I posted something similar to this on Bolter and Chainsword in the Dark Angels forum a while back and thought I might expand on it here.
Here's the jist of what I posted...
I wanted to know how often people made changes to their army lists.
Do you make a change after each game or do you make a list and then play that for a while?
The reason I ask is becasue I believe people spend way too much time testing out new units (for just one game unfortunately) instead of learning to play each one fully before deciding to use them or not in their list. Like the title says, it's not your army that loses, it's you.
I think it's that players spend more time looking for units that can do it for them instead of learning how to really use the units they love to play with.
I'll use myself as an example.
With my Lustwing, I originally wrote the list, built the army and played 5 games without changing anything. After that, I realised I needed some form of close combat help if I wanted to do better with the list overall.
But, I had to ask myself how much of the original army composition was I willing to sacrifice in order to improve my record. I'd already started to see a trend despite my attempts at using the force in different ways, under different conditions against different opponents.
So... I added a pair of lightning claws to each squad. I decided I was going to keep my army composition fairly close to my original plan since I liked the all foot-slogging force and would try only a small change.
I made that one alteration and then went 5 more games before thinking about changing anything.
It wasn't that I needed to drop units or overhaul my force completely. It wasn't that my all footslogging force couldn't win or my force was built "wrong" and I didn't have unit XYZ like the internet says you must have. I simply learned that after 5 games, I had a common thread of needing a little more close combat punch.
I've won more games than I've lost with that army too. Once I took the time to learn how to use an all foot-slogging Deathwing effectively.
Jump ahead to my Mechanised Deathwing list.
I've played 4 games and haven't changed anything yet. Have I lost, sure, have I won... you bet. But I'm still learning what I need to do to play the list as best as possible as opposed to what units need to be switched out or dropped or whatever so I can win.
Like I'm going to swap out a unit and all of a sudden it's magically going to fall into place and I'll never lose again. Seriously?
You regular readers might remember a recent post I had about incorporating Forge World rules into my list. When I built my mech list, I had 40 points sitting around that I wasn't doing anything with. Now I have a use for them... a slight improvement to my two dreadnoughts and an extra weapon for my Land Raiders.
But it's Forge World stuff so most people won't play me now.
Here's another perfect example... Belial.
Image from Games Workshop
Any Eldar Guardian with a butter knife can give him a run for his money. The trick is learning how to use him effectively.
Is he worth taking?
Maybe a better question would be "Is he worth learning how to use?"
He's certainly not be the best Space Marine HQ out there, but once you learn when and how to use him, he can make the difference.
You see, I like my list the way it is and I refuse to drop units because someone else says they are "ineffective." Is it me or is it the unit that doesn't do well on the battlefield? Is the unit really that bad or am I such a poor General that I don't know how to use the units I've chosen to their maximum lethality.
Make enough changes to your army because you're looking for the win, and you'll wake up one day and look at your army wondering how you got there.
Don't get me wrong, I like to win.
But I like playing with the army I want to more.
Additional related links:
What kind of list do you build?
Army building, do you build what you really want?