1. Cryx - this faction is overflowing with BS. I mean, who designs this crap? Jason Soles - that's who. Following the MkII Field Test cycle, where Cryx players cried so hard you would think that PP had just backed over their pet dog, Cryx has been dominating the game of Warmahordes with their retardedly powerful casters, ridiculously overpowered spammable infantry, and a slow stream of releases with stat cards that have more text than the Magna Carta. This only goes to prove an Axiom of Games Design (and customer service in general) - if you complain really, really loudly, you will get what you want eventually.
2. Circle Orboros - it's like Cryx, but with heavies. If you love Stalkers and Goraxes, you will love Circle. These days, you also have to love Wolds and Sentry Stones. Yay! Breaking into Mk2 with the above mentioned Stalker/Gorax combo (usually piloted by Kromac), it's been Circle Christmas ever since, with a chunk of super top-notch releases holding them at the front of the pack and providing radically different playstyle options. Despite having their entire faction nerfed via a minor change to Shifting Stones, they still do everything they have ever wanted to do, in new and unexpected ways.
3. Trollbloods - you know a faction has made it when you read threads complaining about one of their units being so awesome it invalidates another one of their also really good units. That, and MAT 11 troops. The main strengths of Trollbloods are:
a) the faction looks unremarkably crap and unexciting on paper while actually being super synergistic and complex on the table, so nobody suspects them (let alone their own player base), and
b) being beloved by the Theme Force God. First Runes of War, and then Evolutionary Elementalism. Points reduction up the wazoo without giving up much. They take a while to get popular because you have to spend several hundred dollars to run them, but then you can run them for like 4 years straight because they are so fundamentally good (kinda like Gators).
No matter how much they win, their players will never let you forget that the Mountain King is and always will be MAT 5. Also, Warders.
4. Legion of Everblight - Legion is like Cryx except with a soul, which is ironic given the Soulless rule on most of their beasts. Legion was insanely good in Mk1 and then nerfed into the ground when Mk2. This statement, combined with Legion's high placing, lets you know how stupidly strong Legion was in Mk1, when Flight ignored free strikes and AD was 12" (amongst other things).
The best design decision about Legion is that while most of their warrior models are butt-ugly elves, these never actually have to put on the table since their entire faction revolves around sexy leather-clad female warlocks handling multiple giant dragon beasts that spew hot liquids all over the place. Well played, PP.
5. Cygnar - the natural enemy of Cryx, Cygnar has really come into its own since discovering that it is much more efficient to let their national army sit at home and pay Mercenaries to do the work. Carried to great heights by the power of plot armour, Cygnar's godlike casters lead their mighty warjack (singular) to blow everything up with Big Guns and POW12 placable AoE templates while simultaneously contesting every scenario zone on the table. Meanwhile, their paid lackeys take the bullets.
6. Protectorate of Menoth - the faction that never seems to get good releases, except for almost every book. Almost everything they do is frustrating as hell for their opponents and seems undercosted, yet somehow Protectorate players derive no enjoyment from this. This puzzles me tremendously.
PoM is the home of Purification, which as we know breaks the game and hearts and minds everywhere. Despite this, it's not enough to push this faction further up the rankings since when you break it all down, it's a pretty honest faction that requires skill to play (except Harbinger, which requires Tough rolls).
7. Mercenaries - the name is a bit of a misnomer. This faction should really be called "The Earthbreaker and Galleon Ultimate Tag Team Extravaganza", because their Colossals carry them harder than Bryan Cranston carried the first 20 minutes of Godzilla. Unfortunately for Mercs, without the Colossals, the Merc faction is a bit more like the rest of that craptacular film. Having said that, those Colossals are legit as hell (just like Bryan).
8. Skorne - once a Cryx-style infantry spammer in Mk1, then a PoM-style heavy buffing faction in early Mk2, Skorne is now also a Troll-style bastion of medium-based infantry spam. The Skorne Empire has had good showings in tournaments worldwide under the dual leadership of Supreme Grand Master Ultimate Champion Dominar Molik Karn, First of His Name, King of the Andals and the First Men, and Lord Tyrant Martin Hornacek, the Slovak Scourge of Central Europe. Unfortunately, if neither of these two are on the table, then Skorne is a little.... scorned?
9. Khador - the true combined arms faction, Khador's speciality is in its PR. With the image of big stompy robots and its catchy "For The Motherland!" campaign, the reality of Khador is that there isn't much more than the peasant rabble of small-based infantry and some superhuman warcasters. It's like Cryx, but everyone is just waiting to die so they can come back as a Bane or Lich Lord and be better for less. Except Orsus, because Toruk is (understandably) afraid of Orsus. Their lack of an explosive tournament presence may be because they put all their best warriors in steam-powered armor suits, which to the best of my knowledge they use to heat houses rather than fight wars.
10. Retribution - elves in space suits, basically. In a game that's all about playing like you have a pair, a faction full of eunuchs is going to be at a disadvantage. They like to be suave and dance around, but lack the staying power to really stick it out and fight in the middle of the table, which is what many games come down to. This might be changing soon, as the Elf people slowly realize that they can build large robots that don't die to 2 Gatormans.
11. Convergence - arguably the faction that relies more on efficient list design and good play decisions that any other, Convergence's single biggest sin is being a limited release and thus not stimulating the nerd brain sufficiently. This leads them to being forgotten and cast aside despite being pretty legit and having one of the single most baller warcasters in the game in Lucant and very few (if any) "bad" models. I suppose having a shallower bench might also have something to do with their low ranking.
12. Minions - it's times like these that Gators are sad to be packaged together with Pigmans in this faction. Gators have been played and ranked well in high-profile tournaments all over the world thanks to an amazing core unit and some crazy strong warlocks, but unfortunately the design disaster that is Pigs drags Minions to the bottom of the pile like the deadweight on Jaga's spell card. Seriously, why are Pigs beasts so crap? I do not understand.
Now backed by science:
totes srs post (c) 2015
Thanks to the Astra Gaming Team