Thanks VV. It helps to see what you're using as a starting point, and the originator's viewpoint on what goes where and how to use his system.
My current party is sorcerer, beguiler, duskblade, binder, warlock, and rogue/fighter multiclass. Shouldn't be a horrible mix, in terms of balance between tiers (range 2-4, though the rogue/fighter player isn't a dedicated optimizer so he might end up needing a little help). We'll be testing what a party with very limited healing can do (I've homebrewed a healing-oriented vestige to tide the binder over until Buer becomes available)--new territory for me. I suspect I'll have to throttle back on the challenges in this campaign vis-a-vis how I ran Red Hand of Doom. There I had three of the big 5 (cleric, druid, wizard), a warlock, and a samurai (started out CW but we did a homebrew rebuild of the class partway through that worked pretty well) plus a cleric cohort, a scout (eaten by a dragon, main cleric was his replacement), and a barbarian and a ranger who began as PCs but became DMPCs. Four deaths--scout, barbarian (DM sacrificed him to a dragon to save another party member in an intentionally nasty encounter), cleric (bad luck in an ice devil encounter and raised for the final show down), and the ranger (in the final showdown, also intentionally sacrificed by DM). Two of my big 5 players were pretty self-restrained (druid had a hell-on-wheels animal companion but only used wild shape to scout, cleric was a heal-bot and often couldn't post, so didn't overpower anyone). The third, the wizard, was like a blooded warhorse--I had to keep a tight rein on him by requiring DM approval for non-PH spells, and I nerfed or nixed several of his proposals for them. I let him have a feat to learn four new spells per level, but the campaign is structured with minimal downtime, so I didn't have to worry about him fattening his spellbook too much. I homebrewed a prestige class for him that gave him some flavor he was looking for without breaking the game. I also gave the warlock a couple of nifty home-made toys to boost his power, and the final encounter ended up (by virtue of the encounter design and the players' reaction to it) being all his baby, which maybe wasn't so good, but every PC had many moments of glory, plus lots of individual roleplaying attention, so it worked out well. That is kind of what I was talking about in the other thread when I meant that I do a lot of tailoring to make things work--and I think that is very much in the spirit of what the poster of the tier system that VV linked proposes.