The new Elite Tauren Chieftain has rocked onto the stage; bringing buddies with him for his next jam session. Read on see what five cards we recommend you pair with him!

The next Hearthstone expansion: Festival of Legends is just around the corner! To celebrate this event, players who log in now will receive a Legendary from the next set for free.

The new legendary: Elite Tauren Chieftain Band Manager is set to bring a significant shakeup to the standard Hearthstone metagame. Allowing players to experiment in a brand new way to add cards into their deck from outside of the game. Read on to see what our recommendations are for the five band members you should consider including in your Hearthstone deck!

The Impact of Pre-Release Legendaries

Near the tailend of every Hearthstone expansion, the devs tend to release a teaser Legendary from the next set. This is to spice up the Constructed landscape, and keep us engaged going into the following expansion. Oftentimes these Legendaries have proven to be extremely powerful.

<em>Pre-Nerf, Prince Renethal</em>
Pre-Nerf, Prince Renethal
<em>Post-Nerf, Prince Renethal</em>
Post-Nerf, Prince Renethal

A recent example is Prince Renathal from Murder at Castle Nathria. Providing players with ten extra starting health completely altered the way decks were built! Even one expansion later, pro players like Meati were still running Renathal in almost every competitive deck.

With that in mind, a lot of players have been experimenting with E.T.C., Band Manager, but what does it actually do?

E.T.C., Band Manager, 2023
E.T.C., Band Manager, 2023

E.T.C., Band Manager is a four mana 4/4 minion that allows you to discover from a pool of cards that you choose when building your deck. With such a large variety of options available to the player, this acts as a way of giving even more creativity to the wider playerbase. In an interview with one of the devs, they discussed how they designed this card:

“To talk about like how it came into the game, one of the mechanics that we tested throughout initial design played with the concept of a sideboard. I can't remember specifics of what it was, but sideboards are a thing that a lot of card games have and it's something that a lot of people on the team are always like, 'Oh, we should try sideboards one day. I wonder what that looks like in Hearthstone.'

Hearthstone game designer Leo Robles Gonzalez

Now with that as a background, what cards should you consider including in your ETC, Band? Here are our Top 5 Generalist picks when thinking of Band Members to use with E.T.C.

#5 Reno Jackson

Reno Jackson, Core.
Reno Jackson, Core.

Starting off the list with this loveable goofball. Reno decks have historically been held back by the restriction of needing your entire deck to be unique, but with E.T.C., a workaround is now possible. Decks such as Quest Druid often draw a plethora of cards with Nourish and Pathmaker before they reach their combo turn.

What E.T.C., can do for Quest Druid players is have an 'emergency panic button' at the end of the game if they just need one more turn to stabilise before pulling off the win. This similarly applies to Triple Blood Death-Knight decks that similarly aim to win the long-game. If you're looking for a less demanding source of healing, then #4 has you covered:

#4 Sunfury Clergy

<em>Sunfury Clergy, 2022</em>
Sunfury Clergy, 2022

When examining Sunfury Clergy on its own, its biggest drawback is the Manathirst (6). Being able to heal everyone on your side for six health can be a game-changing swing if timed correctly, but those scenarios weren't common enough to justify its inclusion in many constructed decks. With an E.T.C., down on turn four to stabilise early aggression, a well-timed Sunfury Clergy could be enough to swing many aggressive matchups in your favor.

Rogue players can make particularly big use of this effect by coupling it with a Shadowstep. Allowing them to heal for twelve HP on everything on their board. This combines well with #3 on our list:

#3 Wicked Stab

Wicked Stab, 2021.
Wicked Stab, 2021.

Until recently, one of Rogue's premier burst spells: Wicked Stab has been an extremely versatile spell. It deals enough damage in the early game to clear most enemy threats, and later on it can be a two mana Fireball to finish off the opponent!

When putting your band together in your deck, make sure that each card fits a different scenario. While Sunfury Clergy is great at staving off aggression, Wicked Stab is an excellent option if you are the aggressor in any given matchup. As Vicious Syndicate puts it:

The best discover options tend to be cheap. Expensive cards being put behind a 4 mana 4/4 are often harder to use. A bad expensive card that you wouldn’t want in your deck is drastically worse in a band.

The discover options are stronger when they further or adjust a deck’s game plan rather than respond to an opponent. Tech cards are overrated. We wouldn’t put more than one of them in the band and the other two options should be more well-rounded.

Good band members tend to offer something the deck normally doesn’t have access to but wouldn’t spend a full deck slot for.

VS Data Reaper Report 259

The top three cards for this list will aim to fall under these rules. When working out what cards you would like to put in your band, keep these points in mind.

#2 Rustrot Viper / Acidic Swamp Ooze

Acidic Swamp Ooze, Core.
Acidic Swamp Ooze, Core.
Rustrot Viper, 2021
Rustrot Viper, 2021

For this entry, we have placed both Acidic Swamp Ooze and Rustrot Viper on the list. Like many deck building decisions, this one can come under preference more than anything. When thinking of including these as options in your band, it is worth considering how vulnerable your strategy is against Weapon Damage.

Necrolord Draka, 2022
Necrolord Draka, 2022

Miracle Rogue players often employ Necrolord Draka as a combo finisher to deal tremendous amounts of damage in the late-game. By destroying the dagger after it gets an initial swing at you, this can turn the tide of some matchups significantly. Decks such as Quest Priest may opt for the three mana Rustrot Viper instead of Ooze, since it allows the player to complete their quest more smoothly. As we went over previously though, you ideally want your band members to be on the cheap side where possible.

#1 Theotar the Mad Duke

Theotar, the Mad Duke 2022
Theotar, the Mad Duke 2022

For #1 we have gone with Theotar, the Mad Duke. As a minion designed to snipe cards out of the opposing hand, it fulfills many third slots for players looking to add disruption to their bands. The matchup of particular importance is Quest Druid. Being able to seize an opponent's Anub'Rekhan or Brann Bronzebeard could instantly steal a game for you.

Other high-priority targets include: Necrolord Draka, Astalor Bloodsworn and Jace Darkweaver as examples of some of the win-conditions Theotar allows you to prevent. Its biggest weakness when including it in a deck, is its weak statline and lack of defensive utility in the early stages of a game. When coupled with an early E.T.C., and the option to pick a different band member, its utility skyrockets.

E.T.C., Band Manager in Festival of Legends

Looking into the next expansion, we're already seeing several unique band members that could go with E.T.C. Cards such as Merch Seller for disruption, or Shadow Chord: Distort if you're looking for specific removal tools. With two weeks left to go until the release of Festival of Legends, I would highly anticipate even more members to join the E.T.C. Bandwagon very soon!

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If you want to stay up to date with all the coverage of Festival of Legends as cards are released, check out our News & Guides section! For the rest of our esports related coverage be sure to check out esports.gg for the latest news. We hope to see you back in the Tavern soon!

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