I'm still trying to decide what faction to play. I've done High Elves a lot, enough to make people hate both Celestial Guard and Healer Mages. I did Carthage last year. In the fall I did Orcs, and while the crzed goblin zerg rush was fun, I want to branch out a bit.
My first thought was Rome, but I've had horrrrrrible luck with them. I literally don't think I've ever won with them. They don't synergise well with anything but Civic (+100 points, more yellow boxes) although maybe I'll take Religious and get random mercenaries and purchasable upgrades. The Holy Roman Empire.
I thought about doing Hawkshold with the Militaristic tree, simply because I can do the Charge of the Light Brigade almost immediately.
Umenzi, Ravenwood, & Dark Elves are kinda m'eh. Although Ravenwood without the obligatory Centaurs would be a fascinating challenge. Take them with the Mercantile tree and get some cheap units fast. Especially because later in the tree I can take the Monster & Mercs army ability (or even other factions...Bravery on Ravenwood?)
There's also Dwarves. Militaristic gives me that stand and shoot crossbow army. Or Civic: +100 pts right out of the gate, can make Antonians skirmishers, Longbeards count as core (not nearly as cool as Core Celestial Guard, but close).