Shadowbanned MW2, Shadowban Warzone 2 Explained

Not sure how to know if you’re shadowbanned in Warzone 2 or Modern Warfare 2? The next generation of Call of Duty games has brought several new layers of security and protection against cheaters. Aside from the ricochet anti-cheat system, there’s also the new shadow ban system. This guide explains how shadowbanning works in MW2 and Warzone 2.

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Shadowban Warzone 2, Shadowbanned MW2 Explained
What is a shadow ban in Warzone 2?

UPDATE: With the start of Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 and Warzone 2 Season 2 Reloaded, many players started reporting being wrongfully shadowbanned. At the moment, Activision didn’t acknowledge these claims. We will update the article once we have more information.

Getting Shadowbanned in Warzone 2 & MW2 Explained

Since the release of the original Verdansk Warzone back in March 2020, one of the core grievances of the Call of Duty community was the abundance of cheaters in Warzone. They were ruining the experience for everyone. The cheating never stopped being an issue. At some point, there seemed to be no lobby without a cheater. There were even many esports scandals, with players accusing each other of cheating during major tournaments and events, with tens of thousands of dollars on the line. The ricochet anti-cheat system was the first step by Activision to fight this plague. And now, they have introduced shadowbanning in MW2 and Warzone 2.

How does Shadowban Work in MW2 and Warzone 2

The Shadowban system in MW2 and Warzone 2 works like any other shadow ban feature in other games. So, what is a shadow ban in Warzone 2? When a cheater is reported enough times and established to be a confirmed cheater, the game will not outright ban them from the game. Instead, these players will quietly (without being notified) be placed in a special matchmaking pool with other cheaters. And when they enter a lobby, there will be only other cheaters and hackers inside it. Thus, it will essentially be a hell full of cheaters playing with each other.

This method serves two purposes. It cleans up real lobbies of cheaters so that those who play fair can enjoy the game without hackers. Second, it punishes cheaters by putting them against other cheaters without telling them. This renders their hacks useless, as everyone is hacking there. It also prevents them from making another account, as they don’t know that they are actually banned.

How to Know if You Are Shadowbanned in Warzone 2 and MW2

As we already mentioned, the game doesn’t tell you when you get shadowbanned in Warzone or MW2. That’s the whole point. However, some clear signs can help you determine whether you are banned. Below are three clear cues indicating that you’ve probably received a shadow ban in Warzone 2 or Modern Warfare 2. Remember that each of these individually doesn’t mean that you are shadow-banned. But if you are experiencing all three of them simultaneously, that’s likely an MW2 shadow ban. Here’s how Call of Duty shadowban looks like:

  • You have really long queue times. This is due to a limited player pool, as you can only be matched against other cheaters.
  • Your matches have a disproportionally huge number of cheaters. It feels like almost everyone is cheating.
  • Despite the quality of your internet connection, all your games have a high ping. That’s because shadowban lobbies servers are not near you, and you are matched against cheaters worldwide.

If you believe that you’ve been shadowbanned wrongfully and are positive of your innocence, you can submit a ticket for a ban appeal. If your account penalty was indeed a mistake, Activision will reverse your Warzone 2 shadow ban, and you will be back in normal lobbies.

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Author Chronocrator profile picture
With over 10 years of experience in gaming and esports journalism, I like to think that my guides once helped a NASA scientist to beat a game. Basically, I should be credited for NASA's Mars missions.In my free time, I dream of the day when I will finally start cleaning my Steam backlog.



  1. B

    This does not work because good players are getting reported for cheating and thrown into the same pool with cheaters. It should not be up to the public of who gets thrown into shadow ban lobbies.

    1. C
      C Todd

      Article makes the erroneous claim that Activision do not ban cheaters, instead only shadowbanning them, implying that everyone who gets shadowbanned is a cheater.

      Both of these claims are demonstrably false. Activision 100% permanently bans people who are found to be cheating. If you have been shadowbanned, you can visit Activisions “Appeal a Ban” page and it will tell you that your account is “Under Review” to determine if you have violated the game rules.

      Saying that being shadowbanned means you’re cheating is like saying being arrested makes you guilty. Innocent people are arrested all the time, and like in a court of law, the onus is on the court to prove guilt, not on the accused to prove innocence.

      To think that Activision has more rigid standards than the judicial system is laughable. Shadowbanning is the equivalent of being arrested, and having your account reinstated is the equivalent of being found “Not Guilty”.

      1. The article doesn’t claim that “Activision does not ban cheaters”, but rather that shadowbanned people are not permanently banned.

        1. E

          well for one there is a big misconception about shadow bans personally I have been shadow banned before falsely and a good 60 % of players I played with weren’t cheating. and the players who weren’t cheating knew who the cheaters where because the lobbies were so small. during this review process of being shadow banned you will have a Activision employee look over your account and recent matches and analyze play styles in which they come to a result which is banned not banned or they haven’t decided and will go to further review. I have seen a player that was cheating be perm banned in the game we were playing it gave me a notification saying I helped the cod community by reporting the cheater. this is a tiny insight on my experience and research on this topic take it as you will.

    2. S

      Well they need to match make a league of players who are really good so they quit getting put in games with people who just want to play casually because it’s the worst thing on the planet when I’m just trying to play with some friend in game or 2 of cod and it’s an absolute hell of sliders and dolphin divers 1 shoting me.

  2. C
    C Todd

    Nikola, I know you’re not going to approve this comment since you seem to be deleting my comments which point out things you’ve said in this article that are simply incorrect, I’m gonna just say this for you to read before you delete it.

    This isn’t a good look, and it’s an affront of journalism.

    You got some things wrong, that’s fine, do more research and rewrite your article.
    Deleting comments simply shows that you are not interested in accurate reporting, which is self-evident by the several false claims you’ve made in this article either out of ignorance to the facts or an attempt to mislead readers.

    The 2nd comment I made, which you deleted immediately, was pointing out something you said that is completely false.

    “If you believe that you’ve been shadowbanned wrongfully and are positive of your innocence, you can submit a ticket for a ban appeal.”

    This is simply not true. You cannot appeal a shadowban, as a shadowban is when your account is under review to determine if you have been cheating. It’s not a confirmation of cheating, it’s not a confirmation of anything.

    Stop hiding comments in an attempt to save face and do a bit more research in future, that is of course if these mistakes were made out of ignorance, if you’re simply trying to mislead people by feeding them false information (which certainly seems to be the case since you’re deleting comments which correct you), then you’re an awful human being.

    Which is it?

    1. I’m not deleting or hiding your comments. This is a big website; countless comments are coming in every minute, and they all need to be manually approved due to spam.

      Secondly, it’s 10 pm CET on a Friday evening, December 30th, out of my working hours, so I wasn’t approving your comments immediately because now I need to engage in discussion with you on a Friday evening 🙂

      I’ve written a considerable number of articles about Warzone and cheating over the last three years; you can check some of my articles about it on GINX Esports (I can not link them here).

      I never claimed that people are not getting banned, which is entirely ridiculous, and you can find articles written by me about banned players in Warzone 1.

      Truth be told, what you are saying about appeals to shadowbans not working is something I can not confirm. Thus, you might be telling the truth there – I don’t know that. However, even if that’s true, I would still advise people to contact Activision support, as that’s the best course of action they can take. Hence, I’ll not change that final line, as contacting support in this kind of situation is always a good thing to do.

      1. S

        Found this article trying to research what happened to my account yesterday. I can confirm, you definitely cannot appeal a shadow ban. When I go the the link in your article, and login with my steam (where i play the game), it will tell me I cannot appeal a ban because my account is currently under review. It does, however, tell me that I can return to that page to check the status of my review, so I don’t have to check via launching and trying to join the game.

        I’ll feel better once they let me out of time out and this turns into bragging rights, but it’s frustrating being in time out over being on the better side of terrible matchmaking.

  3. M

    I have never and will never use hacks. I’m not even that good at the game (had a .92k/d and a .76win/loss prior to being shadow banned), I just occasionally get good runs. There was one game I had recently where I was trying out a build I put together for the PDSW trying to unlock gold and it turned out to be a REALLY good build. I went something like 44 and 13 (this was a game of domination and almost everyone had ridiculously high kills), and next thing I know I’m playing against a bunch of hackers and players that did well in one game too many. Also people have been reporting getting shadow banned for getting JUST 10 KILLS in Warzone. It’s even happened on a couple of live streams. Their system is broken and clearly is too sensitive.

  4. F

    i dont even know how to hack id never do it so shadowban does not work any one can report you for cheating and you might be just good at the game and you got childish people who get you banned because they report you evrytime you are killing them multiple reports gets you banned even if u are not cheating so up to a week wait just because you are good at the game and people cant handle it i pay heaps playing this game ive paid for every battle pass buy all the skins for what i cant even get into a game

  5. D
    Dario Pereira

    No tiene sentido el shadowban, juego totalmente limpio desde que salió warzone, hace 4 meses me cambié a PC y Blizzard o battlenet vive en desconexiones permanentes, hace menos de 2 semanas vengo con 3 shadowbans seguidos me devuelven la cuenta y al jugar 3 o 4 partidas de nuevo shadowban, cual es el motivo? Ni idea, me volveré a cambiar a play la única solución que veo

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