Category Archives: Casual Fridays

Prerelease time!

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I love prerelease weekend. Every card is super expensive, brewers are going crazy, and I get to savor the sweet sweet tears of every Nexus player who’s sad that they can’t win the game by Tamiyo + Callous Dismissal + infinite turns, or a Teferi emblem.

Remember, the first rule of Magic finance is to trade everything away prerelease weekend. Yes, some things are going to go up. Almost everything else is going to go down, and rather than roll dice with value, get your value now.

Let’s look at some early price movement as people gear up for week 1 of the new Standard.

Fires of Invention (Now $4, up from $2.50)

I misses this card, and the good news is that if there’s a ridiculous combo deck to be had, those decks will have this as a four-of, making it a good candidate to double up again. It’s hard to get in at $4 and still get profit, so keep an eye out for cheap copies.

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As for what shell this goes in, I have no idea at all. Sundering Stroke is a big damage card without X in the title, I’ve seen Fires in assorted Gate lists (as Guild Summit is pretty bonkers when you’re not tapping lands to cast it), or maybe you want some sort of superfriends deck. The sky is your limit, just watch out for The Elderspell.

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Oko, Thief of Crowns (Now $28, up from $20)

Everyone is buzzing about this card and it’s impressive as heck. The new Arena event, where you get everything in Standard right away, is enabling people to play four of Oko right away, and I can smell the wildcards being burned from here. It’s powerful and cheap, with the bonus of being a nightmare for the aggro player. You can deal six on turn four’s attack, but that’s six damage not going to the face. 

Oko is going to be a staple of Standard for the next couple of years. I know the price will fall as time goes on, but the question is how far?

Rankle, Master of Pranks (Now $10, up from $8)

It’s not hard to see why this is good. It’s really tough for a card to be a rare in Standard and going for more than $10. There are a lot of very good aggro decks to be made in this new format, and Rankle can be a delightful curve-topper for you in that sort of deck. Flying and haste is a silly combination on a 3/3 for four mana, and Rankle also gives you the option of causing problematic sacrifices for each player. The modes don’t have to be good–the creature is gas and the abilities are just delicious extras.

Murderous Rider (Now $12, up from $10)

I love this card. I’m planning on purchasing a lot of copies in about three months, when the price is closer to $5. Twelve dollars is unsustainable for an in-print rare, especially one that doesn’t have Modern or Legacy implications. Please make sure you trade away all that you open this weekend. I assure you someone wants it, you just have to find that person before this price goes down.

Emry, Lurker of the Loch (Now $8, up from $7)

Standard is sort of meh on this card but the implications in other formats is very impressive. Whirza is going to take Emry for a spin, and there’s too many other wonky artifact strategies for this to not make an impact.

It’s possible that Emry lights up Standard too, but we will see. There’s not the same density of awesome/utility artifacts in the Standard format right now.

Gilded Goose (Now $7.50, up from $3.50)

I’m a little taken aback by this, but people are desperate to cast Oko on turn 2. Gilded Goose is now the only one-drop mana producer, and that extra speed seems to be worth the drawback of only making mana once. Oko’s popularity will directly impact this price, as without the high-impact three-drop, there’s no reason to play a one-shot mana dork. I fully expect the goose to come crashing back down to the $3 range once people come to their senses.

Fabled Passage (Now $9, down from $15)

I appreciate Wizards’ attempts at giving us fixed version of things that are too good for Standard. Here’s a fixed Prismatic Vista, allowing for everything but speed, and the price is reflecting that nerfing. I think this is a long-term staple, and I really want to have a healthy stock of these when the shocklands rotate out of Standard next fall. This card looks rather underwhelming next to shocks and Temples, but will be necessary to glue it all together.

Torvo, Lord of Garenbrig (Now $2, down from $6)

I wish this was going to be good but it’s going to be quite underwhelming. We just finished a Standard that could go Llanowar Elves into Steel Leaf Paladin…and I’d rather have the Paladin in 95% of cases. Torvo desperately needs some evasion, or trample, in order to be worth it. You don’t have long to sell these before they are bulk.

Once Upon a Time (Now $14, up from $11)

Another card that demands to be a four-of, I like this a lot more at $11 than I do at $14. Yes, it’s making waves in a lot of formats and that’s good, the second copy is pretty rough in those formats. I think it’ll be more popular in Standard, helping shore up questionable mana bases that are using shocklands, temples, and guildgates to smooth out the stresses.

Cliff (@WordOfCommander) has been writing for MTGPrice since 2013, and is an eager Commander player, Draft enthusiast, and Cube fanatic. A high school science teacher by day, he’s also the official substitute teacher of the MTG Fast Finance podcast. If you’re ever at a GP and you see a giant flashing ‘CUBE DRAFT’ sign, go over, say hi, and be ready to draft.

MTGPrice helps keep you at the top of your game with our daily card price index, fast movers lists, weekly articles by the best MTGFinance minds in the business, the MTGFastFinance podcast co-hosted by James Chillcott & Travis Allen, as well as the Pro Trader Discord channels, where all the action goes down. Find out more.

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The Best commander in Eldraine

The full set dropped today, and wow is there a lot to process. 

We’ve got collector boosters, alternate versions of just about every card in the set, Food tokens with the plural of Foods, and mythics that people don’t think are good but control decks will love.

This week, we were given a legend to admire. An ability that’s never been on a legendary creature, and a card that’s begging to be broken.

Let’s dive into the magical world of….

Torbran, Thane of Red Fell

This ability, or some variation of it, has been on lots and lots of cards, but never on a legendary creature, making this a fantastic Commander card and a chance for us to get out ahead of what might be. 

A lot of these cards are at nearly-bulk prices, so let’s begin with one caveat. None of these are guarantees, but I think Torbran is the most interesting and does something new. Plus, cheap specs are always a good time.

Please keep in mind that damage doubling and adding an integer doesn’t work quite as well as you’d hope. From the Comprehensive Rules: 

616.1. If two or more replacement and/or prevention effects are attempting to modify the way an event affects an object or player, the affected object’s controller (or its owner if it has no controller) or the affected player chooses one to apply, following the steps listed below. If two or more players have to make these choices at the same time, choices are made in APNAP order (see rule 101.4).

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Basically, if I Bolt you with Torbran and Furnace of Rath out, you decide if you’re taking 10 damage or a measly 8. Annoying, but that’s our first category of Torbran-based specs: damage doublers.

Double up!

Angrath’s Marauders – It’s a seven-mana creature, but doubling is doubling. It’ll be nice to attack for more with this out.

Dictate of the Twin Gods – This having flash is spicy indeed, and can be used effectively even if you’re not the one causing damage. 

Fire Servant – It’s an uncommon, so the value might not be there even in foil. It’s a card I would absolutely play, though.

Furnace of Rath – It’s been printed several times, most recently in Planechase. This is going to see a bump, and I’d either be in on foils or the original printing. There’s not much difference between the foils, so go with the earliest at 8th edition.

Goblin Goliath ($4, no foils) – This card is in an interesting space. It’s from the Game Night set, so there’s not a lot of copies out there. It also selectively doubles damage when you pay mana, meaning that the effect requires more work but isn’t threatening everybody all the time.

Gratuitous Violence – The gold standard, because it only doubles what your creatures deal, making it less likely that you take extra damage. Notably, there’s only 8 NM Onslaught foils left on TCG, but I’m one of those old border snobs. That foil is just under $10, and a little interest will rocket that number higher.

Quest for Pure Flame – Takes time, but when it’s ready to go off, not costing mana is a very useful trait. Problem is, unless you’re going to run Skull of Orm, it’s a one-shot effect.

Damage for all!

Ancient Runes – Conditional, yes, but there’s a certain joy in ‘you did this to yourself’ sorts of cards and some people really need to cut down on the brown mana ramp.

Chandra, Pyrogenius – Having a +2 that will mean each opponent takes four is a lot of game, even for six mana and being an intro deck planeswalker.

Flame Rift – Simple, efficient, and symmetrical, until it isn’t.

Hammerfist Giant – Granted, this takes out Torbran too, but there’s equipment on this list or figure out something to keep it around for repeated fun.

Heartless Hidetsugu – Another symmetrical card which isn’t symmetrical with Torbran in play, and that’s just what we want to hear.

Mondronen Shaman – The flipped version of this basically begs for a removal spell, but it’s so so so good if not immediately killed! Worth the inclusion.

Pyrohemia – Oh yeah, this does EXACTLY what you want. With Torbran out, it says R: Lightning Bolt everything in play and each player, except for your stuff, which only takes one damage. It’s got reprints, so eye those Planar Chaos copies hard. The foils are unsurprisingly rare, considering that this was in Planar Chaos and then Commander 2011. Only 4 NM foils in stock at TCGPlayer, only 36 overall. Godspeed.

Sarkhan, Dragonsoul – A plus ability that deal one to everything you don’t control, which Torbran upgrades to three? Sold.

Spear Spewer – Gosh, I can’t wait to build this deck and make people spend removal on something as dumb as this is.

Sulfuric Vortex – Lifegain isn’t easy for this deck anyway (gotta get the right Equipment!) so playing this puts a clock on the board that spins much faster for everyone else.

Warmonger – With the right equipment out, this is good. With Torbran, it’s breathtaking and you should enjoy every moment.

Only your opponents!

Hazoret the Fervent – The activated ability is top-shelf with Torbran out, dealing big chunks of damage to only your opponents.

Brimstone Trebuchet – I don’t think you’ll untap it often, but three per turn adds up super fast.

Lightning-Rig Crew – Super-duper fast.

Lobber Crew – Super-mega-duper fast!

Thermo-Alchemist – LUDICROUS SPEED

Chandra, Torch of Defiance – the +1 here will hit each of the other players, and while the card may want to be cast, you’re adding damage as fast as you can.

Fanatic of Mogis – Oh yes. This will hit each player for a minimum of six with Torbran out, and this deck will have lots and lots of red pips.

Firebrand Archer – The effects add up pretty fast!

Guttersnipe – And faster!

Impact Tremors – There’s a lot of ways you can build this deck, and Tremors speaks to the go-wide type.

Purphoros, God of the Forge – Of course this is here, and might be one of the most broken Purph decks around. Nonfoils are around $20, and that’s reasonable, but the foils in the $40-$50 range are where I’d rather be. The inventory on these is quite low, and the price is getting high enough that Purphoros would be a headliner in a new Commander deck. I think it’s pretty unlikely that the return to Theros will include a reprint, but I’d respect if you want to wait.

Sizzle – Take five!

Spireside Infiltrator – Niche, but combine with Whip of Flame for real fun.

More Math!

Aria of Flame – If you build the spell-based version of the decks, that ten life is going to last no time at all.

Akki Lavarunner – The flipped version of this is a worse Torbran, but why just settle for +2 when you could have +3?

Embermaw Hellion – This doubles damage to your own things too, so keep that in mind.

Jaya, Venerated Firemage – She doesn’t enhance herself, but she will help all your other fun things.

Pyromancer’s Gauntlet – Can I interest you in Bolting someone for seven damage? I truly love picking up these foils. Nearly-bulk prices, so easy to sweep up, and it’s from six years ago!

Sulfuric Vapors – It enhances spells only, but if you’re building a spell-based version of Torbran, you’ll love this.

Attack Triggers 

Cavalcade of Calamity – With the right creatures, the game is OVER.

Raid Bombardment – I do like the curve of Cavalcade-this-Torbran-attack for 11.

Rage Forger – If you’ve got enough counters, this plus Torbran is amazing, though you might have trouble setting it up.

Hellrider – YES PLEASE.

Inferno Titan – It’s not perfect, but triple Bolt is hard to argue with. 

Protection

Orbs of Warding – Since you get apply the order of damage-replacing effects, do the math correctly, please?

Urza’s Armor – We never heard enough about the cool things the original planeswalkers made. A shame, really. 

Cliff (@WordOfCommander) has been writing for MTGPrice since 2013, and is an eager Commander player, Draft enthusiast, and Cube fanatic. A high school science teacher by day, he’s also the official substitute teacher of the MTG Fast Finance podcast. If you’re ever at a GP and you see a giant flashing ‘CUBE DRAFT’ sign, go over, say hi, and be ready to draft.

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(Most of) The mythics of Eldraine

Preview season means all sorts of new goodies, and there are some showstoppers in Thrones of Eldraine.

Today, I want to talk about the dozen mythics we’ve seen, and where they are likely to end up. Some of these are available for preorder, and as I’ve stated many times before, preordering is a bad idea in almost every circumstance. There are a few more mythics coming, and we will catch up with those next week or so.

One other factor I’m noticing: I’m not sure how strong some of these will be in Constructed, but holy hell, almost all of these are going to have powerful followers in casual circles and Commander pods. 

The preorder prices I’m citing are a combination of eBay and a couple of other prices. If you find different prices, forgive me or jump on them. 

Harmonious Archon ($4)

It’s six mana for 10/11 worth of stats, and I can see this being a pretty strong card in assorted token decks. It’s probably not great in Constructed, though flickering it for a pair of 3/3 creatures is pretty strong.

I don’t see this as becoming a lot more expensive. It’s got a high mana cost, multiples are less than impressive, and there are situations where it’s bad. I’m not planning on buying these unless they drop to nearly-bulk prices.

The Magic Mirror ($10)

I completely expect this card to be a player in Standard, and it’s pretty amazing in the other formats too. I think a lot of decks are going to try this out as a one-of, a late-game advantage engine. It’s very difficult to land this super-early, but turn 7 or so, a control deck can put this down and still have Cryptic Command open.

Standard is really going to like this too. We don’t have big Teferi to end games anymore, but we do have space open for a card-advantage engine. Being legendary, and a mana cost that is impossible early, it’ll never be a four-of.

I like this card to end up about $7-$10 based on casual demand alone, and if enough decks in Standard (and perhaps Modern?) pick up one or two, that will go significantly higher.

Rankle, Master of Pranks ($8)

I don’t think there’s a deck waiting for Rankle, but this is a set of abilities worth building around. Being able to make every player do something is a ‘drawback’ that some very powerful decks have exploited. Keep in mind that you can do none, or all three, all on a 3/3 flying haste body. Eight bucks feels high for a legendary rare creature, and I expect this to fall by half or more. Even an aggro deck isn’t going to play a full set of these, but the dedicated combo-like decks will. Commander players will add this to the Faerie decks, but likely not much else.

Robber of the Rich ($11)

What this is NOT is ‘draw a card’. You’re getting the ability to conditionally cast the card that was on top of their library. The good news is that you’re almost always going to have less cards than your opponent, since you’re playing a more aggressive build. The timing restriction makes it less hard to break, but much depends on how many cards you need to cast before you feel you got a good deal. 

We know mono-red was good before rotation. We are getting some amazing tools for aggressive decks, and this is a card you will absolutely play all four of. In multiples, this is breathtaking to watch, and that’s a factor in the price as well.

What I don’t know is if this has legs in Modern. If he does, if he fits into Burn or strategies like Jund or Death’s Shadow, then this is a $20 card. If not, it’ll stabilize in the $10 range. This is not going to see much play in Commander, even with the difficulties Red has with drawing cards.

Questing Beast ($22)

My problem with this price is that it’s a legend, and extra copies will rot in your hand. That said, holy crap is this card pushed. To start, it’s a 4/4 for four mana with haste, it’s difficult to imagine anything else (sans deathtouch) being able to block profitably. And even if they have a wall, or a five-toughness creature, it’s got deathtouch! Can’t race it, because it’s got vigilance! Can’t chump block it! And now you don’t have to choose between taking out the planeswalker or attacking their life total! 

Planeswalkers have that inherent pseudo-life-gain mechanic baked in when it comes to creatures: Yes, you can attack them but that’s an attack which didn’t go against the life total. Would you play the following sorcery: 1WU: bounce a creature or artifact, draw a card, gain four life. Seems pretty strong, and that’s why Teferi, Time Raveler is so good.

The only drawback here is that the Beast is a legend, which is probably going to stop this from being the most expensive card in the set. I don’t think it’ll hold at $20, but right now there’s a dearth of board wipes. I suspect this will dip a little in price and then climb back up slowly, but never get below $13-$15.

The Circle of Loyalty ($5)

I want to see this card get broken, I really do, but I am doubtful. It’s got a lot of abilities, and is great on an empty board, but it’s fated to be a niche player. $5 feels about right, maybe a buck or two lower.

Embercleave ($6)

This is pretty overpowered as Equipment go. It’s giving that magic combination of double strike and trample, and plays a lot like a combat trick which sticks around. I don’t know if the goal here is to stick it on turn three (presuming 3 one-drops to start the game) or if it’s better as a “Surprise! Take ten!” sort of play in a midrange/tribal deck.

Either way, I don’t think being Legendary is a huge drawback. Playing a second one after they lined up blocks on the creature carrying the first has an appeal, or perhaps they killed the first creature carrying it.

If I was preordering, this would be my early pick. Aggressive red decks are going to want to play this card, probably with 3-4 copies, and that’ll cause an early spike above $10.

The Royal Scions ($19)

This is pretty absurd, three mana to plus right up to six loyalty. That’s a lot, and thankfully, these two can’t protect themselves at all. Clearly, this is pointed at a control strategy, but in a UR aggressive deck, the middle ability makes blocking nigh impossible. The ultimate is certainly worth building towards, with a worst-case of draw four and deal four anywhere you need to.

It’s hard to see this as dropping below $10. Three mana is a pretty sweet spot for planeswalkers, and while I don’t think it’ll maintain at nearly $20, the decline will be a slow one.

Garruk, Cursed Huntsman ($20)

This Garruk is am amazing finisher, and a clever design. Making two 2/2 creatures as a zero is rather powerful, and making those be the method for gaining loyalty is an elegant design. The minus ability is everything you want in the late game: Get rid of something and get ahead on cards, and the emblem might not be an immediate game over, but it is going to speed up the game impressively. 

This feels like a $15 card by the end of the year, but it’s not going to go crazy before then.

Oko, Thief of Crowns ($20)

Again, we’ve got three mana for what could be six loyalty when it comes down, and that’s solid. Being able to upgrade what you’ve already got into a 3/3 feels good that early in the game, and hopefully you’re not overwriting anything too powerful. The turn four play of “Here’s a Food, now give me that creature of power 3 or less” is going to be delightful too.

This is surprisingly underpowered for such a high preorder price. Oko can’t win on their own, nor solve a problem with power 4 or more. Yes, it can downgrade everything they make into 3/3 creatures but then you still have to remove it. I think the fall will be significant, and the price here will be trending downwards slowly until it hits the $5-$7 range.

Outlaws’ Merriment ($4)

If this was not a random choice, this would be a very powerful card indeed. As it is, you’re getting a haste creature of varying abilities, but the combination of that unknown plus not getting a creature until the following turn means that this is never going to be in high demand. It’s neat, and cool in multiples, and an adorable theme, but this is a bulk-rate mythic by itself.

Cliff (@WordOfCommander) has been writing for MTGPrice since 2013, and is an eager Commander player, Draft enthusiast, and Cube fanatic. A high school science teacher by day, he’s also the official substitute teacher of the MTG Fast Finance podcast. If you’re ever at a GP and you see a giant flashing ‘CUBE DRAFT’ sign, go over, say hi, and be ready to draft.

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Knight Time

Preview season is here and stuff is WILD.

We were told that there wouldn’t be a lot of faeries but the Brawl decks have given us some truly amazing members of that tribe, there’s two non-tribal decks but what I really want to look at is some of the amazing support we’ve gotten for the Knight tribe.

Some cards have started to spike, and others, amazingly, haven’t yet.

To be clear, there’s a ton of amazing tribal cards, but we’re focusing on the Mardu colors and Knight/Knight-enabling creatures. Equipment is also a valid theme.

Ashenmoor Liege ($4 nonfoil/$10 foil)

That foil price is drying up fast, though. It was less a week ago, but getting foils at $10 seems quite solid to me and nonfoils at this price should be a winner too. Pumping lots of your team always feels good.

Crimson Honor Guard (25¢)

I know this card doesn’t see a lot of play, but it’s capable of dealing a ton and a half of damage if unchecked, as lots of COmmander decks tend to not mess around with their Commander. The really good news is that this is two years old, dirt cheap to get in on, and even a small amount of interest in the card will pay off handsomely. Feels pretty good to buy at nearly-bulk rates and then turn those cards over again.

Eastern Paladin (50¢/$2 8th foil/ 7th foil $20)

Western Paladin (same)

These are both Zombie Knights now, something I keep stumbling over when building decks of the undead. Extremely useful abilities in Commander, and if it weren’t for the 7th edition foil tax, an easy spec. Urza’s Saga was the last set without foils, that’s why you can’t find original pack foils.

Southern Paladin (50¢/75¢)

Northern Paladin ($30 down to 10¢)

These are in a weird place. Northern Paladin dates back to Alpha, and was in Revised, so value is going to take a loooooooooong time to build up. Southern Paladin is in Weatherlight and 7th edition, but red permanents aren’t always as much of an issue.

If you want, skip the formalities and stock up on their versatile cousin:

Pentarch Paladin ($2/$7) is only in Time Spiral, can solve almost any problem, and has only 8 NM foils left on TCG right now.I fully expect this to cost a lot more very soon.

Haakon, Stromgald Scourge ($7/$25)

Foils basically don’t exist online anymore, but this is a premium card in a Knight tribal deck. Once you get him into the graveyard, it’s incredibly efficient and requires graveyard hate, something Commander decks never have enough of. Coldsnap was a low-selling set from a long time ago, and if you can get copies under $10, be enthused.

Knight Exemplar ($5/$10/Resale Promo $10)

Granted, that price is a day old and these are drying up FAST. A Media Promo and a Duel Deck headliner, this is one of the best Knights you could hope to have on the battlefield. It hasn’t been printed in several years, and slowly, over time, the quantities have gotten smaller and smaller. If you have them, hold them, and if you can find them for a pre-spike price, snap them up. Knights are about to get quite popular.

Marton Stromgald ($3)

A Reserved List Knight, he’s looking for a deck that swarms, rather than one which plays a ton of Equipment and seeks to build Voltron. Right now, TCG has about 170 copies, but only 24 NM. I’m not yet sure if the Knights want to go wide, but I shouldn’t need to work hard to convince you to buy a card that isn’t going to be reprinted and offers some impressive upside. Get yourself a few copies right now.

Order of the Sacred Torch (25¢) and Stromgald Cabal (25¢)

I don’t think these are going to go bananas in price. If they were only in Ice Age, then maybe, but having been in 7th and 8th editions means the number of copies is rather high. They are worth mentioning, though, because this is one life to counter the spell! That’s a really powerful ability on a creature, and guarantees that they need to cast something mediocre first. It’s theoretically possible that someone could spend a couple hundred bucks on TCG to try and force a buyout, but that’s not going to work.

Mirran Crusader ($1.50/$4 MM15 foil/$8 MBS foil/$5 Buy-a-Box foil)

Phyrexian Crusader ($5/$12)

Paladin en-Vec ($1/$8)

If you want your Knight deck to feature Equipment, then you have some excellent choices in who should hold the sword for you. All three are worthy, and can do disgusting things. Note that the Crusader’s price has already started to increase, and it hasn’t had the reprints of the other cards. Paladin en-Vec only has foils in 9th and 10th, making those rare finds.

Puresteel Paladin ($11/$20)

One of the two needed cards to go off in the Cheerios deck, Puresteel has already gotten a lot of attention and commanded a premium price. Picking up some foils might be in order, because the multiplier is just too low. The nascent casual demand is about to move that price higher.

Valiant Knight (25¢/$1.50)

This is an ability that can end games quite rapidly, but is only good when things are going well for your team. It’s a very cheap buy-in, even for the foils, making it a solid pickup in anticipation of $5 days to come.

Vona, Butcher of Magan ($2/$7)

Prices are climbing for this Vampire Knight and you should be stocking up cheaply if you can. There’s not a lot of copies on the market, and within a couple of weeks it’ll be at $5/$15 pretty easily. Plan accordingly.

Cliff (@WordOfCommander) has been writing for MTGPrice since 2013, and is an eager Commander player, Draft enthusiast, and Cube fanatic. A high school science teacher by day, he’s also the official substitute teacher of the MTG Fast Finance podcast. If you’re ever at a GP and you see a giant flashing ‘CUBE DRAFT’ sign, go over, say hi, and be ready to draft.

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