Having read the article, I cannot imagine many (any?) scenarios where the marginal gains of using this strategy outweigh the marginal costs of a) using it incorrectly and giving opponents outs, b) mental fatigue, c) variance in your opponent's favor, d) lost time mastering other more important elements of the game. This completely ignores the ethical or rules reasons for not playing like this; I think it's a really inefficient way to play the game and practice the deck. All that time and effort you could invest in this extremely corner-case set of skills, or you could commit time to learning actual matchups and winning real games.
It's like the FNM Limited warriors who practice all the cool bluffing and pass-reading but can't even draft the right cards or play around common format combat tricks. I guess if you had put in thousands of hours on Lantern and had no other possible way to improve, then I suppose this is a skillset you can work on. Otherwise, it's a classic "danger of cool things" trap that results in wasted time and misspent energy.
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Feb 21, 2018Posted in: ModernQuote from Gredras »
What is my point. If WotC thinks that they can only base their actions on Modern on Big Data and not have principles of a good game play (interaction, fairness, reasonable win cons, no board lockdowns) as their main aim for the format, then I (store owner, TO) have to deal with consequences. The same stays true for places that don't have yet an established playerbase, where things are just starting to work.
On the one hand, I appreciate that the "local perspective" player may have a difference that does not align with the "big data" vision. When this happens, that player can feel like their experience is consistently invalidated by both Wizards and proponents of a big data model. They may in fact be right that their experience is not great! Maybe their local scene really isn't very diverse and would benefit from macro changes.
Unfortunately for those players, the needs of the many are going to outweigh the needs of the few. If big data suggests the format is healthy on a wider level, why would Wizards make sweeping changes to benefit a non-representative group of players at a local level when the majority doesn't share their issues? This is neither good business nor good format management. Wizards is managing a global game and needs to make decisions that improve it for the most people who play that game. Its current mode of Modern management appears to be doing that; it's not a coincidence that Modern is the most popular format in Magic, both from a player and viewer perspective. If Wizards switches its management style from a subjective big data approach to an objective player experience one, it will likely alienate the majority who enjoy Modern and have supported Modern throughout the dynamic and healthy 2017 period. What even is a good "player experience?" Who is to say that your optimal experience is mine or someone else's? We resolve that question using big data metrics such as attendance, retention, growth, etc. Assuming Wizards is making decisions based on that, which we have every reason to believe they are, they will capture the widest range of experiences and make decisions based on the majority's preferences. This promotes the format and does not favor an elite, vocal few over the average Modern player.
Moreover, big data allows us to sort between legitimate problems and byproducts of small N samples. For instance, selection bias (e.g. maybe you just remember the Tron losses more than all the other diverse Modern experiences). If we're just looking at a few local scenes where things aren't healthy, we can't make changes that affect the entirety of the game because we're missing too many player experiences. This ends up preferencing enfranchised players who know how to make a vocal, articulate case either online or in other communication to Wizards. It misses the average player who is just experiencing Modern in their own way. How do we sort through that? Again, it's with big data.
As a side note, what may look bad in Big Data, actually may work for local communities. I had a lot of players that attended Standard and were happy with the state of format, they did not care, that meta was not "diversified". Things have changed after recent bans, attendance dropped and it seems like people finally lost confidence, this was probably enough for them when it comes to std.
This completely affirms my previous points. Standard was widely regarded as a train wreck for most of the year, and it really was by most datapoints. If your local scene disagreed with this or had a different experience, it is almost certainly not representative of the broader Magic/Standard community. Wizards would be making a huge mistake to decide format management based on a case that is clearly an outlier. We don't even need to prove that your scene is an outlying case. It's proof enough to see a Standard season with 9 bans in about 12 months; that suggests unprecedented levels of dissatisfaction, metagame illness, attendance drops, etc. When we add in the article/pro perspective and the general discontent from Standard players posting online and talking at the local level, we'd see a decisive picture that Standard really sucked. If you're scene disagreed, this further confirms it's a minority, outlying case.
To be clear, big data encounters ethical limitations when it comes to issues of human rights and life/liberty/safety/etc. There, it's not okay to say the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few; if big data is promoting even a small injustice, it's probably unjust overall. But this is Magic and Modern, not healthcare, marriage equality, civil rights, etc. This isn't an ethical or moral issue. It's just a management one. And in the realm of cold hard management, big data is the best way to sort through experiences to produce a product that the most people will enjoy.
Feb 21, 2018Posted in: ModernQuote from tronix »
afaik there hasnt been any evidence in the history of the modern format to suggest that tron is too good. tbh i dont think its a topic worth discussing until more data about the new metagame comes in
For basically all of Modern's history, Tron is fine and has always been fine. In particular, Tron was fine from about July 2017 through February 2018, the period of Modern health and diversity that Wizards expressly stated was healthy and diverse. Everyone needs to look at what Tron was doing in that period of time. That performance is considered healthy per Wizards. If Tron is doing that again, it's also fine and healthy. If Tron ever exceeds that then maybe we'll have problems, true. But at that particular level, Tron is not a problem and was not a problem during that period of time.
At this point, I'm comfortable saying that anyone who thinks otherwise is just fundamentally in disagreement with Wizards about what Modern is as a format. That's a personal preference and opinion, which is fine. But it's just so far afield from Modern's current trajectory that I don't really think it deserves too much consideration. It would be like arguing that Standard was secretly healthy and fun for the last year and Wizards was wrong in banning things and explaining the rationale for those bans. Or like saying Pod/TC Delver era was actually skill-testing and diverse and Wizards erred in banning those cards. I don't know if those kinds of opinions are "right" or "wrong" in the abstract. I do know, however, they are so misaligned with Wizards' actions on the format that it's hard to talk about them in any serious or consistent way. People who believe these things are just speaking a different language.
Feb 20, 2018Posted in: ModernQuote from Melkor »Quote from 0evil_overlord0 »
Why exactly does blue need creatures as good as Angler or Mandrils? Are you demanding monoblue control be viable? If you really feel like your list needs an equivalent to Angler or Tasigur, you can just play Grixis and run them.Quote from Melkor »I don't really feel that anything on the ban list would help blue based control very much. The trouble blue has isn't really digging or protecting. DTT just digs for what you need. As much as I would love the cantrips, same deal. The trouble is that blue doesn't have the same caliber of actual win conditions. Wizards missed a great chance with Khans block. The blue cards with Delver absolutely laid waste to the format, but they only LOOKED for cards or DREW cards. Cruise wasn't usually what you were hoping to draw off of Cruise. What we needed was a blue Hooting Mandril or Gurmag Angler. Blue has very little for huge creatures at a Modern rate.
doesn't need to be mono-blue (although branching out from UR is important to me, SO bored with UR). I just see people talking about Blue-based, but blue base to me means that the win-con be blue. You need another color most of the time to really deal with creatures, but it doesn't strike me as fair that 4 of the 5 colors get the kind of creature I am asking for.
Out of curiosity, what are the red and white versions of this huge creature for a Modern rate? I hear Goyf and Angler/Tasigur for G and B, and I'm curious what you pick as the R and W representatives.
I'm seeing a lot of odd and outright inaccurate suggestions about why JTMS was unbanned. This is puzzling to me because Wizards states it very clearly in the update: they want to give controlling decks an alternative way to close out prolonged games. In doing so, they wanted to give another option beyond blue players feeling they had to adopt an explosive win condition. Basically all the other claims about why JTMS was unbanned are speculation, at best, or conspiracy theorizing/misinformation at worst.
Feb 20, 2018Posted in: ModernQuote from Spsiegel1987 »A top 32 could be less interactive as Tron and Dredge players prepare to meta
Have you seen these decks 75? They're skimping on grave hate and that's so reckless to do outside of an FNM
This was happening anyway before the unbans. The unbans don't change the fact that linear decks are going to be well-positioned in certain metagames. Throughout 2017 we saw periods where linear decks were better-positioned than non-linear decks, and I fully expect this to continue into 2018. These decks shouldn't be any better positioned at any single period of time, and there shouldn't be more periods where they are better-positioned. We'll just see a repeat of the 2017 metagame cycle but with BBE and JTMS added.
I don't know why people keep mentioning linear upswings as a bad thing in Modern. That's part and parcel to the massive diversity in the format. If you don't want that diversity and just want to play various shades of interactive (read: blue) decks, that's Legacy. If you want an "anything goes" metagame where you can play anything, that's Modern. Wizards made this extremely clear over the last 8 months or so. I feel there are players (not saying this is you, spiegel) who just want Modern to be Legacy. It's not going to happen so I don't know why we keep having to rehash it. Look at the period from about July 2017 through February 2018. That is what Wizards considers a healthy Modern metagame. They even said this explicitly! If one doesn't like that metagame, one needs to play a different format. That means if one doesn't like the level of linearity in that period, one must either accept it and move on or just move on to playing something else.
I'm not trying to shut down Modern criticism here. There are some legitimate criticisms we can make about the format because a healthy format is not a perfect format. But there is a pervasive suggestion that any metagame with Tron/Affinity/Dredge/SSG/Goryo's/Valakut/Eldrazi/etc. is too linear and unhealthy. This suggestion is borne out of personal biases and beliefs. It is not in dialogue with Wizards' stated goals for the format or Wizards' treatment of the format. This isn't "build your own Modern to fit your own desires." This is the Modern we have and the Modern we are going to have. And it's a fun, healthy, and exciting Modern where I can play Deck X, you can play Deck Y, and someone else can play Deck Z. No one color or card is dominant, no one gameplay style is best.
Feb 19, 2018Posted in: ModernQuote from whocansay »And DeCandio won the entire event. Curious to see whether his next article is gonna be about how great Modern is right now.
I'm sure he'll say something self-deprecating about how he was wrong and was just bitter that he wasn't winning events. He tends to backtrack after particularly egregious articles. Like I said earlier, he's not a bad player and he's probably not a bad guy. He just gives into major hyperbole and succumbs to the immaturity of the internet a lot. See his most recent comments in his most recent article, which were laughably immature.
It's just easier for authors on major sites to write outrageous articles and make sensationalist claims than it is to be measured and analytic. For the most part, people re-post and click on the outrageous stuff. It's more interesting to read doomsaying than it is to read 12 months in a row of "Modern is fine, stop worrying." Also, if an outrageous claim is wrong, no one remembers you for it because pros/authors make them so regularly. But if you are right and get one correct outrageous claim out of 50 made, you can pick up major "internet right points" for getting that one. On top of that, it takes very little research, work, and/or time to make an outrageous claim. It takes much more to research, analyze, and test to promote something more measured. All of this incentivizes many authors/pros to be sensationalist instead of reasonable.
Feb 19, 2018Posted in: ModernQuote from idSurge »I mean its hard in Modern to 'predict' anything, did anyone predict BR Hollow One? Or this Mardu deck, or whatever else? No, they got tweaked, found out, explored and iterated on.
I just find it hard to believe that Jace by himself, will do anything to empower 1 specific deck, to unheard of (for today's diverse field) meta shares. Its a great card, but its not that great.
I agree that it can be hard to predict if any single deck will be particularly strong. Things like Hollow One and Mardu spring out of the woodwork, and although a deep dive MTGO analysis might reveal them, there are still plenty of busts.
That said, predicting overall metagame trends is not impossible. For instance, most people who looked at the macro data over the last year were able to predict no bans, a post-PT unban, and that no single deck would become dominant at any stage of time. This was absolutely not predicted by everyone; many players were predicting the apocalypse at any single event. There are some key metagame indicators that tend to suggest format health, and as long as you read those, you can generally tell if a deck is going off the rails.
Feb 19, 2018Week 1 Day 1 of the new paper metagame. We've already had about a week of MTGO unban legality, so this will be the first week where BBE and JTMS are legal across the board. Based on the Modern trajectory from last year, I think it's pretty clear what the metagame is likely to do, and it's pretty obvious what I'm going to predict: the format will absorb both of these cards without much issue. We'll see short-term increases in both BBE and JTMS decks, but these will fold into the general Modern cycle of metagames shifts. We will also see no significant, corresponding uptick in linear decks beyond what we normally saw in pre-unban Modern. This means that big mana, Dredge, Affinity, Bogles, etc. will not exceed their 2017 metagame highs, despite sensationalist claims that these decks will explode to prey on BBE/JTMS decks. By a similar token, we should not see JTMS decks homogenize around any single strategy. We should continue to see a variety of JTMS decks depending on the metagame, just as Grixis, Jeskai, and UW are all viable in different metagames. We'll also see decks like Temur Scapeshift, Temur Midrange, UR Moon/Breach, Miracles, etc. see more legs as they ride off JTMS's power.Posted in: Modern
Overall, we'll see Modern's diversity continue. We'll be back here in 6/8/12 months defending Modern from naysayers and doomsayers who want 12+ cards banned and have secretly solved the format with some new broken deck that needs immediate banning.
His articles are typically horrible, but he's a good player and I'm sure he's a fine dude in person. The internet just brings out the worst in people, and DeCandio's "worst" just happens to be extremely annoying when it comes to Modern. I don't think a lot of people take his Modern writing very seriously, however, so I think it's mostly a fleeting annoyance and not a lasting problem.
EDIT: I'll also add on DeCandio that he's in the same category of Modern haters that tend to only hate the format when they are doing badly in it. Once they do well, their outlook improves. It's pretty immature but that's the internet for you.
Feb 18, 2018Posted in: ModernQuote from WarMachinePrime »Well, guess which whiny dingbat just pulled down SCG Indy with GDS.
I'm sure we'll get another article with more Modern hyperbole, either that he's solved the format and takes it all back, or that the post-unban metagame means that his recent success doesn't mean anything and the format is still dying.
Also, it's crazy that players get better results when they play decent decks. Not like Mono G Devotion at a GP.
Feb 18, 2018Posted in: Modern
I only need one single person I trust, that tells me their opinions and shows me the winrates, to trump all the datasets in the world covering 800 GPs, Opens and Challenges. I don't doubt 0.5 seconds when my experiences or the way I view a deck or decks seem to conflict with what the data from the latest tournaments seems to show.
This isn't a terrible approach, but only if you know for a fact that you have a reliable source. It's profoundly flawed, however, for the vast majority of players who cannot know an expert's reliability, and may even be profoundly flawed for you and you just wouldn't know it. We have pro authors routinely make outrageous claim about "X is the hands-down best deck." Invariably, we then see both personal failures with them on their own touted decks, and metagame failures with that deck on a massive scale. Sometimes they are right, sure, but if one throws enough outrageous claims at the dart board, some of them are eventually going to stick.
We can verify these experts and claims by comparing it to available mass data sources. If Tron is the alleged best deck, we would expect to see it trouncing the competition. Instead, we see it fall flat at GP Van and perform middlingly at the PT. We also see it fall flat at SCGs and comparable large regional events (Face 2 Face, Hareruya, the German/Italian tournaments, etc.). Unfortunately, if one doesn't trust those sources at all, you're stuck on gut instinct and blindly trusting so-called experts. Imagine if everyone went by this approach and came up with contradictory findings (which, in fact, happens regularly). How are we to get out of this? We can only do this with larger datasets, which typically disprove most of the hyperbole. If those large datasets disprove 9 cases of hyperbole but fail to predict one accurate claim, that is not a strike against the data.
I've talked about how the meta shares and tournament results mean nothing with specific examples ad infinitum. A particularly egregious one was the Mardu deck, a deck that has been arguably top5 decks in Modern for 6 months or more, and if you went by the data, it didn't exist. There you have the collective knowledge of the community.
Same for Dredge, busted and broken beyond belief, yet sitting at a 7% metagame share when it was banned and crashing in GP after GP with negligible shares and 0 results.
Same for Lantern, one of the best decks in the format, sitting at the same meta shares than Merfolk.
And I could go on forever.
Do you think the pros actually look at the meta shares and data from tournaments to decide what deck will they play? Is that what made Gerry T believe Mardu was the choice? Is that what made Owen Turtenwald, Yuuya Watanabe, Seth Manfield and Jon finkel play Tron?
I disagree with a lot of this. I think if we really looked at the available data, we would have seen many of these sleepers perform in the MTGO stats. For instance, if we saw Player X appear as a 5-0 with Mardu a few times, and then checked their trophies and saw Player X was regularly hitting 5-0 even if not regularly reported, that would be a strong indicator that Player X's Mardu deck is good. I'm sure this data existed last year and I'm sure we could have checked it; I just personally wasn't checking it because I'm not doing those kinds of articles/analyses as much any more.
I also strongly disagree with the claim that data analysis has not predicted the metagame picture. It predicted it for the entirety of the last year. People who looked at the GP/SCG/MTGO/other tourney data saw a picture of perfect health and decks balancing each other out from event to event. We saw there was no clear best deck, and we saw that nothing was going to get banned or become too dominant. This prediction held up for about 13 months, despite all the cries for banning a dozen cards, the claims that X deck was going to dominate, and the claims that Y deck was not viable. This method works.
Feb 18, 2018Posted in: Modern
They are just a list of decks from a random online tournament that normally matters zero, and in a weekend in which about the 500 best players are playing paper tournaments it matters around -9000
I don't disagree with this. I definitely prefer larger datasets to smaller ones, and a single Challenge is only one datapoint as we enter the new era.
Here's what I don't understand. You justifiably suggest that you prefer larger datasets with more tournaments involved. I agree! So why do you insist on discounting the last 12+ months of data that show Tron was never a problem and the metagame went through various cycles of top decks? There are thousands of finishes in this period across small/medium/major events, and all point to an amazing picture of Modern health and diversity where Tron is not dominant and decks that Tron beat are viable and winning. We also have Wizards on record saying the format is healthy, and we have many GP and larger events showing plenty of diversity and viable interactive strategies. Given that large dataset, which I know you prefer, how can you say that Tron is a problem? Or, if you aren't explicitly saying that "Tron is a problem," why do you keep suggesting Tron is problematic?
It seems that many anti-Tron players are willing to pick apart any dataset to look for evidence that their hated nemesis needs banning or is unhealthy. I'm not sure if h0ly is doing this, but many others are. If the large datasets don't indicate Tron is dominant, they say "People just aren't playing it even though it's the best deck," or "Those large decks aren't representative of the true metagame." To be clear, I'm not necessarily trying to convince anti-Tron dissenters that they are wrong. I honestly don't know what will do that. I'm trying to show the people who are on the fence about Tron and newcomers to the format that these anti-Tron platforms are really flimsy and intellectually inconsistent.
Feb 18, 2018Posted in: Modern
I won't spend 3 seconds going through a bunch of stuff based on a random Modern challenge, sorry. Thanks for the work though.
I'm largely using the Challenge as an early datapoint showing that JTMS, in his first week of insane hype and hyperbole, probably did not destroy Modern.
As for Tron, we don't just need that one Challenge to see how the deck is fine. Look at the last 12 months of tournament/ data and Wizards statements. It's exceedingly clear that Tron is not the monster you and others make it out to be. There are mountains of data to prove this, and numerous "no changes" update to verify it. I know that you are an experienced player with lots of Modern reps, and I know you critically look at Modern pictures. You don't strike me as a Brenan DeCandio. Because of that, this one-liner Tron hate is beneath you. There is so much evidence to disprove all the Tron doomsaying. You and others need to stop it.
Feb 18, 2018Posted in: Modern
This just doesn't hold water. Tron is not even close to a secret best deck. It's widely regarded by many vocal players, pros, and authors as one of the most broken and iconic Modern decks. If people aren't showing up at top tables with it, it's not because it's an undiscovered secret. It's because the deck just isn't well-positioned as people clam it is. Indeed, in the recent B&R update, Wizards even described it as one of the 4 most-played decks. People know the deck is good and are playing it a lot. If they aren't succeeding and making it to the top tables, it's because metagame factors are beating them, not ignorance of Tron's true potential.
Re: MTGO Challenge
How are the ridiculous and apocalyptic predictions going? Not so well! Surprise surprise.
-Gx Tron decks in the T8? 1, and it didn't win.
-Gx Tron decks in the T32? 2 total.
-Valakut decks in the T8 and T32? 0 total.
-JTMS in the T8? 2 different decks (Grixis and Taking Turns).
-Non-JTMS blue decks in T8? 1 GDS, which everyone said was dead.
-Non-JTMS blue decks in T32? 1 UR Kiki.
-Distinct JTMS decks in T32? 6 JTMS decks, all different: UR Thing, UR Breach, Temur Midrange, UW Control, Grixis Control, Taking Turns
JTMS isn't dominating, blue decks aren't all using JTMS, JTMS isn't homogenizing blue decks, JTMS decks aren't overpowered, big mana isn't on the rise, etc. etc. As usual, the measured and analytic approach to Modern is winning out again over the sensationalist "gut feel" hyperbole.
Re: GP Lyon
LOL @ Tron losing to Abzan in the T8. LOL again @ all Trons being out in the quarterfinals. Looks like we have more datapoints of good players on midrange decks (e.g. Duke) beating the unbeatable matchup when the stakes are high.
Re: Tron hate
This wanton Tron hate needs to chill out. At this point, it's just a meme with basically no evidence to support it. If you don't like Tron and its current performances, you probably should not be playing Modern. Wizards has been extremely vocal and clear over the last year stating that the format is healthy. See October 2017 for the actual quote. See February 2018 for the unban in a healthy Modern. If you do not like Tron's prevalence in those metagame snapshots, then your vision of the format is fundamentally misaligned with Wizards'. This puts a double burden on your arguments; first, to prove that Tron is actually unhealthy, and second, to prove that Wizards' position is wrong. If you want to adopt this stance then do so, but we need to stop the one-liner anti-Tron comments as if they are gospel. They are just niche opinions by vocal, lifelong dissenters at this point.
Feb 17, 2018Posted in: ModernQuote from Ym1r »Benjamin Nicolich just stated at an SCG interview on stream that "Jace is too strong for Modern, he will be gone in six months". It seems like the idea that Jace is gonna break everything is quite popular among SCG players (although not all).
Many SCG players thrive on controversial, hyperbolic, and polarizing comments. It's epidemic in many SCG articles, probably because it has a favorable ratio of low-energy to high view count. It's just easy to jump on some kind of bandwagon (anti-Tron, anti-JTMS, pro-FOTM deck, etc.) and ride it than to carve out a unique opinion based on extensive testing or analysis of results. Also, as we see on these forums all the time, it's always tempting to make an outrageous claim for "I told you so" points later and to make a confident hype-generating quotable now. That's what we saw for the last year when people who actually tried to read the format in a measured, analytic manner saw "no changes/bans" coming in every period.
Players can fight back against this sensationalism by arguing against it online and in game shops, not giving clicks/views to bad articles, and not repeating comments that don't warrant repetition. How much of the "ban x" talk really panned out? Basically none. See Company, Temple, all things Tron, Bridge, Moon, SSG, Opal, DS, Wraith, fetchlands, 8th/9th edition, Goryo's, Stirrings, Baral, PiF, TS, etc. Clowny Magic personalities suggest these kinda of bans all the time, get echoed as such cool/edgy/decisive/insightful gurus of the format. They are almost always just plain wrong and are no more insightful than the average Twitch chat memer. Let's not give them more credibility.
Feb 17, 2018Posted in: ModernQuote from Billiondegree »How much better do you think Tron will become in the new meta?
Tron traditionally does very well against both Jund and control decks, the exact homes for Bloodbraid Elf and Jace.
Could these unbans actually push the archetype over the top?
Disclaimer: this isn't a jab at you but it is a statement against the outrageous anti-Tron vitriol online. Maybe you are just asking a question, but I read it as in dialogue with all the other anti-Tron hyperbole.
I'm a little exhausted by the apocalyptic anti-Tron crowd. It's been particularly bad in the last year; everything is a sign of the pending Tron doomsday. Tron winning GP? Tron too strong. Too many interactive decks in Modern? Tron well-positioned for takeover. New unbans? Tron about to get insane due to being good against unbanned cards. PT around the corner? Tron the best deck get ready for bans. Lantern wins PT? Ban Stirrings so we can also hit Tron which is broken. It's just a crusade at this point. Everything becomes a sign of the coming Tron end times and it doesn't really advance our discussion or understanding of the format. I'd rather talk about Twin of all things than more unsupported anti-Tron mania.
If for whatever reason Tron starts to do well against these new decks, we'll see Hollow One, Affinity, Burn, Storm, Grishoalbrand, etc. roll right back to beat big mana. This is what we saw all year. Modern is incredibly self-correcting at this point. That's why we saw lots of big mana at GP OKC, the Modern world had a collective aneurysm, and then big mana did not make waves at either the PT or GP Van. The format is self-regulating. There is no reason to believe unbans that don't even target the deck in question will cause imbalance. We're even seeing more anti-Tron technology emerge in interactive decks, like Field of Ruin. We need to tone down the sensationalistic Modern claims and stick with more measured analysis. This measured analysis predicted every "no changes" update over the last 12+ months, predicted metagame corrections, and predicted at least the BBE unban. This is the way we should be proceeding.
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