26 vs 18 is hardly conclusive evidence that criminals are not Tier 1. I think it’s pretty ridiculous to claim that Andy, Gabe and Kate are not all Tier 1, (even if you believe that Shapers are slightly better positioned in the current meta). Criminals are not the oppressive powerhouse that they used to be, but anyone who is claiming that it isn’t close is certainly jumping the gun. It’s totally possible that a large number of people are playing wonky criminal decks in the new IDs and inflating the Criminal numbers, making Shaper slightly overrepresented. There’s also the consideration of what the best players are choosing to play, and simple variance.
Personally, I think we’re at the point where Criminals and Shapers relative power levels are dictated by the corp meta. If everyone starts playing TWIY Astrobiotics, shapers are going to suffer. If everyone starts playing Glacier, the midrange (not reliant on rush) criminal decks, (i.e., Andy with RDI), are going to suffer. With regard to inevitability, a careful Andy player still can claim inevitability against basically every Weyland deck and most Jinteki decks, (setting up for an inevitable win vs criminal is not trivial, even with a dedicated RP glacier deck).
Even given the variance between matchups, it’s totally possible at this point to give yourself an edge in any matchup, in any faction, if you put the right cards in your deck.
The fact that a good Andy player will basically never lose to a mediocre corp is still very important. No other ID can claim that level of consistency, and I don’t think they ever will be able to.