Raid Wing 3 - Stronghold of the Faithful
If there are any terms you don’t recognize in this guide, check out the Glossary!
Glenna will be waiting near the entrance, and she will be needed to breach the gate ahead. Talking to her will start the first encounter after a lengthy conversation.
Siege the Stronghold
After the conversation concludes, all players will gain a 1500 range Special Action Key that calls Glenna to their location.
As the encounter begins there will be a glowing white AoE in front of a raised drawbridge. Moving Glenna into this circle causes her to summon a ley line that players with the appropriate mastery can travel across and pull a lever to lower the bridge. There will be an identical AoE in front of the closed gate ahead. Once inside, Glenna will plant a bomb that blows the gate open.
Progress in this encounter is achieved by moving Glenna to these AoE so that she opens the way ahead. White Mantle soldiers will constantly be moving in to try and prevent this, and should Glenna be killed the event will fail.
At the start of the encounter, Glenna will have 15 stacks of an effect called Surveilled. If a player is not within 1000 units of her she will slowly lose stacks – indicated by a “fear” icon above her head. Should she reach zero then five White Mantle seekers spawn close by and attack her. Whenever a player is close she will regain stacks, and she will not lose them while moving.
Past the gate some White Mantle will spawn in and after killing them the squad is faced with two paths ahead.
The first (main) path leads through a walled courtyard. In front of the entrance are mines. To remove these mines, a player needs to stand inside the white AoE indicator. This will make the mine targetable for destruction. Be wary, as standing inside the smaller red AoE indicator will instantly kill any player (and Glenna). The path ahead will be covered with these mines, and they slowly respawn. When mines respawn, an orange AoE slowly fills and when full the mine reappears and will kill anyone still inside the AoE. Many of the White Mantle in this encounter have knockbacks or fears, so players should be very careful whenever they are near mines.
When a player enters the courtyard more White Mantle will spawn in the courtyard itself, and on the walls surrounding it. Players may use a bouncing mushroom to the right of the entrance to reach the walls, or the stairs on the far side of the courtyard (past some more mines).
Past the courtyard, more White Mantle will spawn in and once they are dead players will find the way ahead blocked: A nearby tower constantly fires highly damaging knockback attacks on the path ahead that makes it impractical to progress.
This is where the second path comes in. The Tunnel of Respite is a cave filled with aggressive mushrooms and an environmental effect called Toxic Spores that reduces healing and constantly deals damage. Players with the Forsaken Thicket Waters mastery can stand in pools of Thicket Waters found throughout the cave that protect and heal players, and are very useful for getting through.
On the other side of the cave is a bouncing mushroom that will take players up to the tower that is firing on the path. On top of this tower is a capture point – when there are more players than enemies stood inside it the tower will start to be captured. Players may deal with this either by knocking the White Mantle to the edge of the tower so that they are outside the circle, or by killing them. Once all the White Mantle are killed a new group will shortly spawn in, but this will not happen as long as there is at least one left alive.
Once captured, the tower will stop firing and a player with the Forsaken Magic mastery may interact with the turret and use it themselves. At the same time, a ley line will spawn that allows players on the ground to reach the tower from the first path. Finally, two Warg Bloodhounds will spawn – one at either end of the main path. These Wargs will move directly towards Glenna and if they are allowed to reach her, will kill her very quickly. The Wargs also speed up once they get close to Glenna, making it very difficult for her to outrun them.
To successfully complete this encounter, the squad will need to balance the following goals:
- Glenna must be safely escorted along the main path.
- The Warg Bloodhounds must be prevented from reaching Glenna.
- Players must kill the waves of White Mantle coming from the stronghold to avoid being overwhelmed.
- The towers must be captured to allow the group to move forward.
It is common to have a single player in control of Glenna to avoid confusion. As this player will naturally be keeping an eye on her, it may be useful to have them be a healer. Glenna should be kept near the back of the group to prevent her from being targeted by the White Mantle.
Warg Bloodhounds coming from the front should be dealt with as a priority by everyone on the main path. The Warg approaching from the rear is more difficult to deal with, as it will distract from moving forward. It is recommended that a single player stay behind the group in order to deal with them solo – the Wargs are immune to hard CC but can be affected by soft CC, which makes condi DPS classes with lots of Immobilize, Chilled or Cripple ideal for this role.
There are many ways to divide the rest of the players between the main path and the towers, but generally the main group should have more players as keeping on top of the White Mantle waves is essential.
It is possible for the tower “group” to consist of a single player that does all the towers alone with enough survivability and combination of pulls and knocks to push all the White Mantle out of the capture point. There are always five white mantle on each tower, so the majority of AoE pulls/knocks will be able to hit them all.
Alternatively, such a player could use portal skills from the tower to quickly move players from the main path to capture the tower and then return to the main path. If done quickly enough it is even possible to leave Glenna alone when doing this.
If remaining on the towers is proving difficult for the tower group, they may return to the main path and use the ley line to return to the towers when necessary. Killing all the White Mantle on a tower will cause them to respawn after a short duration, so leaving one alive may also help.
After capturing a tower, players will move forward to find another white AoE for Glenna. For the rest of the encounter these will now extend the ley line to the next tower. Hence the structure of the encounter is to alternate between capturing towers and Glenna extending the ley line to the next tower that needs to be captured.
There are five towers in total, and once the final one is captured McLeod the Silent will spawn. Once this happens, Glenna will no longer lose stacks of Surveilled so she may be moved to a safe distance in order to prevent the boss aggroing on her. In addition, downed players can now be revived so a player (such as the warg killer) can pick them up and return to the group.
McLeod the Silent
McLeod will occasionally teleport to the most distant player, which can lead to him teleporting onto the tower at the start of the fight. The squad should decide whether to fight him on the tower or on the ground should this happen.
McLeod has a dangerous attack where he rapidly slashes in front of him, quickly inflicting many stacks of Confusion. Players who keep attacking with confusion can quickly down themselves so condition cleanse is recommended.
At 25% health intervals, McLeod will disappear and two clones of him spawn. One has a red and one has a white indicator above their heads, and players will also gain these indicators. A player can only deal damage to the clone with the same indicator as them. Once they are defeated McLeod will reappear, and a Warg Bloodhound will spawn at the gate nearby. As before, this Warg must be killed before it reaches Glenna. As both McLeod and his clones will teleport to players, it may be advantageous for the group to stack on the Warg and let McLeod come to them.
Once McLeod dies, any remaining Wargs will despawn and a final white AoE will appear. Once inside, Glenna will blow the doors and open the way to the next boss.
As players approach Zealot’s Bastion, Keep Construct appears in the middle of the room. Players may enter the room, though getting too close to the boss will start the fight and kill anyone outside.
Keep Construct will aggro on toughness and move towards the tank. For every minute this fight continues, Keep Construct will gain a buff to both its damage and condition damage. This affects not just its regular attack but also the ticking aura, making healing increasingly important over time. In addition to this, Keep Construct has two stacks of a buff called Xera’s Embrace which is related to the eight statues surrounding the edge of the arena. Keep Construct has low toughness, and so power DPS classes are recommended at this encounter.
While it is possible to ignore Xera’s Embrace and phase Keep Construct directly, it has a huge amount of health that most groups will struggle to get through. Instead, Keep Construct can be made vulnerable by stripping both stacks of Xera’s Embrace.
The Insidious Projection that spawns if two projections are allowed to merge is incredibly dangerous, with a large amount of health and very dangerous attacks. They also won’t remove a stack of Xera’s Embrace when dying. As such, the creation of an Insidious Projection early in the fight will often cause a wipe and should be avoided at all costs.
To deal with projections, it is necessary that they are quickly killed once they are close to the boss. The safest method is for the tank to pull Keep Construct to the closest statue once it starts to glow. The projection can quickly be killed on top of the boss and the second projection can then be killed when it arrives. If a projection is taking too long to die, the second fixated player may wish to move away from the boss to keep the projections away from each other until the first one dies. With higher squad DPS, Keep Construct may be tanked closer to the center of the arena to speed up the fight as the projections will take less time to reach the boss.
When both stacks of Xera’s Embrace have been removed, Keep Construct will gain a defiance bar (strength: 3500), and breaking it will progress the fight.
While this is happening, Keep Construct will also use start one of two mechanics.
The mechanic chosen is random, and will be interrupted if Keep Construct is broken. It is therefore possible to ignore these mechanics if the group is able to remove Xera’s Embrace and break the boss quickly enough. Due to the later spawn and more generous timings of the phantasm mechanic, many groups choose to ignore this mechanic and only deal with Xera’s Fury.
If the squad is not ignoring the mechanic, it is recommended that both are dealt with the same way: Kill the first projection, then have the tank and remaining fixated player stay on the boss while everyone else deals with the mechanic. Afterwards the squad can kill the second phantasm and break the defiance bar.
Once the defiance bar is broken, Keep Construct will become invulnerable and disappear. Three invulnerable phantasms will spawn at the north, south-east and south-west of the arena, with a green circle surrounding each. The green circle will empty of color and there must be a minimum of two players standing in each before they empty completely. Failure to do so will instantly cause a wipe. Downed players do not count for this purpose.
Following this, a Construct Core will appear in the center of the arena and five unstable ley rifts will open. The core cannot be killed by players, and will move a short distance away from anything that damages it. For each rift the core is moved through, Keep Construct will gain a debuff called Compromised that causes it to take 75% extra damage.
In order to best control the core, it is common for a single player to be given the job of “pushing” it around the arena – typically a class with fast attacks. Other players should ensure that they do not accidentally damage the core as it is being pushed, and pets should be kept on passive to prevent them attacking it. Complicating the matter are retriever projections that spawn around the arena and move towards the core, and the outer edge of the arena itself glows red, dealing heavy damage to players that stand in it and instantly destroying the core. The core is susceptible to control effects, so players other than the pusher can use pulls (or riskier, knocks) to keep the core away from the retrievers. In addition to this, Mesmer Projections will continue to spawn and must be dealt with appropriately – it can be very helpful if players that become fixated remain near the spawn location of the projection until the rest of the squad are able to focus on them.
Once the core has been pushed through all five rifts or destroyed/retrieved, then Keep Construct will reappear. Provided the core was pushed through at least one rift, Keep Construct will take increased damage and be stunned for 20 seconds (meaning that and traits that trigger on disabled targets will work). Players should focus on dealing as much damage to Keep Construct, so fixated players should try to move projections into the boss’s hitbox so that it can be cleaved down without taking attention away from the boss (assuming there is not already another projection).
Keep Construct will phase if it reaches 66% health. If this happens before stun/compromised runs out, it may be better to do fewer rifts in order to try and make the burn phase as close to 20 seconds as possible – as Keep Construct constantly gains power, any time saving that can be made is an advantage. If doing fewer than five rifts, then the core can simply be knocked to the edge of the arena or left to be retrieved.
Conversely, if the squad is not able to phase Keep Construct before the end of the burn phase then the fight will continue as before, by removing stacks of Xera’s Embrace and breaking it. Attention should be paid to the health of the boss in this case: as projections will still be spawning, it is possible that both stacks of Xera’s Embrace will already be removed. If the boss is near to phasing, it may be better to avoid breaking it rather than have to repeat the core phase.
Should the squad fail to phase Keep Construct, it is likely they will encounter a new attack, Phantasmal Blades.
Orb Phase (66%)
At 33% health intervals, Keep Construct will throw its arms wide and become invulnerable. Red and white orbs will spawn at the edge of the arena and move towards the boss. Players will also gain a red or white icon above their head. Walking into an orb that matches the color above the player’s head will absorb it and deal a small amount of damage – everyone should be careful not to down themselves by taking too many orbs. After around 30 seconds, Keep Construct will become vulnerable again and perform a . For every orb that reached the boss (to a maximum of 35), this attack will deal 3% of each player’s max health and cannot be avoided.
Immediately following , Keep Construct will begin . It is recommended that players stack up for healing/boons and keep attacking the boss. It is possible to melee Keep Construct during , but the distance at which this can be done safely is very narrow.
After finishes, Projections will start to spawn again and Keep Construct will use . Hence it is important that the tethered player positions themselves close to where the squad intends to kill the first projection.
Be aware that shortly after the Xera’s Fury/Phantasms mechanic occurs, Keep Construct will repeat . Players should avoid the AoEs while completing the mechanic, and if the tank/fixated player stays on the boss they should be sure not to stand too close due to the AoE surrounding Keep Construct itself.
Otherwise, this phase will continue as the first did, and progress through Core → Burn → Orb phases.
The third phase adds one final mechanic, Hail of Fury.
This attack will be performed after , and immediately after it ends Keep Construct will begin . Keep Construct is not targetable during , but still exists in the location it jumped from. Therefore Projections that die at that location will still strip a stack of Xera’s Embrace.
Otherwise, this phase will continue as the first did, and progress through Core → Burn phases.
It is worth noting that as Keep Construct cannot be attacked during , it will have taken less damage than in previous phases. Thus groups that have been pushing the core through fewer than five rifts may wish to do an additional one during the Core phase to offset this.
Following the defeat of Keep Construct, players will see a cutscene in which Xera tears apart the castle ahead of the squad, creating a maze of broken walkways and portals.
Players will be afflicted with the Madness effect within the castle. This debuff slowly gains stacks and applies various effects at different thresholds.
In the center of the castle is a rotating broken statue. If the player’s character is facing this statue then they will gain madness stacks at an increased rate (it is only the character that cannot face it, the camera can).
Within the maze are several hazards: In addition to groups of White Mantle, there are “fake” floors that players can fall through. These can be identified by a faint shimmer effect. More dangerous are the Haunting Statues. These statues are almost unkillable and will remain stationary as long as a character is looking at them, but will rush towards players if not. Players that touch the red AoE surrounding the statue will be ported back to the start of the Twisted Castle. Unfortunately the sight mechanic is not completely reliable so statues may move even while a character is looking at them – to help prevent this is can be helpful to target a statue and autoattack it from range to ensure that your character is facing it.
To progress through the castle, players must defeat groups of White Mantle, which will open portals to the different areas in the castle. The squad will occasionally find the way blocked by a closed door, and these doors are opened by a button found elsewhere in the castle. The final gate itself can only be opened when five buttons have been pressed, though which five is unimportant.
The image below shows the locations of doors and their corresponding buttons, as well as critical paths through the castle.
The red arrows indicate the critical path that must be taken through the castle. This path provides access to buttons 1, 4 and 5, two of which also open doors along the critical path. The critical path also requires button 7 to be pressed in order to open a gate, so a second team will need to proceed along the green path. This leaves one button remaining to be pressed, the options for which are indicated by the blue paths. By far the easiest is button 2, which can be done by a single player from the green team and requires no extra combat.
Be aware that there are multiple skips that can be performed by players with certain movement skills. These can be used to activate buttons or skip parts of the critical path. A very popular route is to have the entire group follow the green path: One player with a long-range leap skill can jump down to press button 1 after defeating the second group of White Mantle, while a second player heads north to press button 2. When the group reaches the point above button 5, a player with a portal skill can dodge down onto the arch at the top of the stairs and portal everyone else down after them. At least one player should remain up top. Once the White Mantle near button 5 have been defeated the group can press button 4, which allows those that remained up top to access button 7. Everyone can then follow the red path to the end of the castle. Note that if necessary, players without fall-damage traits can survive the drop down to button 5 by dodging off the edge and aiming for the apex of the arch.
Once a player interacts with the last gate everyone may progress through the portal to the final boss of the wing.
Players begin on a small circular platform. Ahead of them is a second platform upon which Xera stands. She can be freely approached without starting the encounter. This platform is one of six broken towers surrounding the main arena that will appear soon. Attacking Xera reveals her to be a mesmer illusion, and when she shatters the encounter will begin.
Two ley lines will spawn, leading to each of the adjacent towers. The squad should split into two approximately even groups and take one side each. On each side is an identical setup: A bloodstone shard sits in the center of the platform, protected by a shield. Surrounding the shard are three Unstable Ley Rifts and three orbs called Exquisite Conjunctions. Similar to Keep Construct, the orbs must be pushed into the rifts via attacks or pulls/pushes. Each rift will close when an orb touches it, so each orb must go to a separate rift. It may be advantageous for the group to assign players to controlling specific orbs and/or all attempt to push the orbs clockwise or anti-clockwise. Rotating around the shard are three small orange AoEs. Should an orb touch one of these AoEs it will be destroyed and take a few seconds to respawn.
As this happens, a massive illusion of Xera’s will appear in the center of the towers. While this illusion has no effect on its own it can obstruct the camera of players as it moves around. In addition, 30 seconds after the ley line spawns to a tower Xera will ensnare the tower causing both the ley line and the tower itself to disappear and dealing heavy damage to anyone still there.
While on the towers, players will gain stacks of the Derangement debuff every few seconds. As the number of stacks on a player increases this has a similar effect as Madness from the Twisted Castle. Destroying a bloodstone shard will remove eight stacks of Derangement from each nearby player if they have the Forsaken Magic mastery.
Once all three rifts have been closed, the shield will drop on the bloodstone shard and it may be damaged. Attacking the shard causes pieces to splinter off that deal a small amount of damage and apply Confusion. Once the shard is destroyed a ley line will spawn to the next tower.
Similar to the first tower, there is a shielded bloodstone shard in the center. This time though, players must stand on each of the three buttons near the edge of the platform. If all three are stood on simultaneously then the shield will drop, however each second the button is stood on causes stacks of a unique debuff to build up on the player. Should they reach 10 stacks the player will be damaged for 100% of their maximum health. This effect can be mitigated by the use of barrier or other damage-avoiding effects, though it may be simpler for three players (preferably capable of ranged damage) to be assigned a button each, and to rotate one button clockwise or anticlockwise once they reach nine stacks of the debuff.
Once the shard is destroyed a ley line will spawn to the final platform, where both sides will join one another. The mechanics on these towers will be revisited later in the fight.
After a short delay, a large tower and accompanying ley line will spawn. Upon this tower is the real Xera, and when players approach she will aggro on the character with the highest toughness.
Like the smaller towers, the platform that Xera is on is divided into 12 sections like a clock (each marked with the New Krytan numerals for 1-12). As such, directions on this platform may be given in terms of clock positions. Be aware that 12 o’clock does not align with north.
It is important that the tank aims Xera away from the rest of the group as can easily down players caught in it.
Shortly after the squad engages Xera, three phantasms will spawn close to the boss, and around 15 seconds after engaging Xera, a group of three White Mantle soldiers will spawn at a random location between the center and platform edge. A new group of projections and White Mantle will spawn every 25 seconds.
Both these groups of enemies deal relatively minor damage but they should be cleaved down quickly, as they will interact with another element of the fight. They are susceptible to conditions and control effects so pulls, blinds and stuns are all effective.
Every 10 seconds, a bloodstone fragment will spawn at the edge of the arena starting at one o’clock (south) and progressing clockwise. Surrounding each fragment is a large AoE that increases stacks of derangement while you are stood in it, and destroying the fragment will remove stacks. While enemies are stood in this AoE, their conditions will be converted into boons. This can make the adds very dangerous which is why they need to be killed efficiently. It is also important that the tank not allow Xera to stand inside the fragment AoEs as it will make her even more dangerous as well as severely reducing the damage from condition-based classes.
As Xera remains stationary until she is broken, it is important to keep her as far away from bloodstone fragments as possible, as the increased spawn rate can cause them to “catch up” with her. Also consider that the shards can convert her Chill into Alacrity, which will lower the cooldown of the majority of her attacks.
The final key mechanic in this fight is the most important.
As this mechanic can cause an instant wipe, handling it correctly is essential. Placement of the bubble needs to be delayed by at least five seconds to ensure it will still be active when the attack hits, and if the squad is moving it need to be placed somewhere safe. An audio cue accompanies the attack which indicates how soon it will happen, and the “deadly attack” message can also be used as an indicator as it disappears approximately five seconds before the attack hits. Note that for the 40% and 20% Ambient Magics this second message does not appear.
The Ambient Magic attack is particularly noteworthy as it will cancel or delay almost every other mechanic should the timings coincide. This means that enemy spawns could be delayed and with very high DPS its even possible for the Temporal Shred and/or Gravity Well mechanics to be skipped entirely.
While high DPS groups may be able to skip mechanics, the majority of squads will need to play around them. The bloodstone fragments and Gravity Well attack can easily be avoided by staying in the center of the platform, but the Temporal Shred attack makes this unfeasible. The group will need to stand near the edge of the platform during Temporal Shred and the area will need to be cleared of bloodstone fragments to enable this. The location must also not coincide with the Gravity Well coverage. Broadly speaking there are three styles of tanking that could be employed here:
- The squad can “chase” the bloodstone fragments around the edge of the arena, ensuring that they are always the furthest from newly spawning fragments while destroying those ahead of them. Depending on the speed Xera’s defiance bar is broken, the tank may need to pause at intervals to avoid entering the area the gravity well will spawn.
- The squad can stay in the center of the platform and clear bloodstone fragments around locations that will be safe from both Temporal Shred and the Gravity Well. Once Temporal Shred starts, the group can move to the cleared area and then return to the center afterwards to clear the next area.
- The squad can pick a single location at the edge and clear nearby bloodstone fragments as they spawn. Chosen correctly, minimal movement will ensure safety from the Gravity Well for the first three appearances, though the group would need to move to a new location for the fourth.
The strategy that works best will depend upon the squad’s ability to clear the fragments. Strategy 1 leaves the most time to clear them, though strategies which involve constant movement result in less DPS. Approach 3 requires very fast clearing as there will be periods where fragments spawn on top of the group so the longer they are active the more dangerous Xera (and adds) will be.
In phase 1 the pattern of gravity wells is as follows:
For strategy 2, the tank can pull Xera to 11 o’clock after the first gravity well, as fragments should not have spawned there yet. After Temporal Shred the squad can stay in the center or clear fragments around 8 o’clock and stay there for the rest of the phase, depending on DPS.
For strategy 3, the squad should stay near where they land at 2 o’clock. Fragments will be spawning on the group initially, so they must be cleared quickly. If the group does not have the DPS to phase Xera before the fourth Gravity Well then they should move to the center of the platform after the third, clear shards around 8 o’clock, and move there.
Once Xera reaches 50% health, she will despawn and the platform will be cleared of shards and adds. A ley line spawns to the south of the platform leading back to one of the outer towers.
Split Phase (50%)
Shortly after arriving on the tower, a charged bloodstone will appear in the center of it. Destroying this spawns a ley line to the next tower clockwise. On each tower there will a charged bloodstone that must be destroyed to create a ley line to the next. The towers themselves reconfigure themselves into random arrangements – some may require climbing up some steps to reach the bloodstone while others position a wall in front of the ley line, forcing players to glide around it to land on the tower.
As players land on each island, multiple AoEs start spawning that hit you with , stacking up Torment and stacks of derangement. Destroying these bloodstones does not remove stacks of derangement, so if a player is hit by too many they can quickly build up stacks and be afflicted with multiple other conditions. For this reason it is recommended that the squad try to stay as close together as possible and continually use heals and condition cleanses as they progress. If the squad takes too long then Xera will ensnare the tower as at the start of the encounter. Conversely, if the group is too fast they may discover that the tower ahead is still ensnared, and landing on it will cause damage.
Once a full circuit has been performed and the squad is back at the south tower, a ley line will spawn leading back to the main tower.
Phase 2 plays out much the same as the first, with the following exceptions:
- Bloodstone Fragments – These now spawn anti-clockwise, beginning at 1 o’clock as before.
- Gravity Well – This attack now occurs every 25 seconds, and the pattern is now as follows:
- Temporal Shred – This attack now occurs every 65 seconds.
Due to the fact that there are three occurrences of Ambient Magic in this phase, the timings of many mechanics can vary.
At 40% and 20% health (coinciding with the Ambient Magic attack), Xera will teleport five random players other than the tank to one of the nearby towers. These towers will have the same setup as those at the start of the encounter and must be completed in the same way. The first will feature rifts and conjunctions, and the second will have buttons. Once players destroy the bloodstone shard on these towers they will be teleported back to the platform and gain a buff called Hero’s Return for 10 seconds. This buff prevents stacks of derangement from being applied and makes players immune to being floated by the Gravity Well, in addition to reducing damage taken.
On each tower there is a portal that permits one player to return to the platform early. It is advisable that a healer use this portal if there are none left on the main platform.
In this phase, squads using tanking strategy 2 should pull Xera to 4 o’clock after the first Gravity Well as fragments shouldn’t have spawned there yet. After Temporal Shred, the squad should return to the center, clear fragments around 7 o’clock and move there. The fourth gravity well and Temporal Shred will coincide, so after this the squad can return to the center and clear shards around 11 o’clock. The squad should be able to kill Xera there.
If the squad is following strategy 3, then they should move straight to 11 o’clock. If they will not kill Xera before the fourth Gravity Well, then they should clear shards towards 2 o’clock, and move there after the third Gravity Well has ended.
Thanks to Linus, who made the original Xera images for the Guild Wars 2 Wiki.
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