BoLS logo Tabletop, RPGs & Pop Culture

40K: Bring On The Restricted & Banned List?

3 Minute Read
Nov 15 2018

Games Workshop introduced a Restricted and Banned list for Warhammer Underworlds. A lot of folks are asking if they should do the same for Warhammer 40,000? The kicker is they already have.

In a post yesterday, Warhammer Underworlds got a new Banned and Restricted list for specific cards for use in the game. This is kind of a big deal for a few reasons but the most important one is that this shows that GW is taking a good, hard look at the competitive side of Warhammer Underworlds and actively taking steps to curb the meta. This is actually a really healthy sign because it means the company that is producing the game is still actively involved and interested in the game. But after seeing the announcement, fans of some of Games Workshop’s other games started to ask: “Hey, what about a ban list for 40k?!”

The thing is they already have one – remember the Rule of Three:

This is effectively a Restricted List – the thing is EVERY non-Troop or Dedicated Transport Unit in the game. That seems like a pretty big list to me! At the same time, this attempts to “fix” 40k with a pretty broad stroke brush and I think what folks are really asking for is more of a surgical application of a Ban or Restricted List. Personally, I do think there is some merit to having a more targeted Restrictive list. But I’m also against flat out Bans of a unit.

This should only apply to people, not units.

The fact is that there are some units that are never going to be points-costed appropriately. Thanks to things like unit buffs and auras, it’s almost impossible to calculate an “exact” point cost that would be fair in all situations. Players are always actively trying to one-up the design team when it comes to finding points efficient units. If GW ups the cost of a unit, players will just move to the next. It’s design whack-a-mole and it’s never ending. Points cost just isn’t a good enough indicator due to the “force multiplier effect” auras and other unit wide buffs have.

How valuable is that re-roll for one unit? How about 6?


That’s where these targeted restrictions could come in. Games Workshop has the tools to implement these types of restrictions and they are active in the meta of 40k (see: FAQs, Errata & Chapter Approved Points changes). What other tools do they have? In previous editions of the game they had 0-1 and 0-2 restrictions. These were there to represent unique or rare units in a particular army. They already have 0-1 units that are unique characters so why not have 0-2 unit restrictions for really powerful or rare units?

Please stop hitting me with the nerf bat…Pretty Please?!

Warhammer 40,000’s meta changes with every codex. As the final codexes come out the game will naturally find it’s equilibrium. That can lead to the game becoming stale and in need of a shake-up. In the past, GW has done that by hitting the reset button and launching a new edition. But 8th seems different. With Chapter Approved and the FAQs, and the pacing of the products, it seems like GW wants to break that cycle. But how will that impact the meta and will they look at more unit Restrictions? Maybe – those changes could be the shot in the army to keep the game interesting.


What do you think? Does 40k need a straight-up Banned List? Or should GW bring back some of the other Restricted unit options (0-1, 0-2)? What units should BE on those lists?


  • 40K Top List Of The Week: November 14th - Release The Kraken