Another question would be: what's your playstyle? For instance... if you want shooting, we're going to take Warriors of Chaos out of the equation, because they have none. Dwarves, on the other hand, have amazing gunlines, plus cannons, stone throwers, bolt throwers, more guns, crossbows, more guns on th eir scouts, engineers... and did I mention guns?
Warriors of Chaos is a powerful list, with powerful units. They have some really diesel Heavy Cavalry in their Special Slots that start with 1+ armor, and can purchase magical +1S weapons. They can run entirely cav-based if you want using their Marauder Horsemen, or take Warriors on foot as Core, who start at 4+ armor saves. They have a few interesting monsters, not to mention a Daemon Prince if you feel so inclined. They have one of the few armored casters, and again, 4+ to start and impressive combat skills. And, in the far future and you win the lottery, you could go to Forgeworld and add Chaos Dwarves for shooting.
(can you tell I have a little bit of a crush on Chaos? Only reason I don't run them is because I love dragons more, so I go High Elves.)
While on the subject... you also mentioned low $$ cost. High Elves are a little bit more points per unit, but every unit in their army is a pretty impressive elite model.... they have amazing archers in Core and Rare, horse arches, flying archer chariots, bolt throwers... If you go really heavy on Monsters (Dragons, Griffons, Phoenixes) you can keep the total army list low.