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Tier List for Worlds ’16, the Top and High Tier Examined, Potential Rogue Forces, and the New Standard

What’s good with ya, SixPrizes! The final weeks of the 2015–2016 competitive season are upon us and I’m incredibly hyped to see it go. The rotation always brings that bright feeling of hope for a better future, a better tomorrow. Sadly, we’re not quite there yet so in this article I’m going to provide my Worlds 2016 tier list, techs to use in and against each of those decks, and finally a few new lists and strategies I think should be investigated going into the next format.

I don’t think providing a tier list for PRC-on is logical at this point before we have more information on the tournament schedule for the upcoming year, but discussing some top ideas should be beneficial.

Tier List, Worlds ’16

Top Tier

High Tier

Mid Tier

Top Tier

lampent bw029pokemon.wikia.com
“I love lamp.”

Night March

Matchups

Good

  • Waterbox … 60-40

Even

  • Darkrai/Giratina … 50-50
  • Greninja BREAK … 50-50
  • Night March … 50-50
  • Vespiquen/Vileplume … 50-50
  • Yveltal/Gallade … 50-50
  • Zoroark BREAK … 50-50

Bad

Surprise, surprise! The deck that never goes away and keeps getting buffed is at the top of the list. If you don’t feel comfortable with a deck going at least 50-50 against Night March, don’t play it for Worlds. Simple as that. If you’re searching for a list to work with, I recommend the build in my last article, and here are a few new tech ideas you should test and expect to see.

New Tech Options

Galvantula STS

galvantula-steam-siege-sts-42Galvantula adds a few twists that Night March never had before. Its attack Double Thread does Bench damage and hits multiple Pokémon at once. Some Night March lists will choose to include this card to punish opponents who double-bench Joltik in the mirror match, hit 2 Froakies for KOs (Galvantula is Grass and the attack applies Weakness), and instantly KO any Benched Zubat.

While this card may seem situational I believe the potential for donks and coverage against viable decks is worth its inclusion as a 1-of in any Night March list. If you’re playing against a Night March deck packing this then keep in mind how many low-HP Grass/Lightning-weak Pokémon you have on your Bench. Also, track what turns your opponents bench their Joltiks. Galvantula is Stage 1 Evolution so it shouldn’t be a complete surprise when they throw it down.

Editor’s note: After publication, Galvantula received errata eliminating its ability to target the opponent’s Active Pokémon with Double Thread.

Captivating Poké Puff

Poké Puff is a Target Whistle you want to play during the early turns of a game. I think the worst part about this card is it punishes opponents who are playing well and conserving their Bench space for attackers or Pokémon they rightfully do not want to Bench vs Night March. I’ve had test games — with almost every deck — turn into complete blowouts by forcing an opponent to bench their Shaymin-EX which I then slowly picked off to generate a Prize lead. It’s a great card to draw in the mirror match alongside Galvantula so you can create 2-Prize attack turns and remove some attackers from the opponent’s board.

If you’re playing against a list you know is packing Poké Puff you’ll need to be more aggressive with your Professor Sycamore plays. I’m referring to the times where you have a Professor Sycamore, VS Seeker, and N in your hand alongside some Pokémon you don’t want to bench. This is an extremely tough decision if the list is packing both Poké Puff and Target Whistle, but my testing has shown Poké Puff provides a bit more utility than Target Whistle due to player habits generated over the past year in the Standard format where you want to hold onto Shaymin-EX in your hand for as long as possible.

2 Hex Maniac, 2 Pokémon Ranger

If I ran Night March at Worlds I’d play 2 Hex Maniac and 2 Pokémon Ranger to solidify the matchups I deem 50-50 based upon our opening hands. Since the deck packs 4 Battle Compressor and 4 Ultra Ball, having the extra copies sitting around shouldn’t be much of an issue. What I don’t want to happen is a time where I’m dead-drawing against Trevenant BREAK or Seismitoad-EX and my only out to the situation is prized because I played a 1-of. Playing 2-of each, or 2/1 split, gives you that extra beef in those matchup and can throw off your opponent’s game plans should you burn the 1st copy early in the game.

Anti-Night March Techs

Swellow ROS 72

swellow-roaring-skies-ros-72If you’re working on your secret lists and still trying to push the Night March matchup in your favor, see if your list could fit Swellow to eek ahead in the late-game Prize exchange.

Captivating Poké Puff

Similar to the reasons behind playing a copy in Night March, playing a copy in your own list can drop a handful of Night Marchers onto the Bench during the early–mid game and lower their damage output out of KO range on your main attacker.

Dropping Shaymin-EX could also be helpful, but more often than not I’d rather affect their damage output and help my Pokémon-EX survive at least one turn.

Bursting Balloon

While this idea isn’t fresh or mind-blowing, it is effective in relieving the early-game pressure from Night March. I’ve been testing multiple decks including 3 or 4 copies of Bursting Balloon to force an opponent into an awkward situation where I may take a lead in the Prize exchange if they whiff that crucial Fighting Fury Belt.

Trevenant BREAK

Matchups

Good

  • Night March … 60-40
  • Vespiquen/Vileplume … 60-40

Even

Bad

  • Darkrai/Giratina … 40-60
  • Toad/Bats … 40-60
  • Yveltal/Gallade … 40-60
  • Zoroark BREAK … 40-60
  • Waterbox … 30-70

Everything that this deck needs it already has. The meta has shifted in its favor due to the release of Pokémon Ranger so we’ll see less Seismitoad-EX decks. People don’t believe in the Quaking Punch/Energy lock strategy anymore against Night March. Expect to see decks that are similar to those that topped US Nationals.

Anti-Trevenant Techs

Shaymin-EX XY148

shaymin-ex-xy-promos-xy148
Like Rough Seas but cuter.

Time to break out the binder promos! Shaymin-EX XY148 has the Ability “Aroma of Gratitude” which heals each of your Benched Basic Pokémon for 20 and can help your low-HP Basics survive for a few extra turns.

I’ve wanted a card like this during the early stages of game for Gallade/Octillery and Austen Vance recently spoke to me about Shaymin and its potential inclusion there and elsewhere. Essentially Shaymin-EX is the Rough Seas you’ve wanted for every type. Just be sure to play a copy of AZ or have a solid way to retreat should it be dragged Active through Lysandre.

2 Lysandre, 2 Hex Maniac

Nothing new here. Playing higher counts of Supporters that break Forest’s Curse should give you an overall increase in efficacy against Trevenant. As I mentioned in the past, sometimes Trevenant can lock you into a dead hand and keep you there until you have no win condition. Playing higher copies of these cards can help mitigate that.

Vespiquen/Vileplume

Matchups

Good

Even

  • Night March … 50-50
  • Vespiquen/Vileplume … 50-50
  • Darkrai/Giratina … 50-50

Bad

Vespiquen/Vileplume has an incredibly high skill ceiling and is probably the hardest deck to pilot on turn 1 in the format. Vespiquen/Vileplume has always had a solid list provided by Andrew Wamboldt and lately we’ve only seen changes made to increase the Bunnelby or AZ counts. The only addition this deck should see from the release of Steam Siege is Special Charge which should help some players pilot the deck in easier ways. It’s essentially replacing your late-game Bunnelby Rototillers with a turn where you AZ your Vileplume then play Special Charge and use Shaymin-EX to draw your Double Colorless Energy for the win.

Anti-V/V Techs

Jirachi XY67

Even with Pokémon Ranger in the format, this card is still just as strong against Vespiquen/Vileplume as you have an option to run them out of Energy should they not play against the Jirachi properly. You need to retreat your Jirachi after using it to attack then apply pressure once they use their Bunnelby to Rototiller the Double Colorless back into their deck. Playing 2 or 3 copies of Jirachi should make this matchup feel favorable. Its strength against Night March has been diminished but Jirachi is still useful in situations after you play an N or Red Card on your opponent.

Wobbuffet PHF

As much as I’ve hyped Wobbuffet in the Mega Alakazam section of my last article, I believe he is the best counter to Vespiquen/Vileplume for any deck that plays Float Stone. Getting him off your turn 1 Ultra Ball or even lucking out and opening him should throw the game drastically into your favor. Promoting him after your opponent takes a KO then using Items for your turn and retreating him to deny your opponent Items is absolutely sickening for the Vespiquen/Vileplume player.

High Tier

greninja smash bro shurikenengadget.com

Greninja BREAK

If I was fixated on playing Greninja for Worlds I’d certainly play the 4 Bursting Balloon variant as I think it has the strongest chances against Night March and Trevenant BREAK. There isn’t much tech-wise to discuss about Greninja as most of its builds have already been fleshed out for tech via with Hard Charm, Bursting Balloon, Octillery, or Training Center.

I’d play a list almost identical to Henry’s in his latest article and probably include another copy of Startling Megaphone over the 3rd Level Ball and a Lysandre over the 4th Trainers’ Mail as I want to be able to break the Trevenant lock in some way.

Matchups

Good

  • Toad/Bats … 60-40
  • Yveltal/Gallade … 60-40
  • Zoroark BREAK … 60-40

Even

Bad

  • Darkrai/Giratina … 40-60
  • Vespiquen/Vileplume … 30-70
  • Waterbox … 30-70

Anti-Greninja Techs

Pokémon Ranger

pokemon-ranger-steam-siege-sts-113
Shadow Stitch begone.

As I’ve mentioned before, if your deck loses to an opponent stringing Shadow Stitching against you multiple times, include 1 or 2 copies of Pokémon Ranger to utilize your Abilities and keep a lead on Greninja.

Garbodor BKP

One of the few reasons Greninja had a small impact at US Nationals is due to the increase in hype behind Darkrai/Giratina/. Seeing as how many players believe Giratina-EX is no longer the answer to Night March due to the release of Pokémon Ranger, you may see a few players picking up Greninja again hoping to dodge the matchup.

I think there are a bunch of decks that can include Garbodor but few players have been successful with it. More than likely, Greninja players are going to be cutting down to only 1 copy of Startling Megaphone meaning they’ll have a hard time dealing with 2 Garbodor on board.

I’m looking to pair Garbodor with almost 90% of the decks I’m testing for Worlds. It can hold back quite a number of plays from all the Top Tier decks.

2-3 Hex Maniac

Shocking! I know, it’s annoying how strong Greninja BREAK is during the late stages of the game where only drawing into VS Seeker or Hex Maniac after their 3rd N can save you.

Waterbox

water toolbox 16-9amzn.to
Hah. Ha.

Matchups

Good

Even

  • Darkrai/Giratina … 50-50
  • Waterbox … 50-50

Bad

  • Night March … 40-60
  • Vespiquen/Vileplume … 30-70

With the release of Pokémon Ranger I’ve been asked many times whether or not Waterbox is still viable. As of now, I think it’s still quite competitive but well-timed turns of back-to-back Pokémon Ranger from a Night March player should put the game heavily in their favor. Henry hit the nail right on the head when he said Articuno and more Energy removal are the key to this matchup but I’ve tested a few more ideas to stack alongside them.

Pokémon – 11

3 Seismitoad-EX
2 Manaphy-EX
2 Articuno ROS 17
2 Shaymin-EX ROS
1 Aurorus-EX
1 Hoopa-EX AOR

Trainers – 38

4 Professor Sycamore
2 N
2 Lysandre
1 Hex Maniac
1 Xerosic
1 AZ
1 Ninja Boy

 

4 VS Seeker
4 Ultra Ball
4 Max Elixir
2 Red Card
3 Energy Switch
3 Fighting Fury Belt
1 Startling Megaphone
1 Enhanced Hammer

 

4 Rough Seas

Energy – 11

11 Water

2 Red Card

I was back and forth between Team Flare Grunt, Crushing Hammer, and Red Card to add a new spin of control against Night March. I found Red Card to test the best and it even allowed me to take free early Prizes against opponents who happened to dead-draw after I Red Card + Quaking Punched them.

My logic behind even testing the Red Card was “What can I do during the early turns to mitigate their VS Seeker into Pokémon Ranger play without burning my Energy removal?” so I decided to give it a go and see whether or not it was even worth playing. I expect smart Night March players to be able to play Pokémon Ranger at some point early — turn 2 or 3 — and it’s how quickly I can regain control from that point without getting run over by 200-damage Night March attacks that is the key to consistent victory.

1 Ninja Boy

Henry had a nice write-up on Ninja Boy and what it offers the deck but don’t forget the card isn’t regulated to the Active Pokémon. You can also turn your Benched Shaymin-EX or Hoopa-EX into another Seismitoad-EX or Articuno and remove those potential win conditions from your opponent’s game plan. I always like to save the Grenade Hammer into Ninja Boy > Tri-Edge for the final couple of turns of the game. That way you don’t get heavily punished by N for taking an absurd number of Prizes early on.

No Trainers’ Mail

I don’t believe Trainers’ Mail is necessary for this deck to function. The deck is already extremely consistent and without Trainers’ Mail I felt little to no difference in speed. If you take this route you’ll want to play at least 4 Rough Seas and be a bit more mindful with your Energy and Max Elixir attachments as you won’t be able to make many double Energy Switch plays.

Anti-Waterbox Techs

Yanmega STS

yanmega-steam-siege-sts-7Yanmega is one of the best cards to come out of Steam Siege and is completely terrifying for a Waterbox player to play around. While the card can be 1-shot by Seismitoad-EX with Grenade Hammer, it still puts Waterbox in the position to burn a Lysandre on a non-EX Pokémon that more than likely has no Energy attached to it. Activating Sonic Vision is pretty easy and you can include this card in many decks.

Jolteon-EX

While Pokémon Ranger does counter Jolteon-EX, I don’t believe many Waterbox players will include it in their lists. I personally would not play Pokémon Ranger as you can always use Articuno to put the Jolteon-EX to Sleep then hit it with a Grenade Hammer should the Sleep stick, but this does not mean Jolteon isn’t a problem for Waterbox. A couple of lucky heads could mean potential downfall for this deck.

Darkrai/Giratina

Riding the hype and success from Liam Williams and Sorina Radu at US Nationals, I place Darkrai/Giratina at the bottom of the High Tier as Pokémon Ranger removes the control it had over Night March. My latest build includes Garbodor and is similar to the one Alex Hill, Sean Foisy, and Christopher Schemanske top 8’d Origins 2016 with.

Matchups

Good

Even

  • Darkrai/Giratina … 50-50
  • Night March … 50-50
  • Toad/Bats … 50-50
  • Vespiquen/Vileplume … 50-50
  • Waterbox … 50-50

Bad

  • Yveltal/Gallade … 40-60

Tech Options

Red Card

Piggybacking off the success I had with Waterbox + Red Card, I tested a few games this list thinking Red Card + Chaos Wheel + Garbodor essentially seals the game against a lot of Night March decks. The problem I can see from taking this route is the success Nick Robinson had with Enhanced Hammer and Xerosic in his Night March at US Nationals. If your Night March opponent is lucky enough to draw into the Special Energy removal then you’re in for a tough time.

Some players may choose to cut the Energy removal from their lists to increase their Hex Maniac and Pokémon Ranger counts, and both mindsets are solid. They can only have so much tech in their deck before it starts to get a little inconsistent.

Garbodor BKP

This is nothing new but it should be in most lists. As mentioned before, I expect a lot more Greninja decks at Worlds than we saw at US Nationals so including Garbodor seems wise for Darkrai-EX builds. Garbodor also removes the Shaymin-EX/Ultra Ball out off Red Card which has blown out a bunch of games throughout my testing. One of the smaller benefits of including Garbodor would be going first and benching a Trubbish with Float Stone against Vespi/Vile or Trevenant BREAK which essentially wins the game.

2 Yveltal GEN, 3 Fighting Fury Belt, 1 Captivating Poké Puff

Another option is to forgo control over Night March and instead try to beat them in a straight Prize race. Playing a heavier count of Fighting Fury Belt and enabling Darkrai-EX to withstand a few Night March attacks could be a better route to take with the matchup instead of using Chaos Wheel. Using Captivating Poké Puff or Target Whistle to limit Night March damage and force Shaymin-EX onto the Bench is also an ideal way to run with this idea.

Potential Rogue Forces

entei smash bros 16-9 2scolipedo.tumblr.com
These ideas could be lit. ?

Entei AOR 15/Flareon-EX/Volcanion-EX

While it has no recent placings in the competitive circuit, Entei/Flareon-EX/Volcanion-EX is a force to be reckoned with should someone find a way to make it consistent enough to compete with Night March and Trevenant BREAK. I’d expect this deck to be playing Bursting Balloon, Fighting Fury Belt, and Muscle Band for Tools as well as a hefty amount of Volcanion-EX so Flame Screen can generate 1HKOs on non-EX Pokémon.

Be sure to check out Henry’s two takes on Entei/Volcanion for inspiration.

Talonflame STS/???

I don’t know exactly what to pair Talonflame with yet but I believe the bird has the potential to be Top Tier. I think he’ll be best paired with a strong Stage 2 Pokémon or 4 copies of a single Pokémon-EX card that can handle matchups on its own. One of the concepts I want to test out is Flareon-EX or Seismitoad-EX with Max Elixir and Battle Compressors to discard any Talonflame that you don’t open with.

I only have so much time on my hands to test, so I figured I’d throw out some of the stuff I’m trying to cook up.

Standard Format 2016-17

Moving onto to next format, I think it’s going to be an amazing rotation and we’re going to see a lot of healthy deck diversity. First I’m going to list what I believe are the important cards were losing and then discuss some playstyle/deckbuilding changes we’ll have moving forward.

Changing of the Cards

Important cards we’re losing include:

Pokémon

Trainers


Loss of Battle Compressor

Decks should be significantly slower next format and players will have issues finding the right number of consistency and tech Supporters they should be playing. Currently we can add 1 or 2 Battle Compressor to fish out our tech Supporters whenever needed but this will no longer be an option.

Loss of Scoop/Prize Denial

Losing AZ and Super Scoop Up means we should see a significant slowdown in the format as benching Shaymin-EX is scarier than ever. This should give room for Stage 2 and Mega decks to surge back into the meta. I’m ecstatic for this change as I feel like the game will be less focused around the opening turn and more around overall progression throughout all stages of the game.

Loss of Item lock

Seismitoad-EX and Trevenant XY leaving is a welcomed change in my eyes. I also think we’ll see a significant drop in Vileplume variants due to the loss of AZ. This is an amazing change for the game as I believe turn 1 Item lock is unhealthy and leads to boring games.


Here’s a list of cards I’m going to pick up as I think they will show potential at some point throughout next format:


Mega Mewtwo

Pokémon – 13

4 Mewtwo-EX BKT 62
3 M Mewtwo-EX BKT 64
2 Blitzle BKP
2 Zebstrika BKP
1 Hoopa-EX AOR
1 Shaymin-EX ROS

Trainers – 35

4 Professor Sycamore
3 N
2 Lysandre
1 Hex Maniac

 

4 VS Seeker

4 Ultra Ball
4 Trainers’ Mail
4 Mega Turbo
3 Mewtwo Spirit Link
1 Escape Rope
1 Super Rod

 

4 Shrine of Memories

Energy – 12

8 Psychic

4 Double Colorless

With the loss of Night March I think the two Mega Psychic Pokémon decks should see a significant increase in play. I’ve already highlighted my M Alakazam list in my last article so I want share my Mega Mewtwo list today. There isn’t much to discuss as Mega Mewtwo is a linear concept that swaps damage whenever you can take a KO with it and uses Psychic Infinity to sweep an opponent.

2-2 Zebstrika BKP

One of the major downfalls of this deck going into next format is the speed and strength of M Rayquaza (Colorless) which can handle this deck with ease. I’ve included a 2-2 Zebstrika line to combat this matchup as well as provide a nice 1-Energy KO against any Benched Shaymin-EX should I need to Lysandre them up for 2 Prizes.


Rainbow Road

Pokémon – 19

4 Xerneas BKT
2 Blitzle BKP

2 Zebstrika BKP
2 Zorua BKT 90

2 Zoroark BKT
2 Golett AOR

1 Golurk AOR 35
1 Yanma STS

1 Yanmega STS
2 Shaymin-EX ROS

Trainers – 29

4 Professor Sycamore
3 N
2 Lysandre
1 Teammates
1 Hex Maniac

 

4 VS Seeker
4 Ultra Ball
4 Max Elixir
2 Float Stone

1 Fighting Fury Belt

1 Super Rod

1 Captivating Poké Puff

 

1 Sky Field

Energy – 12

8 Fairy

4 Double Colorless

One of my favorite decks in the Standard format, Rainbow Road is incredibly fun and rewarding to play. Packed with the power of a toolbox and a heavy hitter through Rainbow Force when given a decent hand, this deck runs over games. The problem is in the current format there’s too much Item lock and 1-Prize attackers that can 1HKO Xerneas for it to be viable. With the rotation, this deck should be a lot more threatening and able to compete with the influx of Mega decks we should see.

2-2 Zoroark BKT

Before I had a low count of in my lists but with Golurk and Zebstrika we’ll need the extra switching ability. Zoroark remains a threatening attacker moving into next format and he’s a great inclusion in here with our playset of DCE.

1-1 Yanmega STS

Yanmega provides extra damage output for Xerneas, has free retreat, and attacks for free if we’re able to activate Sonic Vision. Yanmega might even need to be bumped up to 2-2 but this line provides a solid answer to Zygarde-EX variants and Yanmega is a solid attacker against Greninja during the early stages of the game.


M Altaria-EX

Pokémon – 16

3 Altaria-EX
3 M Altaria-EX
3 Xerneas STS
1 Xerneas BREAK
2 Trubbish BKP
2 Garbodor BKP
2 Shaymin-EX ROS

Trainers – 31

4 Professor Sycamore
3 N
2 Lysandre
1 Hex Maniac

 

4 VS Seeker

4 Ultra Ball
3 Mega Turbo
3 Altaria Spirit Link
3 Float Stone
1 Super Rod

 

3 Fairy Garden

Energy – 13

9 Fairy
4 Double Colorless

M Altaria adds a nice mixture of healing utility and quick damage output that many decks in the next rotation will not have. I wanted to make a variant similar to this work for Worlds but the strength of Night March holds it too far back. I think alongside the Xerneas reprint and Xerneas BREAK this deck should be a contender for the next format.

3-1 Xerneas BREAK

Originally I had Max Elixir and no Xerneas in my build in order to speed up my attacks with Altaria, but I felt like it was a little clunky during the mid-game once I already evolved into 2 Megas. Opening a Xerneas and using it to power up a Benched Xerneas and Altaria then having Mega Turbo during the late game for an instant Mega has felt like a much better engine. Xerneas BREAK is a powerhouse and I’m considering adding another copy if the format pans out to focus on 2HKOs instead of a flurry of 1HKO decks.

2-2 Garbodor BKP

Since this deck makes little use of Abilities and can afford the deck space, I added a 2-2 Garbodor line with 3 Float Stone. It should add control for Greninja, Magnezone, and other Evolution decks that will spring up during the opening weeks of the format. Currently there is no Trainer-based Tool removal in the format, but I believe we’ll get just that in the upcoming set, otherwise Garbodor + Fighting Fury Belt could make for quite the linear format.

Other Ideas

Magnezone BKT/Raikou BKT/Pikachu-EX

I loved this deck in the beginning of XY-on Standard, but as Item lock and Night March began their slow takeover, it lost its viability. A consistent, streamlined 4-2-4 Magnezone with 3 or 4 Raikou and 1 Pikachu-EX should be a threat to almost every deck in the format. Should the missing Tool removal card be printed in the next set and give this deck an answer for Garbodor, I’m definitely going to play it a bit more.

Primal -EX/Dragonite ROS 51/Wobbuffet PHF

The hilarious deck that Dylan Bryan and I put together at 3 a.m. is still a strong contender for the next format. While Focus Sash and Korrina have rotated, this deck remains a ridiculously good variant that has potential to take an opponent by surprise. Since Vespiquen has lost Battle Compressor this deck does not have much to fear in the next few months.

Xerneas BREAK/Togekiss ROS 46

Similar to the rush of Darkrai-EX, Xerneas BREAK will be a heavy-hitting deck but with a single-Prize attacker. I’m looking to test a speed build with 3-3-3 Togekiss, 4-4 Xerneas BREAK, 4 Max Elixir, and Energy Switch which should be formidable in the next format full of Megas.

Conclusion

Worlds 2016 is looking to be quite the grind of a tournament full of Item lock and quick-paced decks that are heavily influenced by the opening coin flip. I expect a high number of Night March, Trevenant BREAK, and Vileplume variants to flood Day 1 with a few players holding back their extreme meta calls for Day 2. These polarizing plays could include Greninja BREAK, Talonflame variants, and decks that can utilize Rough Seas in some sort of way.

With that said, I’m happy to finally see the XY-on Standard format go. The PRC-on format should be less toxic. If you see me at Worlds please feel free to say hello for a bit! Meeting new and old friends is the best part about traveling for these tournaments.

Until next time!

Russell LaParre


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