[Archive] My thoughts on the current "Tiers"


While this subject can certainly be debated, there is a general concept that certain armies fit different tiers. So, not counting the current Beastmen book (I got it recently a ways ahead of my upcoming birthday, so I’m still reading it) here are my thoughts.

Tier 1: VC and Daemons of Chaos.

   These are perhaps the two most powerful armies in the game. While everyone has a personal view of which one is tougher I feel that it is partially reflected in what army they play.

I’d argue that there are more people who honestly like VC more than DoC simply because of the appeal of undead is probably wider (I know, I love the undead too). However, I do know people (like my buddy Dan Ruud and his Khorne) who love Daemons or pick them as they love Chaos (like why I built my Nurgle Daemons which are now going to round bases).

It is hard, but not impossible, for these armies to make "soft/VERY friendly lists. Their army rules certainly give them an advantage. Generally a strong theme (mono and some duel god Daemon lists, blood line themes, etc) can go a LONG ways to making them more enjoyable.

Tier 1.5 Skaven and Dark Elves
Why Tier 1.5? They do fit on Tier 1, and can go toe to toe with the Tier 1 armies and win… indeed they can make very tough lists that can do well in many different situations. However, they’re not automatically tough in of themselves. They still require list construction and/or tactics. Plus, it is FAR easier to make a very soft or very friendly list for these armies.

Both Skaven and Dark Elves have several ways to make strong competitive lists, so it doesn’t automatically result in cookie cutter lists. Though there are several different themes one might see. (Duel monsters for example).

Tier 2 Lizardmen, Warriors of Chaos, Brets
These armies can do very well on the competitive stage, but are generally a little easier to deal with in several ways. In the case of WoC, the elite nature of the army leads to a generally smaller, albeit very deadly, number/size of units. With Brets they may seem straight forward but I do think they require some skill to use. Lizards have their own weaknesses too.

These armies are competitive, but in the case of “really tough”/“cheesy” you see less variety. In tournaments where composition is a factor you will see more variety (especially in WoC due to different Gods). All three can make friendly and soft lists without difficulty. I would say all three also have some overlooked “good army designs” that could do well, more so with WoC and Brets.

Tier 3 Empire, High Elves, Wood Elves
These three lists are generally well received. They tend to have an uphill battle, but far from a hopeless one. They still have some strengths that can really help them. In a more hardcore environment they’ll have an even harder time, but do have a couple designs that will stand up to the challenge.

Most lists will tend to be fairly friendly/fun by default, unless deliberate effort is made on making the list nasty. However, they can catch you by surprise at times too.

Tier 4 Chaos Dwarfs, Dwarfs, Tomb Kings
The current scene is rough for them. Only a few builds are “very tough”. Regardless of the player fielding a “very tough” list or not, these armies do require better use of tactics (more so than the armies above). However, a good general can put these armies to very good use. I have seen Tomb Kings win Best Overall before, and I have done so with Chaos Dwarfs before.

In my personal experience, people playing these armies (and the tier below) are either a true fan of the army and simply enjoy the army itself. Be it the play-style, the personality of the army,the figures, or whatever they absolutely love it and can accept the challenge. Now, it should be noted there are people like this for ALL armies… I do love my VC and Skaven both (the VC especially)… and I’m very proud of how my Dark Elves look. Heck, there are many Druchii players that played that army even in the last book where they had it hard! The second possibility is that they do enjoy the tactical challenge as well… and there are some where both are true.

Tier 5 Ogres, Orcs and Goblins, Dogs of War
These armies have it the hardest. Be it the nature of the army rules, and older book, or the nature of their troops themselves they have a hard time getting out of the gate. Granted, some people make the mistake of underestimating them… and can suffer from this. However, they simply have a much harder time.

In tournaments that emphasize friendlier lists or composition they will do significantly better.

Orcs and Goblins probably are one of the armies with the biggest fans in the game. They laugh off all kinds of craziness without so much as batting an eye.

Concluding Thoughts
I know not everyone will agree with my summary and ranking, and that is fine. This is just to share my thoughts, and some observations. Though constructive feed back is welcome.

Please post your own thoughts/ranks!


I too have yet to decide on BoC, probably tier 2 though, on the strength of the monsters.

Personally, in terms of power I would rank them a bit more like:

Tier 1: DoC, DEs.

It is difficult, if not impossible to make a soft list with DoC, without making willfully poor choices. Even then, Instability is really Stability.

The inbuilt re-rolls for DEs is huge, as is the core fast cav and excellent specials and monsters. The main reason I put them here instead of VCs is the fact that DE tactics operate on many levels; they can move, shoot, cast and fight very proficiently and their options are more flexible. The lack of cookie-cutter lists is a strength not a weakness.

Tier 2: VCs, Lizards, Skaven.

Vamps are hard, it is undeniable, but their tactics are limited: move and fight. No shooting, no fleeing, little offensive magic. Making more troops is obviously their greatest asset, but the lack of high maneuverability offsets this, meaning they rarely win big against competent players. This is also why they are usually just upper middle in tourneys. Pumping them full of characters can go some way to overcoming this, but then the army is top-heavy and ends up very small, which can be fatal. They have the worst reputation, as many people seem to whine about them incessantly, but a lot of that is just internet hysteria and inability to adjust to the way they play imo.

Lizards have massive psychology buffers, some very powerful units, good magic and some excellent fodder. They are just very, very good.

Skaven have some truly dirty units and abilities, combined with cheap fodder, Ld boosts and good war machines. I hate facing them :slight_smile:

Tier 3:WoC, HEs, WEs, Brets, Empire, Dwarfs, TKs.

I still reckon these will have generally level games versus each other. Dwarfs and WoC have some gimmicky builds but are largely soft imo. TKs are a challenge, but in terms of potential I think they belong here.

Tier 4: Ogres, DoW, CDs, OnGs.

The unlucky few. Their time will come :hashut


Are you guys ranking the Ravening Hordes list or the Indy list as Tier 4? Or both?!

Lord Archaon:

I agree on most of the tiers, but imho HE must be 1 tier higher, with 3 dragons at 2k it’s quite difficult to deal with them even using VCs.


The RH List!  The Indy GT list would be Tier 2 in my book.

@Baggronor:  Totally agree that the versatility/absence of cookie cutters is a strength for Dark Elves, though I give them credit for it as Dark Elves are also more interesting that way too.

@Lord Archaon: 3 dragons? What point size? Anything below 3000 (or even 4000) deserves a boot to the head, repeatedly, until the boot wears out.

Lord Archaon:

Sorry my mistake, i meant 2 dragons at a 2000 points game. And 1 dragon at a 1000 points game. :slight_smile:

Ok maybe dragons aren’t that bad, but i also think the ASF rule is uber unbalanced. Thats my thoughts about HE.

And maybe Empire should be placed 1 tier lower, because the only list, that can beat something is all knights and cannons list.

Tarrakk Blackhand:

Out of curiousity, how do the Tier systems work. Who derrives at what tier level the armies are played at. Is it from all the large events being played and the outcomes provided over a large group of charts, or is it how Gw designed the armies from a game play point of view?

From all the games I’ve played (At 1000Pts), I believe that with the CD army fielded correctly, you could unleash all the horror of WW1 onto most of these “Higher Tier” enemies with the right CD units. Also, hobgoblin Wolf boys are still one of the fastest “Fast Calvary” in the game, far outrunning Lizard Men Calvary.

Anyway, I’m just asking! :smiley:


Out of curiousity, how do the Tier systems work.
Its not a system, its just how people think the armies rank in terms of inherent power and potential.


Some torunaments are using the tiers as a way of evening out the balance between armies, either by giving good stuff to the lower or restricting the upper. It means that people can turn up with any army and still have a chance at winning. The problem with it is that it’s still pretty variable and based on opinions.

Tarrakk Blackhand:

So it’s not exactly “set in stone”.


So it's not exactly "set in stone".

Tarrakk Blackhand
Nothing is set in stone.

"Tiers" mean different things to different people. The ETC and Australian tournaments scene use "tiers" to balance armies.

Basically tiers come from the realisation that everyone has a different view of exactly how powerful each army really is, but there are groups that almost everyone can agree upon.

Personally I don't consider it productive to use more than 3. As people tend to get caught up in the details of whether DE are better or worse than DoC or VC etc ad nauseum. I like to think about it in terms of luck and player skill being equal, what armylist have better options to pick from.

Tier 1, armies with few duff choices, a wide selection of good units that let you field a powerful and varied army. There's is little difference in what you need to take to defeat any opponent and you have the tools available to counter anything. The big deal though is that you probably do not have to tool to opponents, opponents have to tool to you. You almost never suffer from a "bad match-up".

Tier 2, armies that are generally considered somewhat balanced, to make a very powerful army you need to pick the good and/or optimal choices, but if you do you have about an even chance of defeating Tier 1 armies. You have most of the tools needed to defeat any foe and you can in most cases make a very nasty list using a limited number of choices. You might need to have the ability to tool against your opponent though or you might run into "bad match-ups".

Tier 3, sucks to be you! There might one or two power units in the list but even that is doubtful. To have even a glimmer of a chance you need to know what opponent you are facing and better yet exactly what they'll bring. There might be power-combo available to you that makes for a strong list but if it does everyone knows what it is and how to counter it. You will have a severe lack of units/abilities to tackle certain foes. "Bad match-up" is your average game unless you tool specifically for the opponent and almost no one suffers those against you. If you bring an all comers lists you are going to struggle against most things.


Some tournies use Tier 1 at 10-15% fewer points, and Tier 4 at 10-15% more.

Not that this would necessarily make a big difference, but just thought I’d mention it.


Some tournies use Tier 1 at 10-15% fewer points, and Tier 4 at 10-15% more.

Not that this would necessarily make a big difference, but just thought I'd mention it.

Or more! I think it was ETC that gives Deamons 2000 points, most armies 2250 and bottom tier 2600 points!

Alan the evil:

In EURO italian format there are 3 tier category and there are some limitations for tier 1 armies and some advantage for tier 3 armies…


DoC (mainly) + DEs and VCs


Ogre, Dow and O&G…

all the rest in TIER 2… but I’d like to see another underdivision becuase I think:

TIER 2 : skaven, lizardmen, WoC, HE, brets

TIER 2.5 : empire, WE, TK, CDs, dwarfs