NA orgs to give players choice to compete in either EPL or PEA league

Thumbnail image courtesy of Professional Esports Association

In the wake of an open letter from players protesting the Professional eSports Association's alleged plan to boycott the upcoming ESL Pro League season, Immortals CEO and PEA Player Relations Committee Member Noah Whinston has announced that players will be given the decision to participate in either the PEA's league or EPL.

"I sympathize with the players’ sentiments around not feeling more included in the decision-making process and I acknowledge that we could and should have done better. That’s why, in good faith, we’re going to give this decision to them," he said. "We’ll arrange a meeting with all of the players ASAP to discuss this and answer questions, so that they can decide as a unified body whether they want to participate in EPL or PEA next season."

RELATED: 25 players speak out against NA team owners' plan to exclude ESL Pro League

While Whinston says PEA will not be an exclusive league, concerns over over-saturation in the CS:GO scene led PEA to attempt a compromise with WESA, which represents the EU teams of EPL, wherein EPL would leave North America but the top four teams from PEA and EPL would meet in a cross-Atlantic championship. According to Whinston, WESA declined the offer. Because of that, Whinston says that PEA are unwilling to throw their hat in an already crowded scene and further curtail the time their players have to stream and meet sponsor obligations.

"I believe every author of the player letter wants to participate in the PEA league, as well as EPL. Unfortunately, that option is not on the table," he said. "If the only option for the PEA is to lose money by functioning as yet another year-round CSGO league, we’ll instead devote the PEA league’s resources to other game titles where over-saturation is less of a problem."

While Whinston admits PEA could have done better including players in the decision-making process, orgs ultimately reserve final say in what events and tournaments their players attend.

RELATED: TSM part ways with sgares following release of player-signed open letter

"It would not make sense for a roster of players to decide what tournaments to participate in, while representing the organization and emblazoned with its intellectual property," he said. "Perhaps the most surprising part of the player letter is that this basic fact is treated as new information. Athletes have always been part of the conversation surrounding the events in which a team decides to compete, but the power to make a final decision always resides with the organization."

However, he insists that players would not be getting the short end of the stick, providing a detailed breakdown of how PEA's $750,000 prize pool plus each players minimum guaranteed profit of $31,250 and health insurance would make up for sitting out EPL.

"The addition of $250,000 in minimum guaranteed profits (MG) will provide a strong baseline of compensation for players and a preview of what’s coming in the future when the PEA league is operating profitably," Whinston said. "Teams at the bottom will more than double their compensation and even the top teams will see significant compensation bumps."

You can read the Whinston's letter in its entirety here.

Sasha Erfanian is a news editor for theScore esports. Follow him on Twitter, it'll be great for his self-esteem.

Skadoodle returns to C9 primary roster

by 1d ago
Thumbnail image courtesy of Helena Kristiansson / ESL ESEA Dubai Invitational

Tyler "Skadoodle" Latham has returned to Cloud9's primary roster, according to a tweet from Jake "Stewie2k" Yip Wednesday.

C9 were forced to rely on coach Soham "valens" Choudhury as a stand in on March 16 due to Skadoodle being rushed to the ER following a routine surgery. However on March 17, Skadoodle tweeted out that he was in stable condition.

Skadoodle and co. defeated compLexity Gaming last night to the tune of a 2-0 scoreline during their ESL Pro League Season 5 NA matchup as C9 won Train 16-7 and won Nuke 19-15.

Dennis "Tarmanydyn" Gonzales is a news editor for theScore esports who enjoys whiskey, D&D and first-picking Abaddon Slardar Clinkz Medusa Oracle a P90 my Souvenir Negev Discipline Priest Pharah. You can follow him on Twitter.

Pimp requests transfer from Team Liquid, moved to 'active substitute'

by 1d ago
Thumbnail image courtesy of Helena Kristiansson / ESL

Jacob "Pimp" Winneche has requested a transfer from Team Liquid and has been moved to an active substitute position while the team simultaneously negotiates his contract and searches for a proper replacement.

"It’s with mixed feeling of sadness and excitement that I will no longer be a part of the Team Liquid starting roster," Pimp said in the team's press release. "I no longer feel that playing for Liquid fulfills my personal expectations & goals, nor do I feel I can provide the commitment necessary to continue with the team on a long term basis."

Pimp's time with Liquid has not garnered much success outside of a semifinal finish at ESL One New York 2016. Their 9-11 finish at the recent ELEAGUE Major 2017 paled in comparison to the Grand Final run of the previous roster at at the ESL One Cologne 2016.

Despite those prior performances, the team has recently shown some promise in ESL Pro League Season 5 NA league play and are currently in third place, under SK Gaming and Cloud9.

"Replacing a player of Pimp’s caliber is not easy, but we are working hard to find someone that will enable our CS:GO squad to compete at the highest international level - our coaching staff and management is diligently pursuing top tier talent, and we will update the CSGO community as our search progresses," Liquid founder and co-owner Victor "Nazgul" Goossens said in the team's press release.

Dennis "Tarmanydyn" Gonzales is a news editor for theScore esports who enjoys whiskey, D&D and first-picking Abaddon Slardar Clinkz Medusa Oracle a P90 my Souvenir Negev Discipline Priest Pharah. You can follow him on Twitter.

valens to stand in for Skadoodle on C9

Thumbnail image courtesy of Helena Kristiansson / ESL

Update: Skadoodle has Tweeted out that he's now stable, but still needs to "get some lab work done."

Original: Soham "valens" Chowdhury will stand in for Tyler "Skadoodle" Latham in Cloud9's EPL match against Misfits, according to a Tweet from Jake "Stewie2k" Yip.

Mike "shroud" Grzesiek revealed on stream that Skadoodle's absence is due to a medical emergency, saying that Skadoodle "got rushed to the ER and he's currently been in the ER for two days" due to internal bleeding.

"He's bleeding internally and they don't know what it is yet. That's where we are now," shroud said in his stream.

Cloud9 has yet to release a statement on the situation.

Dennis "Tarmanydyn" Gonzales is a news editor for theScore esports who enjoys whiskey, D&D and first-picking Abaddon Slardar Clinkz Medusa Oracle a P90 my Souvenir Negev Discipline Priest Pharah. You can follow him on Twitter.

Sean Gares comments on Misfits' delayed EPL game vs. C9

by 6d ago
Thumbnail image courtesy of Helena Kristiansson / ESL

Misfits captain Sean Gares called the lengthy delay that took place during their ESL Pro League match against Cloud9 a "confusing situation to all of us because we were in a unique situation that the match was virtually over when the server restarted."

The match in question took place Thursday night and was delayed near the end of the first map due to apparent issues with the server restarting and the match medic failing to restore the game. All in all, the first map of the series took five hours to complete even though Misfits were on match point in a four-versus-one situation.

"Given our locations I think it's fair to say that [Jordan "n0thing" Gilbert] had an extremely small chance of winning the round," Gares said in a statement to theScore esports. "If he plants then one of us charges and he loses time and if he goes for kills one of us hides and he can't win due to running out of time.

"I think ESL should've made a judgement call and granted us the win, but I can kind of understand that they didn't," Gares said.

As the map was not completed, the match medic was used to try to restore the map, but that took much longer than expect.

"It was crazy that it then took over two-and-a-half hours, and two failed match medic attempts, to get a match medic on the server on the incorrect round (the server didn't save the match medic on 24-23... it only saved 24-22)," Gares said. "We technically ended the game 25-22 even though the real score would've been 25-23.

"After the map was over it was already ~3 a.m. for our east coast players, but we still had to play a second map. I don't think I've ever played a match that late, so it was definitely a unique scenario."

Team Liquid and Renegades also ran into similar issues as Jonathan "EliGE" Jablonowski tweeted that they were forced to forfeit a map, saying that they were unable to use the match medic and weren't given the option to reschedule.

EliGE also says a similar situation occurred during a match against NRG.

theScore esports has reached out to ESL for comment and will update this article when we hear back from them.

Dennis "Tarmanydyn" Gonzales is a news editor for theScore esports who enjoys whiskey, D&D and first-picking Abaddon Slardar Clinkz Medusa Oracle a P90 my Souvenir Negev Discipline Priest Pharah.You can follow him on Twitter.

Post-ELEAGUE Major shuffle report card

Thumbnail image courtesy of Patrick Strack / ESL

The CS:GO shuffle at the end of the ELEAGUE Major saw some of the biggest changes in the scene since Fnatic and GODSENT initially swapped players back in August 2016.

Between Richard "shox" Papillon and Kenny "kennyS" Schrub uniting under G2 Esports, and Nikola "NiKo" Kovač joining the other big guns on FaZe Clan fans and analysts alike are chomping at the bit to see just how good these newly formed dream teams will perform in the long-run.

Some lineups have already lived up to the hype while others have yet to find that initial success. Here's our assessment of what each team has shown so far and their potential moving forward.

FaZe Clan

Old FaZe Role New FaZe
rain Rifler rain
kioShiMa Rifler kioShiMa
aizy Rifler NiKo
allu AWPer allu
karrigan In-game leader karrigan
RobbaN Coach RobbaN

New Roster Results

  • 2nd - IEM Season 11 World Championship Katowice (Invited)

Of all the supposed super teams to form in recent time, none have met expectations quite like the new FaZe Clan. The team has been on an upswing since they brought in well-known in-game leader Finn "karrigan" Andersen from Astralis — as evidenced by their Legend spot from the ELEAGUE Major. But now that they've brought in Bosnian powerhouse rifler Nikola "NiKo" Kovač, this squad has the makeup of a Reddit dream team.

RELATED: FaZe's karrigan: 'NiKo is a player I always wanted to play with'

FaZe debuted at IEM Katowice by clinching the top seed from their group over the likes of Astralis and Immortals, then advanced to the Grand Finals after they defeated Immortals 2-0 in the semifinals. FaZe started the Grand Finals on the right foot after they won Cache 16-9, but Astralis won Overpass 16-12, Nuke 16-12 and Inferno 16-13 to take the series.

FaZe @ Vegas (pre-NiKo) Stat FaZe @ Katowice (post-NiKo)
0.92 Team HLTV Rating 1.04
0.89 Kill/Death Ratio 1.07
-53 Kill/Death Differential +72
5 Maps 13

FaZe didn't end up winning Katowice, but that's more than one should expect from a fresh roster. They went deep in a stacked tournament and their results match their hype. Grade: A+

G2 Esports

Old G2 Role New G2
bodyy Rifler bodyy
RpK Rifler NBK
ScreaM Rifler apEX
SmithZz AWPer kennyS
shox In-game leader shox
N/A Coach SmithZz

New Roster Results

  • 4th (DNQ) - IEM Season 11 World Championship Katowice Closed EU Qualifier
  • 0W-3L - ESL Pro League Season 5 EU

The new G2 Esports lineup is the French team that we've always dreamed of and sees an upgrade in just about every role on paper.. Although it's arguably missing Belgian one-tapper Adil "ScreaM" Benrlitom, the pairing of Richard "shox" Papillon and Kenny "kennyS" Schrub more than makes up for his absence.

The reality, however, is a bit more grim as they were unable to qualify for IEM Katowice, losing to the likes of Heroic, who were playing with Danish mercenary Casper "cadiaN" Møller as a stand-in.

RELATED: G2's NBK: 'We obviously want to wipe out the past year, but also want to build something together on the long term'

With that said, this is still a fresh roster and their dynamic has changed dramatically after swapping out three players. Even though the team has the support of Edouard "SmithZz" Dubourdeaux as their coach, in-game leader Richard "shox" Papillon undoubtedly has his hands full.

Few teams have the same potential as the new G2 Esports in terms of their raw talent and tactics, but the fear that, like previous French lineups, their short-comings may be mental is still cause for concern. We'll see how they perform at their first LAN, if and when they qualify for one. Grade: B


Old Fnatic Role New Fnatic
KRiMZ Rifler KRiMZ
disco doplan Rifler dennis
olofmeister Rifler/AWPer olofmeister
twist AWPer JW
dennis In-game leader flusha
Jumpy Coach Jumpy

New Roster Results

  • 1st-2nd - IEM Season 11 World Championship Katowice Closed EU Qualifier
  • 9-12th - DreamHack Masters Las Vegas 2017
  • 7-8th - IEM Season 11 World Championship Katowice
  • 1W-2L - ESL Pro League Season 5 EU

Fnatic are attempting to turn back the clocks to when their late-2015/early-2016 roster dominated CS:GO by bringing back Jesper "JW" Wecksell and Robin "flusha" Rönnquist. But a lot of time has passed since then and while Fnatic have gone back in time, the rest of the CS:GO world has been moving forward.

RELATED: JW on returning to Fnatic: 'The small problems that occurred should've been solved as a group and hard work, rather than taking the easy way out'

Fnatic will effectively be making up for lost time as the players have accomplished little during their split, when two to three of them played with GODSENT. And even if they get back to the form they had when they were in their prime, their competition has also made marked improvements.

The potential is clearly there for the "new" Fnatic, but getting back to that form requires some serious out-of-game changes. It's too early to judge their progression, but its also worth noting that the team has considered the idea of a sports psychologist as well. Grade: B-

SK Gaming

Old SK Role New SK
fer Rifler fer
fnx Rifler felps
coldzera Rifler/AWPer coldzera
FalleN AWPer/In-game leader FalleN
dead Coach dead

New Roster Results

  • 2nd - DreamHack Masters Las Vegas 2017 (Invited)
  • 11-12th - IEM Season 11 World Championship Katowice (Invited)
  • 6W-0L - ESL Pro League Season 5 NA

SK Gaming's lineup has never been lacking. Since their Major victory at ESL One Cologne 2016, they've made it to at least the semifinals of every event they've competed in. That's nine LAN events in a row over the span of eight months, a streak that came to an end at IEM Katowice with João "felps" Vasconcellos in the lineup.

While that sounds like a condemnation on paper, the reality is that felps was not only SK's top performer at Katowice, but he currently averages the single highest HLTV rating of the tournament with a 1.28 rating. FalleN had an uncharacteristically bad event and averaged an 0.84 rating, one of the lowest at Katowice.

RELATED: SK TACO on becoming an entry fragger: 'I learned a lot of things watching apEX, but now I've created my own style'

It's also worth noting that SK were hit hard during the group stage. They lost 16-14 to on Inferno and 16-12 to Natus Vincere on Overpass, but the real nail in their metaphorical coffin was their loss to Cloud9. C9 pulled out a surprise Nuke pick, a map that was constantly banned during their map vetos, and shocked SK 16-9.

Given SK's second place finish at DreamHack Las Vegas and seeing how Katowice itself played out, it seems clear that the Polish event was an outlier. SK's potential with felps has already been shown. Grade: A-

Team Liquid

Old Liquid Role New Liquid
nitr0 Rifler nitr0
EliGE Rifler EliGE
Pimp Rifler Pimp
jdm AWPer jdm
Hiko In-game leader stanislaw
zews Coach zews

New Roster Results

  • 2nd (DNQ) - IEM Season 11 World Championship Katowice NA Closed Qualifier
  • 5W-1L - ESL Pro League Season 5 NA

One of the biggest unknowns in the scene is Team Liquid's latest roster, which is currently under the leadership of Peter "stanislaw" Jarguz. They've already some shown promise online as they currently hold a 5-1 record in ESL Pro League, and narrowly missed IEM Katowice. With that said, this team has yet to really be tested on LAN.

The main problem with Liquid's previous lineups was its lack of real leadership. Brazilian coach Wilton "zews" Prado was meant to bring stability to the organization, but even he could not bring marked improvements to a Spencer "Hiko" Martin-led lineup. But considering the IGL role was never really Hiko's choice, it couldn't be helped.

In comes stanislaw, an improvement from Hiko on paper considering his achievements as OpTic's IGL. They may have lost a bit of firepower, but they've more than made up for it in terms of leadership. Grade: B-

Team EnVyUs

Old nV Role New nV
SIXER Rifler RpK
apEX Rifler xms
NBK Rifler ScreaM
kennyS AWPer SIXER
Happy In-game leader Happy
enkay J Coach maLeK

New Roster Results

  • 5-6th (DNQ) - IEM Season 11 World Championship Katowice Closed EU Qualifier
  • 4W-2L - ESL Pro League Season 5 EU

Team EnVyUs are largely considered the losers of the 2017 French Shuffle, but considering neither nV or G2 Esports qualified for IEM Katowice, the two currently stand on even ground. With that said, nV currently have the upper hand in the EPL EU Season 5 rankings with a 4-2 record compared to G2's 0-3 record. Granted, online games hold less stock than LAN games, but if nV keep up their performance they will eventually qualify for the EPL finals. The same can't be said for G2.

The saving grace for the French squad is the last-minute inclusion of Adil "ScreaM" Benrlitom, who was trying out for FaZe Clan but was passed over in favor of Nikola "NiKo" Kovač, according to FaZe captain Finn "karrigan" Andersen.

Regardless of their actual potential, ScreaM joined nV under some awkward circumstances and with the loss of Kenny "kennyS" Schrub, you'd be hard pressed to call this roster move a win. However, the team is playing admirably with the hand they've been dealt. Grade: C+


Old C9 Role New C9
n0thing Rifler n0thing
shroud Rifler shroud
autimatic Rifler autimatic
Skadoodle AWPer Skadoodle
Stewie2k In-game leader Stewie2k
N/A Coach valens

New Roster Results

  • 9-12th - DreamHack Masters Las Vegas 2017 (Invited)
  • 9-10th - IEM Season 11 World Championship Katowice (Invited)
  • 6W-0L - ESL Pro League Season 5 NA

The only change for Cloud9 was the addition of well-known North American coach Soham "valens" Choudhury. It's a change that's pretty low-key as far as roster shuffles go, but one that could have a significant impact if it hasn't already.

C9's gameplan at DreamHack Vegas was largely unchanged, and it was only until IEM Katowice that we saw a dramatic change in their play, as evidenced by their map veto. At Vegas, their permaban was Nuke and it was always C9's first ban in the veto, but at Katowice their vetoes varied a lot more and Nuke was the map that SK Gaming infamously lost 16-9 to C9 and eventually led to them finishing last in the group stage.

C9 did not advance past the group stage at either Vegas or Katowice, but a team shouldn't be expected revamp their map pool overnight. What we've seen was only a start for C9 and it's something that could pay off big as they develop in 2017, but potential only counts for so much. Grade: C+


Old North Role New North
k0nfig Rifler k0nfig
Magisk Rifler Magisk
RUBINO Rifler aizy
cajunb AWPer cajunb
MSL In-game leader MSL
ruggah Coach ruggah

New Roster Results

  • 3-4th - DreamHack Masters Las Vegas 2017 (Invited)
  • 5-6th - IEM Season 11 World Championship Katowice (Invited)
  • 2W-0L - ESL Pro League Season 5 EU

The previous iterations of North's squad, when they were still part of Team Dignitas, were solid teams that were plagued by inconsistencies. However, the new North has advanced past the group stage at both DreamHack Vegas and IEM Katowice, but it's hard to give credit to their new player Philip "aizy" Aistrup given his performance in both events.

aizy was North's lowest HLTV rated player in both the Vegas and Katowice events, 0.87 and 0.89 ratings respectively, which are low numbers considering his reputation and his role. Still, it's hard to argue with results and perhaps aizy's numbers belie his actual impact, but it will be interesting to see where the team finishes when aizy comes online. Grade: B


Old IMT Role New IMT
lucas1 Rifler lucas1
boltz Rifler boltz
felps Rifler fnx
steel In-game leader steel
zakk Coach zakk

New Roster Results

  • 1st - IEM Season 11 World Championship Katowice Closed NA Qualifier
  • 3-4th - IEM Season 11 World Championship Katowice
  • 3W-3L - ESL Pro League Season 5 NA

João "felps" Vasconcellos was Immortals' star player before he left to join SK Gaming, which meant that his replacement, Lincoln "fnx" Lau, had some big shoes to fill. fnx is best known for his intelligent play in clutch situations and his experience as a support player, but his performance at Katowice showed that he can be a real powerhouse when he wants to.

fnx looks renewed on his new team, but time will tell as to how long that will last as his parting from SK was not due to his poor performance according to former teammate Epitácio "TACO" de Melo, and rumors of him losing motivation for practice surrounded his departure. For now, Immortals look good with their new lineup. Grade: B

OpTic Gaming

Old OpTic Role New OpTic
tarik Rifler tarik
NAF Rifler Hiko
mixwell AWPer mixwell
stanislaw In-game leader NAF
N/A Coach peacemaker

New Roster Results

  • 9-12th - DreamHack Masters Las Vegas 2017 (Invited)
  • 11-12th - IEM Season 11 World Championship Katowice (Invited)
  • 5W-1L - ESL Pro League Season 5 NA

OpTic Gaming saw a rapid rise after they won ELEAGUE Season 2 over Astralis and finished second at ECS Season 2. However, the team bombed out during the ELEAGUE Major and their downward trajectory has continued with the departure of in-game leader Peter "stanislaw" Jarguz.

Replacing stanislaw was former Team Liquid "dad" Spencer "Hiko" Martin, while Keith "NAF" Markovic took over as the in-game leader. It's a role taken out of necessity, similar to Hiko's role on Liquid, but it's a transition that should have been made smoother with the inclusion of Luis "peacemaker" Tadeu. On paper it's a team that should have functioned well, but didn't.

Freed of the IGL chains, Hiko should be a powerhouse for the team, but in both DreamHack Vegas and IEM Katowice he had the second lowest HLTV ratings and posted abysmal average damage per round numbers. Only Spanish star Oscar "mixwell" Cañellas put up decent numbers for the team.

Hiko will need to step up in his next event with OpTic, assuming his temporary stay has even been extended. Grade: C-


Old mouz Role New mouz
denis Rifler denis
loWel Rifler loWel
Spiidi Rifler oskar
chrisJ AWPer chrisJ
NiKo In-game leader Spiidi
lmbt Coach lmbt

New Roster Results

  • 2W-0L - ESL Pro League Season 5 EU

mousesports were arguably hit hardest from the roster shuffle.

The loss of a star player would hurt any team, but when a team loses a player like Nikola "NiKo" Kovač, they are not only losing a ton of firepower, but it also changes the entire dynamic of the team. mouz formed their entire team around the actions of NiKo, but with him gone they're forced back to the drawing board.

We've only seen a glimpse of the new mouz roster as they defeated Team Kinguin 2-0 in EPL, an upcoming team for sure but by no means a solid test for mouz. Still, mouz performed well in the series with Christian "loWel" Antoran continuing to be mouz's rock and Tomáš "oskar" Šťastný stepping up as the star player.

NiKo's departure may very well work out to being the change mouz needed in order to move forward as a team, but losing arguably the strongest player in the world doesn't do much for your stock. Grade: D


Old GODS Role New GODS
znajder Rifler znajder
Lekr0 Rifler Lekr0
flusha Rifler disco doplan
JW AWP twist
pronax In-game leader pronax
rdl Coach rdl

New Roster Results

  • 6W-2L - MDL Season 24

GODSENT is a team that should work on paper. You have a world-class in-game leader, two veterans and two young gun, but it's a lineup that has yet to show off its potential and is arguably weaker than the previous iteration with Jesper "JW" Wecksell and Robin "flusha" Rönnquist.

The team has been going off in their MDL Season 24 games, but as well they should be, since they're facing objectively lesser teams. It's also worth noting that GODS also dropped a couple maps in the league, which is inexcusable for a team of it's caliber. Grade: D+


Old Heroic Role New Heroic
valde Rifler valde
niko Rifler niko
Friis AWPer JUGi
Snappi In-game leader Snappi
N/A Coach N/A

New Roster Results

  • 3-4th (DNQ) - ECS Season 3 EU Development League Qualifier #2
  • 3-4th - IEM Season 11 World Championship Katowice
  • 3W-3L - ESL Pro League Season 5 EU

Though Lukas "gla1ve" Rossander was not the in-game leader when he was on Heroic, it's clear that he had an impact on the team's leadership dynamic. Heroic were on a downturn after gla1ve's departure to Astralis and his influence was made more clear after Astralis won the ELEAGUE Major.

RELATED: Heroic Snappi: 'I will always miss having gla1ve by my side'

However, Heroic made a change to their lineup by swapping out their passive AWPer, Michael "Friis" Jørgensen, in exchange for a much more aggressive AWPer in Jakob "JUGi" Hansen and it's a setup that's worked wonders at IEM Katowice.

The team caused some major upsets by defeating North, Natus Vincere and to top their group in Katowice. They lost 2-0 to Astralis, though those games were close as well. It's too early to tell if they can keep up this form, but if a fresh roster, with a rookie no less, can make the semis in their debut LAN, they're a team worth watching. Grade: B

Dennis "Tarmanydyn" Gonzales is a news editor for theScore esports who enjoys whiskey, D&D and first-picking Abaddon Slardar Clinkz Medusa Oracle a P90 my Souvenir Negev Discipline Priest Pharah. You can follow him on Twitter.

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