While any sort of CO ranking can't be entirely accurate due to trend changes, metagame-development and map-dependency, this list should serve as a very good starting point. It depicts the relative CO strength on an average map, meaning 15k-25k income, 2-4 bases per side, average terrain, available airports and non-relevant naval battle. Any kind of changes of CO strength depending on certain map features will be noted. I'll be using 6 tiers to classify the CO's, namely Broken Tier, Luck Tier and Tier 1-4. The Broken and the luck CO's generally won't be used in competitions, the former due to their extreme strength and the latter due to their reliability on luck. For that reason, they will be simply listed and no clarification on their exact abilities will be given.
To account for the map dependency of the CO's, there is a list of map features in which the CO's will be ranked according to their synergy with these map characteristics. Both the ranking grades and the features are explained here.
It has to be kept in mind that the strength of CO's does not only depend on these grades. If a CO seems to have low grades everywhere, it could just mean that he is mostly map-independent.
- S-rank: Profits greatly from this feature in a way that the CO is at least partly defined by it.
- A-rank: Generally profits from this feature.
- B-rank: Does not care about this feature/advantages and disadvantages balance each other out.
- C-rank: This feature makes this CO worse.
Big map size: Assuming that maps usually don't have tons of properties stuffed in small space, this usually comes along with high funding. Big maps generally tend to favor CO's with strong powers over CO's with strong d2d abilities, as COP's will come into play more often.
Front property density: Simply said the amount of front properties compared to map size, possibly with some of them contested.
Terrain heaviness: Heavy terrain does not necessarily mean that there are a lot of choke-points or stalemates, it just refers to the presence of defense-heavy terrain.
Stalemate potential: How easy it is to stalemate a map. Not necessarily the opposite of front property density. The
Other: Other relevant positive features, which only really matter for a few CO's will be mentioned here.
Tiers (Standard Play)
Broken Tier (Tier 0)
Top Tier (Tier 1)
High Tier (Tier 2)
Mid Tier (Tier 3)
Low Tier (Tier 4)
Bottom Tier (Tier 5)
On maps favoring the particular abilities of the individual CO, they can easily go up a tier or two. Don't be fooled.
Tier 1 consists of all CO's with significant infantry bonuses. Sturm tends to border on broken mostly, while Sami needs short supply lines and some terrain for Mechs to be able to hang with the other. On many 2-base maps she falls down a tier. Von Bolt and Javier 1 Tower are both overall solid choices for this tier and will do well on nearly every map.
Tier 2 has the two all-rounders Hawke and Sasha, the property-dependent Kindle, the terrain-dependent Lash, and Eagle, whose sole reason to exist is Lightning Strike. Hawke and Sasha will never do badly, with Sasha doing a bit better on bigger maps and hard-countering Eagle. Lash and Kindle might not be able to compete on certain maps, while Eagle stands no chance on small, dynamic maps.
In Tier 3 we have three incredibly SCOP reliant CO's. Olaf prefers long, drawn out games, Andy likes more battle-heavy scenarios, while Rachel does well in both. Grimm changes the way the game works with his d2d that grants both players 2HKO's in the 55% matchup against cities, and himself the OHKO of tank to inf. Max happens to be fairly good against Grimm, and does generally well on maps where you can get away with building only tanks and copters.
Tier 4 was once split into Tier 4 and 5, but Tier 5 won't ever be used, so they are included here for now. Drake is the only CO who can move up a tier on maps that suit him (naval play, no air), while the others tend to slightly lack in strength, having lackluster or no d2d and mediocre powers. Sonja and Jess can even boast of having a d2d worse than a bland CO has, while Javier 0 Towers is basically bland for all purposes. Koal and Adder are well-suited for mech play, with the former being better if there are enough relevant roads around. Jake suffers from the fact that threatening to be Grit for one turn isn't half as good as being Grit is, but is still a solid choice for this tier overall.
Map Feature Ratings
|Tier 1||Big Map Size||Front Property Density||Terrain Heaviness||Stalemate Potential||Other|
|Sturm||B||S||S||S||Towers, neutral bases that can be disrupted by his recons|
|Von Bolt||C||S||A||B||No towers, tank-spam|
|Sami||C||S||A||B||Short supply lines for Mech's are essential|
|Grimm||B||B||C||-||N/A for stalemate potential because stalemates are fairly impossible against Grimm.
Profits from no Towers
|Drake||A||B||B||A||Naval battle, no airports|
|Koal||C||B||B||C||Short supply lines|
|Adder||C||B||A||C||Short supply lines|
Source: Hellraider's CO Tier Thread