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Imran Sayyed
10-11-2016, 02:53 PM
Hey everyone I want your review on tiago apolonia zlc. I wanted to know about its feel compared to JMSZLC as well as ZJSZLC when you topspin or counter loop. I am currently owning a viscaria which has kinda a dead feel when you spin and the clicking sound of good spin is kind of very less. Can u please help me with that? I also wanted to know how it plays against backspin n is it consistent in long topspin rallies when you are spinning. Also i wanted to know if there is any better consistent blade .Reply is appreciated


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Sakumi
10-11-2016, 04:01 PM
Hey everyone I want your review on tiago apolonia zlc. I wanted to know about its feel compared to JMSZLC as well as ZJSZLC when you topspin or counter loop. I am currently owning a viscaria which has kinda a dead feel when you spin and the clicking sound of good spin is kind of very less. Can u please help me with that? I also wanted to know how it plays against backspin n is it consistent in long topspin rallies when you are spinning. Also i wanted to know if there is any better consistent blade .Reply is appreciated


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If you have a Viscaria why does your equipment say that you have an IF ALC?

UpSideDownCarl
10-11-2016, 05:19 PM
Suggesting NITTAKU Acoustic.


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laistrogian
10-11-2016, 05:22 PM
MJ SZLC feels harder, with more crisp feeling and bigger sweet spot compared to apolonia ZLC. It's a more linear blade in terms of speed but it is a half or a notch faster than apolonia.

Are you having problem with viscaria when you're pushing? I think when it comes to looping, ALC or ZLC comes down to preference. ALC has way more carbon distinct feel compared to ZLC, at least when comparing Maze ALC to MJ SZLC.

What is your current level of playing? If you're a beginner or developing player, stay away from any of the three blades. They are too fast for people at that level.

Imran Sayyed
10-11-2016, 06:16 PM
My age is 14 and I have been playing national and few international tournaments in juniors category. I was doing pretty well with innerforce al n then I changed to carbon which is viscaria two months back. Though my backhand improved a lot by playing with viscaria but my forehand topspin started becoming worse. My consistency of topspin was also decreasing . It gave me a very dead response when I used to spin rather than giving that click sound. I then tried my friends JMSZLC and I felt the feeling was amazing. It gave me a great clicking feedback and a crisp feeling which was very good. After Dan's review of tiago apolonia zlc I felt that it had very good control and feeling as stated by Dan. I don't really know how it is as I can't try as none of my friends have it,plz help

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Imran Sayyed
10-11-2016, 06:23 PM
Suggesting NITTAKU Acoustic.


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Carl have you tried acoustic? How is the feeling while looping? How does it perform as i open and punch from my backhand pretty often? How is the close to the table play? And the backhand flick as well as how does it play against backspin? Is it good for drives and also why is it better than acoustic carbon?

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UpSideDownCarl
10-11-2016, 08:34 PM
Carl have you tried acoustic? How is the feeling while looping? How does it perform as i open and punch from my backhand pretty often? How is the close to the table play? And the backhand flick as well as how does it play against backspin? Is it good for drives and also why is it better than acoustic carbon?

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You should look for footage of Ma Long from back in 2009 or 2008 when he was using a Nittaku Acoustic.

It is an awesome blade. But not a carbon blade. It is one of the best looping blades and has amazing feel. It should be a little faster than the IF AL. But not as fast as a Viscaria.

What was wrong with your Innerforce AL? That is a nice blade. So is there a reason you want to go with a faster carbon blade.

If yes the Apolonia is an awesome step up from the IF AL.


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Shuki
10-11-2016, 08:36 PM
I don't think accoustic is amazing for punch blocks. Although it's certainly good at every aspect of the game, it's best qualities shine when looping. It's flexible with a soft outer ply. Best thing about the blade is the control, it's all wood so you'll develop your strokes better since you're not using a crutch. Remember that ma long used an accoustic for a huge part of his career. So there's no reason to ever think you'll need more power:


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Shuki
10-11-2016, 08:52 PM
I'm going to throw in that if you want to maintain that strong punch block you get a tenor. It's the next in nittakus instrumental series. Same composition as the accoustic, just a bit thicker.


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UpSideDownCarl
10-11-2016, 09:17 PM
So, the actual important piece is this:

What made you decide to change from the Innerforce AL?

5 ply all wood blades like the Nittaku Acoustic are generally better for spin, control and looping. But if you wanted carbon, my opinion is the Butterfly carbon blades are better than carbon blades from any other company.


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Ilia Minkin
10-11-2016, 09:35 PM
What does your coach think?

Jabugo
10-11-2016, 09:39 PM
My age is 14 and I have been playing national and few international tournaments in juniors category. I was doing pretty well with innerforce al n then I changed to carbon which is viscaria two months back. Though my backhand improved a lot by playing with viscaria but my forehand topspin started becoming worse. My consistency of topspin was also decreasing . It gave me a very dead response when I used to spin rather than giving that click sound. I then tried my friends JMSZLC and I felt the feeling was amazing. It gave me a great clicking feedback and a crisp feeling which was very good. After Dan's review of tiago apolonia zlc I felt that it had very good control and feeling as stated by Dan. I don't really know how it is as I can't try as none of my friends have it,plz help

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Everyone here has great points, particularly looping blade recommendations since you want to improve your forehand loop.

But I would like to ask why you don't consider the JMSZLC since you have tried your friend's and it is exactly the feeling that you are looking for?
I will assume cost is not an issue since your blades combined plus the Apolonia ZLC you're considering already exceed the cost of JMSZLC. If you purchase something you have not tried yet, you will often end up with something you do not really want, or you will have compromises.

Imran Sayyed
10-12-2016, 01:22 AM
So, the actual important piece is this:

What made you decide to change from the Innerforce AL?

5 ply all wood blades like the Nittaku Acoustic are generally better for spin, control and looping. But if you wanted carbon, my opinion is the Butterfly carbon blades are better than carbon blades from any other company.


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I had never tried a carbon blade and I wanted to change and get a carbon as I wanted to see if it improves my games in any aspect and yes it gave me a great outcome in my backhand zone. As carbon has become more advanced these days so I wanted to try it out . Btw my punching was very good with IF AL . Carl is it good for driving and I can get used to the speed of blade in few days. Why is acoustic better when u compare with tiago apolonia zlc? Can u give a brief comparison please?


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UpSideDownCarl
10-12-2016, 01:54 AM
I had never tried a carbon blade and I wanted to change and get a carbon as I wanted to see if it improves my games in any aspect and yes it gave me a great outcome in my backhand zone. As carbon has become more advanced these days so I wanted to try it out . Btw my punching was very good with IF AL . Carl is it good for driving and I can get used to the speed of blade in few days. Why is acoustic better when u compare with tiago apolonia zlc? Can u give a brief comparison please?


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Apolonia blade is great. It might. Be very good for you. If you are at a level where you have played some international matches it might be excellent for you.

But I think a lot of times people who would be better off in the long run with an all wood blade like an Acoustic and they go for a carbon blade that does more of the work for them.

Think about this. Ma Long used an Acoustic till he was about 20. Go watch footage of him back when he was using the Acoustic.

A blade like an Acoustic can help you develop your technique a little better because it won't do all the work for you. You will have to earn some of the power.

But it does sound like you are at a level where you could use whatever you want.

BTW: my guess on what happened with the FH from IF AL to Viscaria is that the IF AL is way softer and gets way more spin when looping. And the Viscaria is way harder and you need a totally different touch for spinning the ball. If you stuck with the Viscaria for long enough you might find the right impact for looping with a Koto top ply. But the Apolonia blade will have the same wood as the IF Al but with the carbon added. So if you are going to get a carbon blade it really may be a good choice.

The top ply of a JM ZLC and the Apolonia are the same wood. And that is the same wood as the top ply of your IF AL so it is likely that part of what you felt is that you like Limba when you tried the JM SZLC which also has the same top ply.

Acoustic also has a very similar construction with a Limba top ply. It just doesn't have carbon which will help you get more spin.


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UpSideDownCarl
10-12-2016, 01:57 AM
Shuki is right though. Even if an Acoustic would be better for you, you may like a Nittaku Tenor better than the Acoustic because it has more power. But for that extra power you lose some flex.

An OSP Virtuoso Plus or an OSP Martin may also be really good for you.

And since I mentioned a 7 ply wood blade with a Limba top ply like the OSP Martin, I should probably mention the Stiga Clipper which is the blade that Wang Liqin used for his whole career. And he had one of the best forehands ever.


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Der_Echte
10-12-2016, 05:35 AM
It was the call of the wild and the BTY Goon Squad tempting the OP to switch...

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Imran Sayyed
10-12-2016, 01:48 PM
Apolonia blade is great. It might. Be very good for you. If you are at a level where you have played some international matches it might be excellent for you.

But I think a lot of times people who would be better off in the long run with an all wood blade like an Acoustic and they go for a carbon blade that does more of the work for them.

Think about this. Ma Long used an Acoustic till he was about 20. Go watch footage of him back when he was using the Acoustic.

A blade like an Acoustic can help you develop your technique a little better because it won't do all the work for you. You will have to earn some of the power.

But it does sound like you are at a level where you could use whatever you want.

BTW: my guess on what happened with the FH from IF AL to Viscaria is that the IF AL is way softer and gets way more spin when looping. And the Viscaria is way harder and you need a totally different touch for spinning the ball. If you stuck with the Viscaria for long enough you might find the right impact for looping with a Koto top ply. But the Apolonia blade will have the same wood as the IF Al but with the carbon added. So if you are going to get a carbon blade it really may be a good choice.

The top ply of a JM ZLC and the Apolonia are the same wood. And that is the same wood as the top ply of your IF AL so it is likely that part of what you felt is that you like Limba when you tried the JM SZLC which also has the same top ply.

Acoustic also has a very similar construction with a Limba top ply. It just doesn't have carbon which will help you get more spin.


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I really didn't have any idea about the Limba top ply as you mentioned.igyess you are right viscaria feels much harder . If apolonia has a feel like AL and JMSZLC it sounds great and as u mentioned it has more power to it too. I guess my technique is pretty good and I have been playing with IF AL fr 4 years now. Can u tell me why acoustic could be better than apolonia zlc please? And also is apolonia or acoustic good in driving the ball I mean fast topspin

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Liten
10-12-2016, 03:48 PM
Thing I think Carl is trying to say is that there is always a tradeoff.
A wood blade rated all + to off - is usually a good place to start if you feel the carbon blades beeing too stiff/hard/uncontrollable/no feedback/too fast etc etc..

Best thing to do is to try and find clubmembers with blades that you may try..

Also: pairing the blade with rubbers that suit your playing - DO have a role to play .. not to forget.. :)

UpSideDownCarl
10-12-2016, 04:23 PM
Here is some footage from back in 2008. I'm pretty sure that is an Acoustic Ma Long is using:


https://youtu.be/DAVa1DD2c4E

When I can, I will explain the theories on what will cause your level to top out higher.


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UpSideDownCarl
10-12-2016, 06:49 PM
So, let's see if I can do this subject justice.

The concept of "better", in regards to a "blade that would be better for YOU," still actually needs a context.

Is the context, what will give you the fastest shots? Or, what will give the most spin? Or, what will give you the best balance between spin and speed? Or, what will help you to win the most games now, today? OR, what will ultimately help you develop to the highest level in the long run, say, 4-5 years down the line?

If the fastest blade was the priority, then a blade like a Schlager Carbon would be ideal.

If, winning games right now, and/or best balance between speed and spin was the priority than a JM ZLC or an Apolonia blade might be what you want.

But if your concern is being at as high a level as possible 5 years from now, then the Acoustic or the Tenor just may be better for you.

Why? Well, it is a little slower. It doesn't have carbon. And it is a great blade for any level player as demonstrated by Ma Long using one through most of his under 18 career. That is worth repeating. Ma Long used that blade for his young career as he was developing.

Okay, so, let's see if I can explain why that was such an intelligent choice for Ma Long.

When baseball players wait in the on deck circle getting ready to bat, they put a weight called a doughnut on the end of the bat to make it heavier. Then when they swing for real the bat feels lighter and they can put more power into their swing.

The analogy is not completely parallel. I am saying that using a slightly slower 5 ply would blade with flex would, over the next several years cause you to top out at your peak level at a higher level.

The reason: carbon does a lot of the work for you so it makes it so your stroke does not have to be as good, so your timing doesn't have to be as precise, so your contact does not have to be so precise. And the tendency with that scenario is for people to accept good enough technique and this scenario does slow the development of power from the hips, legs and core, timing and precision contact; because with acarbon blade, the technique is "good enough". But with a wood blade you would still feel the room for improvement, your, your nervous system would register the need for better timing, better contact, more power from the hips, legs and core so you would develop those things to a higher level.

The Acoustic or the Tenor will make you need to work a little harder and be a little more precise. In the short term, it will feel like you are working harder. In the long term you will be rewarded with higher level technique.

In the end, it would be your choice. The Apolonia is a great choice for the short term, for having fun, for hitting the ball harder when less effort. You still would be able to get to a very high level with that blade. And if you were to get to a level like top 200, it wouldn't stop you from that.

But the Acoustic or the Tenor may get your technique a shade higher in the long run.

So it depends on what context you are thinking from, when you decide which blade would be "better" for you. I hope that makes sense.


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Imran Sayyed
10-12-2016, 07:51 PM
Thank you very much for your help. It is really appreciated

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UpSideDownCarl
10-12-2016, 10:47 PM
Thank you very much for your help. It is really appreciated

Glad I could help broaden the scope of how you are looking at equipment so you can make more informed decisions.



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Jabugo
10-13-2016, 06:34 PM
So, let's see if I can do this subject justice.

The concept of "better", in regards to a "blade that would be better for YOU," still actually needs a context.

Is the context, what will give you the fastest shots? Or, what will give the most spin? Or, what will give you the best balance between spin and speed? Or, what will help you to win the most games now, today? OR, what will ultimately help you develop to the highest level in the long run, say, 4-5 years down the line?

If the fastest blade was the priority, then a blade like a Schlager Carbon would be ideal.

If, winning games right now, and/or best balance between speed and spin was the priority than a JM ZLC or an Apolonia blade might be what you want.

But if your concern is being at as high a level as possible 5 years from now, then the Acoustic or the Tenor just may be better for you.

Why? Well, it is a little slower. It doesn't have carbon. And it is a great blade for any level player as demonstrated by Ma Long using one through most of his under 18 career. That is worth repeating. Ma Long used that blade for his young career as he was developing.

Okay, so, let's see if I can explain why that was such an intelligent choice for Ma Long.

When baseball players wait in the on deck circle getting ready to bat, they put a weight called a doughnut on the end of the bat to make it heavier. Then when they swing for real the bat feels lighter and they can put more power into their swing.

The analogy is not completely parallel. I am saying that using a slightly slower 5 ply would blade with flex would, over the next several years cause you to top out at your peak level at a higher level.

The reason: carbon does a lot of the work for you so it makes it so your stroke does not have to be as good, so your timing doesn't have to be as precise, so your contact does not have to be so precise. And the tendency with that scenario is for people to accept good enough technique and this scenario does slow the development of power from the hips, legs and core, timing and precision contact; because with acarbon blade, the technique is "good enough". But with a wood blade you would still feel the room for improvement, your, your nervous system would register the need for better timing, better contact, more power from the hips, legs and core so you would develop those things to a higher level.

The Acoustic or the Tenor will make you need to work a little harder and be a little more precise. In the short term, it will feel like you are working harder. In the long term you will be rewarded with higher level technique.

In the end, it would be your choice. The Apolonia is a great choice for the short term, for having fun, for hitting the ball harder when less effort. You still would be able to get to a very high level with that blade. And if you were to get to a level like top 200, it wouldn't stop you from that.

But the Acoustic or the Tenor may get your technique a shade higher in the long run.

So it depends on what context you are thinking from, when you decide which blade would be "better" for you. I hope that makes sense.


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Carl, if a university taught table tennis theory, you'd be one of the top professors there. I've learned so much from you since joining. Thank you!

I want to add though that although Ma Long sets the example for an ideal path to long term accomplishment, it's still up to the individual and his/her physical and mental abilities to choose their learning path. What I mean is that Ma Long's path may not be the best path to long term development success for everyone, although his track record makes the strongest case for it. From personal witness, I have an older relative (mid 50s) that started only a year and a half ago with an instructor around 2500 rating at ICC. The instructor put together a training racquet made up of two black sheets of H3 neo provincial on a $20 Joola Carbon. Aside from changing out worn rubber once, his setup has remained the same, and he now has very solid basic strokes and forehand loops consistently enough to play well in league. I last played him early this week and mentioned to him that his rubber looks like it's been through the garbage disposal to which he replied that his instructor still thinks it's good. The point is that it may not be necessary for better development with an all wood blade.

Another example at a less personal level is Fan Zhendong. Unlike Ma Long, he's played mostly with a Viscaria through his later teen years. I don't know if it's Viscaria or Carbonado now, but he's still developing his game around a carbon blade.

Vrael
10-13-2016, 07:09 PM
I think the important thing to remember is that blade has to lay great in hand. After trying a lot of blades last year I have realised that even blades like Timo Boll Spirit can feel much better than all wood 5 ply blades that have uncomfortable handles. For example I loved Innerforce ZLF, but I never got used to Liu Shiwen with very small FL handle.

I agree with Carl, but we need to remember that every player is different just like Jabugo said. Some players might need the feeling that they are doing great right now in this moment and that keeps them motivated to train even harder and harder and allows them to have more fun.

I think that OP could easly choose blades from Innerforce series. They might have some carbon, but still maintain the woody feeling. That little feeling that You might lose comparing them to all wood blades might not be so important if You have coach, because he will tell you when you are doing something wrong. you don't have to rely only on the feeling to teach yourself. If you didn't have coach then all wood blade would be better, but since You are already playing on high level and have a coach then I can't see anything bad in choosing any blade from innerforce series.

I don't know if it is good topic to ask that, but it might help OP. Anyone has any idea how innerforce layer zlf and alc-s might behave compared to each other ? I mean, zlf is of course focused on spin, but it seems alc-s will also be focused on spin. I read on butterfly.jp their description, but it seemed very simillar to each other

UpSideDownCarl
10-13-2016, 10:41 PM
Carl, if....

Another example at a less personal level is Fan Zhendong.

This is why I said:


In the end, it would be your choice.

And this:


Apolonia blade is great. It might. Be very good for you. If you are at a level where you have played some international matches it might be excellent for you.

But regardless of those statements, the question was why do I think the Acoustic could be better for him.

As far as I'm concerned he is probably at a level where he can use anything, at least based on his stated level. But that does not change the fact that, from a sub-cortical neural response standpoint, a wood blade would cause his technique to top out at a higher level.

It would have done that with FZD too which is scary to think about. And it would have done that with the older gent you referenced.

I know plenty of people who are trying to improve and are still in the early stages of developing technique who chose a blade like a Viscaria or a TB ALC and still develop quite well. So you can do it. But they would have developed even better and even faster with an basic, 5 ply, all wood blade.

Then you have to consider what you are playing for too. So, if it is about fun and the addiction to speed, which a good carbon blade can really get you hooked on, that really may be okay. I love blasting the ball from mid-distance with any number of carbon blades. Totally fun and it feels great in your hand.

But a carbon blade also causes you to not feel certain things that, if you felt them, it would help you refine your feel, touch and contact. With the right all wood blade those things would refine themselves on a Sub-Cortical level (on an unconscious level). You wouldn't even know those things were improving and they would improve because the feel and flex of the all wood, 5 ply blade would allow you to feel that much more.

Here is how that works: on a great composite blade like the Apolonia, good contact feels good. Bad contact feels almost as good as good contact because the carbon actually masks your minor and even, to a certain extent, your larger, mishits. So a mishit still feels good and the shot is still acceptably good.

With an all wood blade of the caliber of an Acoustic, good contact feels good and you are rewarded with a better shot. And not so good contact feels, not so good. Your brain picks up the difference because there is no carbon to fix those micro mistakes for you. So your brain and your nervous system, without you even realizing it or understanding it's happening, starts refining and improving your quality of contact and touch. Your bad contact, that feels bad and, yes, same thing, your brain and nervous system adjust and refine things without you even knowing. Personally, I think that is pretty cool.

Again, you don't need this. I know guys who got to pretty high levels, like 2600 USATT while using a carbon blade.

But the I interesting test would be to see what would happen if you could do the sliding doors, parallel development test and see the same player develop with carbon and without.

That would be cool to see 2 FZDs, one only carbon and one with with wood till 19.

Another interesting experiment is Abe Gold. He spent his first 2 years developing with a Viscaria and Tenergy/H3 and got from Zero to about USATT 1300 that way. Then Der_Echte gave him an all wood blade with more controllable rubbers, and his level very quickly shot up a lot more. I think he is now 1820. We all know it is easier to get from 0 to 1300 than it is to get from 1300-1800.

One more piece of info that is worth knowing: in 2006, 10 years ago, 8 of the players in the top 10 used all wood blades. Right now 1 of 10 top players use an all wood blade. But the guy who does, Xu Xin, is pretty awesome without the carbon. All this says is that, YOU DON'T need carbon to be a top player.

But when a player is really technically solid, it does not matter as much and they can really use anything. And, on some level, anyone can use anything. It's just that there are reasons an all wood blade is really worthwhile for anyone who wants to develop their technique a small amount faster.


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UpSideDownCarl
10-13-2016, 11:08 PM
And just to make sure you guys know, the Apolonia blade is an IF ZLC which really is an excellent blade. And it really would be fine to use for many many people.

And the posts by Jabugo and Vrael are excellent posts. Of particular note is Vrael's comment about playing for having fun right now. That is worthwhile and I think that should have been covered in one of the perspectives/reasons a blade may be considered "better" for a person.


The concept of "better", in regards to a "blade that would be better for YOU," still actually needs a context.

Is the context, what will give you the fastest shots? Or, what will give the most spin? Or, what will give you the best balance between spin and speed? Or, what will help you to win the most games now, today? OR, what will ultimately help you develop to the highest level in the long run, say, 4-5 years down the line?

But I did not include it. And I should have included: what feels best to you? What do you have the most fun playing with?

However, for many people that would be this one:

"....what will help you to win the most games now, today?"

And yes, I was presenting the option of something that may not win a 14 year old as many games today. But would ultimately pay off in the long run.

And, ultimately, that is a decision that the OP needs to decide on.


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