Dark Angels at the Bartlesville Iron Halo ITC Major, Day 1: A Gunum Tournament Report

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Gunum’s Guns

Hey, everyone! Chase “Gunum” Garber here with my very first breakdown of a major since joining the team here at Goonhammer. I am a founding member of the Warhogs ITC team along with Cyle “Naramyth” Thompson. I am also the current, and maybe only, Best-in-Faction ITC Khorne Daemonkin player. I am also currently ranked 4th in the ITC rankings for Dark Angels players and recently piloted this Dark Angels list at the 2019 Iron Halo GT to a 4 – 1 finish. I’ve made the pivot to Dark Angels this season due to being a big Chaos player who wanted to get into the Imperium side of things, so the 100% innocent Dark Angels felt like an easy adjustment.

List Breakdown

I have played a lot – and I mean a lot – of practice games with Dark Angels. Since it was a new faction for me, I wanted to make sure that I flushed out all of my options. As I played though games and tried out units and interactions, I landed on the following list. You’ll notice right away, there are no Dark Angel-specific units in this list. When going into this competitive meta having a 300 point unit of 2-wound Black Knight bikes is more of a liability than something you can count on. To be able to survive in a world that is now overrun with armies pulling from the new Space Marine codex along with the White Scars and Ultramarines supplements, I could not rely on any of the Wings besides the Green Wing as a reliable option.

So as Dark Angels light, I decided to maximize my firepower and durability with board presence. I went with the two Aggressor squads so I would have a great backfield baby sitter and also an option for my Executioners’ transport capacity. Putting the other squad inside of the tank gave me an option to push up the table with an angry beehive. People could focus on the Executioner instead of the Leviathans and when it would die, suddenly there would be an angry squad of Aggressors starting down whomever just laid into the tank. I’d use the troops to essentially zone out my deployment zone using the Infiltrators to keep a nice 12’ perimeter out around my dreadnought and objective. I’d use my Close Combat scouts to as sacrificial lambs, jumping in front of knights as a move blocker, or putting pressure on bonus point objectives.

The Dark Angels’ Chapter Tactic, Grim Resolve, is notoriously good* (read: bad) but in this case it was honestly helpful for accomplishing the things this army wanted to do. Leaning into the Eliminators, Aggressors, and the Leviathans and their want to stand still and shoot things, having the ability re-roll hit rolls of a 1 for not moving helped, and it meant I could place snipers in forward locations where they are outside of the support of my Captain who’d be back babysitting my armor pile.

The Leviathan’s and the Executioner’s jobs were simple: Kill Everyone, which they did. One big benefit of being Dark Angels is getting access to two key abilities. The first one is Weapons of the Dark Age, which gives a plasma weapon +1 damage. Using that on the Executioners S8/9 -3 Dmg 1/2 gun was a blast (Editor’s Note: We talked about this way back in July, when we covered the Executioner’s points increase and talked about how the plasma variant stacks up to the Laser Destroyer variant in Dark Angels armies. You can find that mathematical analysis here.). Pointing at anything with 2d6 shots of Plasma usually should turn into around 12-15 wounds.

The next big trick in this list that I wanted to take advantage of was my Warlord Trait – Target Priority. At the time of this write-up, the Dark Angels are still drawing their Phobos choices from the Vanguard Space Marines supplement out of Shadow Spear. This allows for some slightly different interactions that my army can take advantage of that Codex space marines can not. Target Priority allows me to choose a unit within 3” of my warlord and give it +1 to hit against an enemy unit that the warlord can see. This worked out very well for both my overcharge plasma-cutioner and for my Leviathan dreadnought, which would be able to move and still fire at BS 2+.

The final thing that went into this list building was planning for ITC Secondaries, and you’ll notice quickly that there are very few options for easy secondary choices here. I have 3 targets for Big Game Hunter, those very same 3 targets are the only targets available for Marked for Death as well. I do have four characters so Head hunter’s an option, and I have just enough squishy units to encourage a Butcher’s Bill choice. Overall, annoying choices and a few 3-point choices made me feel really good about maneuvering my opponent into maybe choosing bad secondary choices.

There was no pregame for this list, as I did not need to purchase Chapter Masters or any of my terrible relics. So I had 9 command points for every game, and sallied forth with well-justified exuberance!

“Iron

Iron Hog-lo (Dark Angels) Battalion

HQ: Librarian in Phobos Armour 1) Aversion, 5) Mind Wipe, Camo cloak, Force sword
HQ: Lieutenants, Chainsword, Storm bolter
Troops: Infiltrator Squad
Troops: Infiltrator Squad
Troops: Scout Squad
Elites: Aggressor Squad, Auto Boltstorm Gauntlets/Fragstorm Grenade Launcher
Elites: Aggressor Squad, Auto Boltstorm Gauntlets/Fragstorm Grenade Launcher
Heavy Support: Repulsor Executioner, Ironhail Heavy Stubber, Macro Plasma Incinerator

Iron Hog-lo (Dark Angels) Spearhead Detachment

HQ: Captain in Phobos Armour, Warlord 5. Target Priority, Relic – Shroud of Heroes
HQ: Techmarine, Power Axe, Servo-harness
Heavy Support: Eliminator Squad, Bolt Sniper Rifle
Heavy Support: Eliminator Squad, Bolt Sniper Rifle
Heavy Support: Eliminator Squad, Bolt Sniper Rifle
Heavy Support: Relic Leviathan Dreadnought, 3x Hunter-killer missile, Storm cannon array, Storm cannon array
Heavy Support: Relic Leviathan Dreadnought, 3x Hunter-killer missile, Storm cannon array, Storm cannon array

 

Round 1 – Chaos – Renegade Knights and Red Corsairs

The Competition

Kyle Harris' Chaos Space Marines and Chaos Knights - Click to expand

Player: Kyle Harris

Red Corsairs- Outrider Det - Soulforged Pack
HQ: Daemon Prince with Wings - Warp Bolter - Talons - Warlord

FA: Blood Slaughterer of Khorne
FA: Blood Slaughterer of Khorne
FA: Blood Slaughterer of Khorne

Red Corsairs - Battalion 
HQ: Chaos Hellwright
HQ: Lord Discordant - Auto Cannon
HQ: Lord Discordant - Auto Cannon
Troops: 3×10 Chaos Space Marines - Bolters

Super Heavy Aux: 
Chaos Knight Tyrant - Iconoclast, Two shield breaker missiles, 4++ invul relic, made into a char.

,
ITC Mission 2: Iron Halo started the event with Championship Mission 2, Front-Line Assault Deployment, NOVA terrain (Two opposing L blockers in the middle, ruins in corners, hills in opposite corners, hills in top and bottom of the map)

My first game was against a great guy Kyle. Kyle introduced himself in a kilt, and let me know this was one of his first big GT’s he’s ever been to. I thoroughly enjoy playing new people to the scene, because encouraging growth is important! I was really happy to start my day against someone with such a sunny demeanor, and then I looked at his list and my pulse raised a little bit.

Things were about to get chargey.

Pre-Game Thoughts

Looking at his list, there were a couple of things that jumped out at me right away as problems I needed to find an answer to and fast. A Chaos Knight Castellan, Blood Slaughterers, and Lords of Discord? For sure he’s doing a Hellforged pack and those models will be all over my green bois before I have a chance to shoot them. I am so afraid of the inferno lance from the Imperium Castellan, I knew my executioner and Leviathans were in big trouble. Also, the pure respect you have to give to a Lord of Discords melee is enough to make any elite army like mine be scared for their toys. I knew I had to stay back, I wanted to go second so his armies need to charge will be met by my withering gunfire, and I needed to line of sight the Knight Tyrant as much as I could.

My Secondaries

  • King Slayer – Targeting the Tyrant
  • Big Game Hunter – Look at all those crab lads!
  • Engineers – Selecting both my squads of Aggressors for this.

Their Secondaries

  • Recon
  • Butchers Bill
  • Engineers

The Game

I “lost” the roll off and he chose to set up and go first. The powers I chose were Aversion and Mind Wipe since I wanted to make his Knight Tyrant as inaccurate as possible. He deployed very conservatively, placing his objective behind LOS-blocking shipping crates along with his engineers. After he finished deploying I realized a very crucial thing: He did not take a field commander to get the extra 2″ movement on one of his Lord Discordants. He also deployed very conservatively for going first, which then made me deploy to restrict his movement phase the best I could.

The Chaos circle the crab wagons.

These brave speed bumps hold the middle.

I deploy very conservatively as well, putting my aggressors in a position to hold my objective in a LOS blocker in the SE corner. Lining up my Leviathans in a bait position to be shot by the Tyrant, and hiding my Executioner how I can to get a cover save from what shooting he did have.

“Stop! You’ve violated the law!” – Scouts, probably.

 

His first turn went about as planned; I had deployed my scouts right across the middle to stop his vehicles from through and putting pressure on my line. The left and right flanks had infiltrators doing the same job, holed up in two craters to heroically fend off the Blood Slaughterers with their lives. He moved up, shot his Tyrant into one of my Leviathans with everything and only ended up doing 4 wounds. Regardless of the faction, that 4+ invulnerable save on the Relic Leviathan goes a long way. Next, he ended up charging into my Infiltrators, killing one of the squads and just missing a few too many on the other. My left flank was fine, my right flank was open to two Blood Crabs and one of his Lords of Discord.

My first turn against him was, to put it lightly, brutal. I moved my Executioner up to put it into the range of the Tyrant and lined up the secondary guns to go into a Blood Crab. I also placed my Libby in range of his Tyrant to be sure it was in range to be debuffed. Then came my shooting phase. And it was a doozy. My squad of Eliminators on the left used the Guided Aim ability to trade off the sergeant’s shooting for +1 hit and +1 wound (the correct choice most of the time) and killed the Demon Prince warlord with 2 mortal wounds and 6 damage. Next, my Leviathans killed both Lords Discordant and put 12 wounds total onto the Knight Tyrant via their hunter-killer misses. I followed that up with a volley from a Weapons of the Dark Age-enhanced Plasma Executioner and it was bye-bye Tyrant.

This quick process led to me locking down kill more and hold more for the next 5 turns. The Leviathans finished off everything that had a chance to threaten my line, and the game ended with Kyle having nothing left on the table to threaten me on turn 3, and was tabled at the bottom of five with my Executioner taking the final kills of the game on the hidden Chaos Space Marines, see picture below.

Title: “Game’s end, Turn 5”, Medium: Chaos Blood/Oil, 2019

 

Post-Game Results

Kyle was a great opponent who took his licking on the chin and kept charging forward. With the line-of-sight blockers, Engineers were a good choice for him and helped me realize how nice it is to have guns that can shoot things you can’t see. His secondary choices were fine, but not knowing how he could have used Field Commander for his warlord to get the extra 2″ move really made the difference in taking away any real offensive threat as my Leviathans were able to focus fire one threat down after the other.

Final Score: 30-14 (W)

 

Round 2 – Imperial Guard and Assassins

The Competition

Alex Farrell's Astra Militarum - Click to expand

Player: Alex Farrell
Cadian - Battalion
HQ: Tank Commander - Relic Battle Cannon - Heavy Bolter
HQ: Tank Commander - Battle Cannon - Heavy Bolter
HQ: Tank Commander - Plasma Cannon  - Plasma Sponsons

Troops: Infantry Squad - Grenade Launcher
Troops: Tempestus Scions - Power Sword 
Troops: Tempestus Scions - Power Sword 

HS: Mortar Team
HS: Mortar Team
HS: Mortar Team

Cadian - Battalion (Emperor’s Wrath Artillery Company) 
HQ: Company Commander - Warlord 
HQ: Company Commander 

Troops: 3×10 Infantry Squad -  3x Grenade Launcher

Elite: 2x Astropath 
Elite: 7x Bullgrin

HS: 2x Basilisks 
HS: 1x Wyvern

Vanguard Detachment: Officio Assassinorum 

Elite: Callidus Assassin
Elite: Culexus Assassin
Elite: Eversor Assassin
Elite: Vindicare Assassin

Pre-Game Thoughts


ITC Mission 3: Vangaurd Deployment, NOVA terrain.

This was an awesome match-up when I walked up to the table; I was excited to play against Alex as we had played before in an RTT earlier in the year (called Hogeater as a jab to my Team). I was playing Chaos at the time and he was playing some sweet-looking Aquarium Tau, and I beat him in that match by 1 point. Looking at his list I knew I wouldn’t be able to rely on my Engineers trick. I would have to go on the attack and make sure to be ready for his plethora of characters to arrive from reserves. This was a chance for redemption and revenge for Alex, but little did he know that if Dark Angels know about anything, it’s redemption and revenge.

My Secondaries

  • Big Game Hunter
  • Head Hunter
  • Butchers Bill

Their Secondaries

  • Big Game Hunter
  • Recon
  • Old School

The Game

I won the roll-off for side selection for this game, and since the objectives were in the cardinal directions, having Vanguard strike was really a great map for me and not so much him. I knew he would want to castle up in the point opposite of my Leviathans to give him the most amount of possible shots into them while taking very little damage on his part. So when I deployed, I deployed aggressively, keeping in mind his team of assassins off the table. I hadn’t had a use for my Phobos special rules yet, but the 12″ no deep strike was about to come in big.

I placed my Scouts in the middle of the table, threatening the East objective. I placed my Infiltrators on the W and S objectives, making sure the South team’s 12″ bubble touched the table edge. I had the West team backed up by my extra squad of Aggressors as an Auspex Scan defense to cover the small open area that could threaten that objective. By the time I had placed this down, he had placed down all of his guardsmen. I responded by then placing my Plasmacutioner right in the middle of my deployment line loaded with a squad of aggressors. I placed all my characters right behind it, along with a Leviathan to its left. As expected, he started to place his tanks across from mine, and I put my final Leviathan in the SE corner to start pushing up from the bottom. He finished his drops by placing his chars and his Vindacare assassin in the ruin in his deployment zone. I respond by putting down one Eliminator squad down within the range of each character I can.

We roll off with the deployments done and I won the first turn!

Time to turn the lights out on some Guard.

The Guard mustered and made sure to bring some big guns!

Team “Don’t come over here!” sets up looking for those sneaky Assassins.

The “No Assassins Here!” bubble is completed.

The Guard battle pile takes position! With the not-at-all meat shields leading from the front to protect the Bullgryn.

This game was more of an early slugfest than I had expected it to be. I led the turn by putting some Bullgryn in my Leviathans’ sights, killing a couple, and putting my hunter-killer missiles into some tanks, only doing a couple of wounds. The majority of his army was out of range for my primary guns so I just killed all of his guardsmen squads I could reach instead, really not thinking about my future with Butcher’s Bill, which would kick me in the butt later as Head Hunter and Big Game Hunter do not stack with Butcher’s Bill. I moved up some scouts to charge his forward-most squad of guardsmen, triangle-ing them in the charge phase, forcing him to charge my 3 remaining scouts with his Bullgryn.

His counter punch was killing off one of my Leviathans with the combined fire from all of his Tank Commanders, then putting his artillery into my other Leviathan and his Wyvern into my Repulsor Executioners. But the most important thing for me is that he didn’t have a squad to move over to his N objective, allowing me to lock down to Hold More and Kill More.

Turn two ends up being more of the same. My Eliminators kill off his psykers, my Librarian runs up and grabs the North Objective and I make sure my bubble to prep for the assassins is ready for their timely arrival to help the guardsmen. Once my shooting phase is done, he’s down the Relic Battle cannon tank from the Weapons of the Dark age shots and his Bullgryn have fallen to my Leviathan as I continued to march both my tank and the Levi up the middle of the field. He is down to a single guardsmen squad at this point as they try and hold the East objective.

His turn is a bit lackluster, finishing off one of my eliminator squads to kill a thing, and continues to hold his E objective. He does not bring down any of his support units as they essentially have nowhere to go due to all of my interference bubbles from my troops and my HQ Captain.

Turn 3 comes around and my main guns are now in firing range of all of his tanks. A Leviathan puts all of its shots into a Basilisk and deals 8. My tank kills his other battle cannon Commander and now his whole backline is damaged and smoking. His three remaining assassins and his Scions come in at the end of his Movement phase, now grabbing his East objective again so he has held a thing, then deploying all of his assassins in front of my tank and Leviathan. You could see this was mission complete – my team did their jobs of making him deploy his most elite units in the worst possible spot. His turn concludes with killing some more Eliminators and sniping my Librarian. He goes in for the much needed 9″ charges and fails with all of them except the Eversor, who does make it into combat with the Relic Leviathan, but to no effect.

My turn 4 is brutal. My Aggressors get out and finish off the Callidus and the Eversor. My Leviathan shoots and destroys one of his basilisks, which explodes and takes his Plasma tank with it, which in turn also explodes, killing his Vindicare Assassin. By this time I had Head Hunter well in the bag, as well as Big game hunter. I had already gotten two points of Butcher’s Bill, and the final two turns helped me finished that off.

He decides to leave his models on the table as we talk out the rest of this game. The ending of this one being much, much different than the game that introduced the two of us.

Post-Game Result

Pfew it was a rough game for the guard here. My first Leviathan exploded like a well put together Add Mech Robot, whereas my other one was the hero the Dark Angels deserved. Tanking dozens of battle cannon shots on his 4++ and just holding on long enough for my Plasma-cutioner to do the real damage. I gave Alex a lot of props this game as he tried everything he could do to put pressure on me, but mixing the abilities of the Infilitrators with the firepower and durability of my Leviathans, this game swung hard my way early and just never went his way.

Final Score: 36-10 (W)

 

Round 3 – Quinton Cohen’s Tau

The Competition

Army List - Click to expand

Player:  Quinton Cohen
Tau - Battalion
HQ: Shadowsun 
HQ: DarkStrider

Troops: Fire Warriors
Troops: Fire Warriors
Troops: Fire Warriors

FA: Drones x10
FA: Drones x10
FA: Drones x10

Hs: Broadsides x3 Missles

Tau - Vanguard Detachment 
HQ: Cadre Fireblade

FA: Pathfinders
FA: Pathfinders

Elite: Riptide - Burst Cannon
Elite: Riptide - Burst Cannon
Elite: Riptide - Burst Cannon

Pre-Game Thoughts

Tau. Tau. TAUUUU!! I was so worried about this match-up I forgot to take pictures of all but one awesome moment.

I’m just a Gunum, who is doing his best.

Tau I feel is one of my hardest match-ups. I have a lot of guns that do multiple damage and all those shield drones sure don’t care at all about my plasma cannons. On top of that, all of my guns are short-range compared to their castle of guns, so I went into this game with big respect towards who I was about to play. Who in this case ended up being a gentleman by the name of Quinton Cohen. Quinton told me he was a common sight at local RT’s and always placed well, but he never had expected to go 2-0 right away at this GT. He was all smiles when we were setting up, and though I may have been a bit apprehensive at first, I was excited to play him once he started joking with me about how well I was doing with Chaos Marines.

Dark Angels.

You get it?

Choosing my secondaries was 100% driven by my experience playing my Warhog teammate Nick Weiss. He’s currently cooking it up on the Tau competitive board and I have discovered what I like for this match-up and what doesn’t work, because there are some clear traps. Follow me as I talk about how to maybe beat your friends’ Tau castles!

My Secondaries

  • Recon (This is an iffy one, but its guaranteed points almost that involves killing none of the Tau, just apply pressure. Stop bullets.)
  • Engineers (This is a must I’ve found depending on the mission, this one being perfect as I can place an objective at the opposite end of his castle. Once again, no need to fight the Tau, just apply pressure and keep them in their home so your bois can turn their wrenches.)
  • Butcher’s Bill (You gotta kill something. You gotta compete and put pressure on that Kill more primary. You’ll never get if you don’t kill at minimum two things and lucky for us, the Tau player has a bunch of drones he wants to sacrifice for our points! For the Greater Good!)

Their Secondaries

  • Big Game Hunter
  • Butchers Bill
  • Ground control.

The Game

This was going back to deploy your whole army, and who drops first goes first. We both placed each of our objectives very conservatively, one where we were able to hide from any shooting, the other right out in the open so that we could keep each other’s objective covered. Well, I got the first turn I knew the line of sight and deployment would be very important in this game, so I utilized my L-blocker (editor’s note: This is the large, L-shaped LOS blocking terrain feature) as best I could, making sure that if he wanted to shoot at my Plasma-cutioner he would have to move to shoot me. Forcing Tau to suffer any penalties to shoot really can go a long way. I placed snipers in the bottom right-hand building, and my scouts and the final squad in the top left-hand ruin. I placed my infiltrators inside of the L blocker, hiding them just enough to be in his table quarter. Finally, I put the most powerful engineers, my extra squad of Aggressors, on my South West objective, nearly at 70″ away from his line. Hellloooooo, 4 points.

He had built his entire castle around the NE section. In that section was some shipping containers he was able to put his Broad Sides on for a large view of the map. He then placed the rest of his riptides and his chars and drones all around each other at the bottom floor of his castle. He went for the seize, jumped in joy as he got that big SIX! Then deflated in an odd sort of realization as he had chosen ground control as a secondary.

His first turn was fine but not super great. He tore down my Eliminators in the bottom right with his Riptides as he didn’t have much of a better target, and put smart missiles into one of my Infiltrator squads that were also nominated as my second engineer squad, just to play objectives.

Turn 1 Tau movement: 0 inches.

My turn was stepping one toe out onto the middle objective. Using my Lieutenant to hold my forward objective, and firing back into his broadsides the best I could. I did enough damage to get my first Butcher’s Bill point thanks to some poor pathfinders and set myself up to begin engaging his units.

Dark Angels movement: The start of the Jaws theme song.

Turn two was his entire army shooting at my Leviathan (which was in the middle of the board escorting my tank) and killing it.

Turn 2 Tau movement: 0 inches.

My 2nd turn was marked by realizing that he had used all of the drones he had placed next to his broadsides and had forgotten to move more in to support them. So I spent the turn deleting them with hot plasma fire and putting some shots into his Riptides from my final Leviathan, who now had the superior firing position. (See below)

Turn 2 Dark Angel movement: Dun…dun…dun…dun…

On turn three, he realized he needed to move and move fast. Things were feeling pretty claustrophobic for him and he went jumping forward with his Riptides. He shot and moved, putting everything he had into the Plasmacutioner and almost killing it and finishing off my infiltrators in the middle to keep scoring points.

Turn 3 Tau movement: Fleeing with blood in the water.

My turn 3 was laying my Dark Age Plasma into a riptide, nearly killing it (“nearly” as he was doing a 3++ Nova charge on all of his Riptides every turn). My Leviathan shot and hurt another ambitious Riptide.

Turn 3 Dark Angels movement: Dundundundundun

His turn 4 saw him putting everything he had left into killing the Executioner, staying put to make sure he had the shooting to get the job done, which he was able to do. Then, suddenly freed from their plasma prison, the Aggressors – who have not had a chance to really see a game yet – leaped out and claimed his forward objective.

Turn 4 Tau movement: Not like thi….-glubglub-

My Turn four was well spent: Finishing off two Riptides with Aggressors and my Leviathan, which no longer had to move and could put every shot it had into the Riptides.

Turn 4 Dark Angels movement: dundunDUNNNNNNNNN….. Unforgiven…….

As I’m sure you can imagine at this point, the Tau were much like anyone who wants to swim with a Dark Shark,

Mincemeat.

Superior firing position!

This was the stream map, but I wanted to give a good view of what a normal table looked like at the event.

Post-Game Result

He realized early that by going first, he always had to put himself into a bad position to kill more or hold more. I was always able to step out and keep the middle of the table, and his need to tear down my big green lads made it so he never took any ground. I don’t think he ever truly stepped out of his deployment zone. I have played this match up a lot, and I was really happy to be able to see my secondary choices bear fruit here. Being able to pressure Tau, though dangerous due to their army-wide buffs, can pay off with the right mission and deployment.

Final Score: 30-20 (W)

 

Day One Result: 3-0

Dark Angels! Let’s go! Day one was a blast. I did much better than I had expected against some interesting match-ups. The Leviathans were bullies, and I caught plenty of people off guard with the 2d6 shots of 3D plasma shots off my Executioner. Seeing my Infilitrators lock out my deployment zone from assassins was just the best and I hoped my following games would be as fun. The +1 to hit Warlord trait for the Vanguard Supplement was -money- constantly. I felt really strong with my tactical choices from the secondaries I had picked to the way I deployed. The Iron Halo was my oyster and there wasn’t anything that could… Wait. Wait.

Hold on.

Looking at the scores I now realized, my next match up would be against fellow Warhog extraordinaire and club secret weapon, Ryan Olson and his 6 Eldar planes. Knowing my game in the morning was going to be the most challenging game, probably of the weekend. I spent the next 4 hours thinking about what I could do to beat that list with what I had.

To be continued in part two “Gunum’s Trip to Iron Halo 2: Hog on Hog Violence.” 

 

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