Trading Taigha

Well, here we are, my first tournament in what, almost 3 years? Thanks to Mindtaker Miniatures for hosting and for Pete (Exile) for putting in all the hard work herding us cats! If you don’t know what Mindtaker is, they’re a lovely family run LGS that specializes in used miniatures. They buy all sorts of stuff from you and resell it or sell stuff for you on consignment (in both cases taking their very reasonable cut of course). I’ve had great experiences both buying and selling with them, do give them a look!

Now, feast your eyes on the glorious tables that Pete assembled for us to fight on!

My first round opponent was none other than Tony (Zhukov2). I only get to see this guy at tournaments, and it’s always a pleasure catching up with him. If I get to play him, so much the better! A shame it wasn’t on top table and was instead the first game of the day, but we were technically on table 1, so I guess top table? Allow me to hype up Pete (Exile) a little more, as this is his table, and it looks GREAT. Really fun to play on as well. I do like the zone of “on grid” with everything else on a diagonal.

Overview

  • Mission: ITS13 Supplies
  • Forces: Combined Army versus Tohaa (300)
  • Deploy First: Combined Army
  • First Turn: Combined Army

This is the culmination of the list that I’ve been testing all the way up to the tournament. I made edits right up until I went to sleep, channeling Tim (Chainsaw), and ended up playing a slightly wrong version of the list all day. This is the list I designed:

Santa’s Coming to Town v6
GROUP 1 10 1

ANATHEMATIC (Lieutenant, Hacker, Hacking Device [UPGRADE: Trinity (+1B)]) Plasma Rifle, Nanopulser ( ) / Pistol, Shock CC Weapon. (0.5 | 76)
OVERDRON Plasma Sniper Rifle(+1B) / Shock CC Weapon. (1.5 | 58)
STALDRON Flash Pulse / CC Weapon. (0 | 0)
RINDAK (Paramedic, Forward Deployment [+8″]) MULTI Rifle(+1B), Blitzen / Heavy Pistol, PARA CC Weapon. (0 | 37)
CALIBAN (Engineer, Deactivator) Submachine Gun, Pulzar, D-Charges ( | GizmoKit) / Pistol, CC Weapon. (0 | 28)
GREIF-OP (Surprise Attack [-3], Impersonation [IMP-2]) Combi Rifle, D-Charges / Breaker Pistol(+1B), CC Weapon. (1 | 21)
Bit (Hacker], Killer Hacking Device [UPGRADE: Oblivion]) Submachine Gun, Pitcher ( | Deployable Repeater]) / Pistol, CC Weapon. (0.5 | 21)
KISS! Adhesive Launcher, Pitcher(+1B) ( | Deployable Repeater) / PARA CC Weapon(-3). (0 | 6)
IKADRON (Baggage, Repeater) Light Flamethrower(+1B), Flash Pulse / Pistol, PARA CC Weapon(-3). (0 | 9)
IKADRON (Baggage, Repeater) Light Flamethrower(+1B), Flash Pulse / Pistol, PARA CC Weapon(-3). (0 | 9)
R-DRONE Flash Pulse / PARA CC Weapon(-3). (0 | 7)
ÍMETRON . (0 | 6)

GROUP 2 5 4

LIBERTO (Minelayer) Light Shotgun, Shock Mines / Pistol, CC Weapon. (1 | 8)
TAIGHA Chain-colt / AP + Shock CC Weapon. (0 | 5)
TAIGHA Chain-colt / AP + Shock CC Weapon. (0 | 5)
TAIGHA Chain-colt / AP + Shock CC Weapon. (0 | 5)
TAIGHA Chain-colt / AP + Shock CC Weapon. (0 | 5)


4.5 SWC | 300 Points | Open in Infinity Army

What I actually ended up playing all day was a version with the Libertos in the first group, and the Imetron on the table but not providing an order. I’m sure if someone killed it I would’ve stupidly docked myself an order too, so really this was just a handicap all day. Whoops! Thankfully I made the same mistake in all the games I used this list. This is what I get for editing right up till the end. Fortunately, post Taigha nerf, this list is still pretty much intact.

For those of you who haven’t followed the practice games leading up to this list, I’ll give you a brief summary. The Rindak and Overdron are my primary attack pieces in the active turn. The Greif and Caliban take on targets of opportunity, and the Taigha provide options and consistent pressure. I see the Anathematic as a secondary attack piece, especially once the other parts of the list have cleared out enough things to turn the Anathematic into the de-facto alpha predator on the table. If I need it, Bit and Kiss can provide hacking projection, and then of course there’s Ikadron and the Libertos to round out the list.

Tony’s Tohaa list is pretty excellent. He’s all in on the “okay buddy, you get the supplies, I’ll help you carry them” plan with only one specialist. I imagine this was also his Firefight list to deny specialist kills. He’s got Jan Staar and his own Greif to cause problems, and not one but two Igao to murder things with. If that wasn’t enough he’s got three Makaul ready to support other triad members if they need it, or just as a death blender missile asplosion triad on their own.

Mindtaker 1
GROUP 1 5

IGAO Combi Rifle, Nanopulser, Pheroware Tactics: Mirrorball / Pistol, DA CC Weapon. (0.5 | 28)
GREIF-OP (Surprise Attack [-3], Impersonation [IMP-2]) Combi Rifle, D-Charges / Breaker Pistol(+1B), CC Weapon. (1 | 21)
KAAURI Sentinel Submachine Gun, Nanopulser(+1B), E/M Mines / Pistol, PARA CC Weapon(-6). (0 | 12)
CHAKSA AUXILIAR FTO (Sensor, Baggage) Heavy Flamethrower(+1 Dam) ( ) / Pistol, CC Weapon. (0 | 10)
NIKOUL VIRAL Sniper Rifle / Pistol, CC Weapon. (1.5 | 27)

GROUP 2 10 3

KAMAEL (Lieutenant) Combi Rifle / Pistol, CC Weapon. (0 | 12)
DRAAL (Minelayer) AP Marksman Rifle, D-Charges, Shock Mines / Viral Pistol, CC Weapon. (1 | 40)
KAELTAR Light Shotgun, Flash Pulse, SymbioBomb ( | SymbioMate) / Pistol, PARA CC Weapon(-3). (0 | 15)

JAAN STAAR Light Shotgun, Shock Mines / Viral Pistol(+1B), CC Weapon. (1 | 31)
TAAGMA Breaker Combi Rifle, Nanopulser / Pistol, CC Weapon. (0 | 16)
KAELTAR (Chain of Command) Light Shotgun, Flash Pulse, SymbioBomb ( | SymbioMate) / Pistol, PARA CC Weapon(-3). (0.5 | 21)
IGAO Combi Rifle, Nanopulser, Pheroware Tactics: Mirrorball / Pistol, DA CC Weapon. (0.5 | 28)

MAKAUL Heavy Flamethrower, Contender, Eclipse Grenades / Pistol, Viral CC Weapon. (0 | 13)
MAKAUL Heavy Flamethrower, Contender, Eclipse Grenades / Pistol, Viral CC Weapon. (0 | 13)
MAKAUL Heavy Flamethrower, Contender, Eclipse Grenades / Pistol, Viral CC Weapon. (0 | 13)


6 SWC | 300 Points | Open in Infinity Army

On ARO duty and attack is the excellent Nikoul sniper, and then he’s got some corner guarding in the form of a Kaauri just in case.

Deployment

I forget who won the rolloff at this point, but I was given the choice of turn order, and I chose to go first because the alternative was death. This meant Tony got to pick table side. I held two in reserve, figuring I would hide the TAG and Greif and use the Anathematic to shape his deployment. I was concerned I would face a bunch of rooftop impersonators or a Gao Tarsos, so I put the Ikadron up there to discourage that, and then sprinkled my Taigha across my deployment zone. Bit and Kiss went on the right, and the R-Drone and Anathematic on the left.

I tucked the Caliban into a little cubby near the central objective, and did the same to the Rindak on the left, but had him up high to make use of his Climbing+. The Libertos completed the midfield on the right, screening Bit from any Tohaa nonsense. Tony castled up hard in the center with both Igao, and then put impersonators on both flanks, one right on top of my HVT. Smart. He counter deployed my Anathematic with his Makaul triad–if there’s one thing the Anathamatic cannot deal with, it’s a trio of Makaul.

The Nikoul contested the center firelane to support the Igao, and then Tony set up his Draal to defend the box on his left along with a mine. The rest of his light infantry hung out on the left side of his deployment zone in a loose formation, mostly in places to keep them out of trouble.

I then sprung my “trap,” placing the Overdron to directly challenge the Nikoul and the Greif to challenge the Draal from behind! Sadly, Tony guessed that I might have an impersonator of my own and wisely held the Kaauri in reserve to counter deploy such a move. The Nikoul and Draal are the happy recipients of a ‘Bomb/’Mate pair each.

Turn 1

Top of 1 – Combined Army

Tony docks me two orders of course, and then it’s Taigha time. Most can’t move, as they’re watched by either the Nikoul or the Draal, so I move the ones that can and then activate the Overdron to attack the Nikoul. I expect Tony to Mirrorball with the Nikoul, as it has a SymbioBomb, but he fires back instead. We agreed post game that this was probably a mistake, but Tony rolls high enough on the face to face and low enough on the ARM/BTS rolls for it to not have mattered. In one hyper efficient tac-aware order, the Nikoul is gone, even through the SymbioMate. No complaints here!

Had he succeeded on the Mirrorball, I suppose I could have rushed the Caliban across the table to eat the Nikoul. Short of a crit it’d be a pretty straightforward meal. I can then recamo the Caliban and force Tony to go backwards to dig me out. Not a terrible plan, if I’m honest. Depending on orders I could even long-skill climb and Pulzar the stuff on the roof. I’m kinda liking that, honestly, as a response. I probably wouldn’t have done that at the table, too much pressure. I move the Rindak off the roof, reset the Overdron’s position, and advance the Caliban towards the Igao on the ground (not a great idea, but I’m trying to set up a meme moment, it’s Tony, after all).

In any case, I can see a Makaul with the Anathematic, so I take a plasma shot with my Lieutenant order. It’s basically safe–I’m on 7’s and he’s on -12, but Tony throws smoke instead of firing a contender and saves the Makaul.

I decide to use the Rindak’s MULTI to try and take out the other two Makaul. I manage to drop one of them…

but not the other.

I’ve been trying to figure out how to take on the Draal, and were it not for the Kaauri the Greif has an unopposed back shot with the Draal out of cover thanks to a weird angle. I decide all I’m really looking for is to pop the ‘Mate, and anything beyond that is gravy. The Greif goes for it, and I not only pop the SymbioMate but I also do a single wound and drop the Draal’s Mimetism -6! I lose the Greif to the Kaauri’s nanopulsar, of course, but that was a fantastic trade.

The Rindak sensors both Igao out of camo, and then I have my meme moment.

The Caliban, who had been lurking on the other side of the dumpster, coordinates into close combat with the revealed Igao on the ground. This looks reasonable with me at 2 on 20’s and Tony on 1 on 20’s, but in actuality is only 2:1 odds, which isn’t safe enough.

63.30 7.55 29.16

In reality, Tony beats my roll by one, and I lose the Caliban and now the Rindak is stuck in combat.

The correct thing to have done would have been to leave the Caliban there and blasted the Igao in the face with the Rindak’s MULTI rifle on AP mode and then eaten the corpse at my leisure, assuming only one failed save. I knew this was the case at the table, but sometimes when playing Tony you just gotta go for the giggle moment, because you know he’s there for it! Sometimes you gotta remember it’s just a game with your friend, even at a tournament.

In any case, we had a good belly laugh over my silly plan and after I recamoed the Anathematic and advanced the Liberto, I passed turn over to Tony.

Bottom of 1 – Tohaa

The Igao starts things off, as its now Frenzy, and does a wound to the Rindak against my dodge.

The other Igao sets up Mirrorball and climbs down off the roof. I’ve got Taigha nearby in Berserk range for next turn, so the Mirrorball is looking pretty good right now!

Makaul lost stealth, so when one walks closer to the Rindak, I dodge out of close combat.

Unfortunately for me, I’m pretty sloppy with my facing, and Tony’s Chaksa is able to pistol the Rindak dead from outside of 8″. I honestly forgot he was behind the box because I couldn’t see him, but oh well. This isn’t great, both of my midfield specialists are down.

Tony starts advancing the now freed up Igao, and I decide that single-die CC, even me on 15’s versus Tony’s 26, is enough for me to risk the Taigha. All those late nights with Professor Willet doing the close combat bracket have taught me how swingy that stuff can be:

In any case, I win that face to face, which statistics says is definitely in Tony’s favor, and kill the Igao.

7.86 9.96 82.18

8% is still quite likely, and a Taigha is definitely something I’m willing to risk to deplete orders here. The Igao certainly isn’t likely to be able to fight off my shooting next turn if the Taigha doesn’t survive.

The Makaul that let me dodge the Rindak out pushes forward to cause problems, and I set up some more Taigha dodges as well as it sets up smoke.

It’s trying to hunt my Anathematic, but I dodge into close combat with only one of the Taigha and get in the way with the other. I dodge the Ikadron for good measure, but fail.

The Draal attempts to Endgame the Taigha that killed the Igao, but I just pass the saves.

The Draal then attempts to discover the Liberto’s mine and fails.

The Makaul kills the Taigha it’s fighting. I should’ve dodged in with the other Taigha since this is Tony’s last order, but I missed that. Oh well.

Turn 2

Top of 2 – Combined Army

Tony’s set up a flamethrower shot on my Anathematic if the Taigha activates, so I cancel that order and instead berserk the Igao with the other Taigha. We trade, but it’s worth it.

The third Taigha is being watched by the Draal so I elect not to do anything there. After moving the Anathematic to safety…

I berserk the Makaul and trade it away.

The Draal is visible to the Overdron now if I move to the right spot, so I do that and remove the Draal.

The Impersonator token near the Liberto is concerning, so I discover it and start blasting. Tony uses viral at first to get around dogged, but I do a wound.

He then switches to the light shotgun as I back away over the course of a few orders, but I eventually drop Jan Staar.

I need to get a box now. Ideally I’d get the one on my right, which is the only one Tony’s Chain of Command Kaeltar can really get to–I’m not sure which one is which, but both are near that one. I don’t have the orders though, so I go for the center box with the Overdron, nabbing the box successfully.

I need to worry about Tony’s Greif (who is erroneously colored blue below), so I stand up the Ikadron nearby with another coordinated as I retreat the Overdron. The facing on the Overdron is incorrect in the photo below, he’s facing Tony’s table edge, I just can’t put him that way due to the model’s guns.

Bottom of 2 – Tohaa

Tony looks at me, a mischievous grin on his face, and asks me if I’m ready for his own stupid plan. Of course I am! The Libertos goes down to a double nanopulsar from the Kaauri, who survives the shotgun template in return. Uh oh.

Tony spends his whole order pool getting the Kaauri in position to challenge the Overdron, even getting past the Ikadron’s flash pulse and me failing my first dodge on the Overdron.

Thankfully, when the Kaauri drops an E/M mine I dodge out of line of fire under the nearby bridge. I’m just short enough to fit!

Tony stands up a Kaeltar to watch the box on the right, and then passes turn to me.

Turn 3

Top of 3 – Combined Army

I don’t have an efficient way of clearing that mine, and I don’t have a gun other than the Overdron to take on that Kaeltar, so I can’t send in Bit and Kiss to grab the box on the right. I suppose I could’ve dodged the Overdron through the mine, and if it failed and got E/M’ed grabbed the box with Kiss and ran away, but the safer play was the uncontested path to the left box with the Anathematic.

Thank goodness the Anathematic is WIP 16, I’ll just leave it at that. I retreat the Anathematic, set up an Ikadron to contest the Kaauri’s approach, and set a Taigha up to guard the rightmost box. Finally, I drive the R-Drone all the way up under the Greif to contest HVTs and nab HVT: Designation with the Anathematic.

Bottom of 3 – Tohaa

Tony wants to get rid of the R-Drone so he can secure HVT, and if he gets that far he might as well make a play on my Anathematic with the Makaul. I spotlight the Makaul on the way in just in case and the R-Drone successfully flash pulses the Makaul while passing the flamethrower save.

Tony makes a play for the remaining box. My little Taigha dodges its heart out, dodging a mine, the Lieutenant’s combi fire, and even a round or two of shotgun fire, but I finally go down to the Kaeltar’s shotgun. Tony actually baited me forward here to try and get the chain colt off, when I should’ve just waited for the Kaeltar chain of command to show up instead and dodged into base to base. I can still do that when flash pulsed, so that seems like the better play to keep him off a box here. He had me fooled because I didn’t know which was which until it was too late! Well played, sir, well played!

The box secure, Tony tries to make me drop the Overdron’s box with the Kaauri but fails to do any damage.

I forget when he revealed this, but at some point Tony got Predator with an additional point thanks to all the Taigha trades. With me on two boxes and him on one, it’s a

6-4, 186-120 Combined Army Victory!

Post Game Analysis

Unlike my last game versus Adam, I think this was a pretty fair and hard fought win. Adam was robbed of a victory last game, in case my meaning wasn’t clear.

What’s funny is Tony after the game was complimenting me on doing the counter-meta play and not YOLOing the Anathematic forward. I think most will agree with us here that walking the Anathematic into a field of three Makaul, two Igao, and a Chaksa is probably a bad plan. I was quite satisfied with my first turn, aside from my poor decision to try and CC the Igao. I should’ve just kept leaning on the Rindak there and climbed him to safety once it was all over.

The Overdron obviously is a good solution to the Nikoul, and I was very happy with the results of my Greif play. I do wish that I had deployed the Overdron in a way that I could have better supported the Greif by taking out the Kaauri, but that is a difficult task with all the verticality on the table. Honestly because Tony leaned so hard away from specialists and into CC monsters I think he had a pretty good level of threat saturation, but not a lot of board control aside from the Nikoul and the Draal. In other words, he needed to maximize the effect of his active turn.

He asked me at the end of the game what I thought he could have done better, and honestly it was hard to answer in the moment. After a bit of thinking post game and certainly in the days after now, I think he missed an opportunity to counterstrike pretty hard. I think Jan Staar could have started attacking my order pool on Turn 1, or even just doing a Makaul dodge by of all the Taigha and then taking on the Anathematic. Forcing the issue with multiple mirrorballs with the Igao and then dedicating so much to fighting the Rindak I think was a mistake and a big loss of momentum. I had already written it off and was hoping it would drain 1-2 orders. It ended up draining like 5 or something, which is amazing.

At the time I didn’t realize that Tony was after Predator, which now makes the investment make sense, but I think given the matchup of my Taigha versus all of his CC specialists it’s a pretty safe bet he’s going to have other opportunities. He could have spent the Igao’s frenzy order on the Rindak and then just ignored it. It then becomes a problem for me to solve (or not) on my turn, and if I elect to not do anything and keep the order there, he can get another order out of the Igao himself and frenzy the Rindak at the bottom of 2. That saves a ton of orders both in orders spent and orders generated. If I rocket a Taigha in there to fight the Igao at the top of 2, that’s probably still fine, and there’s another Igao that I have to contend with first, so it’s not as easy as it sounds.

Bottom line I just wasn’t pressured enough at the bottom of 1 and wasn’t punished at all, really, for my meme move of throwing the Rindak and Caliban into CC with the Igao (also I need to play Tohaa and abuse the shit out of the Igao’s toolkit sometime soon). I lost a ton of midfield presence and had to rely on my Taigha to serve as a safety net. Because Tony over invested in killing the Rindak that safety net was just enough, but a concerted push with either of the Impersonators or the Makaul/Igao would have been pretty catastrophic to my order pool.

There’s a lot of people talking about the power of vanilla Combined these days. I agree that the average toolkit available to Combined units is unique and very powerful, and in some cases cheaper than comparable toolkits available to Human Sphere factions, the Overdron being a very obvious example of this. That said, Combined without Noctifiers and Q-Drones is a very active turn army, and under the right amount of focused pressure can crumble. See my game against Tim (Chainsaw) for how that is done:

My lists and playstyle rely on forcing inefficient movement through a screen of Taigha to get at my order pool. Ikadrons do a reasonable job of defending themselves, but the traditional Combined Army order generation package is pretty fragile. Impersonators and AD troops can do a good job of attacking the Combined order pool, and if you present a threat like three Makaul, I have to develop the Taigha forward. This opens a hole for AD troops or Impersonators to thread the needle and start attacking my orders.

A direct confrontation with the Overdron or Anathematic is of course possible, but I think it’s best to attack the order pool and limit my mobility. Aside from the Taigha (who are now slower at 6-4) and the Rindak, the list itself is mostly 4-4, so if you take the order pool out you limit my ability to be where I want and project that power. So in short, I think Tony had the tools, and the (admittedly difficult) opportunity to press his advantage after the Rindak was effectively dead and the Caliban was actually dead.

It is true that a less experienced player might have some difficulty assessing this at the table and properly doing threat assessment and prioritization, which may have lead to the “S-Tier” perception of vanilla Combined. Of course, the fact that so many top tier players enjoy playing vanilla Combined doesn’t help either. I do not think this type of list is easy to pilot, it really has very little margin for error because the order pool is so tight and a lot of the decisions you make are in the same vein as the one I made challenging the Igao with a Taigha. 8% is not very good, but dice are (presumably) fair, so almost 1 out of 10 times that will happen. In this case, I need to accept the 80% or whatever it was chance that I’ll lose the Taigha, but I’m still blunting the attack so it’s a win for me overall.

In any case, Tony is a very experienced player and therefore prioritized getting Predator, which is an excellent match for his list since it has the second point available to score. I think he just over-dedicated resources, figuring he “had time” while I struggled to get boxes with my midfield specialists down. I’d like to think we’re pretty evenly matched–if you go back over our play record I think we’re pretty close to parity at the moment in terms of win/loss count, and I think with evenly matched players you just have to identify the weakness and push early.

That was entirely too many words to just say “go kill the their orders” when you have a murder-happy list and a hole to do it through. I think Tony’s execution on Turns 2 and 3 was spot on. It’s generally the case that once the decision space shrinks due to stuff being dead there are only a few reasonable lines of play and it’s usually pretty easy to identify the optimal ones. I always appreciate the challenge of playing Tony, as well as the many moments of shared laughter at the table. Until next time, my friend!

Edit: Post Taigha Nerf, the list is actually just fine:

Santa’s Coming to Town Post Taigha Increase
GROUP 1 9 2

ANATHEMATIC (Lieutenant, Hacker, Hacking Device [UPGRADE: Trinity (+1B)]) Plasma Rifle, Nanopulser ( ) / Pistol, Shock CC Weapon. (0.5 | 76)
OVERDRON Plasma Sniper Rifle(+1B) / Shock CC Weapon. (1.5 | 58)
STALDRON Flash Pulse / CC Weapon. (0 | 0)
RINDAK (Paramedic, Forward Deployment [+8″]) MULTI Rifle(+1B), Blitzen / Heavy Pistol, PARA CC Weapon. (0 | 37)
CALIBAN (Engineer, Deactivator) Submachine Gun, Pulzar, D-Charges ( | GizmoKit) / Pistol, CC Weapon. (0 | 28)
SLAVE DRONE PARA CC Weapon(-3). (0 | 3)
GREIF-OP (Surprise Attack [-3], Impersonation [IMP-2]) Combi Rifle, D-Charges / Breaker Pistol(+1B), CC Weapon. (1 | 21)
Bit (Hacker], Killer Hacking Device [UPGRADE: Oblivion]) Submachine Gun, Pitcher ( | Deployable Repeater]) / Pistol, CC Weapon. (0.5 | 21)
KISS! Adhesive Launcher, Pitcher(+1B) ( | Deployable Repeater) / PARA CC Weapon(-3). (0 | 6)
IKADRON (Baggage, Repeater) Light Flamethrower(+1B), Flash Pulse / Pistol, PARA CC Weapon(-3). (0 | 9)
IKADRON (Baggage, Repeater) Light Flamethrower(+1B), Flash Pulse / Pistol, PARA CC Weapon(-3). (0 | 9)
ÍMETRON . (0 | 6)
LIBERTO (Minelayer) Light Shotgun, Shock Mines / Pistol, CC Weapon. (1 | 8)

GROUP 2 4 4

TAIGHA Chain-colt / AP + Shock CC Weapon. (0 | 6)
TAIGHA Chain-colt / AP + Shock CC Weapon. (0 | 6)
TAIGHA Chain-colt / AP + Shock CC Weapon. (0 | 6)
TAIGHA Chain-colt / AP + Shock CC Weapon. (0 | 6)


4.5 SWC | 300 Points | Open in Infinity Army

Basically I lose the R-Drone but get a Slave Drone. Seems fine.

WiseKensai

I primarily play Infinity and Heavy Gear nowadays, but I dabble in plenty of other game systems.

2 thoughts on “Trading Taigha

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