Phoenix Labs and Dauntless Purchased by Garena

It was recently announced that Dauntless developer Phoenix Labs has been acquired by Garena, which is the digital entertainment extension of Sea Limited.

dauntless founder's alpha

Dauntless is a free-to-play, co-op action RPG in the same vein of Monster Hunter. Early in development, Dauntless received significant hype due to being one of the first multiplayer-focused, ‘Monster Hunter’ style games of the current generation. While Monster Hunter: World did temper this hype slightly, Dauntless has still been successful on PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch and it is one of the few games to feature crossplay between every system.

“Our partners at Garena have been our most steadfast supporters since the early days of Phoenix Labs, and we are excited to join forces with a global games leader,” said Jesse Houston, CEO and co-founder of Phoenix Labs. “With this next step, we’re able to ensure that we can provide the best possible experience for Dauntless players around the world. We’re extremely excited about what the future holds for Phoenix Labs, as we continue to support our ever-growing Dauntless community and explore future games.

Garena is a leading game publisher and developer in Singapore with more than 320 million active users in the third quarter of 2019.

Source: Press Release

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Dauntless: How Does It Measure Up On the Nintendo Switch?

It’s not like the Nintendo Switch had a dire need for Monster Hunter-related action. Capcom released Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate last year, and though it’s not quite as highly detailed as Monster Hunter World, it’s still an impressive beast all the same. However, if we’ve learned anything about the Nintendo Switch’s ever-growing library, it’s that there’s always room for one more, and Phoenix Labs has been hard at work on producing a version of its free-to-play monster hunting game Dauntless for the Switch, aiming to release it sometime later this year.

The company recently offered us the opportunity to go hands-on with a new build of the game to see how it’s shaping up, and thus far it looks to be a monstrously good time.


Loaded With Features

Like the other versions of the game, Dauntless for Nintendo Switch will feature cross-progression features that work with other consoles. Not only that, but it’ll have cross-play as well and that includes PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Phoenix Labs wasn’t able to let us test out these online components just yet, but they promised everything would run smoothly once the game launches.

For those who haven’t tried Dauntless yet, let’s just say the more the merrier. The game allows you to team up with others to hunt down large beasts, utilizing a number of attacks and defensive techniques, such as reviving fallen colleagues should they fail to use a health potion at the right time. It’s up to you and your teammates to formulate the proper plan to bring down the beast you’re hunting, a job that’s easier said than done.


The Charrogg Awaits

In this particular case, the monster we ended up chasing down at first was the Charrogg. This impressively sized behemoth put up quite a fight, thanks to his speed and size. Along with being able to charge with his massive size, he’s also able to swing around his tail, hitting whoever may be sneaking up behind him.

That’s just the start of his arsenal, however, as he’s able to generate fire attacks in different ways. To start, he can breathe fire from his mouth, making him lethal when it comes to getting up close to his face. Then he can also shoot it from parts of his shell, creating a surrounding fire attack that could cause havoc if you try and attack him from the sides.

The fire can also splash on the ground, creating lava that can effectively hurt your hunter should they come into contact with it. It helps to use a roll to get out of the way, or, at the very least, moving out of range enough to maybe try a long-distance attack. A recently posted Nintendo Treehouse video from E3 shows some of this battle in action, so you can get an idea of what the Charrogg is capable of (The battle begins at about the 4:05 point).


So How’s the Game Perform?

In spite of the fact that the Nintendo Switch isn’t quite a powerhouse like the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 consoles, Phoenix Labs has balanced the port of Dauntless just about right. There are some lower fidelity visuals in some spots and a few slight details missing, like some shadows, but based on our session with the game, it runs pretty smoothly.

The frame rate for Dauntless holds up pretty well on the Switch. Even in a multiplayer group, we barely noticed any drop in quality or speed, allowing us to chase after the rather large Charrogg without breaking a sweat. The up-close stuff looks great as well, even if you’re right in the face of the beast as he spits fire at you.

Compared to Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate, it does pale just slightly. Other than that, though, Phoenix Labs has packed quite a bit into this port. The environments look great, even if a few things have been removed to keep them moving steadily. The animations are superb on both the hunters and the creatures alike, barely missing a beat in the midst of each battle.

Running in docked mode, Dauntless looks pretty sharp. It’s a little easy to see some of its missing details in this mode, but it’s still a great looking game when it comes to tracking down your target and fellow hunters.

As for portable mode, we took a glimpse at a session, and the game somehow comes across as even better. It looks about right in 720p on the small screen, and its performance doesn’t seem to skimp in any way. This makes the game an ideal selection for handheld sessions, should you feel like teaming up with others for a quick monster-hunting jaunt.


A Monster Hunt For Everyone

One thing that’s great about Dauntless for Nintendo Switch is that its difficulty is balanced. If you want to take on tougher hunts, that’s definitely something available within your wheelhouse. The game doesn’t overwhelm you when you jump into battle, and provides just the kind of balance to welcome both newcomers and hotshot monster hunters alike.

What’s more, it’s free-to-play, without forcing a number of Microtransactions on you. It’s just the perfect entry point for players to give it a try, especially if they haven’t picked up Generations yet. It enables them to take the game for a test drive before they think about indulging into the items that can be purchased. Completely optional, of course.

For players that have been looking for a monster hunting experience that suits them, or those seeking a fresh challenge after conquering Generations, Dauntless looks to fit the bill. However, we’ll hold off final judgment until the final game releases sometime later this year. 

If it holds up as well as other ports of the game, though, you’re in for quite the hunt.

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Dauntless Weapon Tier List

Anytime a new game comes out with multiple options or customization choices, a tier list is never very far away. In the case of the recent free-to-play, Behemoth-slaying hit Dauntless, the weapons you choose define how you play the game. 

While each weapon that can be equipped has the ability to level up, gain different elemental values, and can be affected by mods and cells, they also bring different types of play styles. As of the beginning of Season Six, there are six different types of weapons that players can choose from: Chain Blades, Swords, Axes, War Pikes, Hammers, and the Ostian Repeaters. 

S Tier – Chain Blades

Dauntless Weapon Tier List chain-blades

The deadly Chain Blades in Dauntless may not look like much, but Kratos would be proud.

By far, the Chain Blades are the quickest moving attack that also gives plenty of distance for the player, if needed. Anyone who has played a God of War game knows how these work, giving a very acrobatic style to anyone using them.

Plenty of Behemoths can have pretty random feeling attacks, so the ability to pull yourself in at will, attack with the close range Bladed attack, then Chain Push out to use your Chain Throw is a crazy feat. Be careful, though: The long range Chain Throws consume the same stamina you use for running and dodging!

This weapon is pretty simple to use for newcomers to the game, but comes with some devastating combos for those who have mastered it. Later on in the game, other attacks can be equipped that are even more swift and destructive! The Chain Blades may not be designed for brand new players, but those who can master them could easily get S++ on every match!

A Tier – Sword

Dauntless Weapon Tier List sword

The Sword in Dauntless can only be considered the “Balanced Boi.”

The Sword is among the most balanced weapons in the entire game. For the uninitiated, the Sword can hit with light attacks at a faster speed and a heavier attack that is ever slightly slower. 

From the get-go, it’s notoriously powerful and offers a super speedy Overdrive attack. This “empowered” rage-like state is not unlike a berserk mode. Attacks don’t have to make direct contact in this mode since it creates short burst waves as well. These can be useful if you get knocked back at all and still want to deal a little damage without getting too close. But, why bother? Hitting your activate button again will send you shooting forward quite a bit to close the distance and get a few more powerful hits in before Overdrive ends. Even later mods like Ardent Cyclone don’t deal as much damage as Overdrive. 

Additionally, when paired with cells that can keep you from getting staggered and can help you resist direct damage, the Sword can give the most bite for the bark. If you want balance in both early levels and in the long term, you can’t go wrong with the Sword.

A/B Tier – War Pike

Dauntless Weapon Tier List

Dauntless’ War Pike is the quickest way to a Behemoth’s heart: stabbing it directly.

The War Pike, at its core, is pretty alright. It stabs quickly and offers a nice long range blast. It pierces and can wound and sever Behemoth Parts, being a powerful ally to anyone who uses an Axe. At the center of it all, it’s a thorough weapon than can be well respected. 

The special allows players to gather ammunition and then Pike Blast using a quick time event to get the perfect accuracy. Piercing attacks can wound the Behemoth and open up tears in their armor/skin for players to focus on. Harvesting, likewise, can cause chunks of the Behemoth to fly off, such as tails. 

It’s not until way later Behemoths that you’re likely to find yourself in a party of War Pike users. Late game masters of War Pikes utilize Pike Blasts to become truly devastating  when against high level creatures. While this isn’t normal for those early in the game, it deserves an honorary A-tier just for this fact, with a B-tier for anyone newer to the game.

B Tier – Axe

Dauntless Weapon Tier List axe

In a whirlwind, Behemoth slayers can get a bunch of hits if timed right with the Axe!

While a tad bit more clumsy than the Sword and War Pike, the Axe focuses on severing and breaking Behemoth parts. You might notice a horn or a tail tip come off in battle every so often and, during battles, you’ll see scrapes and tears on the skin of the Behemoth start to appear. That’s where the Axe really shines!

By attacking the wounded areas, the Axe deals bonus damage. Be sure to pair up with someone who has the War Pike because they deal mostly in causing that wounding. By holding the attack button, a spinning attack can tackle some good, melee-level hits. If you’re into some heavy-but-slow damage, the Axe is designed for you.

The special is where the Axe falls apart a tad bit. Flight of Ruin is a throwing move that has a lot of potential for missing. It leaves you vulnerable while the Axe isn’t in your hand as well. The recall takes some real precise timing and angles to really do good damage as well. I don’t recommend using this move with Behemoths that move around a lot.

C Tier – Hammer

Dauntless Weapon Tier List hammer

While it may be slow, the Hammer is great for staggering Behemoths!

In a word, the Hammer can be described as “clunky.” Yea, this might be a matter of debate for some players, but hear me out. It’s the slowest of the weapons by far, animation-wise. However, it can prove useful in staggering enemies for your much-quicker teammates to devour. The concussive blasts are the real saving grace of the Hammer user.

While the Hammer offers the most possible actions in a single weapon, between standard strikes, aerial attacks, singular and full-bearing concussive attacks, and evasion, it stands as the hardest weapon to control and utilize. If you choose to handle the Hammer, be careful with your ammo and don’t forget to reload. 

If you want to do the most damage, you need to be directly next to the Behemoth, which is dangerous territory for anyone not equipped with a Nine Lives Cell and protection from getting knocked back. Getting close quickly isn’t an issue though with a nice lunging attack combo, mixed with the Hammer Jump and Double Jump techniques. If you can angle it right and the Behemoth doesn’t sprint away before your animation finishes, the Aerial Strike can do some good damage as well.

It’s not all bad. We didn’t put the Hammer in D or F tier for a reason. If used right, it can be great for staggering Behemoths and dashing away. In a game that focuses on dealing as much damage as possible to a single enemy in a short time, Hammers might not be the best fit for most people though.

X Tier – Ostian Repeaters

Dauntless Weapon Tier List -ostian-repeaters

The Ostian Repeaters are what you make of them! Find a good combination and they’ll be the best friend you could ever have!

The Ostian Repeaters are the only wildcard when it comes to a weapons tier list for Dauntless due to their very nature of customization. They are the one true enigma of the game. 

You see, the Repeaters rely on the determination and creativity of the player to come up with the most devastating combo of parts to assemble together. Starting out, the initial vanilla Ostian Repeater parts give some pretty heavy attack numbers but don’t offer much in the way of “extras.”

Players get a Basic shot, Skillshot ability, Thrown ability, and two types of reloading. Cut and dry, right? Well, mods tell a very different tale and can affect the way the Repeaters work significantly. Changing out the barrel, chamber, grip, frame, or prism can add different elemental damage types, add additional drops (like buffs or mines), or even add missiles and additional projectiles to the mix. A single button press can really unleash hell against a Behemoth if modified right.

However, if modified wrong or under-powered, it could easily put the Ostian Repeaters in an F-tier. Because of the customization that comes with these guns, there’s absolutely no way to place them properly in a tier list. At their best, they’re a difficult-to-achieve S-rank, but they’re nothing without their mods at base value. Welcome to X-tier, where you (the player) solve for X.

Final Thoughts On The Weapon Tier List

While the disastrously speedy Chain Blades easily take the cake as “best weapons in the game,” I’m particularly fond of how the Sword plays. It was easy to get comfortable with when I just started out and still does what I need it to as I progress later into the game and come across bigger, badder Behemoths. I’ve tried dabbling with other weapons, but none of them gave me the pizzazz that I was hoping for in early quests. 

The Ostian Repeaters always intrigue me when I see teammates utilize them correctly, having seen someone go solo with them during a Danger alert and win the battle for us single-handedly. If not for the late-game devastation that the War Pike offers, I’d easily put them hand-in-hand with the Axe, with no difference in tier at all.

The Dauntless developers, Phoenix Labs, sometimes add additional weapons, such as Grenades only being added during late summer 2018 and the Ostian Repeaters coming late 2018. Additionally, updates come pretty rapidly now that the game has officially gone out onto the Epic Games Store and is awaiting the imminent Nintendo Switch launch. So, it’s not unheard of that we could eventually see a new weapon to really shake up this list.


Check out our PlayStation 4 review of Dauntless to see how much we loved it! Then, go play it by downloading the game from the Epic Games Store (yea, It’s free to play).

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Dauntless Releases Path of the Slayer Update

If you’re testing out Dauntless before its full release this summer, then the developers at Phoenix Labs have a huge new update that you don’t want to miss. The team has announced that it has launched Path of the Slayer, the biggest update for the game to date. With it, you’ll get a chance to mess around with the Mastery system. It presents “a new way for Slayers to earn rewards for completing long-term challenges based on specific Behemoths and pieces of gear, as well as an all-new progression system that completely changes the way players advance in the game,” according to the press release.

dauntless Path of the Slayer

On top of that, Hunt Pass Season 4: Burndown has launched alongside the update. With it, players have “a chance to earn new barbarian-themed rewards on both the basic and Elite tracks.”

The video below breaks down how the game’s development is moving along with the new update. But in a nutshell, they broke down what you need to know:

“The Mastery system creates a new foundation for Slayers to hone their skills across dozens of Behemoth and gear-related cards, earning experience, checking off achievements and unlocking new customization options. Each Behemoth and crafted weapon – not just weapon class – has its own unique Mastery card for players to delve into. Players will also find new alternate special attack options for the Hammer, War Pike, Sword and Chain Blades, allowing Slayers to further customize their experience. In total the Mastery System offers both new and seasoned Slayers fresh ways to engage with every weapon class and Behemoth encounter – all combined with long-term goals that net huge rewards.

“The core progression rework arriving in the “Path Of The Slayer” update gets Slayers into the meat of Dauntless faster, and introduces concepts like crafting, combat, quests and more through tutorial cards in a clear, transparent way. The progression rework introduces a brand new “End of Hunt” screen that provides Slayers with a wealth of information, including progress made in various Mastery cards, quest rewards, Behemoth break parts earned, and more. Quests and the Dauntless map have also been revamped to clearly define the challenge Slayers can expect on any given hunt, and Behemoth hunts are now organized by their elemental attribute. This also plays an integral role in the revamped crafting system, which introduces elemental Orbs and Arcstones that replace some of the myriad Behemoth crafting parts, creating a more fine-tuned experience.”

This is a huge addition to the game – and one players can look forward to when Dauntless launches this summer for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC via Epic Games Store.

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Dauntless Hands-On: Things Are Getting Monstrous

While Capcom’s Monster Hunter: World has taken the world by storm on the console and PC front, that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for competition. In fact, ever since its debut at the Video Game Awards in 2016, Dauntless has been making quite a name for itself.

The game, which has warriors hunting down wily monsters in the midst of forests and other locations, has been moving right along in development at Phoenix Labs. There’s all sorts of great talent behind the game, including former Riot Games developers Jesse Houston, Sean Bender and Robin Mayne, along with several former team members from BioWare, Blizzard and, yes, Capcom.

The game moved into open beta on the PC front back in May 2018, where it’s drummed up a pretty respectable audience. But this year is the big one for the franchise, as the game will finally launch this spring not only for the PC front, but also Xbox One and PlayStation 4. The Nintendo Switch is also in the cards, set to get a version of the game sometime down the road.

The team was recently at PAX East, showcasing some new monstrous goodies for fans to get excited over. So what can we expect from this epic battle between the Slayers (hunters) and the Behemoths (monsters)? Quite a bit, especially if you think Monster Hunter is the only “kill the giant beast” game in town.


The General Idea

For those unfamiliar with how Dauntless works, here it is in a nutshell. In the game, you’ll select from your Hunter of choice, each with special weapons. Care to hurl around an axe that you can call back upon command? Or maybe you want to use a pair of pistols and hit enemies from afar? There are various choices here, with six in all thus far.

Once you select your Slayer, you can team up with others to see which monster you want to go after. They vary, from winged creatures that can strike from above to a strange ice beast that can summon minions to do damage on their behalf. It’s up to you to work closely with your friends, heal up when the situation best calls for it (you don’t want to be down and out with no way to recover) and slay the beast before it’s too late.

Throughout the game, you’ll find opportunity galore. If you can keep a close eye on your health and stamina, you can time your attacks pretty nicely. In fact, in some cases, you can even put together combos to land additional damage, provided they aren’t using any sort of shielding to fend off your attacks.

But strategy is the name of the game here. Each Behemoth will have techniques that they’ll use to chip away at your health or act as a defense while they shield themselves or even run away. You’ll need to dodge these with a well-timed roll or run to a safety spot, then continue striking when you’re within range. These hunts can take a good amount of time- there’s no way to kill a Behemoth in a matter of seconds. Some can take upward to about twenty minutes, so make sure you’re in it for the long haul.

Fortunately, these hunts come with abundant rewards. Not only can you upgrade weapons to make them more powerful and effective against creatures, but you can also buy new equipment and gear, which will help you as hunts become more and more insane.

Best of all, Dauntless is full of options. If you wish to take on the hunt by yourself, you can. It’s a mountain-sized task, to be sure, but it’ll help you train for when you team up with your friends. Obviously co-op is the big draw here, as you work alongside three others as a team of four to hunt your prey and collect your rewards. There are whispers that the game may support cross-play, but that’s not finalized just yet. Hopefully Phoenix Labs will have some news for us once the game gets closer to release.


Lots To See, and Lots To Kill

The structure for Dauntless is set up pretty quaintly when it comes to getting things done in the game. Right off the bat, you can join up with your group and decide which beast you’re going to go after. You can discuss it for several seconds before needing to make your decision. Once you do, you simply fly onto the battleground, begin using your skills to deduce where the creature is (or follow your group if your senses aren’t quite that keen) and prepare for a fight.

It’s not going to always be in one place. The creature will eventually run off if you do about halfway worth of damage to it, forcing you and the team to run after it while the hunt is still good. This is a great opportunity for you to get your health up and check on others so you’re literally ready to finish the fight.

If it doesn’t go in your favor, i.e. the Behemoth manages to wipe out your group without any hope of recovery, you can always try the hunt again or select a different beast if you prefer another favorable challenge.

Phoenix Labs will also offer up special Hunt Passes over the course of the game, set up on a free-to-play basis. So you can start off without investing anything, and then turn a few bucks around and see what’s available to select from. If you prefer, you can also check out Seasons worth of content within the game. Those plans haven’t been revealed just yet, but the developer has a lot in mind when it comes to keeping players coming back for more.

Rest assured, the game isn’t about nickel-and-diming you to death with hundreds of dollars in purchases. The start of Dauntless has more than enough to offer. However, if you feel like making an investment, it looks like you’ll get more than enough payback from it. The choice is obviously yours, and that’s one of the best things you can get from a free-to-play game such as this.


The New Beast In Play

We’ve seen a few Behemoths running around in Dauntless before. But the new one that Phoenix Labs just introduced, the Boreus, is more than a handful. We fought him across two different stages, each time facing new challenges that he managed to generate from his body, in the form of minions.

Now, right off the bat, the Boreus is a challenge in himself, mainly because he can generate an ice shield that makes him impenetrable. In fact, he’ll summon a few minions and actually cover himself in that, so you won’t be able to get any cheap shots while you fend them off. Only after you wipe out the current wave of minions will he shake loose and start attacking again.

What’s more, the minions that Boreus generates actually come in different types. First up, you’ll face the Stalkers. These are beasts that merely fly around and try to hit you with their blade-like limbs. Fortunately, they’re the easiest to hit, even for melee strikers.

Then we have the Spitters. This is a bit tougher a wave of enemies, mainly because they can drop cold, frost-charged projectiles on your team. The best thing you can do when these pop up is kill them right away. Otherwise, they may do a considerable amount of damage with their continuous bile.

But perhaps the most dangerous are the Bombers. Just as their name suggests, they live to fly close to someone and then create an explosion on command. If Hunters get caught in the midst of this explosion, they’ll take damage. Again, having a long-range attacker take these out- and maybe a few of their minions with them- is the best course of action.

Then there’s the Boreus itself. Aside from its shielding, you’ll also have to watch out for its ice attacks, as well as when it comes charging at you. It means serious business, and will take a whole lot of damage before it eventually succumbs in defeat. Be prepare for war with this one.

Once you do eventually beat it, you could earn you the opportunity to use Boreus Gear for your character, a sleek mixture of fur coat and armor that can help you in even the coldest of temperatures. Plus it looks real slick, like something out of a nouveau Viking design.


Master of Disaster

As you continue to work your way through Dauntless, you’ll find plenty of rewards awaiting you. We’ve already mentioned how you’ll be able to unlock new gear and upgrade your weapons. But you’ll also be able to take on the Master System, which will assist you in becoming a true badass of a warrior, whether you’re taking on your first hunt or your tenth.

Set to release later this month as part of the Windows 10 beta that’s currently happening, the Master System will feature a number of cards that you can unlock, provided you can complete a few objectives to do so. As you complete the levels of Mastery, you’ll be able to unlock new rewards, as well as specialized mods for your weapon and special items as well. You also won’t have to worry about Reputation tracks, as those are officially being “retired” by the team.

Essentially, this works as a tough level of the game, with a number of challenges available. In fact, it’d be safe to call it a New Game Plus, even if that’s not its official title. As the company describes it, “This brand-new system delivers a raft of challenges that you can take on to earn Mastery experience, raise your Mastery levels, and unlock a rich assortment of rewards. When introduced in the Path of the Slayer update (OB 0.7.1), the Mastery system will offer Mastery objectives for each Behemoth and weapon in the game.

It then taunts you by asking the question, “Ready to dig in?”

This will definitely serve as a benefit for those that have played the game for quite some time. If you haven’t- or you’re merely waiting for the console release of Dauntless– not to worry. It should already be implemented within the game once it launches, should development move along like it is.

Plus, Mastery will give you a chance to up your Slayer level, so you can build upon your reputation as you pair up with team members and improve skill accordingly. You can check your progress on these objectives as you go along, so you know exactly what you need to do when it comes to accomplishing tasks within the game. And with Seasons and new Hunts being introduced, there’s sure to be a fresh challenge awaiting you, even if you’ve managed to see it all.


The Hunt Is On

While there are some skeptics who believe that Monster Hunter: World is the true king when it comes to this particular genre, don’t be fooled by Dauntless. It has something to offer to everyone, from amateurs that are getting into monster hunting for the first time to true masters ready for their next diabolical clash.

First off, Dauntless is free-to-play, unlike World’s full price affair. That’ll serve as a benefit to many, and provided that it runs smoothly across the board, it could easily serve as a strong revenue stream for Phoenix Labs.

The hunts themselves are fun as well. Even though some foes, like Boreus, can be a real pain in the tookus, the effort to bring them down is most certainly worth it, as you can level up your Slayer of choice and unlock some new gear to be proud of. And there’s probably going to be more where that came from, as Phoenix Labs should keep the store freshly stocked.

The game is challenging but fun to play. And while the idea of playing single player can be good for those that want to train, it lives and breathes from its co-op factor. There’s nothing like getting a good group together and taking the fight where it needs to go. Plus you have someone that could heal you should you need it- and you just might.

Dauntless will drop sometime this spring for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC (Epic Games Store and Windows 10); and later this year for Nintendo Switch. No matter which way you go, you’ll have quite the fight on your hands…


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