Experts' corner

Jose Marrero

"Mill it Over"-A Look at Durant

Jose goes over Durant in Expanded, does an interview with Ryan Moorhouse and talks about his most recent City win with M Rayquaza.

01/07/2016 by Jose Marrero


Hello again, 60cards readers! I hope you all had a great Christmas and New Year’s! City Championships have been crazy this season with so much more competition than previous years. Because of this, players have been able to adapt to certain metas and come up with unique decks that can ultimately net someone a good amount of Championship Points. Being able to pinpoint the meta means you have a distinct advantage over most people. It's up to you to take advantage of it and go with a deck that you know should or will perform well. This article will be about a Durant deck that has done fairly well at a couple Florida Cities piloted by 2014 Florida State Champion, Christian Velazquez. (Side note, he beat me in the finals, haha). On top of that I want to give known to a player by the name of Ryan Moorhouse who came all the way from the UK to ultimately win back-to-back City Championships in Florida undefeated with records of 4-0-2 both consecutive days to take home the titles. I'll also show you the list Ryan decided to run for both days as well as go over the deck as a whole. Adding to that I'll also do an interview with Ryan Moorhouse on his ridiculous Cities run because he played extremely well and should be taken into account. Finally, I'll go over the deck I used to win the most recent City Championship in Florida, M Rayquaza-EX.

With that said, let's get into Durant.

It's Mill Time

The little ants are back and are just as dangerous as before. Christian Velazquez was able to get a Top 4 and Top 8 City finish respectively with the little buggers. The list I've presented above is not Christian's exact list. However, it's really similar; I just changed the list to my personal liking. Starting with the Pokémon line, there are, of course, four copies of Durant, because they are your main attackers. Durant's Devour, lets you discard a card from the top of your opponent's deck for each Durant you have in play which means if you have four Durant in play then you’re milling four or more cards a turn if you count other Items such as Trick Shovel which we will get into later. Then there's one Shaymin-EX and one Jirachi-EX to help with consistency issues. Christian actually ran two Shaymin-EX over the Jirachi-EX. But I personally like the idea of searching out specific Supporters such as Team Flare Grunt or Lysandre. One Bunnelby just in case you need to get resources back and are unable to Devour that turn. Mr. Mime is a meta call card, so if you expect to see decks that can do Bench damage then I recommend keeping the Mr. Mime. Because Durant is only able to be played in Expanded, decks like Landorus-EX/Crobat or decks with Darkrai-EX will see play, which is where Mr. Mime shines. However, Mr. Mime was almost irrelevant because the Cities Christian played Durant in no one really played the two.

That's basically it as far as the Pokémon go. Heading into the Supporters we have three Professor Sycamore which you can up to four if you expect to see a good amount of Item-lock decks. Two N as well because Durant doesn't take Prizes so it will always net you six cards while whittling down your opponent's hand to hope they can't have an answer next turn. Sure playing N seems counterintuitive because you don't want to put more cards back into your opponent's deck, but sometimes you just have to N and hope for the best. Three Team Flare Grunt and one Xerosic because you want to drain your opponent from Energy so they can't attack thus giving you less stressful Devours. The Xerosic is also to get rid of Float Stones so you can Lysandre Pokémon and hope to stick it Active. Teammates is a great Supporter in this deck as well because with Durant only having 70 HP, they will most likely get KO’d at some point, which is where Teammates shines. Being able to search your deck for any two cards in this deck is too good to pass up. Hugh is another interesting yet needed card in this type of deck. Only one because you don't want to draw into too many of them because they aren't that reliable in most cases. Most times you have to have Team Flare Grunt or Xerosic. The Hugh is basically for mid to lategame when your opponent's hand is big enough to matter.

That's all for the Supporters, let' go into the Items. I'm sure there are other Supporters that you can run in here such as AZ to pick up Shaymin-EX and Jirachi-EX if needed. VS Seeker needs no introduction so let's move onto the four Revive. These cards are used to bring back KO’d Durant so that you can maximize your Devour every turn. There is also four Trick Shovel which I mentioned before. These are simply used to mill even more cards from your opponent's deck for free. Then for the decks disruption cards aside from Team Flare Grunt and Xerosic we have four Crushing Hammers and two Enhanced Hammers. Like I said this decks focus is to drain your opponent's Energy so you can Devour more and more before they take six Prizes. To search out Pokémon there's four Level Ball and two Ultra Ball. I believe Christian ran three Ultra Ball and one Level Ball. I personally like maxing out on Level Ball especially since you can search out Jirachi-EX with it. I know he ran a Pokémon Fan Club which seems solid, but I much rather use another Supporter and up the Ball counts. The City Championship where Christian got Top 8, he didn't run any Silver Mirror, thus he lost in Top 8 to Flareon.

After the event I told Christian to add a couple Silver Mirrors for that matchup. So he does and the next day he's up against the same person who beat him in Top 8 the previous day in Top 8 once again playing Flareon. He did manage to get an easy 2-0 victory this time because of the Silver Mirrors. Otherwise the Flareon player can just keep Blacksmithing onto the Flareon, making it harder to drain non-Special Energy. The one of Assault Vest is debatable, but it can come in handy versus Seismitoad-EX if you manage to find it early enough. The recovery of choice is Super Rod since it can get back Basic Energy which this deck needs. However, the ACE SPEC of choice is Dowsing Machine because in this type of deck reusing another Hammer or Revive can be well worth in the long run. Then there's two Steel Shelter to help negate status effects mainly Hypnotoxic Laser. I could even see upping the Steel Shelter count if you expect tons of it. To help reduce damage even more aside from Assault Vest we have four Shield Energy as well as five Basic Metals. I know Christian ran Professor's Letter over the fifth Basic Energy, but I'd much rather have an extra Energy in the deck.

Back-to-Back FL City Champ

This deck was first created by Andrew Wamboldt from The Charizard Lounge. Ryan was able to pilot the deck to back-to-back City wins in Florida earlier last month. He not only won the two events, but he won them undefeated with Swiss records of 4-0-2 at each one, a great achievement given the caliber of players at the event, including a National Champion, Worlds runner-up, and multiple Worlds competitors. With all that said and done let's talk about the deck some starting with the Pokémon. The two baby Yveltal are mainly used to fuel Benched attackers such as Yveltal-EX. Now Yveltal-EX is your biggest attacker in which takes most, if not all, your KO's. With its attacks, you can do tons of damage while at the same time keeping an Energy safe on the Bench should you use Y Cyclone. There is also a one-of Seismitoad-EX just because it's still good when running Double Colorless Energy and Hypnotoxic Lasers. Similar to Durant, this deck also runs one Shaymin-EX as well as one Jirachi-EX. Now the Jirachi-EX in here is much more viable than in Durant because it can search out the deck’s main strategy, Maxie's Hidden Ball Trick. This is where Archeops and Gallade come in.

Archeops shuts off players from Evolving Pokémon from their hands and Gallade is just a great answer against the deck’s main weakness, Manectric-EX. Because this deck runs zero Evolutions lines, Archeops fits perfectly in here. Darkrai-EX and Keldeo-EX are mainly used as Support Pokémon; Darkrai-EX provides free Retreat on any of your Pokémon should they have a Darkness Energy attached to them and Keldeo-EX being able to Rush In and out to any Pokémon of choice means you don't have to run Switch cards. That's it for the Pokémon, so let's move on to the Supporters, most of which are one-ofs. The reason every Supporter is at a count of one aside from Professor Sycamore is to be able to get Archeops or Gallade out more consistently. Too many Supporters in hand means you may not be able to pull one of them off. Two Professor Sycamore, one Maxie's Hidden Ball Trick, Lysandre, N, Colress, and Hex Maniac are the Supporters of choice. If you have seen Andrew's original list you will notice Ryan opted to go with Hex Maniac over Ghetsis. I asked Ryan why he chose Hex Maniac over Ghetsis and his answer was because of Blastoise. Ghetsis can be less reliable, especially if the Blastoise player goes first. In my opinion I would want to run both of them. A second Lysandre could be good in this deck because of Seismitoad-EX.

The shuffle-and-draw Supporters are N and Colress. You still need N to be able to disrupt your opponent's hand and Colress is just crazy good once both players have a total of seven or more Bench. Four VS Seeker and Ultra Balls are staples of course. Moving out of the Supporters we have four Dark Patch which is great for your Dark Pokémon because it's a Mega Turbo for Dark Pokémon and when you can abuse Dark Patch on Yveltal-EX then you can do tons of damage out of nowhere. Your opponent will have a more difficult time calculating your damage output every turn. Following Dark Patch there is also four Trainers' Mail because they are great consistency cards that can help get Maxie's Hidden Ball Trick to work easier. Ryan also opted to go with three Hypnotoxic Laser compared to Andrew's list where he ran four. Hypnotoxic Laser has always been a card most if not all players fear. Being able to freely Poison and Sleep your opponent with no draw back aside from it being a flip card for the Sleep effect is ridiculously good. And in a deck that has Energy acceleration and Seismitoad-EX it makes Hypnotoxic Laser even better. Ryan again changed another card from Andrew's list which was adding a fourth Battle Compressor which I can agree on because the deck relies on getting Archeops or Gallade out.

Adding that fourth Battle Compressor increases your chances even more. To add to the decks damage we also have three Muscle Band. Between Muscle Band, Hypnotoxic Laser, and Dark Patch you can see why this deck is so strong in the Expanded format. Float Stone is the second Tool the deck runs because if you can find it early enough on the Keldeo-EX then you don't have to waste attaching a Dark Energy to it for the free Retreat. And if Keldeo-EX is Prized then Float Stones are clutch even more. The Stadium of choice is obviously Virbank City Gym because the deck runs Hypnotoxic Laser. Doing 30 damage a turn per Poison is a lot better than doing 10 and in a lot of cases can mean the difference between a win or lose. When running Special Energy, specifically Double Colorless Energy, I think the best ACE SPEC of choice should almost always be Computer Search. It's literally one of the most, if not the most, consistent cards in the game. Being able to search your deck for any card is huge, hence why you can only play one of them in your deck. The card is just that good.

Ryan Moorhouse Interview

How old are you and where are you from?

Hi! I'm seventeen years old and am from Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, UK (about four hours straight up from London).

Any hobbies outside of Pokémon?

I enjoy swimming a ton and also have an interest in Computing, mainly programming.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your biggest accomplishments in the Pokémon community?

I started playing casually in mid-2011 as a Senior, and then became much more involved when I won the 2012 UK Senior Nationals, getting hooked on Worlds and the competitive scene. I know nearly the whole UK community now, and love being part of it for sure. I've been able to get an invite to Worlds each year since 2012, and my biggest accomplishment for me is getting 13th at Worlds 2014 with Yveltal-EX/Garbodor.

Congratulations on winning back-to-back City Championships in Florida. What made you play Yveltal/Archeops/Gallade?

Thanks! I hadn't played much in Expanded but looking at results from Cities and friends I brought Flareon/Vespiquen, Seismitoad-EX/Giratina-EX, and Yveltal/Archeops/Gallade with me to Florida. After doing some early testing I was initially going to play Flareon/Vespiquen as it seemed to have the most all-round matchups for an unknown metagame, but after playing some of the Flareon/Vespiquen versus Yveltal/Archeops/Gallade matchup I found myself being able to control the game at some point with Yveltal/Archeops/Gallade once I got an Archeops out. This information alongside my experience of playing Yveltal archetypes for over a year and a half made Yveltal/Archeops/Gallade seem like the best play.

How do you go about preparing for a Tournament and what deck to play?

I usually start by looking at the decks that are doing well at that point and make up some lists to test online and in real life. Once I've done some testing I usually narrow down to a single deck and perfect the list for that tournament, making sure to account for that days metagame. I try to know what deck I'm going to play around three-to-four days before so that I can get a good idea of how to play matchups and remember any strong plays that could be hard to find with little testing.

How is your 2015-2016 season going so far?

My season really kicked off in the last three weeks, where I've been able to accumulate 300 CP for winning two Regionals and 100 CP for winning two Cities all with a week or less space between them. These points alongside the non-credited 40 from Worlds put me on a massive total of 560, meaning I'm in good stead for Top 22 next year.

Did you participate in the 2015 World Championships, if so how did you do?

I did, and my season that year meant I just squeaked into Top 22 at 22nd letting me jump straight into day two. I played a Night March build and ended up finishing on a 4-2-1 record, losing to a Seismitoad-EX/Manectric-EX that was able to donk my lone Joltik in game three and a Landorus-EX/Leafeon build where I was unable to hit any Battle Compressor, while also being forced to hit into any Focus Sash my opponent had attached. I came 35th in the end, missing out on Top 32 by resistance.

Anything else you would like to say? Any shoutouts or anything?

Thanks to Andrew Wambolt who originally posted his ideas and deck-list on The Charizard Lounge making it easier to determine the list's inconsistencies and also have a proven list to start with. Thanks to everyone at both Orlando Cities for making it an extremely enjoyable weekend, and finally thanks Jose for the interview!

Emerald Breaking to Victory

This list was only two cards different from my previous list a couple weeks ago where I managed to get a Top 8, losing to Manectric-EX/Bats off a dead draw with lone Jirachi. My tournament report for that tournament is actually in my last article if you want to check that out. There I also talk about the deck as a whole so be sure to check it out since it's basically an almost exact 60 from the list above so I didn't think doing another analysis was necessary.

Tournament Report

Round 1 - Jacob Schroff - Yveltal (Fright Night)/Zoroark/Aegislash-EX/Bronzong: L (0-1-0)

This round was interesting to say the least because Jacob was running all kinds of Pokémon. The thing that caught me off surprise was that Jacob ran multiple Yveltal with the Fright Night Ability in which all Tools in play or that come into play have no effect. Meaning my Spirit Links and Float Stone were no good, but I could still just manually Evolve into M Rayquaza-EX which is what I did since I was first. This game was extremely close to a point where I need an Energy off my Professor Sycamore to basically take the game but instead I whiff a KO on his only Zoroark to ultimately lose the game because Jacob was able to Lysandre another Shaymin-EX for his last two Prizes with the same Zoroark. A really unfortunate loss, especially for round one.

Round 2 - Christian Velazquez - M Rayquaza-EX/Yveltal/Zoroark: W (1-1-0)

Great, now I'm up against an almost exact mirror because I gave Christian my list, except he did a few changes. (Same Christian as in the Durant section). I knew the matchup was 50-50, so Christian asked if we just wanted to ID, but seeing as it's round two, I declined. I play first and get a turn one M Rayquaza-EX and a big Bench and pass the turn. Nothing too crazy. Christian also opens with Rayquaza-EX so I know immediately that he has the edge if he can take the first two Prizes. He takes his turn and explodes with everything except the Mega Turbo to one hit KO my Active M Rayquaza-EX so Christian is forced to Retreat into Swablu (a card I chose not to run) and pass. I take my turn and am unable to find a Lysandre to take the first two Prizes so I too pass. At this point we are both trying to set up M Rayquaza-EX with Lysandre.

I was fortunate enough to get it going first so I decide to KO the Zorua with a Double Colorless on it instead of the M Rayquaza-EX because this way I KO one of his threats against my own M Rayquaza-EX's because in order for both of us to KO each other’s M Rayquaza-EX's with our own meant that we would need a full Bench of eight which is where Zoroark shines. This game was still really close to the point that I was in a losing position had Christian been able to Bench another Zorua after his Sacred Ash. Fortunately for me he already had a Bench of eight so I was able to take the game because he was also unable to power up another M Rayquaza-EX in one turn due to two of his Shaymin having Spirit Links on them and the third in the discard. I ran four Spirit Links, but Christian ran three.

Round 3- James Oakes- Raichu/Bats: W (2-1-0)

After starting 1-1-0 and now going up against Raichu/Bats I thought my tournament run was over. However, that was not the case because my opponent dead drew in the beginning giving me a lead on Prizes. I started to take Prizes as fast as I can because I knew once he top decks out of it I could still easily lose. James does in fact finally find himself an Ultra Ball and starts to set up. I was up about two or three Prizes, but I was still scared of a comeback. Late game comes around and James is able to one hit KO two M Rayquaza-EX's back-to-back, but I was also able to KO a couple Shaymin for the win. Still being up two or three Prizes James was still able to take four Prizes with ease. Had he not dead drew in the beginning I'm sure I would have gotten smashed. Glad to have beaten that matchup because I really needed that win.

Round 4 - Brandon Jones - Raichu/Bats: ID (2-1-1)

Another Raichu/Bats??? Ugh... Brandon and I play each other a lot in tournaments and I've always been the victor, fortunately for me, so Brandon didn't want to risk playing against me and the fact that I just beat Raichu/Bats the round before meant Brandon was fine with an ID because we both needed a win and an ID anyway to make the cut. So we both end up taking the ID and move onto the fifth and final round.

Round 5 - Samuel Pomar - Seismitoad-EX/Entei (Trait): W (3-1-1)

This round I knew what Samuel was playing. I was actually playing down because he was 2-2-0. I was glad to be facing up a good matchup like Entei. However, I knew Samuel ran at least two Seismitoad-EX, so I had to make sure he didn't Item-lock me into a dead hand. I play second and turn-one Mega Evolve my Rayquaza-EX with a Benched Zorua. Long story short Samuel couldn't KO a M Rayquaza-EX while I was just one hit KO’ing everything. He would Quaking Punch, but then I would just have six Bench and the one shot every time. I took the game quite convincingly.

Top 8 - Rahul Reddy - Vespiquen/Vileplume: WLW (4-1-1)

I wasn't so sure on how this series would go, but I had a gameplan should it present itself. I knew Rahul's exact list because he just ran Andrew Wamboldt's list from his most recent article. Game one, I play first and am able to get a turn-one M Rayquaza-EX along with a Zorua and pass the turn. Rahul takes his turn and is going through his deck like crazy. I believe he does get the turn-one Vileplume, but he had a 3-3 Vespiquen line in his discard really early. I knew all I had to do was drain the four Double Colorless because his only way for recovery was Bunnelby. Lategame comes around and eventually Rahul is forced to Bunnelby resources back in while I'm just taking KO after KO with a single M Rayquaza-EX. At one point Rahul is forced to Sky Return into my M Rayquaza-EX two times. The second time Rahul promotes a Vileplume with no Float Stone so I simply just passed the turn, decking him out since he thought I was going to KO the Vileplume. He had another on the Bench with a Float Stone. With that I was able to take a weird game one.

However, game two Rahul plays first and has a god start with a turn-one Red Card plus Vileplume. I draw nothing off the Red Card and eventually lose in a couple turns. Well, now to move onto the last game of the series. Game three I play first and my hand is horrendous with an Yveltal and Zorua start with a dead hand. I attach a Double Colorless to Zorua and pass the turn. Rahul again explodes with a turn-one Vileplume only this time he also gets a turn-one Vespiquen attacking and one hit KO’ing my Active Yveltal. Now all I have left is a lone Zorua with a dead hand. I draw my card and it’s nothing useful so I'm thinking "well, this is it". I attach a Darkness Energy to Zorua and use Moonless Madness with a funny grin thinking I'm done for. I Confuse Rahul's Active Vespiquen, but he doesn't have another on the Bench so he has two options. He can just go for game because all I had was the lone Zorua or just Retreat and Sky Return me and put me on a one-turn clock. Mind you, he had nothing to lose had he flipped tails on Confusion. He would just take 30 damage and that's it. Fortunately for me Rahul went with option B and Sky Returned my Zorua for 30 giving me an extra turn.

Then this is the turn where the PokéGods favored me with a Lysandre top deck. I hadn't searched my deck the whole game because of my opening dead hand and a turn one Vileplume so my deck had about 45 cards still. Rahul's Benched Vileplume had no Float Stone on it because he used one to Retreat his Active Unown to get the turn one KO on my Yveltal and he didn't keep digging in the deck for the second one because he figured he was already set up. So I Lysandre up the Vileplume knowing I 100% won the game from there because Rahul already had two Double Colorless in the discard because of a previous Xerosic he didn't know I ran. So in order for the Vileplume to get out of the Active meant Rahul had to use his last two Double Colorless Energy to Retreat it which he was able to do, but then that now means he is unable to attack for the rest of the game since all four Double Colorless were in the discard thus I deck him out with me still having six Prizes with a lone Zorua with 30 damage on it. Talk about luck! I was still shocked to have won that game like that. But honestly that was my way out to beating the deck. Lysandre stall Vileplume for the game or if they have a Float Stone on it then hopefully Xerosic it off then Lysandre because I knew the deck didn't run any AZ.

Top 4 - Jacob Schroff - Yveltal (Fright Night)/Zoroark/Aegislash-EX/Bronzong: WW (5-1-1)

I knew my Swiss loss to Jacob was a fluke because all I needed was an Energy or Mega Turbo off a Professor Sycamore to win. So I was glad to be facing up against him in top four. Game one I am able to take the game with ease since I had a couple Zoroark ready to KO his own should they come out. I managed to take back-to-back-EX KO's on his Benched Aegislash-EX and Shaymin-EX respectively due to my M Rayquaza-EX having three Basic Energy on it. Then is where the Zoroark came in handy to revenge his as I said. Game two is slightly better because I was able to Hex Maniac a few times and slow Jacob down a lot to the point that Jacob literally asked me every turn if he was Hex’d. At one point in the game I yelled BASIC to hope to top deck one and so I did thus giving me the one shot on Jacob's Active Aegislash-EX because I only had five Benched Pokémon with VS Seeker in hand ready to Hex Maniac for the one shot. That was a huge turning point in the game because every Hex Maniac I used meant that Jacob was unable to even attack me because he couldn't Stand In with Zoroark or Metal Links with Bronzong. So I take the series 2-0 and get my revenge from round one.

Finals - Steven Bates - Entei (Trait)/ Charizard-EX: WLW (6-1-1)

Yay! A matchup I was hoping to play more of in the tournament. Steven knew he was done for and before the match started he congratulated me on the win with a funny grin. I knew I had the advantage, but I also knew not to take it easy. Even though we both joked around a lot during the games we still took it serious. Game one I go first with a double M Rayquaza-EX turn one start and pass. Steven's eyes lit up and just laughed because all he had was a Sky Return into his lone Charizard-EX. So my turn two I find the Double Colorless Energy and Mega Turbo as well as enough Bench to one hit KO the Charizard-EX and take a quick game one. Game one finished so fast to the point where people were like did you guys start yet? As we are shuffling for game two Steven says "the only way I win this is if you dead draw twice" well fortunately for Steven that's what happened to me game two. I literally had nothing and was Benched in a couple turns against a turn two Charizard-EX.

Game three I'm honestly a little worried because I know all I need is a mediocre hand and I have this game. I see my opening hand and I'm thinking it's similar to game two. However, this time I do have a Supporter which was just a Judge so I use it and find a Shaymin-EX into Professor Sycamore the next turn. So I know this is going to be a game now. I did at one point in the game have to Professor Sycamore two M Rayquaza-EX and two Sky Fields so I was a kind of worried at that point because I already had a Sky Field in play so if he bumped it that meant I only had one left. I did have Sacred Ash in the deck so I wasn't too worried about getting out more M Rayquaza-EX. But to my surprise it only took one M Rayquaza-EX to clean up Steven's field since he dead drew mid-way into the game thus I take the series and the Championship.

This is what Top 8 looked like.

Final Standings

1. Vespiquen/Vileplume (Top 8)
2. Manectric-EX/Bats (Top 8)
3. Vespiquen/Vileplume (Top 8)
4. Yveltal(Fright Night)/Zoroark/Aegislash-EX/Bronzong (Top 4)
5. Raichu/Bats (Top 8)
6. Entei(Trait)/Charizard-EX (Runner Up)
7. Yveltal/Zoroark/Gallade (Top 4)
8. M Rayquaza-EX/Yveltal/Zoroark (Winner)

Closing Thoughts

That will conclude this article. I hope I was able to help you in any way, shape, or form. Durant is definitely underrated in Expanded and I recommend you give the deck a try. In the right meta you can go far with the deck. Yveltal/Archeops/Gallade is extremely good because you have the best of both worlds favoring you in some of the deck's more difficult matchups. And M Rayquaza-EX/Yveltal/Zoroark is another strong and viable deck except that's for Standard and in the right meta the deck can perform ridiculously well. City Championships are not done yet since I still have four more to do. Good luck at your upcoming City Championships whether or not you decide to use one of these lists or not.

I'll have two more articles coming out this month so be sure to stay tuned for those. With that said, if you have any questions about these decks or lists, then feel free to leave me a comment down below or message me on Facebook and I'll be sure to get to them as soon as possible. As usual, if you enjoyed reading this article, then please consider giving it a thumbs up. If you want to see a specific type of article or topic next time, then don't hesitate to give me ideas down below and I'll consider them. Or if you have any other deck ideas and want to see an analysis on it then by all means post it and I'll take a look. As always, keep an eye out for more articles to come. Until next time!


[+13] okko


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