SWTOR Immortal Defense Tanking Guide

SWTOR Immortal Defense Tanking Guide by Elobi
A Tank’s Guide to the Galaxy


  • Terminology
  • SW | JK in general:
  • Introduction to Juggernaut | Guardian resource and tanking abilities:
    • Core generating abilities
    • Secondary generating abilties
    • Core consuming abilities
    • Secondary consuming abilities
    • Defensive abilities
    • Taunts
  • Talents.
  • The 3-6-4 Priority system
  • Stats.
    • Stat weights.
  • Gearing and Stat Ratings.
  • Consumeables
  • Game mechanics
    • Survival
    • Threat mechanics
    • Stat Ratings and Diminishing returns

When reading through this compendium, you might encounter unfamiliar words. Check the list below for an explanation.

AE, also called AoE is Area of Effect abilities/mechanics. As a rule of thumb AE abilities will hit several targets; friendly or hostile.

CC, also called crowd control is a commonly used term that evolves around abilities and tactics. This term is often used in relation with a kill order. You will have to use kill orders and crowdcontrol alot when engaging harder packs.

Threat also called hate from time to time, is the mechanic of which you determine the threat on a mob. When you have threat on a mob, it will hit you. Creating threat or TPS [Threat Per Second] is your main objective after making sure your survivability is taken care of.

Aggro is when you turn the mob against you instead of a fellow player – contrary to threat, where threat is the substained hate, aggro is the actual AI turnover. The term holding aggro, is when you are tanking and you are maintaining threat to avoid the aggro turnover.

DPS is Damage Per Second. Every ability has its own DPS value, so if Vicious Slash had a dps equal to 1 – and you only used that ability all throughout a fight, your dps would be 1. Generally when reffering to DPS, it will be to the actual damage dealer of the group/raid.

MT/OT is MainTank, which reffers to the tank tanking the boss. OT is the off-tank, which is the tank taking care of ads.

GCD Global cooldown, whenever you activate an ability that respects the GCD, you will have to wait 1.5 seconds before using any other GCD affected ability again.

RNG Means Random Number Generation, and is the core of MMO combat mechanics.

SW | JK in general:

  • Wields a Single Lightsaber.
  • Uses a shield generator as off-hand.
  • Can take on two different roles: Tank and Damage dealer.
  • Uses Rage or Focus as resource.
  • Wears heavy armor.
  • Uses Strength as main stat.

The Juggernaut and Guardian are, when the dust settles, the same class with the same abilities, but with different names. This makes reading a Jedi guide as Sith a pain, it is certainly doable, but it can be a pain. This compendium will adress all factional differences to ensure the highest level of understanding for both factions.

The Juggernaut and Guardian share many abilties with their AC counterparts i.e. Maurauder and Sentinel, so make sure to get familiar with the general abilities of your class.

Shared Sith Warrior | Jedi Knight abilities:
[Abilities generel to the respective class – Shared class skills that are a part of the core tanking abilties will be explain in their respective section]

Intimidating Roar | Awe
Perhaps the most powerful crowdcontrol you have available – works both as a minor CC on a pack and as a AE interrupt! – An ability that any tank worth his 5 cents will have binded.

Savage Kick | Opportune Strike

This ability does have it’s uses, but the time frame for its usage makes it a hard ability to implement. If the boss is immune to immobilisation or snares, this ability is useless. If you are familiar with using hotkey’s then use this ability when the situation allows it. It is free and does decent damage.

Pommel Strike | [The JK ability is called the same, but the Tooltip is currently unavailable]
If you don’t already love this ability, you will. It is useable on targets affected by CC, your Force Choke | Force Stasis and stunned targets. Which makes this ability a brilliant opener on CC’d targets that are next in the kill order and a nice filler when your target is stunned.

Unleash | Resolute

Tooltip says it all, I suggest you bind it to be able to move freely when tanking.

The Sith Warrior | Jedi Knight provides a 5% increase to damage and healing.
Unnatural Might | Force Might

Introduction to Juggernaut | Guardian resource and tanking abilities:

The Immortal and Defense is the tank specs of the Sith warrior and Jedi Knight.
Even though they aren’t known for their many snap threat abilities, they are very sturdy classes that can take immense amounts of damage before they are defeated.
Our goal is to make sure that all the enemies in a fight are focused on us rather than our teammates.

We need to be acquiring skills that increase survivability and those that increase threat generation. This can be achieved not only by directly investing in threat generation skills, but also in increasing DPS (preferably in an Area of Effect, AoE) setting; because after all, if you’re not doing at least some damage, you’re probably not threatening enough to attack.

We should be looking for survivability before threat generation, and threat generation before damage.

A dead tank will neither generate threat nor deal damage.

To understand how they work; there are three things you must get comfortable with first.

Rage | Focus generating abilities, Rage | Focus consuming abilities and defensive cooldowns/abilities.

Core generating abilities:

When tanking, as mentioned earlier, your main objective is to hold aggro and maintain maximum survivability; to be able to do that, you need Rage | Focus.

You have 3 main resource generating abilities:

Soresu Form | [The JK ability is called the same, but the Tooltip is currently unavailable]

Sundering Assault | Sundering Strike

These three abilities are your bread and butter.
While other classes only need to use their non resource spending abilities to regenerate, you will need to use yours quite often.
Soresu Form must always be activated.

Since most of your Rage | Focus consuming abilities will cost 3 + you will need to have a steady flow of incoming Rage | Focus at all times.
When Soresu form is activated, Sundering Assault | Sundering Strike, Assault | Strike will generate one less focus every time you use it; so if you are fighting a NPC with slow hit timers, you will obviously need to use your generating abilities more.

Secondary generating abilities:

Force Charge | Force Leap

Our only gap closer, use it whenever possible for the extra resources it provides.

Enrage | Combat Focus

Very useful for snap threat when ads spawn or during a burn phase where you need to dump as much damage as possible. Talented correctly this ability will be useable more than once per minute.

Saber Throw | [The JK ability is called the same, but the Tooltip is currently unavailable]
Our best tool to keep some extra threat on ranged targets, or simply as an extra resource generator.

Force Choke | Force Stasis

If talented this ability is a free semi-taunt/ breathing room for smaller ads and a nice resource/threat generator versus bosses.

Even though the target is immune to stun, it will still take damage and provide you with focus.

Core consuming abilities:

Smash | Force Sweep

Talented it has a 12 second cooldown and costs 3 Rage |Focus; talented correctly, it provides a debuff giving a 5% miss chance for 18 seconds.

Force Scream | Blade Storm

Talented correctly, activating this ability will also provide you with a shield that absorbs a decent amount of damage [for more precise numbers check Introduction to game mechanics].

Retaliation | Riposte

Talented correctly this ability costs 1 Rage| Focus and increases your defense by 6% for 6 seconds.

Crushing Blow | Guardian Slash
This ability is Vicious Slash | Slash on steroids. Spec it, use it, love it.

Backhand | Hilt Strike

Increased threat, nice damage and a decent cd for a high threat ability. Must have.

Sweeping Slash | Cyclone Slash

This ability is shared by both AC’s – and is your bread and butter when AE tanking!

Vicious Slash | Slash

Has no cooldown, does a decent amount of damage. This is your Resource dumper.

Secondary consuming abilities:

Disruption | Force Kick

This is a must have on your bars. Use this ability whenever possible to avoid incoming damage.

Vicious Throw | Dispatch

A “Finishing Move” that does a great deal of damage, when available this ability should be used instead of Vicious Slash | Slash
A valuable tool when handling melee ads – keep it on your bars.

Non-Resource consuming ability worth mentioning:

Ravage | Master Strike

You can still deflect and parry while channeling this ability.

A high damage ability that is useful as situational filler if your other abilities are on cooldown or if you are stacking Rage | Focus.

Defensive abilities:
The defensive cooldowns is where the Juggernaut and Guardian really shine. With 3 major cooldowns, they have the capability of being first class progress tanks. Time the use of these cooldowns well and with other external cooldowns, proper gearing and you will be near un-killable

Invincible | Warding Call

This is perhaps the best defensive cooldown available in the game. Play this card if your raidleaders are discussing which tank class to bring.

Endure Pain | Enure

Combine this with proper timing, a Medical pack and nice comuncation with healers – and you got yourself a solid defensive cooldown.

Saber Ward | [The JK ability is called the same, but the Tooltip is currently unavailable]
on top of the tooltip, it alo increases your defense chane by 100 % for the first 3 seconds after you activate it.

Intercede | Guardian Leap

A solid defensive cooldown that should be used on CD on the other tank when you’re not in the line of fire.

Defensive buffs from procs and abilities:

Blade Barricade | Blade Barricade
Provides 6 % defense when fully talented. This buff is gained whenever you activate Retaliation | Riposte

Sonic Barrier | [The JK buff is called Blade Barrier, but the Tooltip is currently unavailable]

This absorbing shield scales with your level and absorbs 1257,5 damage @ lvl 50 [with +17 healing power from 100 willpower as base stat]


Taunt | [The same as SW Taunt]

Threatening Scream | Challenging Call

Use your taunts wisely, and make sure to follow up with some damage afterwards to keep the mob on you.


I currently recomment using this spec:

Jedi Guardian
Sith Juggernaut

The spec emphasises on survivability, with optimal threat talents included.

With a talent such as Accuracy | Accuracy we get a solid headstart on threat stats, since besides from Soresu Form, this talent is the only threat increasing modifier we have. This brings us back the Survival versus Threat priority, and Accuracy wins big over any other talent there is left. This talent will ensure that you can use more stats on your gear, on acutal survivability, instead of threat.
Dreadnaught | Perseverance is worth mentioning aswell, even though strength does not give you any defensive attributes, SW |JK are in a bad spot at the moment when it comes to threat compared to other tank classes. So make sure to grab anything that can increase your threat. But without negating your survival. Mandatory talents such as Sonic Barrier | Blade Barrier that provides you with an absorbing shield whenever you use Force Scream | Blade Storm is priceless combined with other defensive talents.

The 3-6-4 prority system:

The 3-6-4 priority system is to be read in two major parts, the Rage | Focus generating and the Rage | Focus consuming Part and 3 minor parts: Generating resources, ability usage on single target and ability usage in AE encounters.

The most important thing is to never cap your Rage | Focus (I.e. using resource generating abilities while at 11-12 focus) and to never go below 1-2 focus.

The reason for this is that you must always be able to use Riposte or Force kick (8 second cooldown, costs 1 focus); since riposte does not respect the GCD and it is major survivability factor.

Rage | Focus generating priority:

Enrage | Combat Focus use on cooldown !

Use Sundering Assault | Sundering Strike on cooldown, unless you are dumping Rage | Focus like a madman. Sundering Assault | Sundering Strike does more damage than strike, more threat and refreshes your stack of Armor reduction on your target, which is a tps increase for you and a dps increase for the dps.
Soresu form is actually your first priority, but it persists through death and is mandatory in every possible way as a tank.

Rage | Focus consuming priority:

[Tip]: Activate your free damage abilities whenever you can – i.e. Strong, normal and weak hostile npc’s are eligible to pommel strike while stunned

Use Retaliation | Riposte on proc, every time! No excuses!
Use Force Scream | Blade Storm on cooldown and keep up the 5% miss debuff(Applied by Smash | Force Sweep).
With Smash | Force Sweep being being on a talented 12 second cooldown – you have a 6 second window to reapply the debuff which will give you plenty of time to generate the resources needed or gain a stack or 3 of Revenge | Courage.
Hilt strike is prioritized over Guardian slash due to the the threat boost, the focus cost and to get as many out during a fight as possible.
Fit in Guardian Slash whenever you have focus available!
Dump focus with Slash.

If you ever have the time, then use Ravage | Master Strike and/or apply Force Choke | Force Stasis (only if you have the talent) to generate some free threat and Rage | Focus.

[NOTE:] Be advised that during certain encounters, you will have to save your Force Scream | Blade Storm to activate the shield at predetermined crucial points during that encounter.

Rage | Focus AoE consuming priority:

Retaliation | Riposte must still be used on proc as usual! – Keep your Absorb shield up, maintain the hit debuff on targets and use your Rage | Focus generating abilities on your kill target.

Dump any leftover resources with Sweeping Slash | Cyclone Slash

When you engage a 2+ mob encounter, make sure to mark a kill target. Sith Juggernauts and Jedi Guardians AE threat is ridiculously bad at the moment.

So unless you prepare on beforehand, then you must be ready to eat some comments about your tanking skills.

You can diminish the lackluster factor by making sure to mark your targets and hope that the dps in the group follows the kill order accordingly.
Mash in all non resource consuming abilities possible on your kill target and other single target threat abilities whenever possible.


Primary Stats

Increases damage done by melee and force attacks, the chance to score a critical hit with melee weapons, and is the primary stat for JKs/SWs.

Increases your total health and your out of combat health regen.

[WillPower] Auxiliary Stat:
Increases your force bonus damage, Healing Power and critical chance

Defensive stats:

Shield Rating:
Increases chance to Shield an incoming attack (equivalent to Block in WoW) (Glance Rating is a datamining term and to prevent confusion, try to avoid using )

Absorption rating:
Increases the amount of damage mitigated by the shield. ( equivalent to Block Value in WoW)

Defense Rating:
Increases chance to directly avoid incoming attack – ranged and melee. (Equivalent to Parry and dodge in WoW)

Decreases the damage taken from Kinetic and Energy damage.

Secondary stats.

Increases the health, damage, and healing of your companions.

Increases your chance to score a critical hit with damage or healing abilities.

Increases your chance to hit with attacks. All accuracy past 100% will reduce the targets defense chance in melee and their resistance to force attacks.

Increases the critical damage or healing bonus applied when you score a crit.

Alacrity: (Haste)
Causes the cast time of abilities to be faster. This stat does not reduce the GCD.

Increases the damage and healing of your abilities,

Stat Weights:

Remember Endurance and Strength comes with all of your gear – so you don’t have to worry too much about those stats in terms of stat weighing.
Generally defense gear/mods have more endurance than dps.

Primary stats:

Endurance > strength

Defensive stats:

Shield Rating / Defense Rating > Shield Absorption

Generally you have a large amount of defense on your gear, so you should’t only stack defense, but neither forget it!

While Shield Rating doesn’t occur as much, meaning you will have to modify your way to the top.

Shield Rating and Shield Absorption goes hand in hand – > stacking Shield Rating like a champ, but not having any absorption rating would negate the effectiveness drastically. The same goes the other way around.

As a rule of thumb go 2 Shield Rating for every 1 Absorption Rating

Swtor uses a two roll system for incoming attacks. The first roll will determine wether it is a hit or a miss, in a accuracy versus defense roll.
if it is a hit then the next roll will determine wether the attack will be shielded or crit. It is done in a crit versus shield chance roll.

A critical hit can never be shielded.

As far as we know, is there no stat in Swtor that directly makes you crit immune.

However we know that Shield Rating is a cheaper stat than defense rating, and defense hits diminishing returns faster. So augmenting/modfying defense and shield stats on a 1:2 basis will decrease the likelyhood of you recieving a full hit, without inflating your stats.

Secondary stats:

Accuracy > Power > Crit > Surge >>>> Alacrity >> Presence

Accuracy until 10% (7% if talented) – Accuracy is your main, almost only, concern in the secondary stat section
– with 3% Accuracy from talents you can easily reach the needed cap with a few augments.[/b]

Accuracy is by far your most valuable secondary stat, if we do not have perfect Accuracy, it reduces the possibility for our threat-generating attacks to have no effect due to not hitting the enemy, then Accuracy Rating will be the most valuable stat on gear until we reach the breakpoint.

Accuracy rating cap at 30 % – so you could get 120 %.
Basic Melee Attacks are 90% (Assault | Strike only), Special Melee Attacks are 100%, and Force/Tech are 100%. You want to cap Special Melee attacks at 110% to get over boss’ defense. Reaching 110% base and 120% special will mean you get Assault | Strike beyond the boss defense rate, but you will loose 10% ratings.

The game will treat your defensive stats as secondary aswell, but for compendium purposes dividing them is the easiest to do.

Accuracy until cap: 100 %.
When you have 10% Accuracy, you should prioritize any defensive stat on your gear over any secondary stat.

Power is superior to Crit and surge and definitely Alacrity, since strength already provides you with crit, the more power you can squeeze in the better. Power also increases your healing bonus, which then increases the amount absorbed by your Sonic Barrier | Blade barrier.
Power = threat+ survivability. (Power will never overrule any of the core defensive stats)
Crit, Surge and Alacrity are in that order your least desirable stats.

Since Alacrity does not reduce the GCD, and even if it did it would still be way too expensive to go for it as a tank, this stat is on par with presence.


We have 12 modification slots where we can use defensive stats. They are spread across 6 items, providing us with 2 modifications (for pure defensive usage) slots pr item:Weapon, Legs, Head, Chest, Hands, Feet

Remeber that you can change the stats as you wish by using a different modifications.

Most high-end artifact’s, legendary’s and some critical crafts from Crew Skills will have augmentation slots. 1 Augment slot can maximum yield +34 statpoints (as of now).

Augments can be available in all gearslots

That gives us a total of 14 augment slots, which is equal to 476 statpoints.

On top of that – High-end raiding gear will have additional stats beyond the modifications, which will bolster you even further

Pre-Hardmode Flaspoint and Operations BiS:
[NOTE: This list is based on you not having acces to better modifications, Augments and it does not factor crafted BoP gear from Crew Skills]
Most of the listed items can be acquired with commendations or with crew skills.
All listed gear has an available Augment Slot, which will be discussed later in this section.

SlotItemArmor RatingSource
HeadPrimeval Paragon’s Headgear715Synthweaving
ChestPrimeval Paragon’s Body Armor715Corellia Commendations [Cost N/A]
HandsPrimeval Paragon’s Gloves447Corellia Commendations [Cost N/A]
WaistPrimeval Paragon’s Belt447N/A
LegsPrimeval Paragon’s Greaves715Synthweaving
FeetPrimeval Paragon’s Boots447N/A
WristsPrimeval Paragons Armguards447Illum or Corellia Commendations [Cost N/A]
Ear Ultratech War Leader’s Module 0N/A
Implant 1 Ultratech War Leader’s Implant 0N/A
Implant 2 Advanced Reaction D-Implant 0N/A
Relic 1 Matrix Cube M7-G0N/AN/A
Relic 2 Matrix Cube M7-Y3 N/AN/A
Main Hand Defender’s Mettle0N/A
Shield Generator Ultratech War Leader’s Shield Generator0Artifice

Stats from gear:

Stat:Stat rating from gear:Stats provided by gear:Total stats:
Defense rating3279,27%20,95%
Shield rating22612,41%36,41%
Absorption rating242,62%22,62%
Accuracy rating983,41%96,41%

Augments: (14 in total):
Since only 4 of the pieces had modifications, the Augments is where you can really push your stats in the right direction.

Shield Augment 25730 Shield Rating210
Accuracy Augment 25430 Accuracy Rating120
Absorb Augment 25330 Absorption Rating90

Total defensive stats and percentages:

Stat:Stat rating from gear:Stats provided by gear:Total stats:
Defense rating3279,27%20,95%
Shield rating43621,17%45,17%
Absorption rating11411,29%31,29%
Accuracy rating2187,07%100,07%

You can change the modifications on some of the gear pieces aswell – however, be sure to keep your accuracy at 100%.

The main objective of these stats is to make sure your incoming damage is as fluent as possible. No healer likes a spikey tank.
This setup with a high shield chance and a quite decent amount of defense, will make sure you can take on any Flashpoints and starter raids.

Always have enough consumables

If you are have the crew skill: Biochem:


Adrenals and Medpac’s:

If you don’t have Biochem:


Adrenals and Medpac’s:

Game mechanics:


Our goal is to minimize our expected incoming damage via stacking/skilling for avoidance, Damage Reduction via Armor and Skill, and Shield Chance + Shield Absorb. The current skill build advocated earlier guarantees that.

Your base DR% granted by Soresu Form:
Kinetic damage reduction: 6 %
Energy damage reduction: 6%
Elemental damage reduction : 6 %
Internal damage reduction: 6%

Calculating your DR%:
For BiS purposes, and expected incoming damage calculations you want to calculate your DR%. To do this you must find the BAV=Base Armor Value on your gear and use it in this formula.

Your DR% is, if you’r hit, your most valuable survivability stat!

Then with the stats from talents and gear, you can calculate your expected incoming damage.


Sonic Barrier | Blade Barrier calculations:

We have an absorb that is available every 12 seconds. It is essentially a free heal every 12 seconds.


This is the meat of what an Immortal | Juggernaut does. They have the Soresu Form which increases threat generation in addition to a multitude of skills that aid in threat generation.

Teammate protection is also something we are very well-versed in. You have Intercept to return to teammates under fire, Guard to protect a teammate. Keep in mind your threat generation abilities are just as much of teammate protectors too.
Prioritize Healers before DPS. For DPS, it’s usually never your fault if they die, it’ll be mostly their fault…but you’ll probably get blamed for it anyways.
For Healers, it’s probably your fault, but you probably won’t get blamed for it. Healers are the ones keeping you alive and allow you to do your job, so if a Healer is taking fire and your duties allow you to give them a hand, do so.

However, keep in mind your role as a main tank. The threat should be on you. If it’s not, something has gone wrong. You have numerous threat generating options, so if you need to generate threat and are surviving well enough, look to some of these skills to force enemies to look to you.

Threat mechanics
1 damaging ability is equal to 1 threat (100%)
1 healing ability is equal to 0.5 threat (50%)
Soresu form will ad 0.5 (50%).
Abilities with threat modifiers will have a increased threat equal to 0.5 threat (50%)

Meaning that all your abilties with no build in threat modifiers will do 1.5 (150%) threat and an ability such as Hilt strike will do 2.0 threat (200%)

That may sound super overpowered threat wise. But remember that threat is builded and not based on a GCD vs GCD roll.

To aggro a hostile melee npc – you must trumph the current threat holder by 1.1 (110%).
To aggro a ranged hostile npc – you must trumph the current threat holder by 1.3 (130%).

So to aggro the mob as fast as possible, the current threat holder must stop attacking that mob for 3-4 GCD’s in a taunt-on-cd situation.

Be aware of this while tanking, always be aware of dps hitting the wrong mob, so you dont get too far behind on threat.

Getting behind on threat on a non kill target is double suicide(provided taunt is on cd or the dps keeps being a retard by not sticking to the kill target). Since while you are trying to aggro the stray mob, you are most likely to loose aggro on your current kill target mob.

Stat ratings and diminishing returns:

When gearing we are looking to maximize our potential, and to do so, we must know how much each stat is worth, and how it is affected by diminishng returns.

There isn’t a set combat ratings table that is easily comprehensible, due to diminishing returns.
Since the table for each stat would be gigantic.

I.e. 27.5 defense rating will at 0 defense rating provide you with 1% defense chance. But the next 27.5 you add to your gear, will only provide you with 0.97% etc etc.

However, we can calculate them ourselves.
Here is a diagram that shows the overall dimishing returns of all obtainable stats:

Direct link here
[Image: iqlov4.png]

If you want to calculate your stats by yourself, you can find the formulae (diminishing returns are implicit) here

If you don’t like formulas, you can download My Tankulater, that will calculate all stats into ratings/%.
[The Avg. expected damage taken calculator is currently faulty]

You can download it here: Elobi’s Tankulator v.1.1

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8 Responses

  1. Anonymous says:

    great guide… i would recommend synthweaving for rakata belt and bracers which i have both augmented. daily commendations for implants/ear piece/relics and do hardmodes for columi frops from bosses and commendations at 60 per week. lastly buy level 25 mods/enhancements, and armorings as they are rakata level. you should be super geared for the beginning ops that way.

  2. Anonymous says:

    This may of only been changed recently but the you can only have one Matrix Cube at a time.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Half of the gear you mention requires bop items from hard flashpoints…

  4. Anonymous says:

    Wow, this is an amazing guide. Invaluably helpful at explaining the mechanics behind the immortal juggernaut. It is apparent that much time and work has gone into this guide as well. If I could, I'd give this 5 stars.

  5. Anonymous says:

    i dont get half of it but when i do im sure i will be awesome – great friggin guide!!

  6. Michael says:

    Great guide, I'm a fresh 50 and was looking for what I should get my stats too. I currently have the entropy pvp set that I re-mod'ed (I liked it's look) though my stats are only 20% def, 32% shield 30% absorb and 95% acc but now I know what to work towards. Also, I totally didn't notice the 3% acc talent so I need to respec slightly. All that to say, Thank You!

  7. Anonymous says:

    awesome guide! thanks!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Does the shield generated by the offhand shield generator require something to proc? I'm level 20 JK and never seen it proc once.

    Or does it proc without any marker on screen (like say that of force might, other buffs etc.)

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