So I have been in the hobby for over 13 years now and I am one of the "old men" in my gaming group as most of them started really playing in 5th edition. I have become the "go to guy" for most rules questions (right or wrong) and for some army advice as I have played the majority of armies and try to keep up on what other armies are doing based on what I see at tournaments I attend and what I read and see around the internet. So when I am approached by a newer player and I am asked what they should add or change about their army I am rather hesitant about giving advise at first, and I will tell you why.
Let me give you some friendly advise.
Everyone plays 40K for different reasons. They can play for the competitive nature of the game, modeling, painting, just for the game it self or even just to socialize with other people. There are even different ways to play the game for example you can take a "hardcore tournament list", fluffy army, a themed army, a bit of everything, or even a well rounded "all comers" type list. And because of all of these reasons that people play in combination of all the different styles of play I don't like giving the "you have to buy this" kind of advise.
"You have to play the way I do. NOOB"
I like to talk to people about what they like about the game and how they want to play their army or how they want it to act on the tabletop. If someone is all about running a Space Marine Bike army I don't want to tell them that they have to get a Land Raider because they have a high armor value and a good transport capacity. I will normally make a few suggestions and let them know the pros and cons of each choice and let them make the final decision on what they want.
In some cases they take my advice and in other cases they don't. Both are fine with me as it's not my money and they can enjoy their hobby how they want to. I just hate seeing when people become up-set and frustrated that their vision did not work out the way they thought it would. My goal is to help the people in my gaming community to enjoy the game they play and to grow a healthy community.
Don't become this guy.
I like to make up a bunch of different lists to try out with all the models I have gathered over the last 13 years. When I make up odd lists a lot of the time they do well as it throws the local meta for a loop as no one expects it and don't know how to adjust on the fly. What I have seen happen though is that other people try to duplicate this without really looking at it more in depth, they spend their money and when it doesn't work they get frustrated. I try to talk to them about it and educate them a bit on why things didn't go the way they planned and what they can do to fix the issue.
I seem to be rambling...
let me see if I can get back on topic a bit here.
I think what I am trying to say is "Play what you think is fun". Don't try to duplicate what someone else does just because it does well, it may not work the same way for you. If you are playing how you want but always lose and are not having fun losing make small changes. Don't change everything because you will no longer be playing how you want to anymore. Find a way to make it work!
Start with your basic plan, talk to the people in your community to help you fill in the gaps that you may have overlooked, proxy before you purchase, and test, test, test.
If your idea is not working make adjustments, get some feedback from your opponents. Talk to them during your games and tell them what you want to do and ask them what their reaction would be (assuming this is a friendly game).
The only way you will learn is to try things out and make mistakes. You will learn more from losing and making mistakes then you will from winning all the time.
Is winning fun for most people? Yes. Can losing be fun to? Yes, if you come in with the right attitude and play the game the way you want to.
In the end I have to say that Warhammer 40K is a game. If your not having fun you need to evaluate why not and make adjustments. Talk to the people around you, I am sure most of them want you to have as much fun as you can too.
Till next time.