Tier Lists

Counter: Side tier list of best characters (and mechs)

Counter: Side tier list of best characters (and mechs)

Your one-stop guide to investing in the best characters for Counter:side Global

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Counter: Side is a futuristic sci-fi gacha RPG with gameplay that can be categorized as 2D side scrolling tower defense mixed with elements of Clash Royale. You assemble a deck of 8 units, each assigned with a deployment cost and march into the battlefield. Deployment cost will regenerate as the battle wears on and it’s a vital resource to send your units out (or drop them from the sky as is the case with some mechs). Picking the right characters isn't as easy as it seems, so we decided to create a Counter: Side tier list.

The main distinction that Counter: Side is known for is the introduction of a ban system to its PvP mode to keep the game’s PvP balance healthy (This system earned it an award for Best Competitive 2021 on Google Play). For fans of story-centric RPGs, fret not as Counter: Side has an enticing plot with dark undertones with its colourful cast of characters with fleshed out personalities, even for mechs such as Titan who is a kind and caring “grandpa” personality type.

It is no coincidence that Counter:Side’s name sounds too similar to the hit FPS Counter-Strike. Unlike other gacha RPGs whose cast of characters is made up of humans, a unique highlight in Counter:Side is the inclusion of infantry units as well as war vehicles (including Titanfall-esque robots) as playable characters. They are not limited to a small number, but a whole faction exists. For fans of mobile gacha games or military enthusiasts, this will be a breath of fresh air when the genre mostly offers waifus or husbandos. There’s more to the characters themselves as a majority of them have a niche and are bound to be useful in some way (barring a few really bad apples, like PZH Mobile Gun.)

Counter:Side made its debut in Korea and is the lovechild of Studio Bside and is published by multiple companies. Nexon is responsible for the publishing in South Korea and Zlong for SEA. However, in a surprising twist, it was announced that Bside will be manning the helm themselves and self-publishing the game globally. Aligning with the norm of many others in its genre, the majority of servers (SEA, Japan) update patches closely follow Korea, with occasional changes to its release schedule as seen in SEA where some characters are released ahead of schedule.

Global Counter: Side tier list

With that out of the way. In anticipation of the official Global version release, we have created a tier list that ranks each character. A key point to note based on the CBT that just concluded a while ago, the Global version will likely come packed with the latest quality of life features that mitigated the grind and made life easier. This tier list will factor in the benefit-cost ratio of each character that only gets featured in the Global CBT, along with a short justification on why we think they deserve the ranking.

We will also group the tier list into PvP and PvE. As with most games, some characters are absolutely stellar in PvE and vice versa. We will also only take the dastardly hard endgame content into consideration, including Guild coop, Danger Close, Relic Dungeons, Shadow Hall and Raids. We will also update this tier list every month following the official global release as new characters are added or balance changes affect the existing roster.

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Basic terminology to note

Units are divided into several classes, including the main classes of Striker, Ranger, Sniper, and Defender. There are exceptions for some units as they are classified as one of the extra classes of Siege, Tower and Support. Type advantage-disadvantage applies here with Striker > Ranger > Defender > Sniper in a cyclical manner (with Sniper in turn effective against Striker). The extra classes, however, are neutral against other classes. The delegation doesn’t stop there, units are further grouped into three factions namely Counter, Soldier and Mech, with Counter being the dominant class.

Counter mostly consists of human individuals with superhuman abilities and an arsenal of flashy abilities to boot. Soldiers are normal humans (or in some cases, Counters with birth defects that render their superhuman strength moot) armed with firearms and commonly comes in a pair or triad. Last but not least is the Mech Faction (also the coolest one in my opinion) that consists of cold, steel mechanical weapons of destruction and sometimes artificial intelligence

As usual, the golden rule applies here, S tier are some of the best units that you must bring along to stand a chance in PvP as they are the most impactful bunch in the metagame. Even in PvE scenarios these units make them a cakewalk. On the opposite side of the spectrum, we have the N tier units that are useless in any scenario and scrapped for currency

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1
Mech Tier List

A class primarily constitutes of machinery units ranging from conventional military vehicles (and planes) modeled after their real life counterparts, to futuristic mechs with a deadly arsenal. Most of the units in this class lack an ultimate or special skill as they tend to rely on raw firepower.

Tier S

Class Name Analysis
Sadly none

A tier

Class Name Analysis
Striker Woodpecker Great in Shadow Palace and Challenge modes, generally versatile as it is moderately bulky for a 2 cost unit that can be easily redeployed, with airborne being an added advantage.

B tier

Class Name Analysis
Striker Titan Great in Shadow Palace and PvE modes with Corrupted Objects (the eldritch creatures) as it has bonus damage against them, its War Ender: Phalanx Waves is highly valued for its area wide stun with great damage to boot. It is also bulky. Held back slightly by its high cost.
Ranger Sparrow Great in Shadow Palace and Challenge modes, generally versatile as it has moderately good damage output for a 2 cost unit that can be easily redeployed, but has horrendous health.
Sniper Buzzard Limited use in Shadow Palace and Challenge modes, high evasion that can be used to chip away ground strikers' health.
Defender Hound Versatile in many game modes as it possess a very high HP for a 3 cost unit, with knockback capabilities, unfortunately in return he gets knocked around frequently as he is not immune to hitstun.

C tier

Class Name Analysis
Ranger ATF-35 Thunderbolt Limited use in Shadow Palace (3), it's anti-air niche is not favored in majority of PvE content and has expensive cost of 4.
Striker ATL-Lincoln Exceptional anti-air damage with its Muspelheim Missiles along with moderate bulk, held back by expensive cost of 4.

N tier

Striker Chariot, MA1 HMMWV
Ranger ZSU Shilka, ATB-1B Spear, Arachne, Black Tail
Sniper Reaper, HM MRLS
Defender -
Extra ACH-4 Clan, Tactical Truck Deuce-and-a-half, Balisada, Rhino

PvP viability

S tier

Class Name

Analysis

Striker Titan Dominant in the early metagame, its War Ender : Phalanx Waves can pick off fragile rangers and cripple the frontline by stunning them momentarily.
Striker Woodpecker Moderately bulky air unit with a cheap cost. Can be constantly redeployed and is a good check against rush teams.

A tier

Class Name Analysis
Ranger Sparrow Great airborne attacker that can deal consistently high damage when protected. Its high HIT stats are important to counter units with high EVA. Like Woodpecker it's low cost means it can be constantly redeployed.
Sniper Buzzard Great airborne sniper that can counter pesky strikers such as Esterosa, also has high EVA stats that contributes to its survivability.
Defender Hound Very Impressive bulk for a 3 cost defender that can endure a lot of punishing hits. Added advantage of being able to knockback enemies.
Siege Rhino Backbone in the siege rush team, pairs well with Lumi.
Ranger ATF-35 Thunderbolt Airborne attacker that deals massive damage to other airborne units and only airborne units.

B tier

Class Name Analysis
Ranger Arachne Its skill Repetitive AI can stack damage buffs to deal high damage. Hampered by its short range and poor HP.
Striker ATL-Lincoln Exceptional anti-air damage with its Muspelheim Missiles along with moderate bulk, held back by expensive cost of 4.
Tower Balisada High damage but poor HIT stats, good role as an anti-rush counter. As a stationary tower unit it is good against any paratrooper or backdoor units.
Sniper Reaper Requires perfect timing and skill for maximum effect, specifically used to take down backline ranged units.

C tier

Class Name Analysis
Sniper HM MRLS Niche advantage against soldier swarm or mech units. However that's where its usefulness stops because it gets overshadowed by its fellow snipers.
Striker MA1 HMWWV Limited niche by being able to slightly knock back enemies upon deployment, can spawn UGBL riflemen upon death and apply weak buffs to ally strikers. Fun fact, it can be used to bait Kyle Wong to deploy his barricades on the wrong side.
Striker Chariot Ditto to MA1 HMWWV, except it detonates upon death and applies weak buffs to Defenders. Fun fact, it can be used to bait Kyle Wong to deploy his barricades on the wrong side.

N tier

Striker -
Ranger ZSU Shilka, ATB-1B Spear, Black Tail
Sniper -
Defender -
Extra Tactical Deuce-and-a-half, ACH-4 Clan

2
Soldier Tier List

True to the namesake, retinues of foot soldiers, troops and occasionally weak counters reside in this class. One unique attribute about them is their strength in numbers which makes them great at absorbing attacks, while overwhelming foes with fire support

S tier

Class Name Analysis
Ranger Admin Riflemen x2 You'll need him absolutely everywhere. Has one of the highest damage outputs and can pretty much melt anything at a cheap cost of 2, crucial counter against many bulky defenders such as the upcoming Awakened Hilde.
Striker Admin Sword Fighter x2 Very viable across all content. Can land a lot of critical hits while having high evasion, her passive skill Survival Instinct fully heals her partner when the first one perishes but negated if both are killed simultaneously by an AoE attack.
Supporter Ironside (IN MECH TEAM) ONLY GOOD IN A PURE MECH TEAM as he provides good healing coverage, otherwise he's easily a N tier unit. Also quite memeable thanks to Juan.

A tier

Class Name Analysis
Striker Terminator (x2) Good in Raids, Guild Coop and Danger Close. While he's no Arnold Schwarzenegger, his Armor-Piercing Buckshot can weaken enemies by debuffing their DEF stats while dealing high damage in return. Held back by a deploy cost of 4.
Defender Admin Shieldman (x2) Good in Guild Coop, Shadow Palace and Danger Close. Very bulky and comes in a pair at a low cost of 2. Provides excellent protection as his passive skill Local Phase-locking Device can taunt enemies
Ranger Eddie Fisher Good in Guild Coop, Shadow Palace and Danger Close. Absolutely crucial in hybrid Counter/Soldier decks, with his multiple buffs. His passive Experienced Veteran can buff the defense of Counters and Pro Mercenary can buff fellow soldiers' attack.
Striker Jane Doe Great in Raids, Guild Coop and Danger Close. A speedy attacker that dishes out great damage thanks to her passive skill Swift Attack, while also inflicting AoE damage.

B tier

Class Name Analysis
Defender Stronghold (x2) Valued for his passive skill Can't Die Like This. Upon death he can temporarily make your allies more tanky for 6 seconds.
Ranger John Mason Only good in Guild Coop thanks to his Tracking EMP Grenade to disable enemy skills temporarily (though some units are immune to it). Also noted for his passive skill, Anti-C.O. Drone: Ian Jr. It spawns a giant Corrupted Object that can serve as a makeshift protection. His Operation System Hacking can also bulk up fellow mech allies too.
Ranger Assault Trooper (x3) Versatile across all content thanks to its unique niche of being deployable anywhere. Good backdoor options to deal with backline units, sucks with auto-battle.

C tier

Class Name Analysis
Supporter Choi Ina Good in Raids and Guild Coop thanks to her replenishing your party's deployment costs.Other than that she's a sitting duck.
Sniper Adamant Sniper Great in Shadow Palace, can safely stay in the backline and thus out of harm's way, while dishing out good damage to enemies. Also cheap to deploy.

N tier

Class Name Analysis
Defender Charlie Rockwood, Shieldman
Ranger UBGL Riflemen, Recoiless Gunner, Scout, Recoiless Gunner, Riflemen, Peacekeeper
Sniper Stinger Gunner, Sniper, Sweeper,
Extra Ironside (NOT IN MECH TEAM), Brownie Moore, Mortar Team
Striker Jessica Green, Suppressor

PvP viability

S tier

Class Name Analysis
Ranger Admin Riflemen (x2) Absolutely monstrous damage output for a cheap cost of 2.Keep him safe in the backline and watch him slice through enemy defenses like a hot knife in butter.
Striker Admin Sword Fighter (x2) A great asset to the team as she can continuously deal high damage against enemies. Her passive skill survival instinct fully heals the other when the first one perishes, adding to her survivability.
Ranger Eddie Fisher Same role in PvP as a significant buffer to hybrid Counter/Soldier teams.
Supporter Ironside (IN MECH TEAM) Good healer in a mech team. Can spam deployment thanks to cheap cost and significantly heal fellow mech allies. Easily an N tier when used in other teams and easy S tier for preggo mech memes.

A tier

Class Name Analysis
Ranger Assault Trooper (x3) Cheap backdoor unit that comes in three, can pull of surprise attacks on an unsuspecting backline and chip away the ship's health and cause distractions.
Striker Jane Doe Crucial to a Striker rush team composition that shines when used with Matador. High crit and damage as well as great evasion.
Defender Admin Shieldman (x2) Cheap defender that can redirect enemies attack to him with passive skill Local Phase-locking Device, can also absorb a lot of valid hits.
Supporter Choi Ina Often used during her up week, she's a great deployment cost generator so players can get the rest of their units into the field faster, while able to provide useful buffs to allies.
Sniper Adamant Sniper The diamond in the rough, she can bring a lot to the field for a low rarity unit. She remains in the backline away from harm's way while being able to deal decent damage.
Ranger John Mason The Corrupted Object summonable with his passive skill : Anti-C.O. Drone: Ian Jr. is invaluable as it can pop out at a spot that can turn the tables of the PvP around. The Tracking EMP grenade's ability to disable is also welcomed, although some units are immune to it.

B tier

Class Name Analysis
Defender Stronghold (x2) Same gimmick of buffing allies' DMG RES upon death, but his high cost does not justify using him and Admin Shieldman overshadowed his role.

C tier

Class Name Analysis
Supporter Brownie Moore Her shtick of debuff immunity is what's most valuable about her.
Sniper Stinger Gunner (x2) Good anti-air damage and pick off air threats, not useful generally.
Ranger Recoiless Gunner (x2) Anti-mech specialist with her passive skill RPG-81 Cactus, not useful generally.

N tier

Class Name Analysis
Defender Charlie Rockwood, Shieldman
Ranger UBGL Riflemen, Scout, Recoiless Gunner, Riflemen, Peacekeeper
Sniper Stinger Gunner, Sniper, Sweeper
Striker Terminator, Suppressor, Jessica Green
Extra Mortar Team, Ironside (NOT IN MECH TEAM)

3
Counter Tier List

Consisting of humans who attained supernatural powers and are the frontline defense against Corrupted Objects. They come in a myriad of useful ultimate and special skills that make each of them have a unique playstyle, and niche useful in some occasions.

S tier

Class Name Analysis
Ranger Gaeun A must-have for all content and easily acquired at the start from rerolling the beginner banner. One of the top tier Rangers with formidable attack damage, range and utility. Her special skill, Double Flat, can stun multiple enemies. Her Quarter Note can hamper enemies by reducing their attack speed. Lastly, her ultimate skill, Prestissimo, is highly impressive for dealing massive damage capable of hitting far distances. A character you should be using.
Ranger Kyle Wong Summon 2 barricades periodically to support allies defensively, crucial in almost every endgame content and shine in modes such as Danger Close and Shadow Palace.
Ranger  Nanahara Chifuyu 3 cost unit with impressive bulk for her class, her Cherry Blossom Slash can weaken enemies' defense and debuff with stun, all the while dealing great AoE damage. Great across all content.
Supporter Evelyn Keller A healer/attacker hybrid provides continuous healing with Heka's Tonic and Hermes Trismegistus, with the latter skill being able to inflict decent damage. A must-have for every type of content and used in conjunction with Claudia Nelson.
Supporter Claudia Nelson A healer focusing on burst heal, upon deployment, her Kind Faith nurses ally health by a good chunk. Can make your team immortal in many PvE modes. Used in conjunction with Evelyn Keller.
Ranger Kyle Wong His main utility, Strategy bulwark, can drop two barricades as good defensive support. Imperative in modes such as Danger Close or Shadow Palace. 

A tier 

Class Name Analysis
Striker Roy Burnett He debuffs enemies both defensively and offensively with his skills Sidewinder and Chain Drive. Good for Raids, Danger Close and Guild Coops. 
Supporter  Arius Esquade A good support that casts a barrier and restores HP. Only use when Claudia or Evelyn were unavailable. 
Ranger  Seo Yoon Remarkable in Danger Close and Raids as she can debuff enemies offensively and defensively, while providing ATK up support to allies. Good in Guild Coop and Raids.
Striker Lin Xien Regenerates party Deployment costs while being able to attack enemies. Any team would welcome her.
Supporter Nanahara Chinatsu Support unit that heals and offers defense-oriented buffs to allies, good for the majority of PvE content where hard bosses lurk. 
Sniper Hayami Sanae One of the bulkier Snipers who specialize in Area-wide damage, great in Danger Close.
Ranger Shin Jia  Primarily uses cloning jutsu to summon holograms of herself to fight. In addition, she can buff attack speed of allies. Great in Guild Coop and Raids that demand strength in numbers.
Tower Maria Antonov S tier Babushka memes, a unique unit as her main source of strength comes from the multiple mech units she summons, absolutely great for raids and guild-coop.

B tier

Class Name Analysis
Striker Esterosa de Chevalier A bulky striker (thanks to Astraia's Blessing) with good damage and that's pretty much it at a cost of 4.
Striker Cindy Looper Cheap offtank that pushes back the enemy.
Defender Irie Alford Cheap defender that pushes back the enemy.
Striker Orca Much like inher lore, she absolutely murders Corrupted Objects and is essential in PvE modes infested with them. Her skill set is too self-centered, to be higher though. 
Ranger Nayuka Minato A cheap damage dealer with arguably one of the most awesome Ultimate Skills.
Striker Hilde Provides minor offensive buffs to allies while dealing out respectable damage, her ultimate skill Dragon Slayer, if spammed with Cooldown Reduction gear, can give her a lot of invincible grace periods.
Defender Ryan Ferrier For a Defender unit, he has good bulk and attack damage. He's an average Joe across all content.
Sniper Sylvia Lena Cooper Despite her sky-high damage and potential with her ultimate skill, she easily dies in one hit before launching it against PvE bosses. 
Sniper Xiao Lin A sniper with massive burst damage, can melt any striker or far-away targets incredibly fast. Her only downside is her fragile health. 

C tier

Class Name Analysis
Ranger Joo Shiyoon One trick pony that is summoned to counterattack any dangerous attacks and then dies. Generally good in Danger Close and Shadow Palace where he is needed to parry some attacks.
Striker Jake Walker A straightforward damage dealer that is way too overpriced and brings little to the table.
Striker Ingrid Johana Her niche is suited for PvP and her inherently low stats for a low rarity make her unfit for any PvE role.
Ranger Cathy Wade Significant buffs to ally rangers and only rangers at a low cost. Otherwise usable across all content.
Ranger Elizabeth Pendragon Madame miss a lot, while she can be deployed anywhere to unleash her Knife Ballore to keep enemies on the spot, her flurry of knife attacks has poor HIT that hold back her damage potential.
Tower Gabriel  Good in Danger Close whenever the siege Ministra boss shows up.

N tier

Class Name
Ranger Yang Hansol, Yoo Mina, Yuna Springfield, Thaddeus Morgan, Bomi
Striker Nina Anderson, Zena Bird, Park Hyunsoo, Oh Saerom, Ingrid Johana, Liv Allen, Eujin, Amy Strickland
Sniper Maya Hunt, Kim Chowon, Miya
Defender Choi Gangsan, Lee Dafoe, Kim Chulsoo, Hirose Aki, Benedict Constantine, Ogami Masaki, Fiona Lowell
Extra Shin Somi, Lumi, Lee Minseo, Laura Beatrix, Lee Jin

PvP viability

S tier

Class Name Analysis
Ranger Gaeun A universal staple in any team and very dominant in PvP for the same reasons stated in the PvE section. In KR and SEA players often opt to ban her. 
Ranger Kyle Wong Summons 2 barricades periodically to support allies defensively. His barricades can direct enemy attacks away from your frail backline units.
Ranger  Nanahara Chifuyu Absolutely stellar for the same reasons stated in the PvE section. A good opener that can seriously debuff enemies with defense down to make it easier for your allies to take them down.
Supporter Evelyn Keller A healer/attacker hybrid that provides continuous healing with Heka's Tonic and Hermes Trismegistus, with the latter skill being able to inflict decent damage. A universal staple in any team and the go-to pick for a healer. 
Supporter Claudia Nelson Good burst healer that players can redeploy to take advantage of her heal upon entry gimmick. She's the secondary choice for whenever Evelyn is banned.
Sniper Sylvia Lena Cooper Being able to stun everyone for a good few seconds with her skill Lockdown Shock Buster, as well as dropping a "Judgement day" with her ultimate skill Beautiful World makes her one of the best team supports. In addition, her skill set specifically synergizes well with a mech team as she provides buffs to them.
Striker Lin Xien A must-have when she's upped. She can generate a lot of deployment points (with her ultimate skill and passive skill) and is especially important in decks geared towards rushing. 
Sniper Xiao Lin Her sky high damage can pierce through multiple enemies (depending on whether the rework is applied in global servers) , making her a dangerous presence on the battlefield. She is the bane of all bulky strikers and Titan (and in the future Awakened Yuna) are afraid of her.

A tier

Class Name Analysis
Striker Ingrid Johana A surprise attacker that works fantastically with other paratroopers or backdoor units. She can be tough to take down as her evasion is high. She excels at chipping away the ship's health or distracting the enemy backline.
Siege Lumi Same tier as Rhino, a key backbone to siege rush team comp.
Ranger Joo Shiyoon PvP is where his counterattack skill shines with its brightest potential. Once activated it can stun the entire field of enemies and comes in handy when used properly.
Striker Cindy Looper Often used together with Irie Alford, Cindy Looper is a cheap offtank (thanks to her self-regeneration skills) that can push back enemy's frontline with Judgment Chainsaw. 
Defender Irie Alford Often used together with Cindy Looper, a cheap but bulky defender that can push back the enemy's frontline with her skill Stay Away From Us!
Sniper Hayami Sanae One of the tankier sniper units that can hit a wide area and simultaneously debuff enemies' attack speed.
Defender Ryan Ferrier Finger licking good skill kit that emphasizes the principle "offense is the greatest defense". Early days in SEA and KR PvP were dominated by him.
Ranger Elizabeth Pendragon Her Noblesse Throw and damage upon entry can be used to pick off a squishy backline and keep them rooted on the spot (this is important).
Ranger Nayuka Minato The underdog that is absolutely monstrous when upped. He packs good damage for a cost of 2 (1 if upped) with his ultimate skill Nine Suns and his niche of inflicting higher damage to farther targets.

B tier

Class Name Analysis
Tower Maria Antonov Can overwhelm the enemy with her ultimate skill. Her Air Raid Order skill is equally useful as it can chip away the enemy’s backline health. Sadly she is too reliant on gear, needing at least 72% Cooldown reduction to be good, especially for a unit with an exorbitant cost of 5. The hologram mechs she summoned with Modern Warfare can be taken down if the enemy already deployed a full-fledged team. 
Tower Gabriel  Good ship defense against paratroopers and backdoor units such as Ingrid Johana, Assault Troopers. Best T-poser.
Striker Hilde  Good striker lead that hits hard and increases damage output of fellow counters. Her entry damage can temporarily disrupt several units. 
Striker Esterosa de Chevalier While she is bulky thanks to her skill set and qualifies as S tier easily, she is quickly rendered obsolete when better Striker and awakened Strikers are released until she receives a rearm update. So we rated her B. 

C tier

Class Name Analysis
Sniper  Maya Hunt Niche usage in PvP as a disposable, cheap damage dealer. 
Sniper  Miya Easily interruptible ultimate and special skills that once pulled off can do a lot of knockback, with a cost of 4.
Striker Orca Her ultimate skill, Orca's Fury, can occasionally take away a massive chunk of the ship's health if played with skilled hands. Other than that, she doesn't do much as she's more effective against Corrupted Objects. 
Ranger  Shin Jia  Another case of a PvE oriented unit, although her ultimate skill’s knockback is nice.
Supporter Lee Jin A damage-oriented pyromaniac support that focuses too much on damaging and debuffing enemies. Has a kamikaze skill that sadly is very situational.
Ranger Seo Yoon Her damage output is rather low and easily dwarfed by other units of her class. Her unlimited gun works ultimate skill is undeniably cool, though.

N tier

Class Name
Ranger Yang Hansol, Yoo Mina, Yuna Springfield, Bomi, Cathy Wade
Striker Nina Anderson, Zena Bird, Park Hyunsoo, Oh Saerom, Bomi, Liv Allen, Eujin, Amy Strickland, Roy Burnett, Jake Walker
Sniper Kim Chowon
Defender Choi Gangsan, Lee Dafoe, Kim Chulsoo, Hirose Aki, Benedict Constantine, Ogami Masaki, Fiona Lowell
Extra Shin Somi, Lee Minseo, Laura Beatrix
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