Aiden Thorne’s Poughkeepsie, New York KMC Tournament Report

aiden thorneIf you haven’t had the chance to experience a Kaijudo Master Challenge (KMC), I’m going to give you a chance to vicariously experience one today! If you didn’t know, the first place winners of a KMC will receive an invitation to the Kaijudo Championship and a PAID flight out to Seattle for it, and second place receives just the invite. The Kaijudo Championship is going to be an exclusive tournament that only the best of the best can attend; this special two day event first has the players who qualified work with R&D to leave a permanent mark on the game, and then duelists will be dueling it out to who is the best!

In this report I will be telling you my experience of the Poughkeepsie, NY KMC! I had been going to Poughkeepsie each weekend to get to know the area and get a bit of practice in before tournament day; I really liked the area and managed to make a few friends with the local players! I had even received a tour of the Mercury Grand Hotel before the event; for those who don’t know, that was where the KMC was held.

The night before the tournament we stayed up until 3am play testing. We had to make sure all of our decks were working efficiently. Come morning we were running late and had to quickly get ready and rush out the door. We grabbed breakfast and coffee, and then we headed out for Poughkeepsie, NY!

Let’s take a look at the deck I used:

Light Ceatures: 14
3x [ccProd]Andromeda of the Citadel[/ccProd] 3x [ccProd]Lyra, the Blazing Sun[/ccProd] 3x [ccProd]Keeper of Dawn[/ccProd] 2x [ccProd]Jade Monitor[/ccProd] 3x [ccProd]Lux[/ccProd]

Light Spells: 3
3x [ccProd]Stormspark Blast[/ccProd]*

Multi-Civ: 2
2x [ccProd]Saracon, Storm Dynamo[/ccProd]

Water Creatures: 1
1x [ccProd]Waterspout Gargoyle[/ccProd]

Water Spells: 9
3x [ccProd]Crystal Memory[/ccProd]*
3x [ccProd]Spy Mission[/ccProd]*
3x [ccProd]Logos Scan[/ccProd]

Darkness Creatures: 7
1x [ccProd]Dracothane of the Abyss[/ccProd] 1x [ccProd]Dreadclaw, Dark Herald[/ccProd] 3x [ccProd]Razorkinder Puppet[/ccProd] 2x [ccProd]Scaradorable of Gloom Hollow[/ccProd]

Darkness Spells: 11
2x [ccProd]Skull Shatter[/ccProd] 3x [ccProd]Terror Pit[/ccProd]*
2x [ccProd]Death Smoke[/ccProd] 3x [ccProd]Bone Blades[/ccProd]*
1x [ccProd]Dark Return[/ccProd]*

Nature: 3
3x [ccProd]Root Trap[/ccProd]*

All Cards Marked With An Asterisk Are Shield Blasts

Light: 17
Light/Water: 2
Water: 10
Darkness: 18
Nature: 3
Total: 50

Shield Blasts: 19

Mana Curve: 1/0, 2/4, 3/7, 4/9, 5/5, 6/9, 7/7, 8/5, 9/4

It was a pretty straight forward LWD with 3 [ccProd]Root Trap[/ccProd]s splashed in. Nothing too out of the ordinary! [ccProd]Waterspout Gargoyle[/ccProd] was hugely important throughout the tournament and I was really glad I put him in on an impulse. Domenic G, one of the people I play test with finally showed me that the [ccProd]Root Trap[/ccProd] build was the better choice. [ccProd]Dreadclaw, Dark Herald[/ccProd] and [ccProd]Saracon, Storm Dynamo[/ccProd] were also relevant at times, but no other card in the deck could hope to be as important as [ccProd]Andromeda of the Citadel[/ccProd]; that card absolutely ran this format.

Let’s jump straight into the report! We arrived at the venue and saw a few familiar faces, and many we’ve never seen before. It was so cool! We signed up and started writing our deck lists; people just kept pouring through the doors! Before we knew it the tournament was at an astounding 71 people! I socialized with many people both new and old; I shook so many hands that I felt like I was running for president. The energy was amazing; everyone was excited with a mixture of nervous, and the moment those pairings went up it was hectic! A stampede of players rushed to see who they were playing. I made a habit of staying back until the crowd subsided; when I finally got up the sheet I saw none other than:

Round 1:  Steve S.
Steve was running Greed Dragons; he was actually one of the main designers for the deck as part of Team SBK. Some of you may know him as the player who got second at the KMC in Kentucky.

Game 1:
We greeted and started shuffling; offered up cuts and rolled to see who goes first. I managed to lose the dice roll as gracefully as I could; I don’t think I ever win them. Our first few turns are lacking action as we charge mana and pass, but I cast [ccProd]Logos Scan[/ccProd] and start gaining some card advantage. I follow the play up with [ccProd]Keeper of Dawn[/ccProd] to return my [ccProd]Logos Scan[/ccProd], but Steve answers with one of the most powerful cards in the game: [ccProd]Bottle of Wishes[/ccProd]! I glance at my hand and notice that I’m sitting on answers to anything he could possibly flip; so I wasn’t too worried. He happened to flip [ccProd]Bone Blades[/ccProd] which had no target and promptly went to his graveyard. I continued my strong positioning by summoning [ccProd]Razorkinder Puppet[/ccProd] and stripping a card from his hand. He was in a really bad position now, and I decided to capitalize. I continued keeping control of the game and summoned my finishers—[ccProd]Andromeda of the Citadel[/ccProd]; I then used my amassed army of dragons and swung for game!

Game 2:
He decides to play first and our game starts out similar to the first, but this time he has an early bird. I banish it with [ccProd]Bone Blades[/ccProd], but he summons his first dragon. Luckily, I was holding an answer for that too; I cast [ccProd]Death Smoke[/ccProd] and pass back to him. He charges mana and passes; I realize I’m in a really strong position now as I summon [ccProd]Razorkinder Puppet[/ccProd] stripping his last card. He tries to get enough mana to be able to summon his finishers when he draws them, but I don’t give him the opportunity to get that far. I begin summoning a large amount of creatures and I swing for game!

Total Record: 1-0 (2-0)

Round 2: Bryan A
In the worst possible scenario, I get paired to my best friend who I came here with! Both of us had powerful opening rounds, but now we were forced to play each other. He is piloting LWD Dragon Aggro.

Game 1:
Both Bryan and I knew each others decks entirely, and we practice together daily. He unluckily opens with very poor hands; something that rarely happens with his deck. I manage to open with some of the best possible hands I can get; Bryan managed to make what should have been a completely one sided match into a relatively close game. I summon threat after threat while having a steady stream of answers before I finally overwhelm him with summoning [ccProd]Andromeda of the Citadel[/ccProd] a third time!

Game 2:
I get the feeling Bryan is taking it easy on me, but we play a really good game anyway! Dragons being dropped on both sides and a decisive [ccProd]Stormspark Blast[/ccProd] quickly flipped the tides in my favor. He answered with [ccProd]Issyl of the Frozen Wastes[/ccProd] and locked my field down for almost five turns before I finally drew an answer. I summoned [ccProd]Dracothane of the Abyss[/ccProd] and pulled 2 [ccProd]Lux[/ccProd] out of my graveyard; he answered with [ccProd]Dreadclaw, Dark Herald[/ccProd] returning 9 dragons to his hand, but sadly I was sitting on a [ccProd]Skull Shatter[/ccProd] and put them right back the grave. [ccProd]Dracothane of the Abyss[/ccProd] spearheads through Bryan’s shields and I swing for game.

Total Record: 2-0 (4-0)

Round 3: Paul K
Paul is someone I’ve seen online and is a pretty awesome guy. I had a really enjoyable match with him, and I can honestly say it was nice to meet one of the politest people at the tournament.

Game 1:
Paul and I are running sort of similar decks, but it looked like I had a better opening hand. He summoned an early blocker and I used the card advantage to gain early footing. I applied pressure with [ccProd]Lyra, the Blazing Sun[/ccProd] and eventually took control of the game. I rode this momentum into [ccProd]Andromeda of the Citadel[/ccProd] and use her to swing for game!

Game 2:
Paul had a bit of a stronger beginning this time and actually placed me in a bad position, but I managed to recover with using [ccProd]Waterspout Gargoyle[/ccProd] and returning my [ccProd]Keeper of Dawn[/ccProd] so I could grab more spells next turn. A [ccProd]Skull Shatter[/ccProd] later and I was back in the game; we place threats on the board back and forth; I worry that he might flip a huge threat if I attack into a [ccProd]Bottle of Wishes[/ccProd], but I manage to keep everything together and prolong the game long enough for [ccProd]Dracothane of the Abyss[/ccProd] to take over. He takes the front and spearheads the charge for game!

Total Record: 3-0 (6-0)

Round 4: Tom N
Tom is actually the player who ends up winning the Nature civilization stuff at today’s event! He plays a bird and dragon variant (I’m seeing a common theme in many decks at this tournament)!

Game 1:
First off I look to both my left and right; there are currently two rush decks at the top tables right now. This is surprising information to me, but I guess I managed to dodge playing them. Tom gets some early momentum with [ccProd]Nix[/ccProd], but I fling it from the board as quickly as I possibly can. We charge mana and pass; I cast [ccProd]Crystal Memory[/ccProd] and memorize what is in my shields and grab a [ccProd]Skull Shatter[/ccProd]. I cast [ccProd]Skull Shatter[/ccProd] and draw removal; we sit there not doing much and I eventually get creatures to go with my removal and I gain a field presence. When I had enough I managed to swing for game!

Game 2:
Tom took a huge advantage early, but he didn’t capitalize and attack me with his birds; if he did this game might have been over before I could even cast a spell! With the extra time I was given I managed to field a few creatures and protect myself from a potential onslaught. [ccProd]Waterspout Gargoyle[/ccProd] once again earned his slot as he kept me in a constant strong position by allowing me to recast my [ccProd]Lyra, the Blazing Sun[/ccProd] over and over. Eventually [ccProd]Waterspout Gargoyle[/ccProd] bounced two of his creatures and I pushed in for game!

Total Record: 4-0 (8-0)

Round 5: Charlie N
Charlie is actually a player from my local! We both know each other and we often play in the top cut back home. It’s good to see that both of us are currently undefeated!

Game 1:
Charlie is running LWF Draggro (American Draggro), and he managed to field some early birds. Luckily, I manage to banish them and get an early [ccProd]Razorkinder Puppet[/ccProd]. Charlie kept swinging at me, but I summoned [ccProd]Andromeda of the Citadel[/ccProd] followed by another [ccProd]Andromeda of the Citadel[/ccProd]; that was too much for him and they managed to swing for game!

Game 2:
Game 2 started off well for me; I thought I was in a strong position, but I was very wrong. Charlie summoned [ccProd]Kindrix the Psionic[/ccProd] and just started swinging at my shields! He was drawing cards and getting closer to victory at the same time! I managed to banish [ccProd]Kindrix the Psionic[/ccProd], but it was too late. Birds and dragons are just pouring onto the field and I can’t answer them all. I get overwhelmed and he swings for game!

Game 3:
This game was a massacre. Charlie had a perfect progression hand! He summoned [ccProd]Lux[/ccProd], followed by [ccProd]Nix[/ccProd], followed by [ccProd]Lyra, the Blazing Sun[/ccProd], followed by [ccProd]Tatsurion[/ccProd]; did I forget to mention he was attacking each turn? Yeah…I didn’t do too well when I was at 0 shields on turn 5! I proceeded to get my first loss of the tournament!

Total Record: 4-1 (9-2)

Round 6: Sean M
At this point I am on the bubble, if I lose this match I won’t make the Top 8! To make matters worse it was possible I could have been paired to multiple players from my local, and potentially knock one of them out! Instead I was paired to Sean; he was a very well known player from Duel Masters and was running an anti meta deck.

Game 1:
Game 1 was a bit frightening; my opening hand was 2x [ccProd]Andromeda of the Citadel[/ccProd], 1x [ccProd]Skull Shatter[/ccProd], 1x [ccProd]Root Trap[/ccProd], and 1x [ccProd]Terror Pit[/ccProd]. He managed to get early game field presence in the form of birds and [ccProd]Spellbane Dragon[/ccProd]; as soon as [ccProd]Spellbane Dragon[/ccProd] hit I knew I was in trouble. Even when I banished it I lost another shield, and then he summoned another one. I couldn’t deal with how easily he could summon threats and I was quickly beaten.

Game 2:
My hand was much better this game, and I would go as far to say that I wouldn’t mind a [ccProd]Spellbane Dragon[/ccProd] being played. I emptied his hand, but he still managed to play [ccProd]Spellbane Dragon[/ccProd]. Luckily, it played to my advantage this time; I used low cost spells to effectively ‘draw my shields’ before I flung it from the field and had 2 new cards in my hand. This lead into [ccProd]Andromeda of the Citadel[/ccProd] and it was only a matter of time before I overwhelmed him.

Game 3:
This is it! The winner of this will have a chance to top, but the loser is likely out! Sean didn’t get the best of hands, but he played it well regardless. I changed up my play style and played extremely aggressive this game. I summoned [ccProd]Lyra, the Blazing Sun[/ccProd] and answered his creatures while gaining field as quickly as I could. I used [ccProd]Waterspout Gargoyle[/ccProd] to bounce two of his creatures and I broke all of his shields—with me having 3 tapped creatures and a [ccProd]Waterspout Gargoyle[/ccProd] he had no options to stop himself from losing. We shook hands and he picked up.

Total Record: 5-1 (11-2)

Round 7: Rob W
Rob is actually the only remaining undefeated player in the tournament; he is sitting at 6-0 and we are at the top table. The other potential players all intentionally draw into top, and we know that I’ll make 8th seed if I lose; so we’re playing for position.

Game 1:
Rob has the element of surprise on his hand, and quickly gains the advantage when I realize he plays a ramp into [ccProd]Skull Shatter[/ccProd] deck. He cast [ccProd]Crystal Memory[/ccProd] followed by [ccProd]Mana Storm[/ccProd] and finishes off that progression with [ccProd]Skull Shatter[/ccProd]. I sit here at 5 mana with no cards in my hand, but I’ve been in this position before and I know I can play out of it with the right draws. He attempts to summon threats, but I manage to fight them off with my overwhelming amount of removal. I eventually get to 8 mana and I cast a [ccProd]Skull Shatter[/ccProd] back on him, and now we’re both in a poor position. He keeps ramping and ends up with a large amount of mana, but I realize I have more cards in deck than him; I take advantage of this knowledge and write down our deck counts. I proceed to count down how many turns I need to survive in order to win. I summon blockers and he places creatures on the board; I used [ccProd]Waterspout Gargoyle[/ccProd] to bounce himself and another threat. I notice Rob only has 2 [ccProd]Stormspark Blast[/ccProd] showing, one in mana and one in his graveyard. He has 9 shields so it is possible to be in there, but if he casts it with anything on the field I’ll lose as I have no shields. I take a risk and [ccProd]Waterspout Gargoyle[/ccProd] both of his creatures, and then I proceed to cast Razorkinder Puppet. There it is, his last [ccProd]Stormspark Blast[/ccProd], had I made any other play I could had just lost the game. Rob runs out of cards in his deck and I take game 1 thanks to [ccProd]Waterspout Gargoyle[/ccProd]!

Game 2:
Rob has another one of those perfect progression games; he casts [ccProd]Crystal Memory[/ccProd] into [ccProd]Mana Storm[/ccProd] and follows it up with [ccProd]Skull Shatter[/ccProd]. Right back to the same spot I was earlier, 5 mana and no cards in my hand. This time he followed it up with [ccProd]Kurragar of the Hordes[/ccProd] and I didn’t get the removal I needed. [ccProd]Kurragar of the Hordes[/ccProd] quickly flooded the field with bodies and he easily swung for game.

Game 3:
I was finally on the play, and this time I knew I couldn’t let him lock me in the same position I was in. I summoned [ccProd]Lux[/ccProd] and [ccProd]Scaradorable of Gloom Hollow[/ccProd] to start attacking with early. He cast [ccProd]Crystal Memory[/ccProd] and followed it with [ccProd]Mana Storm[/ccProd], but I decided to empty my hand and summon [ccProd]Lyra, the Blazing Sun[/ccProd] onto the field and follow it up with [ccProd]Jade Monitor[/ccProd]! I even manage to cast [ccProd]Razorkinder Puppet[/ccProd] and take some of his answers! I swung in and got very unlucky—[ccProd]Bottle of Wishes[/ccProd] pulled out [ccProd]Bolt-Tail Dragon[/ccProd]; something that was bigger than my [ccProd]Lyra, the Blazing Sun[/ccProd], but I didn’t let that slow my down! I let [ccProd]Jade Monitor[/ccProd] take the hit for [ccProd]Lyra, the Blazing Sun[/ccProd]; I cast [ccProd]Crystal Memory[/ccProd] and get another [ccProd]Lux[/ccProd] to place in the Battle zone and keep attacking, but this was it… I swung into two [ccProd]Terror Pit[/ccProd]s and a [ccProd]Crystal Memory[/ccProd]. My [ccProd]Razorkinder Puppet[/ccProd] who was going to attack for game was destroyed along with one of my [ccProd]Lux[/ccProd]. He then banished my other [ccProd]Lux[/ccProd] and attacked over my [ccProd]Lyra, the Blazing Sun[/ccProd] with [ccProd]Bolt-Tail Dragon[/ccProd]. I tried to recover, but he had too much of an advantage and easily controlled the game. I couldn’t do anything as he swung for match!

Total Record: 5-2 (12-4)

I was a bit disappointed that I lost that game, but Top 8 was announced and guess who I was playing against?

Top 8 Round 1: Rob W
Talk about a chance for a rematch! We were going against each other again directly after we had such a close game. During our last match we had at least 20 people surrounding us watching closely!

Game 1:
This time I had known exactly what Rob’s deck does and I was ready for it, but strangely he didn’t get his perfect progression this time. I managed to gain early hand control and [ccProd]Razorkinder Puppet[/ccProd] began dominating the game. I made sure I never had more cards in my hand than I needed; I didn’t want to risk being [ccProd]Skull Shatter[/ccProd]ed and instantly losing the game. [ccProd]Root Trap[/ccProd] dealt with [ccProd]Orion, Radiant Fury[/ccProd] and I then summoned two[ccProd]Andromeda of the Citadel[/ccProd]. There wasn’t much he could do as I used them to attack for game.

Game 2:
Similar to game one he didn’t have the perfect progression, but he wasn’t going to let me have the win so easily! He summoned threat after threat after threat. I had a steady stream of answers, and when he began attacking he managed to trigger a [ccProd]Crystal Memory[/ccProd]! I used the [ccProd]Crystal Memory[/ccProd] to get [ccProd]Andromeda of the Citadel[/ccProd] and that was huge. I dealt with his creatures and summoned [ccProd]Andromeda of the Citadel[/ccProd]; he had me in the red zone, but [ccProd]Andromeda of the Citadel[/ccProd] saved me and I took that momentum and rode it to victory.

Top 4 Round 1: Tyler H
Tyler was another player that was piloting Greed Dragons and was quite friendly. We shuffled up and got ready to play for a shot at the finals! The winner of this would be getting their invite to Seattle!

Game 1:
Tyler summons two [ccProd]Nix[/ccProd] to stare down my lone [ccProd]Lux[/ccProd]. This was a frightening moment; any dragon could have given him to card draws and I’d be in trouble. I summoned [ccProd]Lyra, of the Blazing Sun[/ccProd] and used [ccProd]Lux[/ccProd] to attack over [ccProd]Nix[/ccProd]; next turn I summoned a second [ccProd]Lyra, of the Blazing Sun[/ccProd] and dealt with the other [ccProd]Nix[/ccProd]. I was in a really strong position at this point, and I summoned [ccProd]Razorkinder Puppet[/ccProd]. I summoned [ccProd]Andromeda of the Citadel[/ccProd] and [ccProd]Dracothane of the Abyss[/ccProd]; that was when I began attacking. I swing into [ccProd]Root Trap[/ccProd] and he sends my [ccProd]Andromeda of the Citadel[/ccProd] to the mana zone, and then I keep attacking and hit [ccProd]Bottle of Wishes[/ccProd]! That card is just so absurdly strong. He shuffles up and flips [ccProd]Orion, Radiant Fury[/ccProd]! He taps the rest of my board, but he just didn’t have anymore answers and picks up.

Game 2:
This is a very close game; we spend turns charging mana and passing. I choose to place my [ccProd]Lux[/ccProd] in mana because I’m afraid he has a [ccProd]Herald of Infernus[/ccProd] which would automatically win him the game if I summoned any creatures early. After we hit 5 mana I summon [ccProd]Lux[/ccProd] anyway! He answers it with [ccProd]Bone Blades[/ccProd] and summons [ccProd]Hyperspeed Dragon[/ccProd]. I make a huge misplay right here that given the information I had at the time was the right call. I summon [ccProd]Lyra, of the Blazing Sun[/ccProd] to tap [ccProd]Hyperspeed Dragon[/ccProd] (Instead of summoning [ccProd]Razorkinder Puppet[/ccProd]) and he answers with [ccProd]Moorna, Gatling Dragon[/ccProd] who with fast attack from [ccProd]Hyperspeed Dragon[/ccProd] immediately attacks my [ccProd]Lyra, of the Blazing Sun[/ccProd]. Faced with no answers left to his tapped creatures (My only removal was [ccProd]Death Smoke[/ccProd]) I am forced to try and mitigate the damage he’ll do to me next turn while I try and draw more. I summon [ccProd]Lyra, of the Blazing Sun[/ccProd] on [ccProd]Moorna, Gatling Dragon[/ccProd] and hope to draw removal, but sadly that wasn’t the case. He puts [ccProd]Bolt-Tail Dragon[/ccProd] in his mana which can only mean one thing; the card in his hand is [ccProd]Infernus the Awakened[/ccProd]. This forces me to [ccProd]Death Smoke[/ccProd] [ccProd]Hyperspeed Dragon[/ccProd] or risk instantly losing. [ccProd]Moorna, Gatling Dragon[/ccProd] attacks [ccProd]Lyra, of the Blazing Sun[/ccProd] and he is in too strong of a position. With me falling so far behind from [ccProd]Moorna, Gatling Dragon[/ccProd] he easily builds up creatures and swings for game!

Game 3:
This is it, the final game! I look at my opening hand and my heart sinks a little; this was worse than the hand I got against Sean! I had to hope I could draw out of it though. He summons [ccProd]Herald of Infernus[/ccProd] early; I have to summon [ccProd]Razorkinder Puppet[/ccProd]; I see he has [ccProd]Andromeda of the Citadel[/ccProd] and a [ccProd]Lyra, of the Blazing Sun[/ccProd] an obvious choice—I discard his [ccProd]Lyra, of the Blazing Sun[/ccProd]. He draws his card and summons [ccProd]Lyra, of the Blazing Sun[/ccProd], tapping my [ccProd]Razorkinder Puppet[/ccProd]; ugh! [ccProd]Herald of Infernus[/ccProd] attacks my [ccProd]Razorkinder Puppet[/ccProd] and [ccProd]Andromeda of the Citadel[/ccProd] hits the field. How unlucky! I try to recover but he casts [ccProd]Bottle of Wishes[/ccProd] and flips [ccProd]Orion, Radiant Fury[/ccProd]! Too many threats are just appearing out of no where so early in the game. He attacks in and hits a [ccProd]Crystal Memory[/ccProd]; I search through my deck and see that I don’t have a [ccProd]Stormspark Blast[/ccProd] left in my shields. He will attack for game this turn. I put my deck down and extend the handshake. Tyler is going on to the finals!

Tyler goes on to win the tournament which puts me in 3rd place. All in all it was quite the fun time. I’m a bit disappointed that I didn’t get anything other than a few packs for getting 3rd; I didn’t even win my civilization as they handed those prizes out before Top 8—to add insult to injury I ended up being the highest Darkness player; Tyler didn’t even win his civilization! So without anything to show for it we decide to go to Sonic! There aren’t any in my area so I wanted to take advantage of this rare occasion! We all had a blast at the KMC and we were happy to see that 4 players from our local made it into the Top 10. Myself in 3rd, Charlie in 4th, Domenic in 6th, and Bryan in 9th!

If you haven’t had the chance; make sure you go to a KMC! They are some of the most fun I’ve had in ages! Driving around with your friends to big tournaments is one of the best parts of playing cards!

I'm Andy Criss, also known as Aiden Thorne to the Kaijudo community. I am currently a full time student who works as a part time writer/editor—I also write A LOT about Kaijudo. I've been the administrator of a Kaijudo fan website/forum since before the game was released, this was because I was a strong advocate of Duel Masters. Though Kaijudo is not the only game I play, I often find success in MtG and other popular games. I am well known throughout the Kaijudo community for being a competitive player with great insight; I was a Card of the Day writer, I am article writer for, and I am known on as GatesKaijudo—a hub that I keep exclusively for competitive content.

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