Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Dallas-Fort Worth Area
We are seeing the ban on special characters now being limited to lord level characters in the 7th edition book (which were unfair and over-the-top) but not hero-level characters except for in the Daemons of Chaos book (skulltaker, the slaanesh special hero, the nurgle special hero epi and changeling are perceived as not fair). The decision to ban special character arose because some of the army book writers got carried away with creating special characters in the past and did not consider broken combos and competitive balance in the individual army rules. One of our tourneys, has a "there can be only one" rule where the first army submitted and approved with a specific named special character is the only army allowed to play that character. In some tourneys, we have seen Throgg-based WoC armies and grimgor as a result.
GW appears to have shifted on that issue in 8th edition (at least attempting to write more balanced books and address balance in the rules) and at least some of the Indy GT tournaments are now generally allowing special characters in the new 8th edition books, especially with the decrease in army-specific magic items, but it is still on a case-by-case basis. In the new books, Grimgor is one of the few special characters I would play, along with the Tomb Kings special necrotect (gives a re-roll on armour save to one unit, like necro knights), and Mannfred and Vlad in the new VC book. I haven't tested them, but Vlad and Manfred look pretty good and are slightly undercosted for the values of the magic items and vampiric abilities they respectively have on them sufficient to risk banning, although the new VC book is clearly much more balanced than the old book such that it doesn't risk creating a clear over-the-top army as occurred in 7th edition with VC.