn could only chump the big one and Torben kept adding to his flying offense.

    A valiant fight gave him – nothing.
    Marijn tried Weedstrangle on the Champion, but when Torben countered the removal spell with Broken Ambitions, Marijn thumped the table. He realized that he should have been playing around the spell and chided himself for playing badly. His anger subsided greatly when Sower of Temptation came to his aid, stealing the Elvish Champion and turning it upon its owner. Torben fell to 11 and burned for one point of damage because he tapped six mana for his Cairn Wanderer.

    Marijn had a two-power Flash flier of his own, and paused to assess the game state when he drew Liliana Vess. Not knowing about his probable doom, Torben decided to triple-block the Elvish Champion, getting rid of it. The Archers came back, but Marijn dispatched it, played Liliana Vess and had the game in the bag with a four to one superiority in monsters. Torben tried to stay alive for one more turn by tapping Marijn's Warren Pilferers with Pestermite, but the Belgian had his own Pestermite to undo the effect. That was game, set and match for Marijn Lybaert, who had to win just one more round to secure a perfect record on day one.

    Torben Jährling 0, Marijn Lybaert 2



     
  • December 15th, 8:40 p.m. – Tiebreaker Heartbreaker
    by Rich Hagon
  • This is a tough business this Magic. So you play eight rounds and win seven of them. There's only one round to go. 7-1 is a great record, especially when you have no byes, and some of the other players on 7-1 are really at only 4-1, thanks to their three byes. So then you sit down for round nine at 9.30pm, knowing that one mistake could cost you day two. More than twenty players would finish with 7-2 records and find themselves shaking their heads in disbelief as they had to make alternate plans for Sunday. But for the top 128 it's back first thing in the morning for a festival of fun and Lorwyn draft. It's time for the Kithkin and Co. to take center stage, and you'll have the best seat in the house. See you tomorrow!

  • Click here for the Podcast!


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  • December 15th, 10:55 p.m.: Undefeated 'till They Die
    by Hanno Terbuyken
  • Head judge Riccardo Tessitori gave a message to the judges during their end-of-day meeting, from Gabriel Nassif. The Worlds Top 8 competitor (safely through to day two, by the way) noted that this GP was the first one to start before 10 a.m., as far as he remembered. The nine rounds were smooth running, not just for the staff and the players, but also for Marijn Lybaert. The Belgian was one of five players to finish the day with a perfect record, joined by one more player with an 8-0-1 record. If you want to know what kind of deck carries a player to a perfect record in Lorwyn Limited, just scroll down, because we have listed all six decklists for your viewing pleasure.

    The clock has run out, and day one of GP Stuttgart is over!
    It's not exactly easy to pin down what made these decks win. They all have an assortment of solid cards, even though Vasicek Martin's deck was a bit of a mystery – and he played 41 cards. However, it's hard to argue with success, or with a ridiculous number of extremely good cards. The cards that German Marc Vogt had in his deck will certainly be very popular tomorrow in draft: double Eyeblight's Ending, and double Shriekmaw – and double Imperious Perfect? Laced with a Huntmaster and Briarhorn? It's hard to lose with that deck, and indeed, Marc Vogt didn't.

    By the way, 100 % of all Japanese players made day two: Tomoharu Saitou and Shuuhei Nakamura. (The country breakdown is partially false – there are only two Japanese players present, at least that's what Shuuhei and Tomoharu said.) Join us tomorrow morning when we move to six rounds of Lorwyn draft, and we will crown the first winner of the 2008 season and dish out the first round of Pro Points!






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