1. Norman from M'Hunters has a pretty solid combat guide that consists of formalized rules for good gameplay- he's used them to program two very successful bots for the Warlight AI challenges: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1NyhCpIQKShAbWGXicO_ph9whV_UyMS-3a7_re0C7R8Y/edit#heading=h.g1s8mzy7wor0
2. Head to the 1v1 ladder: https://www.warlight.net/LadderSeason?ID=0
Click on the profiles of each of the top 10 (so the box on the bottom left). Check their gameplay, looking at the last 10 completed games of each. Go to Menu->History, start from Distribution (view both
players' picks and think about why they picked what they picked) and go all the way until Surrender/Elimination (obviously, ignore games that ended in a boot unless it was late into the game). Warlight is a game of decision-making- i.e., thinking- so try and figure out why
each player did what they did, and how these decisions interacted.
You'll notice that there's no clear-cut "best" choice each turn- a lot of the combat here is rock-paper-scissors. For example, suppose your map had one FTB (First-Turn Bonus)- say, Scandinavia. If you counterpick that FTB, then you've got a high chance of beating someone whose pick strategy centered around getting that FTB. However, they could be expecting the counterpick and have picked around that. But suppose they did that... and you didn't actually counter the FTB, you just went for it yourself- now you get the FTB and you're at an advantage. So A > B > C > A (actually happens a lot of the time in Ladder games, sometimes players don't pick or counter the FTB, expecting the FTB to be countered- and making it very easy to take the FTB). That said, though, there are clearly better approaches
to the game, ones that succeed more often that others because they better account for the cumulative range of possibilities throughout the game. So you should try and glean that from gameplay, PM'ing players with questions if you don't understand their moves.
On top of that, just play more games and read more forum posts that are about the game. You've got a long way to go (as do I and a lot of other players). Good luck!
Edited 7/8/2015 20:46:33