This also became way to much work for one article so yeah this will be a multi part thing.
My Tier ListS-tier: Cygnar
A-tier: Legion, Khador, Retribution
B-tier: Circle, Protectorate, Mercs, Skorne
C-tier: Cryx, Grymkin
I have no Idea Tier: Minions, Convergence
CygnarI feel like Cygnar right now is Haley2 and Stryker1 fighting over who is the better generalist. Haley2 got more control but Stryker1 got more ranged presence and a couple of extra warjacks points which is important in the themes. Then you can bring in more or less any other caster you want to finish a pair with either. I think the only golden rule is don't bring two storm division lists. That's why Cygnar are on the top of the meta. There are so many possible casters that planning for them all becomes difficult.
As a legion player the lists I'm scared of from Cygnar are Haley2 or 3 with Charger spam, Sloan Heavy Metal and Nemo3 Storm Division. Those lists bring a hard ranged presence which legion struggle against.
If my life was on the line and I had to play Cygnar I would play:
They are not really original lists but I don't do originality. This is definitely a pair that I would play since you have your Generalist, Haley2, that can deal with anything and then you have Sloan as your ranged skew. A lot like the pair of Vayl2+Lylyth2 I used to play in Mk2. With this pair the only caster I would be really uncomfortable against would be Wurmwood. While Vyros2, Ossrum and Amon would be a lot to chew on I think Haley2 can control them well enough.
LegionSince this is a legion blog you can check the last post for what I normally play I will give some other lists this time. When I built Lylyth3 the first time in the theme I was stuck with a bit of awkward point totals, since she wants both a NBT and a Naga. If you trade your ravagores for angels that works out nicely. Something I saw on twitter and went I have to test that. I have played a couple of times and it works well. Sadly not well enough for me to switch of from Vayl2.
My only games with these lists is against charger spam. Something I think will be a problem forward. Mostly since it's such a brain dead list. You sit there hoping they won't roll well and eventually it happens. Both lists worked fine but neither crushed it as hard as I hoped. Oh well. My struggle with Charger spam is not something you want to read about. That's just depressing. I could see my self bring either of these lists to a tournament if I wanted some change.
To me it seems like Khador is one rocket spam and one sledgehammer list. With the nerf to Jozef I think Vlad1 worked his way up too the top of the pile. As he's the only one with a reliable hit and damage buff. The other caster only got one. I think the alternatives are Sorcha1, Butcher 1&3. They all are "fragile" casters that really enjoy sac pawn. It let's them play more aggressive and there for do more work.
As a legion player there is no single list I'm scared of from Khador. They are incredibly fair. There are very few trick in their arsenal that is not axe or rockets to face. What I'm scared of is the pairs. Dealing with all the possibilities is hard. List chicken is a thing and great Khador players can force you into the uncomfortable position.
My Khador lists:
After testing it out I'm especially happy with the Vlad2 list. Thanks Olov Winroth for building it for me. Black dragons with Advance Move is exactly as good as I thought it would be. The best part of this list is that it's okay going second most of the time and that's really powerful in todays meta. The list is fast and hits hard. That's the perfect combo.
Ret only have one of their themes right now. Luckily it's the old Rahn theme. So of course Rahn runs it best. Then all the jack casters run it decently. Vyros2 is my pick as the best one. Rahn got a problem with magic immune armies, eg. Protectorate and Vyros2 is the best pick there I think. Even though Kaelyssa might be more well rounded. I have also seen Helynna, 2 Helios, Hyperion, 3 Arcanists, Artificer, builds work really well on vassal. I don't like colossal skews since they are inflexible. It's something to look out for though.
As a legion player I'm mostly scared against Kae. Luckily she does not fit well in the theme so her popularity dropped off. Most commonly against Ret I get stuck in a list chicken situation. It's a lot of a brick partnered with a shooting list in Ret. Right now Abby2 is really good since Helios has that new toy factor and bracer makes him an over costed beatstick. That in turn makes Rahn or Kaelyssa better since they can work around it. Bracer does not stop telekinesis and Kae can dispel it.
All of my lists are themes. I think theme forces are really powerful. So powerful that I think it's sub optimal to bring a list not in theme to a tournament. That is just the way mk3 is. I'm not really okay with that. It's limiting my list building creativity. I feel like all the lists will start to look the same. Just like in the end of mk2.
When you open up theme lists to all casters there are going to be those that just wanted to build that list anyhow and get rewards for it. For example the Abby2 list I brought to the WTC last year just fits in oracles. It just gets 20 points for free. Sure not the optimal 20 points for the list but it's still 20 points.
At the same time Themes was a lot of what made less powerful casters playable in a tournament setting in mk2. There is no reason to bring Kryssa to a tournament when you can just bring Abby2 and do everything that list does better.