The post below provides a list of recommended BGs and factions for new players. Factions are mostly created equal in terms of power, but some are weirder than others. Keep in mind that this isn't necessarily a difficulty ranking, but rather recommendations for what might help you best advance as a general player. Follow your heart first, of course! -- Hi! This writeup will outline which factions I recommend for new players. It will contain a brief version, for people who don’t want to get into the weeds of explanations, and then a longer version. Remember to pick stuff you like, before anything else; this set of recommendations is for the undecided or the lost. If you like how Demons look, then go ahead and play UD! Just keep in mind how that will influence your understanding of the game in a broader sense. Brief Version Play these: IS, ST, SL -- These factions have durable champions that fill a variety of roles, with both offensive and defensive spell sets and plenty of simple but deep tools. These are ok: FS, SP, KF -- These factions have minor quirks and an odd rune or two, but still work well to teach beginners. Start elsewhere: UD, FW, Splits -- These factions slide the most into extremes, and don’t feature as many conventional tools; they can teach bad habits. Factions are ranked according to how much they depend upon the canonical skills of Pox -- skills which are also the most transferable and universal. I also added or removed points for how forgiving a faction is of mechanical plays, so factions with more durable units got a plus, and those that relied on high damage, spell tricks, or odd strategies got a minus. I value a couple things when making these recommendations. First, the less punishing a BG is of pilot mistakes, the better. New players will make mistakes, so BGs that crumple because of minor play errors will only prove frustrating and uninformative. Second, skills for a BG should be transferable. Some skills will aid a player no matter what deck they use, which can sustain someone through much more drastic changes to the game. If a player only learns how to use a specific kind of deck, they will be out of luck if the meta changes. Keep in mind that the rankings are recommendation rankings, not difficulty rankings; a lower value is neither better nor worse, except in so far as that theme or faction will teach new players basic elements of the game, such as positioning and resource management. High values mean that a faction or theme will require a new player to develop those basic skills to succeed, while lower numbers mean that the theme or faction will test different sets of skills, which may be more particular to that BG, and thus harder to apply to other BGs or scenarios. "Junk" can also be called "Goodstuff" or "Meta," and refers to a deck with no central theme, instead composed of individually solid runes that cover a broad set of strategic options. These decks are, by nature, almost always high-tier, viable, and straightforward. A note on play-styles: ignore and discard any idea of a personal playstyle. Do not attempt to affect one. Styles in all things emerge as a natural product of effort and experience, they are not markers unique to each person from the get-go. Be patient. Do what you enjoy, remain attentive your own preferences -- you will have more success by experimenting, rather than rigidly adhering to instinct. A mark of skill is mastering multiple styles, each for use when appropriate. With that, on to the recommendations. Long Version Full-Faction Recommendations From 1 to 5 5 Straightforward, but with enough depth to reward understanding 4 Basic, but includes some minor element which makes either construction or play trickier 3 Uses oddball runes or strategies, but not necessarily radical 2 Punishing for mistakes, uses some different skills 1 Both construction and play are often complicated messes Prot FS: 4, because they have a tendency towards strange runes, but ones that still fill conventional roles. Forglar lacks hard tanks, but they have numerous spell options, both offensive and defensive, solid ranged damage output, and good mobility. Their units err on the squishier side, but healing options and utility see them through, two things which will reward and teach careful play. Forglar is the weird faction in the protectorate, if you want to have healing and utility but don’t want to play classical armored dudes in a ball, Forglar is the way to go. Recommended Decks: Junk, Firk Decks to Avoid: Aquatics IS: 5, because of their spell set and durable champions. Of all the factions, Ironfist Stronghold has the broadest spell set with which to teach a new player how and when to cast spells, mixing offensive and defensive, visible and hidden. In addition, their champions have clear specialties, without being shackled to strange roles. Because of their combination of breadth and depth, IS is my top recommendation for any new player getting into the game. Skills learned with IS will transfer to the greatest number of other factions and BGs. Recommended Decks: Dwarves, Barbarians, Junk Decks to Avoid: Constructs KF: 4, not reaching 5 because they rely on squishy units, and for some of the same reasons as FS. K’Thir Forest can deal great damage, and they have high average speed after their faction bonus, but that last factor combined with their flimsy units makes them more punishing of pilot mistakes. Additionally, the large amount of speed can lead to flippancy with AP, which can be a painful habit to break, but necessary for handling the slower units in other factions. Even so, K’Thir plays a standard-looking game and can reward and teach appropriate target selection. Recommended Decks: Junk Decks to Avoid: Fae ST: 5, because of the free durability from the faction bonus and uncomplicated access to damage. Savage Tundra can dish out plenty of damage through the canonical means of spells and champion attacks. They have a few defensive spells and staple AoE options, and their faction bonus provides some extra leeway for mistakes. They feature few truly strange runes, and have the versatility to reward adaptation. Their accessible but deep tools make Savage Tundra a wonderful starting faction. Recommended Decks: Frost, Junk, Yeti Decks to Avoid: Beasts, Wrath SP: 4, because of their oddball tricks. SP is the FS of the Wrath factions. Shattered Peaks has a solid and broad set of units, including some burly, basic melee, and powerful range, although they lack in true tanks. These qualities make SP a reasonable start for new players, with the only caveat being SP’s tendency to rely on odd runes or synergies to truly shine. While learning the knockback chart will certainly help in a general sense, Peaks weirdness tinges plenty of runes and strategies, and as a result, new players would have to spend time becoming accustomed to these niceties. That aside, Shattered Peaks will aid a new player with learning a wide range of skills. Recommended Decks: Junk Decks to Avoid: Moga UD: 3, because of little range and a reliance on masochistic spells. The Underdepths run a similar plan to plenty of other factions: deploy units and hit with them. But because their units skew high on damage and speed, and low on durability, they play differently from most other factions in some subtle ways. Needing to understand Sacrifice and Retribution timings only makings things more complicated. An acceptable start, but be ready for some frustration. Recommended Decks: Fire Decks to Avoid: Minotaurs, Bleed SL: 5, because of their breadth of tools and simple strategic approach. Of all the Wrath factions, I think SL most rewards universal Pox skills like positioning and resource management. If Protectorate doesn’t appeal to you, try SL. Their tricks and gimmicks reside on the outskirts of most themes. Therefore, playing SL will teach a new player how to play a solid, champion-based game without too many extra shenanigans. Recommended Decks: Draksar Decks to Avoid: Myx FW: 2, because of their unorthodox strategy and tactics, although it’s possible to build simpler versions. Forsaken Wastes is not necessarily more difficult than the other factions, but it is different, and that is reason enough to look elsewhere. Most FW themes or champions come with either a particular weakness or strength, and sometimes have ambiguous roles. As a result, FW teaches a skewed set of fundamentals, and even some bad habits: plenty of FW units want to die -- a dangerous attitude elsewhere. Learning the faction can certainly help with learning the game, but for beginners, you will likely be doing yourself a disservice by starting here. Recommended Decks: Skeletons, Witches Decks to Avoid: Worms, Worms, Worms, Zombies Split Recommendations Splits other than Maljara: 1-2, depending on the exact construction and aims. Splits can either be straightforward good-stuff decks, either erratic collections of subtle synergies, but actually making a functioning split is a trick in itself. I advise new players to stay away from splits, at least early on, not because they are necessarily mechanically complex, but because building them -- and adapting them come patch time -- may prove too tortuous. Recommended Decks: Junk Decks to Avoid: Everything else Maljara Splits: Stitched: 2, because they have a weird recycling mechanic. Stitched have a fair deal in common with FW, in addition to an eclectic champion selection. Kanen: 2, because they are either difficult to play or teach bad habits. Kanen are theoretically straightforward, but they require heavy number crunching and managing an enormous decision tree for optimum performance, and, conversely, they can encourage blind rushes into melee combat. Tortuns: 4, because they are burly units with a mostly-standard game plan. Their universal ponderous and nature as a split keep them from being a 5. Leoss: 4, for the same reasons as Tortuns. I appreciate any comments, questions, or suggestions. Depending on available time, I may do further breakdowns by theme, go more in depth on splits, or both. This document was made on 23 Nov 2015.