Granted it’s a lot more fun to win than to lose. However, approaching this game looking for the faction that will net you the most victories or has the cheesiest lists is a recipe for disappointment. (Cheeze is a term used to describe a list or tactic that is seen as so overpowered or cheap that it sucks all the fun out of the game for your opponent). There are several reasons why I would discourage a new player from picking a faction based on which is perceived as the most “powerful”
1. Your fun won’t last long
Most Uber B0rked combos rely on a very specific army list and very specific tactics (m0r3 Bane Knights!!! Vlad, Seraph Spam). When all you are doing is trolling forums looking for instructions on how to win at WM/Hordes you’ll find that the actual time spent playing the game isn’t very fun. The point of the game is to match wits with your opponent and try to get the most out of your units, when you are just following a set of instructions you are missing out on a huge component of the hobby. More so, following someone else’s directions and using the same list over and over again will not only get boring, but your opponents will get wise and bring lists tailored specifically to beat yours. Speaking of opponents…
2. You will run out of opponents
I have heard stories of people starting a pick-up game at their local gaming store (lgs) who upon seeing their opponent plop down 30 Bane Knights, say “No thanks” and promptly pack up and walk out the door. People play this game to have fun. Competition adds to the fun, but if you let it take the wheel you will find yourself getting stressed out instead of relaxing and enjoying your time playing. Playing an opponent whose only goal is to absolutely crush you is a bit off-putting but if that player also runs a list that isn’t balanced or breaks the spirit of the game then you’re looking at a pretty miserable time. If you are playing that kind of person you will most likely lose and have to suffer the exultant whoops of your opponent and congratulate him on being such a canny follower of directions. In the event that you win you will most likely have to deal with a sore loser armed with a couple pounds of pewter whose whole world just came crashing down because he followed the recipe for instant win exactly but the interwebz lied to him. No one wants to play that person, please don’t be that person.
3. You won’t be able to stick with one faction
For the most part WARMACHINE/HORDES factions are remarkably well balanced. In any given year there will be armies or casters that are seen as the uber powerful end all be all of the game. As the meta-game evolves and the community finds effective counters to these tactics that particular army/caster will wane in popularity and a new uber b0rked army will rise from the ashes. For example, the Skorne faction was viewed as seriously underpowered through Primal and Evolution. However, with the release of the most recent expansion, Metamorphosis, Skorne got some very powerful models which suddenly have people taking the faction seriously, and by seriously I mean crying their little eyes out about how overpowered and unfair Skorne is. Now if you asked someone 6 months ago which WM/Hordes faction was the most powerful Skorne would have ranked at the bottom of the list. Ask that question now and Skorne is at least in the running for most competitive HORDES faction (‘cuz like umm…OMG they can shoot thro wallz!). In another 6 months people will have learned how to play against Skorne (a relatively new phenomenon) and order will be restored to the universe. (Well with any luck in 6 months the HORDES MkII Field Test will be running and everything will be shaken up). It is impossible to keep up with the trends of the “most powerful” unless you have a ton of cash to dump into a new army every 6 months. In my opinion it is much more rewarding to choose a faction (or two…or three) and stick with them. You develop a sense of loyalty, get to experience all the faction has to offer, and actually have time to paint your models. When your faction has its 6 months of glory then rejoice, look down on all the people hopping on the bandwagon and wait for them to lose interest so you can get back to painting your scattergunners. I guess I could put it this way, do you want to be a Lakers fan or a Cubs fan?
So to summarize, I believe that choosing an army based on a perceived amount of win will limit your amount of fun, limit your number of opponents, and limit the amount of time you can devote to one faction.