I think that by now, the standard races look really good. I'm not saying they are perfectly balanced, because Altar and Yithril can wipe the floor with Pariden, for example, but at least they each have a personality, their own theme and peculiarities, and each can be taken to victory in at least ridiculous difficulty.
But the sovereigns, oh Lord, the sovereigns...
First, Porcupine. She's got the weakest race, thus the weakest troops, and she starts with the three magic paths that have no early combat potential. And because some developer clearly thought that she is overpowered, she got hit with the nerf stick recently, so now in addition to having a hit point penalty, she also hits less hard, and can't carry any armor. Oh, and she has the worst starting weapon and a crown that benefits melee fighters - and I could not design a sovereign less suited to fighting.
What's her profession? Why summoner, of course. Why of course? Because she does NOT have the two paths with the good summons - Fire and Earth.
Second, Lord Realass. He's not nearly as bad as Porcupine. He leads a damn good Kingdom, which has access to henchmen, who are much better than champions for all intents and purposes. You just need to research them, and you are all set. So does Realass start with Water magic to speed up his research? Or with Earth magic for protection spells? Nah, Air and Fire for him. Great paths, no doubt, but not what you'd expect for a melee hero. Oh, and he has the 'Veteran' talent, which gives him a grand total of 10 xpt, which could be also obtained by killing a couple of mites. Overpowered, no doubt.
And what is Lord Realass's profession? Why adventurer, of course. Why of course? Well, who should get champions for free but the guy who does not need champions. You see the pattern yet?
Next Marquis, sorry, Emperor Karabass. A master manipulator, an accomplished diplomat, the mastermind behind the War of Magic... Hold it, this is the guy who has 'Cruel' as his weakness? Unrest across all cities, or a flat 5% penalty to everything? A joke for someone who claims to be a diplomat... Of course, he should have been an adventurer instead, because it synergizes with 'Betrayers', but by now that would have been very surprising. Almost as surprising as 'diplomat' going to Realass would have been. Why? Because Realass actually can get the influence to make silver tongue effective.
And the list goes on. Every sovereign seems to have been designed so that he does not fit his history, and definitely does not synergize OR complete his race, with the possible exception of Munchkin and Cerisa. Cherry has 'scarred' which is a terrible weakness considering her race, but at least it fits her from a lore perspective.
How did standard sovereigns go so wrong? I think that it's because all sovereigns start with 2 magic paths (some with multiple levels) which does not leave enough points for all the cool and interesting traits. So what we end up is fighters like Venga and Munchkin barely having points for 'Hardy' with nothing left for obvious fighter traits like 'Might'... and as another consequence, we get a ton of sovereigns with weaknesses.
Or maybe it's a master plot by the developers to force players to design their own sovereigns...