To start, a brief introduction is provided on the importance of transition-metal nanoclusters, on the need to develop and then apply methods to rank the nanocluster formation and then stabilizing abilities of commonly employed anions, solvents, cations, and polymers, and on the somewhat confused literature of nanocluster stabilization. The fundamental importance of surface-adsorbed anions in transition-metal nanocluster stabilization is noted, the reason the present studies begin with a study of nanocluster-stabilizing anions. Next, five criteria, as well as the associated experimental methods, are developed to evaluate the efficacy of nanocluster stabilizing agents. The criteria are of fundamental significance in that they allow the separation of stabilizing agent effects on nanocluster formation from those on nanocluster stabilization. The results from applying the five criteria to four commonly employed anions lead to the first "anion series" of relative nanocluster-formation and stabilizing abilities, at least for the Ir(0) nanoclusters examined and by the following five criteria: [(P2W15Nb3O61)(2)O](16-) (a Bronsted-basic polyoxoanion) > C6H5O73- (citrate trianion) > [-CH2-CH(CO2)-](n)(n-) (polyacrylate) similar to Cl-. In addition to the needed methods and the first anion series, six other (8 total) conclusions are reached, important insights in an area previously lacking hard information about which anions are the better choices for nanocluster formation and stabilization. The results are also of significance in establishing polyoxoanions, notably highly charged and basic polyoxoanions such as [(P2W15Nb3O61)(2)O](16-), as the present "Gold Standards" among currently known nanocluster stabilizing anions, and according to the above five criteria. Such standards provide a reference point for future work aspiring to develop even better nanocluster stabilizing anions, solvents, cations, and polymers or their combinations.