I figured our rather slow forums could use one of these to liven things up.
Everything that follows is simply my own opinion, and I encourage you all to debate the points I bring up. Being a member of Frenemies, I will undoubtedly be biased although I will do my best to avoid it.
Number of Small Artifacts
Number of Large Artifacts
Number of Unique Artifacts
Total number of Artifacts
Now that the boring part's out of the way, time for the analysis.
FWB/BNI: I don't think anyone is surprised that FWB/BNI had the biggest showing during artifacts. Not only are they the largest alliance on the server, but they also preformed on the server as a group of previous champions. Just look at the top 20 accounts on the server: 12 of them are FWB/BNI. Population clearly does not mean anything on its own but in some cases it can be a good indicator of troop output potential. Clearly the favorites to win the server.
Frenemies: The only other group on the server that can arguably compete with FWB/BNI. A group formed of the best players from the former major three alliances in the North. They are clearly more battle tested than any other group on the server, but the fact that they are rather spread out compared to the SW focused FWB will certainly prove to a be a problem in the battles to come. They are outgunned and outmanned but if there's one thing they've proved, they don't give up.
Pikachu Seven artifacts and seven members? Sounds almost too good to be true. An SE based group of disgruntled members from the former UNITY meta, it will be interesting to see whether or not they can hold onto their artifacts should the larger alliances come knocking. I am excited to see what they are capable of, but my expectations are not too high. Having had previous communication with some of their larger members back in my UNITY days, I know for a fact several of them are rather unresponsive. Language barriers can be a real problem in a team based game like travian.
ROME The Wildcard team. I must admit I don't know much about them other than the fact that I constantly see several of their members in the top robbers. They successfully defended one of their artifacts against a sloppy FWB attack, but similar to the difficulties Pikachu will face, they will struggle should a coordinated op with attacks on all twelve of their members take place. That being said, they appear to be a very close-knit group and judging by their account names, they are definitely a preformed group. I look forward to seeing what happens when they get serious.
Byz: Back on s4 where I learned most of my tricks, we had a "meme" we spread across the forums about the largest meta on the server: EMPIRE is weak and lacks leadership. When I look at Byz, the remnants of UNITY, I see the same exact problems. The majority of Byz's leadership thought that travian was a game of joining forces with as many accounts as you can find. They failed to understand the importance of quality over quantity and especially didn't realize that when you try to fit too many people on the same ship, it's going to sink. Their leaders send out hardly intelligible MMs and just appear altogether unprofessional. While they have a few good members hidden among the rest, the dirt covers up the diamonds. Expect them to fall over at the first sign of dark clouds in the horizon.
Marines and LLUA: I can't say that I know too much about either of these alliances. If anyone knows more than me, feel free to add on. Both appear to have rather similar compositions so I am putting them together. A few good members for sure but if they want to be real competitors they need to trim the fat. Too many farms/useless accounts to be considered real threats on their own.