““Agony is our gift”
The Unmade is a warband for the skirmish game Warhammer – Age of Sigmar: Warcry. They are an advanced warband with many weak fighters centred around a very powerful leader.
If you like using fear as a weapon and becoming stronger as you take damage sounds like the true path of Chaos, they might be the perfect warband for you!
Background and Lore of the Unmade Warband
The Unmade is originally from the island of Tzlid in Shyish, the Realm of Death. They used to be what the lore calls “philosopher kings”, humans dedicated to knowledge and wisdom, but as the forces of the undead came close to destroying them, they turned to Chaos to survive.
The Ruinous Powers transformed them into a masochistic pain cult devoted to celebrating agony as the opposite of Death, and they are easily recognizable because they have torn their faces off their skulls and wear them as belt buckles. They are absolutely insane and easily one of the more grimdark inventions of the Age of Sigmar era from Games Workshop.
The further up in the ranks of an Unmade warband a fighter is, the more limbs they are missing. Warriors cut off their hands and replace them with hooks, and no one embodies this philosophy more than the leader of the warband, the Blissful One, who has neither arms or legs, but prance around on metallic stilts mounted on their amputated leg stumps, with scythes for hands. They are the heart and soul of their warband of cannibals, as they bounce around spreading the great gospel of pain and terror to the enemies of the Unmade.
In the short story The Harrower in the Warcry Anthology, the newly appointed Blissful One Gravskein leads her warband of Unmade on a vision quest given to her in dreams by the Flayed King, the ancestor/Chaos aspect of the Unmade. The warband slays a vampire and his undead retinue and then cross into the Bloodwind Spoil to find the Tower of Revels.
Gravskein is in constant pain from all her missing limbs and the terrors of the Bloodwind Spoil, but it fuels her and her warband and makes them stronger. The short story showcases the aesthetic and philosophy of the pain-worshipping cannibals of the Unmade, but it also demonstrates how they fight on the tabletop, as the warriors gain strength through pain and all follow the wake of destruction caused by their powerful leader.
Overview and Points for the Fighters in the Unmade Warband
Note: if you haven’t read the basic rules for Warcry before reading this article, it might be helpful to know that the game’s abilities are activated by using 6 dice that you roll at the start of your turn. If two of the dice show the same value, they can be used to activate a Double ability. If three show the same value, they can be used for a Triple ability, and so on. So, when this article refers to an ability being a Double, a Triple or a Quad, it refers to this system. It might sound a bit confusing, but takes no time to get used to when you start playing
Blissful One: 220 points
The Blissful One is the Leader of the Unmade, and perhaps more than any Leader among the Chaos warbands, he’s the most important fighter in the warband.
He is both very fast and very, very deadly: He has an impressive Move characteristic of 8 inches, and 5 melee attacks with a critical damage of 6! So, playing as the Unmade, if you want something to drop dead, you send in the Blissful One.
This is both a strength and a weakness for the Unmade. It is, of course, fantastic to have a highly mobile fighter that can kill anything, but you also only have one fighter that is this much of a threat to the enemy.
In short, you have to keep the Blissful One alive while still getting it into the action. The Blissful One has a Toughness of 4 and 20 wounds, so it doesn’t go down that easily, but it can be disastrous if the enemy takes it out in one of the first rounds.
Apart from the three general abilities of the Unmade (more on them below), the Blissful One has access to the Triple ability Vessel of Torment, which allows you to take a bonus move action and attack action after you’ve killed an enemy fighter in the same activation. There are other Leaders among the Chaos warbands with similar abilities, but Vessel of Torment is even stronger because of the high Move characteristic of the Blissful One and its terrifying attacks.
Joyous One: 145 points
While it doesn’t come close to the Blissful One in Move and Damage (or points cost, or number of missing limbs, thankfully), the Joyous One is still a strong fighter for its cost.
It is fast, with a move of 5, and has 4 attacks with decent Strength and Damage, but apart from the speed it doesn’t distinguish itself from other “champions” among the warbands on its stat line.
What it does have is a great human-hand-grenade-style ability, the Triple Flaying Frenzy, which lets you roll a dice for each enemy within 3 inches of the Joyous One, and then do 1 damage for each roll of 3-4 or damage equal to the value of the Triple roll on a 5-6.
This can be a very good ability for a couple of different tactics. You can use it as an opening gambit after a double move (which would be up to 10 inches for a Joyous One) to get some enemy fighters stuck in melee and damaged enough to let the Blissful One trigger a Vessel of Torment. This requires some Wild Dice or a very good initiative roll, though, since it takes two Triple rolls to work, but if you have the dice for it, that’s a lot of potential damage.
Another use of it could be to mop up half-dead enemies guarding an objective. If you survive the counter-attack to live another round, The Joyous One can use the general Unmade Quad ability Gift of Agony (which requires you to have taken some damage anyway) to make a bonus attack action with a greatly improved statline of +1 attacks and +1 Strength.
These tactics require you to have a lot of good rolls, though, and as such it can be hard to make full use of the Joyous One. If you are playing a scenario where you have to hold multiple objectives, remember that the Joyous is the only other fighter than the Blissful One with a Wounds characteristic over 10, so consider using it for taking objectives and holding them.
Ascended One: 125 points
The Ascended One is a middle tier fighter in the Unmade warband. As you can build 3 of them from one Unmade Box, they make up a big part of your warband, and can be the source of a lot of damage if played right.
They have 4 attacks with 4 strength, a damage of 2 and a critical damage of 4, so while they are unlikely to one-shot enemies, they are very capable of going toe to toe with many fighters around their own points cost.
They also have access to the ranged Double ability Barbed Strike, which lets you roll a dice do 1 damage on a roll of 3-4 or damage equal to the value of the roll used for the Double to an enemy within 5 inches of the fighter.
This ability is useful, as there isn’t a lot of ranged attack power in the warband otherwise.
But, like their weaker brothers and sisters the Awakened Ones, the best way to look at the Ascended Ones are as “multitools” which can be used for different tactics via the three general Unmade abilities:
- Do you need the enemy to stay in one place, away from an objective or where the Blissful One can reach them? Use the Double Nightmarish Visage, which lets you root an enemy to the ground on a roll of 3-6.
- Is an enemy too tough to go down? Score any hit on them with your fighter and then use the Double Barbed Strike to lower their Toughness by 1 until the end of the battle round, leaving them vulnerable to the hooks and blades of your stronger fighters.
- Is your fighter all alone, bleeding and up against insurmountable odds? Level them up with the Quad Gift of Agony and punch way above your weight for a single attack action to turn the tide of battle.
This is, in my opinion, one of the big strengths of the Unmade: Apart from killing off your Blissful One (don’t let them take away your beautiful hook-kangaroo of terror!), the enemy doesn’t have many options for limiting your choice of tactics. Even your lowliest fighter can be used in many different ways, and if he dies, any other fighter in the warband can do his job.
Awakened One: 60 points
The Awakened One is the cheapest fighter of the Unmade warband, and one box lets you build 4 of them. In most ways, they are a much weaker version of the Ascended Ones, but they also cost half the points while still having access to 3 out of 4 of the same abilities.
Apart from that, the most important thing they bring to your warband is the always useful range of 2 inches on their melee attacks, which goes along great with a use of Nightmarish Visage early in the battle round, so an enemy can just stand there and scream while the Awakened Ones close in and poke them with hooks and forks from just outside of melee range.
Awakened One with Flail: 60 points
An alternative assembly option for one of your Awakened Ones, the Awakened One with Flail skips the 2 inch range weapon for a 1 inch range knife attack and a decent 3 inch range attack.
This can be useful if you treat the Awakened One with Flail as a Barbed Strike specialist: You only have to score 1 hit to trigger it, so it doesn’t matter how much damage you do, and the extra range gives you a Barbed Strike threat range of 7 inches (the fighter’s Move plus attack range of 3).
This can give you a good chance of applying Barbed Strike to an enemy just within the Move range of a Blissful One (which has a Move of 8), who then has a greater chance of triggering Vessel of Torment. That’s not a bad use of a 60 point fighter and a Double roll at all.
Abilities for the Unmade Warband
- Nightmarish Visage (Double, everyone): Roll a dice for an enemy fighter within a number of inches equal to the value of the roll used for the Double. On a roll of 3 or more, that fighter can’t move or disengage until the end of the battle round.
- Barbed Strike (Double, everyone): Until the end of this activation, if an attack action by this fighter scores a hit or critical hit, subtract 1 from the Toughness of the target fighter until the end of the battle round
- Chain Garotte (Double, Awakened Ones): Roll a dice for an enemy within 5 inches of this fighter. Do 1 damage on a roll of 3-4. Do damage equal to the value of the roll used for the Double on 5-6.
- Flaying Frenzy (Triple, Joyous One): Roll a dice for each enemy within 3 inches of the Joyous One. Do 1 damage to the fighter you roll for on a 3-4. Do damage equal to the value of the roll used for the Triple to the fighter you roll for on a 5-6.
- Vessel of Torment (Triple, Blissful One): Use only if an enemy fighter was taken down by the Blissful One in the same activation. The Blissful One makes a bonus move action and then a bonus attack action.
- Gift of Agony (Quad, everyone): Make a bonus attack action with this fighter. Add 1 to Strength and Attacks of the attack action if this fighter has taken any damage.
Strategy and Tactics for the Unmade Warband
More than anything, to win with the Unmade you should play your warband as a team centered around the Blissful One. Try to set up combos of movement and abilities that trap the enemy where the Blissful One is going to strike next, and you’re off to a good start.
Also, note that you don’t have any other way of minimizing the damage the enemy does to you than to a) stay out of their range, preferably through smart use of Nightmarish Visage or b) strike first and hard so they are not alive to attack you.
The Toughness of your fighters is low to average, and you can’t boost it or heal, so you will often be in a situation where your plan has to work, or you lose to the enemy’s stronger attacks and better staying power.
The Unmade isn’t a good option for every kind of scenario in the game, but if you like this playstyle, the Unmade are a lot of fun to play, and their playstyle really matches their horror aesthetic.
Pros and Cons of the Unmade
+ very versatile abilities, most of them usable by everyone in the warband
+ very strong and fast Leader
+ good synergies between leader/champion and basic fighters via abilities
-if the Leader goes down, you lack a strong damage source
– many fairly weak fighters
– lack exceptional Strength or Toughness on any fighters
Tips on painting The Unmade
There’s nothing quite like the Unmade anywhere in the modern Age of Sigmar product line, and for that alone, they’re great fun to paint.
The main “materials” you will have to paint are skin, metal and something that might be cloth, might be stitched-together human skins. Even though the Unmade fighters are intricate and detailed miniatures, they are actually relatively easy to paint for the same reason as, say, the Iron Golems: if you want to, you can assemble them so you don’t have to paint any faces at all, which is often the hardest part of a mini to get just right.
For my own Unmade warband, I went all-in on the theme of the warband by deciding that everything not metal or face mask on the minis was flayed skin.
I did this by choosing skintone paints for everything from the skin of the fighter to his clothes and leather straps.
- The skin is Bugman’s Glow with a Carroburg Crimson wash
- Cloth is Kislev Flesh with a Reikland Fleshshade wash
- The leather straps is Knight-Questor Flesh with a Reikland Fleshshade wash.
This made for a nice challenge as I had to figure out how to make everything look like skin but still stand out from each other, while also emphasizing the uncomfortable horror aspect of the warband. They’re people wearing their own (and someone else’s) skin as clothes!
On the particular mini shown here, an Awakened One, I went for the assembly option that shows the fighter using Nightmarish Visage, ie. Taking off his mask to show his flayed face.
For a completely different paint style, this one The Mini Junkie on Youtube is quite cool.
Different build options and how to buy the Unmade Warband
One box of Unmade lets you build:
- 1 Blissful One
- 1 Joyous One
- 3 Ascended Ones
- 4 Awakened Ones (one with the option of taking a Flail)
One of your Awakened Ones can be built with a hand that lifts up his mask to reveal his flayed face instead of holding a knife. This does nothing to change his stats, but looks very thematic and is fun to paint.
One of your Ascended Ones can choose between a sword and a mace as their left-hand (or, in their case, only-hand-they-have-left) weapon, but this is also only cosmetic.
The only real option you have to decide is whether or not you want a flail on one of the Awakened Ones. The change is minor, but I would suggest going with the flail for the increased range which is good with the debuff ability.
If you want to build the Unmade warband, be warned that they can be quite fiddly to assemble and are very fragile. The Blissful One, in particular, is just full of parts that are thin and stick outside its base, so it will break easily during transport. The same goes for the spears and the flail of the Awakened Ones, so be careful, and keep them away from your kids and cats.
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