GDS3: Multiple Choice

I went all-out to do well this time. GDS2’s multiple choice section I did after midnight in a fevered rush a week before midterms, so this time I did it once in the morning, then came back after work and went through again bottom to top. Then I compared answers and reconciled the two (four had changed), while looking at the things I’d gotten wrong on a recent retake of the GDS2 article. And of course I wrote it down.

1. What is the most appropriate color for this card?

Scrappy Survivor

[converted mana cost (CMC): 6] 

Creature — 

5/5

Menace, prowess

Red

White

Blue

Green

Black

2. What is the most appropriate rarity for this card?

Scrappy Survivor

[CMC: 6] 

Creature — 

5/5

Menace, prowess

Rare

Uncommon

Mythic Rare

Common

This one isn’t trivial; it could be common, depending. But double-scoop french vanillas are usually uncommon, and a big guy in red that’s costed fairly aggressively means that common would be inappropriate absent special circumstances.

3. You are changing one of Scrappy Survivor’s keywords to another one. Which of the following combinations would result in a card that couldn’t be monocolor?

Scrappy Survivor

[CMC: 6] 

Creature — 

5/5

Menace, prowess

Menace, vigilance

First strike, prowess

Lifelink, menace

Hexproof, prowess

Personally, I’m of the opinion that menace should, flavorfully, be in green rather than black. Which would make “lifelink, menace” the correct answer. But my way is not the official way, for now, so that could be black but there is no color that gets both menace and vigilance. For all the questions like this, Mechanical Color Pie 2017 is the gold standard.

4. What is the most appropriate color combination for this multicolor card?

Come Work for Me Temporarily

[CMC: 4] 

Sorcery

Gain control of target creature until end of turn. Untap it. It gets +1/+1 and gains haste, hexproof, and trample until end of turn.

Red-green

White-black

Blue-red

Red-white

Black-green

5. What is the most appropriate rarity for this card?

Come Work for Me Temporarily

[CMC: 4] 

Sorcery

Gain control of target creature until end of turn. Untap it. It gets +1/+1 and gains haste, hexproof, and trample until end of turn.

Common

Uncommon

Mythic rare

Rare

This is the first question where I changed my mind between my two dry runs (the two marked in red, with bold for my final choice). It’s surprisingly hard to find good equivalencies to compare this to. Lose Calm is the closest, and it’s not much less complex or impactful (particularly before menace was keyworded). That’s at common. However, I eventually considered that while it’s marginal, multicolor cards are usually not common. So it’s uncommon.

6. If we aren’t planning to change the color combination, which change are we least likely to make to this card?

Come Work for Me Temporarily

[CMC: 4]

Sorcery

Gain control of target creature until end of turn. Untap it. It gets +1/+1 and gains haste, hexproof, and trample until end of turn.

Change from “trample” to “this creature can’t be blocked by creatures with power 2 or less.”

Change “+1/+1” to “+2/+2.”

Change from “hexproof” to “this creature must be blocked this turn if able.”

Change “haste” to “double strike”.

Change “sorcery” to “instant.”

I thought this was obvious, but somehow I suspect this will be a minor skill-tester. Now, begin the color pie ethos gauntlet, which (I expect) you must clear perfectly to progress.

7. Which of these phrases is a follower of white’s philosophy least likely to say?

“Sometimes the individual suffers so that the larger group can thrive.”

“Violence is never preferred but is occasionally necessary.”

“A system without structure is a system asking to fail.”

“Nothing can go wrong if you act from your heart.”

“Evil must be preemptively stopped.”

8. Which of these phrases is a follower of blue’s philosophy least likely to say?

“You are shaped more by your genes than your experience.”

“Every person has the ability to become anything.”

“Tools are an important part of any society.”

“Action should only follow thought.”

“A fear of change is dangerous.”

9. Which of these phrases is a follower of black’s philosophy least likely to say?

“The difference between success and failure is a willingness to do what needs to be done.”

“The weak serve a purpose; they are a resource of the strong.”

“I didn’t create the system, I just understand how to take advantage of it.”

“Only I choose what path I walk.”

“Sometimes you have to put others ahead of yourself.”

10. Which of these phrases is a follower of red’s philosophy least likely to say?

“The fewer rules, the better.”

“Mistakes should be avoided at all costs.”

“The greatest regrets are about things you didn’t do, not things you did.”

“A life without passion is a life unlived.”

“Life is messy.”

11. Which of these phrases is a follower of green’s philosophy least likely to say?

“Adaptation is a slow process.”

“The key to happiness is accepting that the world is as it’s meant to be”

“Killing for sport is just a part of life.”

“You are born into your role.”

“All life is interconnected.”

That last one was the only marginally tricky one. Phyrexian green: maybe just once.

12. If we were to bring back the battle cry mechanic in a Ravnica set, which guild would be the best match for the mechanic?

Selesnya

Rakdos

Boros

Gruul

Azorius

13. Which effect is usually seen on more instants than sorceries?

Land fetching (getting a land out of your library)

Direct damage

Discard effects

Reanimation (putting creatures from the graveyard to the battlefield)

Land destruction

This one actually surprised me, but the numbers check out. Weird to reconcile this with red being the “sorcery color” (See question 59).

14. What is the biggest problem design-wise with this card?

Long-Acting Giant Growth

2G

Sorcery

Target creature gets +3/+3 until end of the turn. At the beginning of your next upkeep, that creature gets +2/+2 until end of turn. At the beginning of your next upkeep after that, that creature gets +1/+1 until end of turn.

The spell is too cheap.

The spell should get bigger over time, not smaller, to build in excitement.

The spell requires you track things for three turns without any way to mark it.

The spell should let you target different creatures because the first one might die.

The spell should be an instant so that it can work in combat.

I predict there will be a lot of wrong answers here. A lot of amateur Magic designers are very bad about memory issues.

15. If this card was a hybrid creature, what colors would it be?

Mysterio

[CMC: 4]

*/*

Flash

CARDNAME’s power and toughness are each equal to the number of cards in your hand.

Blue-black

Green-blue

Blue-red

Black-red

White-blue

16. What is the most likely rarity for this card?

Mysterio [CMC: 4]

*/*

Flash

CARDNAME’s power and toughness are each equal to the number of cards in your hand.

Mythic rare

Common

Rare

Uncommon

This one I may just be wrong about. It’s obviously not mythic or common, but how does a flashy Maro rate? Here’s a search for creatures with variable P/T from recent years. There are fairly simple designs at rare (Slag Fiend) and fairly complex ones at uncommon (Seraph of the Masses). Off intuition and a sense that just flash wasn’t enough to make it rare, I said uncommon. Since it’s virtual vanilla, I think that was probably the right call. Probably.

17. What ability could be added to this creature without changing its colors? Use your answer from question 15.

Mysterio

[CMC: 4]

*/*

Flash

CARDNAME’s power and toughness are each equal to the number of cards in your hand.

CARDNAME can’t be blocked by more than one creature.

Whenever CARDNAME deals damage to an opponent, draw a card.

At the end of your turn, untap CARDNAME.

Whenever a creature dies, put a +1/+1 counter on CARDNAME.

CARDNAME must be blocked if able.

18. A player finishes their first game of Magic. Which of the following do we care most about?

They have a favorite card.

They understand the cards in their deck.

They want to play again.

They see the potential depth of the game.

They have seen most of the card types, and most of the evergreen keywords.

Another trap. Separate “what do you like” from “what is important.” See also, the next question, one of two to weed out people who don’t understand Spike.

19. When designing a card for Spike, which of the following is most important:

The card is very open ended.

The card tells Spike what the deck is about.

The card produces card advantage.

The card lets Spike feel they outplayed their opponent.

The card has a low casting cost.

20. Design considers a card “too slow for tournament play.” What does that mean?

The card will cause problems for coverage, as it will require too much commentary devoted to it.

The card will make games take more than fifteen turns.

The card will make too many matches run over time in tournaments.

The player with this card will monopolize too much of the play time in tournaments.

The opponent will call the judge too often with a request of “slow play”.

I’m not sure about this. It hasn’t been used vocally, to my knowledge. But I think this is right. For both this and the next, I gave the same answer both runs through, but with doubts.

21. You’re working on the next Commander decks. Which is the most important goal?

The commanders inspire people to build new decks.

Designing new cards for Legacy and Vintage.

The decks are based on popular Commander decks.

The colors are equally represented.

Each deck has a brand-new theme.

Also could be wrong. If I’m wrong, the answer is almost certainly inspiring new decks.

22. Which of the following creatures is the weakest in a typical Standard-legal Draft format?

1G 2/2

9G 10/10

3G 4/4

5G 6/6

7G 8/8

Not that hard, I think. But I’m not tournament-caliber in the least.

23. Which of the following creatures is the strongest in a typical Standard-legal Draft format?

5G 6/6

1G 2/2

3G 4/4

9G 10/10

7G 8/8

Significantly harder! Thanks, LSV Limited set reviews, I couldn’t have done it without you.

24. The lead of a set has removed a black instant removal spell from their set, and asks you to create potential replacement designs. Which of these qualities is most important for your designs?

It’s a removal card.

It’s a powerful card.

It’s an instant.

It’s a black card.

It’s an innovative card.

Powerful and innovative are clearly wrong, and instant is not important. Black and removal are both important for usual hole-filling, but a black non-removal card is better than a non-black removal card.

25. Why do green’s common creatures tend to be a bit more efficient than white creatures?

This is the way it has always been.

Green is the enemy of blue and black.

White has stronger removal.

Green players love powerful creatures.

White is the enemy of black and red.

26. Which color gets the second fewest common creatures in a typical set?

Green

Red

White

Black

Blue

27. Which of these green keywords does design have to be the most careful when using?

Deathtouch

Reach

Trample

Hexproof

Vigilance

This might be deathtouch? I don’t think so, but possibly, maybe 10%.

28. We try to avoid making two-color cards where the card could be done as a monocolor card in one of the two colors. Given that, suppose you have a two-color 4/4 creature with flying and vigilance (and no other abilities). Which of the following color combinations would be the best choice for this card?

Green-white

Blue-black

Black-green

White-blue

White-black

29. Which of these is the most important quality for a set to have?

It has powerful cards.

It’s easy to learn.

It matches the story.

It’s fun to play.

It has great strategic depth.

Another typical-mind trap.

30. Which of these creature keywords tends to have the most value in a control deck?

Menace

Lifelink

Trample

First strike

Haste

First strike seemed plausible, but I’m fairly confident. Thanks again, LSV reviews.

31. When Set Design holds a draft, most of the time there are exactly eight drafters. Why?

We have tables that sit eight drafters.

Our teams have eight people.

That’s the most common number of drafters in the real world.

We want four Spikes, three Timmies/Tammies, and one Johnny/Jenny.

Our smaller booster boxes hold 24 booster packs.

32. You’ve designed a card, and you want the Play Design team to like it. How should you choose your casting cost?

Use your intuition.

Pick the strongest cost that isn’t broken.

It doesn’t matter; they’ll fix the cost if you get it wrong.

Find a similar card as a basis for the casting cost and then make it one cheaper.

Ask someone from the Play Design team to choose the casting cost.

The least-confident answer I gave. Intuition, doesn’t matter, and asking are all viable choices. I think I got this right with about 40% chance. (30% each for the others.)

33. Which of these evergreen keyword abilities is most likely to be put on a common white creature?

Trample

Vigilance

Flash

Double strike

Indestructible

34. Which of the following best describes how a counterspell-based blue deck should contribute to a Standard environment?

Standard is the most fun when the counterspell deck is mono-blue.

Standard is the most fun when counterspell decks aren’t competitive.

Standard is the most fun when the counterspell deck is the strongest deck in Standard.

Standard is the most fun when the counterspell player has a way to win quickly and efficiently once they take control.

Standard is the most fun when the counterspell player has the ability to stop the opponent from doing anything.

A lesson in charitability will be delivered to anyone who chooses “competitive”.

35. Assuming the creature is strong enough to see Standard play, which of the following isn’t a good quality for a green creature to have?

It draws multiple cards without attacking or blocking.

It can destroy an artifact or enchantment.

It uses +1/+1 counters to grow to very large sizes.

It has larger stats than other creatures at its mana cost.

It can tap to produce mana.

This was marginal, but I think clear anyway. Three are obviously fine things, one took a little thought, and one was debatable, so it’s the debatable one. (From bottom to top, here.)

36. If we were to bring back the storm mechanic in a Ravnica set, which guild would be the best match for the mechanic?

Orzhov

Rakdos

Simic

Selesnya

Izzet

37. A synergy theme in a set needs you to draw specific cards for it to work. This isn’t happening frequently enough. Which of the following mechanics would nothelp increase the frequency of these interactions?

Investigate

Kicker

Transmute

Scry

Cycling

38. Which of the following designs from Legends would be the most reasonable to recost into a competitive Standard card?

Presence of the Master

Land Tax

Arboria

Mana Drain

Acid Rain

Three are verboten by modern standards (Acid Rain, Presence of the Master, Arboria). One is conceivable but violates the rules about white card advantage (rules more honored in the breach than the observance, but still). One has pretty much been done: Plasm Capture.

Actually, this might be wrong. Cross-color recosting could make Land Tax viable, and is probably needed for Mana Drain. Tax is still a repetitive effect with lots of shuffling, so I think I’m right, but I was overconfident. Should have written this last night.

39. Which category of player most dislikes high variance in gameplay, with “high variance” defined as larger swings in outcome possibilities for individual cards outside of the player’s control?

A new player

Johnny/Jenny

Timmy/Tammy

A player who prefers multiplayer

Spike

Another in the “do you understand Spike” series.

40. Which of the following cards is typically the strongest in Limited play?

Lava Axe

Cowl Prowler

Pacifism

Wind Drake

Duress

Dai stiho, LSV.

41. Which of the following are not generally aimed at competitive Standard play?

One-shot mana acceleration

Card draw

Direct damage that can hit either creatures or players

Mass creature kill

Counterspells

42. Which of the following iconic white cards is most reasonable to reprint in a Standard-legal set?

Swords to Plowshares

Baneslayer Angel

Karma

Armageddon

Land Tax

Not hard.

43. Which of the following iconic black cards is most reasonable to reprint in a Standard-legal set?

Sinkhole

Infernal Darkness

Underworld Dreams

Demonic Tutor

Demonic Consultation

Harder!

44. The card Felidar Guardian was banned last year in Standard because of an unintended interaction with the planeswalker card Saheeli Rai. If this interaction were realized late in design, what would have been the best solution?

Add one colorless mana to the cost of Felidar Guardian.

Add “Felidar Guardian enters the battlefield tapped.”

Keep both cards as is, but add a flexible instant that can destroy either one of Felidar Guardian and Saheeli Rai.

Change Felidar Guardian’s ability to return the permanent to the battlefield at the beginning of the next end step.

Change Saheeli Rai’s mana cost to UUR so that she is harder to cast in a three-color deck.

45. Assuming all of the following designs are costed at an appropriate power level and win rate in Standard, which would be the least fun to show up in competitive play?

An enchantment that lets you name a card, then stops the named card from being cast.

An enchantment that stops all creatures from attacking.

An artifact that taps to add three mana to your mana pool.

An artifact that causes each player to lose 2 life during their upkeep.

A sorcery that destroys all nonland permanents.

46. Which of the following cards would we be most likely to reprint in a Standard-legal set?

Counterspell

Dark Ritual

Llanowar Elves

Lightning Bolt

Swords to Plowshares

47. From a design standpoint, what is the biggest problem with this card?

Mega Bolt

3R

Instant

CARDNAME deals 8 damage to target creature.

7 is a more aesthetic number than 8.

It blurs the line between black and red.

A card dealing this much damage should be a sorcery.

It’s too much damage for four mana.

Players might find ways to redirect the damage to their opponents.

48. Which of these text boxes would most likely be red-flagged as highly complex for a common creature?

1R: CARDNAME gets +2/+0 and gains first strike until end of turn.

Whenever CARDNAME attacks, creatures you control get +1/+1 until end of turn.

When CARDNAME enters the battlefield, target creature gets +2/+2 and gains trample until end of turn.

2W: Target creature gets +1/+1 until end of turn.

Whenever another creature enters the battlefield under your control, CARDNAME gets +1/+1 until end of turn.

I considered the last of these, but there are equivalents at common recently.

49. You’re playing a multiplayer game. Which pair of mechanics would cause the most confusion if they frequently appeared together in a play environment?

Fabricate and formidable

Myriad and battalion

Miracle and cycling

Devour and exploit

Modular and scavenge

Rules knowledge ahoy!

50. If we printed an enchantment with the same text as Stabilizer (“Players can’t cycle cards.”), which color should it be?

Blue

Red

Black

White

Green

This could be green, but Spirit of the Labyrinth convinced me that it’s in white with most of the rule-setting cards.

51. What are the most appropriate colors for this card?

Junkpile Engineer

[CMC: 3]

Creature — Human Artificer

3/2

2, Sacrifice an artifact: Look at the top X cards of your library, where X is the converted mana cost of the sacrificed artifact. Put one of them into your hand and the rest on the bottom of your library in random order.

White-black

Blue-red

Red-white

Black-red

Green-blue

52. What is the most appropriate rarity for this card?

Junkpile Engineer

[CMC: 3]

Creature — Human Artificer

3/2

2, Sacrifice an artifact: Look at the top X cards of your library where X is the converted mana cost of the sacrificed artifact. Put one of them into your hand and the rest on the bottom of your library in a random order.

Mythic rare

Common

Rare

Uncommon

This could be wrong. I don’t think it’s uncommon, but it’s possible (5%?). And it could be mythic, too, I guess. (20%?) I said the same thing both runs, though.

53. Which of the following changes is Set Design most likely to make to this card?

Junkpile Engineer

[CMC: 3]

Creature — Human Artificer

3/2

2, Sacrifice an artifact: Look at the top X cards of your library, where X is the converted mana cost of the sacrificed artifact. Put one of them into your hand and the rest on the bottom of your library in a random order.

Put the cards revealed into the graveyard.

Make the power and toughness the same.

Give the creature haste.

Change the number of cards looked at to a locked number rather than caring about converted mana cost.

Add the ability “2,T: Put an artifact card from your hand onto the battlefield.”

This was the hardest question; I’m only about 60% sure I was correct, and I waffled right up until the end.

It’s a process thing, where I’m not clear on what, exactly, is in Play Design’s purview vs. Set Design; I get how old!Design was split up, but not Development. I think that locking the number would be more of a final-tweaks Play Design thing, rather than something done in the process of filling in the plan Vision Design made.

54. What are the most appropriate colors for this card?

Dead Man Walking

[CMC: 7]

Creature — Shapeshifter Wizard

1/1

When CARDNAME enters the battlefield, return target creature card from any graveyard to the battlefield under your control. All your creatures then become copies of that creature.

Black-green

Green-blue

Blue-red

Blue-black

Red-green

55. What is the most appropriate rarity for this card?

Dead Man Walking

[CMC: 7]

Creature — Shapeshifter Wizard

1/1

When CARDNAME enters the battlefield, return target creature card from any graveyard to the battlefield under your control. All your creatures then become copies of that creature.

Rare

Common

Mythic rare

Uncommon

I think this was the only rarity question that was easy. Potential to be awesome: check and mate.

56. What change would design not make?

Dead Man Walking

[CMC: 7]

Creature — Shapeshifter Wizard

1/1

When CARDNAME enters the battlefield, return target creature card from any graveyard to the battlefield under your control. All your creatures then become copies of that creature.

Have it only get creatures from out of your graveyard.

Have it only get creatures out of the opponent’s graveyard.

Have the returned creature be sacrificed at end of turn.

Make it a 0/0 creature.

Give the creature flash.

Rules knowledge again.

57. You’re designing a set that returns to a plane we’ve been to before and plan to have Humans, Wolves, and Spirits. Which world would be most appropriate?

Ixalan

Amonkhet

Kaladesh

Innistrad

Zendikar

58. Which of the following attributes can a card in a Standard-legal set not mechanically care about?

Expansion symbol

Power/toughness

Card supertypes

Card subtypes

Mana cost

59. Which of the following abilities is R&D least likely to put on a mono-red creature in an upcoming set?

When CARDNAME enters the battlefield, you may return target sorcery card from your graveyard to your hand.

CARDNAME must attack if able.

T: Draw a card, then discard a card.

Creatures you control have haste.

[MANA]: CARDNAME gets +1/+0 until end of turn.

As I noted above, returning sorceries is pretty odd, but that’s doesn’t make it actually close

60. According to current design standards, which of the following “enters-the-battlefield” effects is least likely to be on a common creature?

“Return target creature card from your graveyard to your hand.”

“You may return target creature to its owner’s hand.”

“Destroy target enchantment an opponent controls.”

“Target creature gets +2/+2 until end of turn.”

“Target creature can’t block this turn.”

Funny story: while trying to find the original New World Order page, I found New New World Order. I got a couple screens down before I checked the publishing date. In any case, most of these have recent equivalents, and Gravedigger has been specifically called out as problematic.

61. Which of the following sets isn’t designed around factions?

Ixalan

Shards of Alara

Ravnica

Khans of Tarkir

Amonkhet

62. Which of the following mechanics would be the best fit for the Simic guild from Ravnica?

Proliferate

Entwine

Undying

Dash

Rebound

63. Secondary—This is the color (or colors) that an ability shows up in on a somewhat regular basis, but not as often as the primary and not always in as low of rarity as the primary. If the effect is something we do a lot of, the secondary color will usually get the ability in most sets. 

Which color is secondary at trample?

Blue

White

Green

Red

Black

64. Secondary—This is the color (or colors) that an ability shows up in on a somewhat regular basis, but not as often as the primary and not always in as low of rarity as the primary. If the effect is something we do a lot of, the secondary color will usually get the ability in most sets. 

Which color is secondary at haste?

Black

Green

Blue

White

Red

65. Which color is secondary at vigilance?

Black

Blue

White

Red

Green

66. What kinds of creatures can green destroy?

Blue creatures and black creatures

White creatures and red creatures

Attacking creatures and blocking creatures

Tapped creatures and enchanted creatures

Artifact creatures and flying creatures

The “can you find, Mechanical Color Pie 2017 on Google” portion of this test.

67. Which of the following mechanics is not an ability word?

Morbid

Hellbent

Delirium

Landfall

Awaken

68. Why doesn’t common often have seven-mana instants and sorceries?

It’s too complex for beginners.

It makes the math too hard.

It’s too impactful for common.

Common creatures need to be more expensive than the instants and sorceries.

They are hard to design.

A question I hadn’t previously considered, but looking at the exceptions makes it pretty clear. It’s hard to make a seven-mana instant or sorcery that isn’t red-flagged for on-board card advantage and isn’t way overcosted. The ones that exist have cost reduction, cost you extra for a side effect, or are clearly red-flagged. (I’m not sure about Horncaller’s Chant but that’s barely even a sorcery.)

69. Which world has had the most expansions set on it?

Ravnica

Zendikar

Dominaria

Mirrodin

Innistrad

70. A linear mechanic is one that encourages players to build around a specific aspect. Which of the following mechanics is the least linear?

Delirium

Rally

Transform

Morph

Energy

Morph almost trapped me, but no, that’s just a subtler linearity. As we saw in Standard, where only one or two morph cards were at all viable and there was no surprise value.

71. Which of the following formats can’t the card Power Conduit from Mirrodin be played in?

Modern

Pauper

Vintage

Commander

Legacy

72. Which of the following is the most important reason that some cards’ mana costs are higher than others?

To encourage players to “splash” an additional color in their decks

To make the cards different

So that people will play them later in the game

To encourage players to put more lands in their decks

Higher mana costs are a hint to new players that the cards are more powerful

This was actually a difficult question, though I was pretty convinced of the same answer both times. It feels off, somehow.

73. Which of the following is the most important reason for the color pie to exist?

It increases the number of distinct cards that can be designed.

It adds more symbols to the game.

It expands the color palette usable in the art.

It encourages deck and gameplay diversity.

It allows a wider variety of costs.

I expect this will be the most predictive question for getting from 100 to 8. Just a random conjecture, probably not confirmable.

74. Which of the following effects is design allowed to use on a Standard-legal black-bordered card?

Rolling a six-sided die

Affecting a future game with the same opponent

Having a card coexist in more than one zone

Putting a card in your hand you do not own

Making a choice secret from the other player(s)

75. You’re designing a card with a converted mana cost of 10. Which of these card types is it least likely to be?

Instant

Creature

Artifact

Sorcery

Enchantment

A good note to end on. Empirically, instant and enchantment are the most likely from the past. Instant’s one contribution to the CMC>=10 club has Affinity, which makes it a priori most plausible. To confirm, expand to >=8, and get a better sample size for the same conclusion (no expensive enchantment has a cost-reduction ability; half of expensive instants do). But separately, most huge instant/sorcery effects have no need to be instants, and therefore shouldn’t be.

 

Anyway, there’s my write-up. Peruse, debate, learn, prove me wrong.

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