I've been pondering this one while working on Freaks Decks.
But what I've noticed is quite interesting.
In the 2* Department :
Esmerelda is simply not good enough anymore, that attack manip alone doesn't cut it .
Shazam seems to make the cut, even getting player banned often enough.
Bertha is subpar, I have to say it, 7 / 2 with +1 / +1 is meh in my book.
Magda might be an option, able to take on Power Manipulators and is still equivalent to 8 Power essentially.
The other 2*'s? Well . . not much going on for them.
In the 3* Department :
Olga is banned, which is a terrible shame, but a necessary evil. Good card, but banned.
Akendram is not only overpriced, but the only reason to consider him nowadays is because Olga , Bogdan and Grudj are banned in the 3 spot ; and to boot, Olga Noel performs better after 2 Pills!
Olga Noel is ok, but she's just that to be honest, ok, not special or great.
Quasichoco almost never sees use, but seems to be the only other useable 3 Star Freaks, though his -2 DR is off putting as I'd much rather have a card who can win the round if my R1 Poison / Heal doesn't go through.
In the 4* Department :
Bogdan is banned after a long deserved ban, but before him :
Grudj was banned! And Grudj is just as bad / annoying as Bogdan.
Liona is a solid card, but doesn't strike me as a staple. Also, I feel -12 would have been better than -10 , since Freaks have lost their SOA , Power Manip , and SOA .
Madelone is another option, but is not a round win.
Magda is just awful, while she is better than Bertha in certain situations she is much much more frail. SOA, Attack manip, Low minimum power manip all destroy her. Boris Cr has the same problem. The reason people don't run Crassus is because he is very weak to SOA and he can't win a round. In general you always want your offensive Freaks (the ones that are going to be winning rounds) to have 8 power and/or an ability that helps them win, once you start dipping into 7 raw power and below your ability to win rounds drops of drastically. Im surprised to learn that you think so poorly of Akendram, the 1st 3 star spot should always go to him or Quasichoco. If you have the clintz I would also always pick Splata Cr over Hindelga, SOA utility is more useful then ever now that Bogdan is gone and coupled with that nice 8 base power he doesn't have much trouble against anything. JO3SHMO has the the right idea about building too, you almost always want a lower star Freaks half an 8 power 2 star capable of dealing 9 damage is more impressive then a 5 star that can deal 11. Low star Freaks halves allow you to keep other big damage options in your other half in case poison doesn't work out or you decide to bluff
Akendram is simply outperformed by his competition.
Look at the statistic facts.
And vs SOA Olga Noel might be 1 less power, but not everyone will be worrying about an Olga Noel, and usually your Shazam or your 4 Star will be winning that round.
IN FACT, usually the 3 Star spot is for utility as I've found out ,and Akendram is overpriced and outmatched in utility by Quasichoco and by Olga Noel , and even still by Boris Cr . I'll even consider Varoslav over him , because Varoslav can still scare my opponent and be R1 useable, but Akendram? Not a chance in hell I'll consider him before Quasichoco , Olga Noel , Varoslav or Boris Cr .
Freaks don't really have staples IMO the only two I can think of is Liona and Shazam, so I made a list of all the usable cards and ranked them by tiers on there usefulness. If a card isn't listed it's probably unwise to consider it.
Tier 1 Shazam
Tier 2 Bertha
Tier 3 Wonald > Esmeralda
Tier 1 Quasichoco, Akendram
Tier 2 Olga Noel
Niche Tier Marzo
Tier 1 Liona
Tier 2 Nothing
Tier 3 Wolfgang > Madelone
Niche Tier Maciej
Tier 1 Splata Cr
Tier 2 Hindelga > Baldovino
Tier 3 Daqun