Is Force Friday a Potential Bonanza for SWCT?

When an event is occurring, and the company behind it wants to pay Twitter to use a special icon for their hashtag, you know it is a BIG deal. Force Friday starts tomorrow, nay MIDNIGHT tonight, and after seeing the way the Topps main Twitter is working, combined with some Twitter hints from other entities, I am expecting tomorrow to be a relative Super Bowl for SWCT.


Although there is no confirmation as of yet, it would be naive to believe that there wont be a BLITZ of new material from the new Episode VII movie, and I could not be more excited. I would guess that the Force Awakens has the power to act as a secondary driver of all collections leading up to the December release and beyond. The question is how much it will infiltrate the main function of the app, and whether or not it will completely take over? That is still yet to be determined.

If we are being completely honest here, the movies dictate the majority of the trade economy and pack sales when releases happen. The original trilogy still has the most power, if not only because the prequel trilogy never really lived up to expectations. Either way, both sectors of the Star Wars Universe maintain the top value in the app, and I dont think that the producers will want to give up at all on that side of the business.

If I were running things, my first order (see what I did there?) would be to create a second Cantina that houses all packs containing Ep VII cards. Although I dont think there will be base cards ready to distribute at this point, its a moot point. The inserts are what will drive people to buy, and if the publicity stills and other promotional images are any indication, the cards will be some of the best looking in the game.

I would say without a doubt that the existing marathons will not be impacted by new cards, but there is nothing that says new marathons will not begin. I could easily see long sets that extend out past week 30 in the game. December is a lifetime away in SWCT real time, and that says a lot about what could potentially be done with new movie themed sets.

Regardless, I would be very surprised if there isnt a wave of releases that will start early tomorrow, and I hope you all have saved your coins. Im debating at what point I will head over to target or the disney store to see some of the new items too, as the Force Friday bonanza goes all across the licensees of SW goods. Its going to be fun tomorrow, be prepared to dive in deep.

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2015 MLB Postseason: Thoughts on Bringing the Fireworks Back to Bunt

The playoffs are quickly approaching, with just about a month before things really get going. In 2014, Bunt had a lot of new fun planned for the entire run, but it was met with a pretty polarizing response. High boost levels and big sets intrigued some, where others were disappointed that some of their valuable cards had been nerfed by a new level of content. I had fun with much of what was offered, but I think there are some adjustments that definitely need to be made. Here are some of my suggestions for the post season blitz.

Contest Structure

If we are being honest with ourselves, Contests have never panned out this year. Not even in the slightest. I think there were many controllable factors as to why this was the case, but also many uncontrollable. The postseason offers a fresh start in many cases, with new opportunities to close out the year with a bang.

I would start by making 3 levels of contests that run the entire post season. There should be a top tier pay to play, a mid tier pay to play, and a free to play low tier. If its possible, decks should be locked daily, but opened back up each morning to allow for changes in new card releases and other cards. No frills, just full deck, unlimited boost, and a high deck limit for number of cards. Winner of the top tier should get the coveted champion’s 1/1 card, with the other tiers winning a large coin payouts and maybe a commemorative card of the World Series MVP. Buy in for each contest should not be more than the cost of a pack.

There should also be round by round structured contests that function in a similar capacity. Winners and top finishers receiving Best of Bunt style cards for the players who raked during each leg.

Lastly, the daily throwdowns with Go Boosts would be a great feature, all of which have raised stakes with low buy in. Most of the buying should be done on the packs, not on the contests. Remove as many barriers to play the contests as possible.

Playoff Team Cards

Users who collect by team or player live for their time to collect playoff cards. Each team should get a robust set just like previous years, but boost level should be more considerate of what is in the app already. Creating a playoff pack will be a given, but it would be much better if the pack cost was akin to more of what the standard has been all year.


Instead of boosting cards all at once by rarity level, I would MUCH rather see gradual increases as the playoff legs are completed, similar to 2014 Huddle. Each playoff participant gets commemorated in a special card, but the whole set should have a standard boost level. Here is what I would do: 2x for Wild Card, 3x for Divisional, 4x for League, and 5x for World Series.  Pull rates and rarity levels should correspond to the leg of the playoffs.

Playoff Inserts

I would love to see the playoff Parallax sigs come back, as well as a general signature series for the postseason as well. Dual sigs and triple sigs for some of the top guys would be awesome, and all of it should be playoff branded. The use of MLB’s official logos is a must, even better if they are prominently featured.


Similarly, the playoff heroes set that acted as a “headlines” type insert last year was a great program, and should be brought back in almost an identical fashion. Collecting sets should procure a large coin prize, and celebrate the best moments as a whole with an award card.

History is what makes baseball so interesting in many ways, and working with the tide on this wave is going to be very important. There are top moments from every leg of the post season, and insert sets should be created to celebrate the nostalgia. 3

The most important thing to remember, is that Bunt has become as much about collecting as it has about points, so the teams that arent in the playoffs should not be forgotten.

For this part of the year, Bunt should be churning out top cards of the year on a regular basis, as there will be many users who return to the app to finish out the year. With 2015 Huddle launch only weeks away, the focus will shift some. At the same time, many still come back for the final weeks of the season.

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SWCT Force Tip of the Day: Understanding Hoarding

I think its safe to say that you cant swing a dead cat in the feed without hitting a post that is saying they are hoarding something. Hoarding has become so much a part of the trade economy, that the app has even started providing reward cards for the users that can gather the most of a certain card. Here are some thoughts on the subject.


The word hoarder never used to apply to the base cards the way they do now. In fact, closer to weeks 5 and 6 from launch, hoarding applied more towards certain users who had found ways to stock up on some of the most valuable cards in the game. These are the guys who had 10 Vintage Han cards, coupled with their 15 Widevision Obi Wans. That is just insane when you think about it, especially considering that these cards were at the peak of their value.


Around that same time, there were users who had started enormous collections of white common base cards, and were showing them off on Twitter and other outlets. The concept of being the quintessential collector of a certain character’s card started to spread from that point. Eventually Topps rightfully wanted to reward the tedious work that these users had put in, and offered the first monument card – Darth Maul. The top 20 hoarders would get their time in the sun, and it would provide incentive to everyone who wanted to start their own collection.

Benefits of Hoarding/Hoarders

Let me start off by saying that I think hoarding is a good thing for SWCT. It provides a use for base cards that never existed before, and anytime base cards have added value, im all for it.

Similarly, it adds a banner to the user’s profile, basically saying that as a user I am someone who identifies with X or Y. Because the faction affiliation really doesnt offer much, hoarding has taken its place.

The best part of it is that there doesnt even have to be a monument in the works for people to want the card. People still hoard Darth Maul and the other monument cards just because they like the character. Its pretty impressive when you think about it.

Trading With Hoarders

As I mentioned above, I think hoarding is a good thing. However, I wont take up your quest unless I know you personally. If I know you, take whatever base cards you want, as long as you dont mind your trade sitting for a while if I am offline. I dont have a hoarding collection, so it doesnt bother me if my friends take some of my goods.

That being said, when I post on the feed, I dont like random people sending me hoard offers. Im fine accepting one or two trades, but any accepted trade signals to the user that the floodgates are open and that they shouldnt stop until its dry. That is just not cool.

I am horribly OCD about pending trades in my inbox, and I really dont want to open the app to find 15 pending hoard offers from people I dont know. In that same vein, I would advise against sending blind hoard offers too.

My suggestion is to send a note with your trade from the feed, just to see if there is something you and the person you are offering to can work something out. You might even want to ask how many of your hoard card they are willing to give up. Set expectations ahead of time.

How Should Topps Support Hoarders?

There are a lot of reasons why the monument cards got messed up, and it has caused some level of stress on the people who were owed those cards. More importantly, I believe there is a huge opportunity to take monuments a bit further.

If I were Topps, I would be adding special awards for collecting a ton of any one card. It would be better if the award could come with its own mini monument, a card generated when a user completes a designated hoard. If that isnt possible, coins work too. I just think it would add a lot to the game’s economy if Topps made hoarding a regular part of the reward system. Similar to collecting a complete set of base cards, users should get monument awards when they hit 1000 of a group of designated monument base cards.

You hoarded 1000 Han Solo base cards? An award is unlocked in your trophy case. You get a card to commemorate your achievement, and maybe a coin award. Same goes for Vader, and so on and so forth. Make it a thing. Do a new one every day or week.

Every so often another monument style chase like we have had with the few already would come around, but it would add validity to all those other people who are brave enough to hoard cards like Jocasta Nu.

I would suggest changes to the trade system to allow for more than 9 cards at a time, but I know that would be very difficult to do.

Either way, hoarding looks to be here for the long run, so its time to start getting more involved.

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2015 Huddle Launch Primer: What to Expect With the New Year

At last count we were about 2 weeks from the start of the NFL season, which means that Huddle should be in the final stages of readying the new build for the upcoming 2015 season. Considering that the digital apps Topps makes have garnered considerable attention lately, this is a big year for an app that we all feel has serious potential. Of course the wild card of the way the game is presented is always a big deal, and another year of head shots could be a turn off for people.

Regardless of the presentation, if you are like me, Huddle remains a fun way to experience the regular season and playoffs. Here is how I would go about prepping for the eventual launch, sometime before the Kickoff game on 9/13.

New Releases Prior to Launch

By now, you should be in save mode. Save save save save save. There will likely be releases up until the app shuts down before launch, but try to weigh the value of the new card against the coins you will lose to get it. Cards like Editor’s Choice and other weekly non-sig inserts will have little value come next year, and unless you are a player/team collector that wants the card for your collection, I would pass.

Preview Cards

This is the one spot I would advocate spending if you so desire. Being that these cards will score in 2015, the value should be better off than many of the other releases in the game. If 2015 Huddle is anything like 2015 Bunt, the potential to score a higher boost player from the packs you will receive from pulling the preview card is a worthwhile investment. More importantly, the cards should be pretty rare, especially the mini chase cards, so if you havent saved up a few hundred thousand over the offseason, its worth dumping that last 50k into the preview packs. The cards do look freaking incredible.


If you have dupes of stuff to trade, I would highly suggest trying to unload what you can to ensure you get as many previews as you can. Dont go trading variant sigs or anything, but definitely troll the feed to see if you can trade some of your past inserts for some newer cards.

Old Insert Value in 2015

I believe I have said this before, but the only inserts that will really have the staying power to make a difference in 2015 are sigs and other SUPER low count stuff. The higher the count on the insert, the more likely it will not be very valuable in the new season. If Huddle somehow comes to a position where action shots return, these cards will be worth even less. Trust me on this one, its not going to be pretty. In 2014 and 2015 Bunt, old inserts arent even worth new base cards in some cases, and that’s just the way things go. Im not saying to dump all your cards now, but use this opportunity to trade up if you can. Package some cards together to see if someone will be more likely to give you a shot at some really nice inserts. Sometimes, nice inserts will have carryover value because they look cool or are rare enough to make a difference.


Also worth mentioning that your collection score will drop significantly once the new cards hit the sheet, so dont be alarmed. Once you collect the base and some of the other releases, it will start to creep back up in direct correlation to the rest of the users in the app. I would guess your score should hover around 80+ depending on how much old stuff you have.

First Day Planning

When Huddle starts up, there will be packs to buy and there will be a crap load of 2015 base cards to collect. However, I am going to urge you to wait to buy packs until the first inserts hit packs. Base cards will rarely ever sell out, which means that wasting coins on empty packs is probably not the best plan. I would guess there will be a number of sets that will be released in the first few days:

  • Kickoff cards (day 1-2 likely)
  • Signature Series (day 2-3 likely)
  • First non-marathon insert set (day 1-2 likely)
  • First marathon inserts (day 1-2 likely)
  • Go Boosts (Wed-Thur of release)

With so much content likely planned, its in your best interest to survey the scene before diving in. You do not want to miss out on a sweet card just because you got trigger happy on the first base packs of the year.

Pay Wall

I would heavily expect the pay wall to be in effect. This means that the Super Rare base cards and maybe even the scarce base cards to be behind a wall that is only accessible through buying any coin bundle. I will say, it will likely be worth it to spend a few dollars in the beginning to get some nice trade bait. Once the inserts are released, if Master packs come into play, try a few to see what you get. It may cost a dollar to get access, but that is well worth not having your 4th cup of coffee to save the money.

Hitting the Fan Feed

Get ready to trade and trade hard. There will be HUNDREDS of people who will jump onto the feed and post “Trading 2014 for 2015” the second the new app launches. Even though you will be one of those individuals, I would definitely find a way to get some trades done. Try to unload 2014 cards that have no value to get higher boost cards of players who might not be the top guys. Use the red paperclip technique to parlay them into some trade bait you can use to get some cards of people you actually want. It wont be easy, but it will pass the time until the real inserts hit packs and you can finally dive in. Expect to enormously overpay for 2015, and that should not be a concern.


If 2015 is anything like 2014, the app will launch a few days before that Thursday game. playable Steelers and Patriots cards will be in high demand, and that means they might not be ones you can trade for easily. Pick up some of the preview cards for Roethlisberger and Gronkowski to avoid the chase, and you might get a head start.

I would guess that Go Boosts will come early on, and those should set a precedent for trading in that area. We have no idea what scoring will be like, but unlike Bunt, there wasnt a huge issue with it last year. My only expectation would be some changes to make defense more worth playing on a consistent basis. I dont expect much of a change with it, so that shouldnt be something you need to pour your attention into until it is time. Ill post an article with any changes as soon as I have a full breakdown.

Position Scoring Value

Last year, all offensive skill position guys were worth picking up as long as they were starters. Here are how I thought the breakdown went, in order of value:

  1. Wide Receiver
  2. Running Back
  3. Quarterback
  4. Tight end
  5. High tackle count defensive player
  6. High sack count defensive player
  7. Kickers
  8. High interception count defensive player
  9. Punters

Outside of that, its basically a jumble of other defensive guys and players that dont score. Dont get caught up in getting a top QB, because the way scoring was set up in 2014, the receiver almost always scored a ton more points for any nice play.

Based on what we have seen, here are my top players at each of the most important positions.

  • QB: Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, Andrew Luck
  • WR: Dez Bryant, Demaryius Thomas, Antonio Brown
  • RB: Adrian Peterson, Jamaal Charles, LeVeon Bell
  • TE: Rob Gronkowski, Jimmy Graham, Travis Kelce

Not all of these individuals will have cards from day one, so pick out the ones that will likely be your top targets.


I would guess that the Bunt contests will make their debut in Huddle with the new build, and I actually think this is going to be awesome. Considering they already were a major part of Huddle in 2014, and did EXTREMELY well, I have no reason to believe that wont be the case here too. With only 3 game days per week, a lot less daily work has to go into making the contests awesome, although the major wild card is the prizes.

In Bunt, the work necessary to win a prize has never really been worth the prize you get, and hopefully Huddle will remedy that situation. I can almost assure you that Best of Huddle will be back, but hopefully that isnt the only set that is delivered through the contest system. At least, we can hope that the coin prizes will be worthwhile, but it all depends on the way TOPPSMARC wants to work through things. I would also guess that action shots vs head shots might play a role, as another year of head shots will probably put more of a focus on making these amazing. We will have to see.

Get Excited!

Bottom line, head shots or no head shots, this will be a fun season. It was last year despite the change in week 2, and the team will find a way to make it work this year as well. Huddle is my main app, so you can stay tuned for some extensive coverage here upon launch.

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SWCT Force Tip of the Day: The Power and Value of Demand

A few days ago, a set was released that many people have been waiting for, especially for the female collectors of the game. The demographics of the app are still likely dominated by males, but there are a lot of female users who are active. The “Women of Star Wars” set was released in the afternoon and sold out in less than 3 hours. With the volume of insert sets lately, that really doesnt happen anymore.


There was  a huge demand to commemorate the female characters from the movies and cartoons, mainly because of how skewed the checklist has been to the male dominated space opera. It should also go without saying that Princes Leia, Padme Amidala, Ashoka Tano, etc are incredibly popular among both sexes, and have demand regardless of a set of this nature. The question is, how does this impact the value of the set, knowing that if you arent in the app at the time of release, you wont get the cards?

For clarity’s purpose, here is what drives app demand in my opinion:

  • Character subjects
  • Universe (Original Trilogy, Prequel Trilogy, Cartoons)
  • Design
  • Parallel Structure (fewer the better)
  • Pack structure (cost and availability)
  • Release schedule
  • Marathon status
  • Set reward
  • Chases in progress at the time

Lets use Prism as a second example, because like WOSW, it sold out very quickly each time the cards came out. As a set that not only looked awesome, but featured top characters, it was clearly a favorite. The value of Prism remained high through the set’s release and the trade economy was fierce. Demand created huge value in the cards, even though there were many of the cards to go around. It wasnt like they were super limited.


It also happens that WOSW was also released when very few set packs were available. Thanks to the recent release of packs that had all inserts available, many of the older sets were cleaned out considerably. When a collecting app gets bored, any glimmer of a cool set will drive huge demand.

Either way, its very clear that the orchestrated release and pack structure of WOSW should be considered a huge success, and maybe this sort of approach be used after the eventual push that Force Awakens will likely get on or after Force Friday 9/4/15. Creating a huge demand has to be a major focus to ensure that users stay engaged, especially when we see that the recent sets of Icons, Posters of the Rebellion, and the like, have fallen relatively flat with the fan base.

Going to be interesting how things play out over the next few weeks for sure.

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SWCT Force Tip of the Day: Blind Trading vs Fan Feed Offers

There are a lot of reasons why trading is more important on Star Wars than it is on any other app. Being that the word “trader” is part of the app’s title, the art of acquiring cards you dont have is a big reason why many people can be so successful in the app. There are really two ways to trade in the app, and here is how I approach both situations.

Blind Trading

If you dont know what I am talking about, blind trades are done by going to the main “all cards” sheet, selecting a card you are interested in, and clicking the trade button at the bottom. This will bring up a window where you can make an offer to multiple users at once, and not have to worry about going in individually and constructing your offer.

At the same time, it can be extremely risky, especially if you are offering to a user that has a ton of cards, and doesnt need what you are offering. It can lead to getting ignored, low rated, or any number of things. That doesnt mean it cant be incredibly successful, especially with cards that arent advertised on the fan feed as much. Its a great way to complete sets, especially if the card has a high count.

Here is how I approach blind trades:

  • Always overpay. If you are asking someone for a trade unsolicited, you have to make it worth their while. Throw in some extra cards to sweeten the deal, and also to ensure that they dont put you on ignore.
  • The people listed on top of the offers are always your friends, try to do those trades 1:1 as you likely added them for a reason. If you know the person, avoid sending them cards you might not know if they need or not.
  • Pay attention to collection score. If someone has a collection score in the high 80s or above, the chances they need what you are offering is low. You could be offering on a set single, and that might mean your trade will be 1 starred. I usually target people in the 50s, 60s and 70s because I know there is less likelihood that they have cards I am going to offer.
  • At the same time, you can try to offer on the larger score users, as they might have dupes they can spare. This is why blind trading is just that – blind.
  • Its also IMPERATIVE you look at the trader rating counts of the users. If you are offering on card that is owned by someone with a low count of completed trades, they might not be in the app very often or at all. Your trade will just sit there and flare up your OCD when you see that “1” on your pending trade screen.
  • Its customary to leave a note – even if its just one word. I am less likely to 1 star or ignore a blind trade if the user includes a note saying it was a blind offer.
  • DONT BEG. DONT BEG EVEN ONE LITTLE BIT. I cant stress this enough.
  • Be patient – these trades can take the full timer. Dont cancel a trade just because its been 15 minutes. Let them sit for hours.
  • The best way I find to do it is overnight, as then the offers wont clog my trade inbox while other stuff is coming in. I wait until the people might have gotten up, as I know the first thing everyone does is collect their daily bonus.

I have gotten really lucky sometimes when you are in a pinch to complete a set. You need that last piece and you are tired of saying that you need it on the fan feed. I kind of use blind trades as a last resort. It does work though – especially if you make it worth their while.

Fan Feed Trade Offers

This is where things can get super hairy. Im not even kidding. You will find some of the craziest people in the app trolling the fan feed, and you need to be prepared for when that happens.

I would go into your text message spot, type up whatever your trade hook is, and get moving. The feed can be an exercise in futility, or it can be a windfall. You can get rich quickly, or start swimming in junk bonds. Schizophrenia doesnt even begin to describe.

Here is my approach:

  • I like to take offers rather than make offers. Its easier to negotiate when you have the upper hand, and forcing people to make offers plays to that. If there is a card I need, I will definitely put some feelers out there, but as a rule, I like being the respondent rather than the offerer.
  • Be vague in your hook, unless there is something specific you are only looking for. People who post super long and specific trade lists kind of bother me. Keep it short and sweet. Say what you need to say and leave the door open for those random trades that could end up being your big fish of the day.
  • Again, as mentioned in the blind trade write up, the person making the offer should be prepared to overpay a little bit. Less so in the fan feed, but still make it a habit if you are the one making the offer. I see people say “fair trades only” in their hook, but that is like saying “pay me more than you should.” Just let convention speak for itself and dont be a jerk.
  • New cards are always hotter than less new cards. Notice how I didnt say old cards, as there are a lot of old cards that continue to hold value regardless.
  • Pay attention to card counts, but characters and sets matter too. A 3500 vintage is likely going to be worth more than the recent insert release to 1000. You never know.
  • Dont be afraid to ask questions – send a same card trade with a note that asks the person on the feed what they are looking for. Even more so if the card is a big one.
  • ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS review every card in the trade before hitting accept. There are a lot of scams out there where people will hide your nice cards in a bunch of junk so that you accept before reviewing. Great way to lose your parallels.
  • If someone sends a horrible trade, dont berate them. Its not worth it. Just add a note that says, “sorry, no thanks.” and add them to ignore. If they are a brand new user, offer some help if you have the time.

I have more tips in the “Tips for Newbies” up at the top if you are interested. Keep in mind how difficult it can be to learn the unwritten rules, and you dont have to start from the top. There was a recent post on reddit that talked about someone starting with a white base card, and through a number of different trades, ended up with a Vintage Han. Dont try to trade nothing for something, as it will never work.

After all the golden rule of making offers is: If this trade were offered to me, would I accept it? If the answer is no, its time to retool your offer.

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SWCT MIA: Five Underrepresented Characters in the App

Overall, the Star Wars team has done a great job creating some really amazing looking cards for the app. Although constraints exist in many different areas, the designs and content has been well above standards. That being said, a few characters get the short end of the stick when building out new sets, and here are my top five. Many of these characters do have some cards, but when you consider the roles they play in the movies, they deserve more than they get.

Princess Leia


Actually, this could be said a lot for the women of the movies, but Leia gets very little love in the insert sets. Considering she is a humongous part of the story, you would expect her to have more of a footprint in the game. The issue might stem from the fact that she doesnt have much action through the films, but Im not sure that matters. ROTJ had some great scenes.

The Emperor


Im not talking about pre-Mace Windu Palpatine stuff, im talking full on force lightning Emperor bad-assery. He is central to the story line of all six movies, but I think he should have a lot more cards that feature him in his final form.



When it comes to the movies, everything is very much a mirror when you think about it. Yoda is a mirror of the Emperor, representing everything the Emperor is not. He is one of the most iconic characters of the series, and when you think about it, probably deserves more love than he gets.

Storm Troopers


We have gotten BOMBARDED with Clone Troopers. They are everywhere in the app, despite being a group that is largely not as popular as their eventual transition into the Storm Troopers. We have had so few cards released that feature good old fashioned versions of everyone’s favorite grunts, and that is depressing. It can be difficult to represent a group, but we need to find a way. Now, the argument can be made that the enormous TK set represents the Storm Trooper in a huge way, but im not sure I buy that. Its the helmet sure, but more of a representation of art than the spirit of the group themselves.



This is going to be unpopular. Ewoks are polarizing, and might have been the original trilogy’s Jar Jar Binks in a lot of ways. The reason I am putting them on this list is because Jar Jar has had his days as of late. There is no way that he is cooler than the Ewoks. NO WAY. That needs to be fixed.

Honorable Mention: Mace Windu


He might have been the one guy that is not only underrepresented in the app, but also underrepresented in the Movies. He is a conflicted Jedi character that has a crazy interesting backstory. Plus, he is Sam effing Jackson. You dont mess with Samuel L. Jackson.

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