After far too long, Nightwolf returns to show off his impressive might in Mortal Kombat 11. After appearing in Mortal Kombat 10 as a non-playable character, we need to go back to the 2011 Mortal Kombat character to see what has changed in terms of personality and move-set.
History of Nightwolf
Nightwolf was first introduced to players in Mortal Kombat 3 as a historian and a shaman. As a proud, formidable warrior that is dedicated to the safety of Earthrealm, he was often in contact with Raiden through visions.
The character was originally said to be part of the Lakota-Siou, a fictional tribe. This appears to have been retconned in the most recent game to now be a member of another fictional tribe called the Matoka.
As is the case with all characters in the game, there is a broad range of skins available that reflect the character as he currently is, and that pay tribute to the various experiences faced in the previous games.
Before becoming Nightwolf, the character was named Grey Cloud, and several skins have been added to reflect this older type of character.
There are also a number of skins that call back to his time as a reverent, with a far darker theme in mind.
Nature’s Call is Nightwolf’s first kompetitive variation, offering Rising Tomahawk and Spirits as part of the tool kit.
The second kompetitive variation is called Weapons of War, offering Grappling Stalker, Moonlight Reflector, and Tomahawk Swing.
With so little time having passed since release, it is still unclear which is the dominant choice for tournament settings, and combo potential appears strong for both. At a first glance, the juggle and string potential of Nature’s Call looks and feels quite good.
Both fatalities available at the moment are completely original creations, which does not come as a surprise since Nightwolf’s’ killing blow borrows heavily from his Lightning Axe finishers in MK3 and MKT.
War Ritual was the first fatality shown prior to Nightwolf’s release, where he slices through his opponent's jaw with his tomahawk in one swift, precise swing, which creates a handhold for him to grasp and rip off their entire upper chest. As they stand there in shock, Nightwolf hurls the tomahawk, slamming it into their exposed heart and chest cavity.
Nightwolf’s second fatality begins by snapping his opponent’s neck, and then smashing them into the air and catching them, holding their body up briefly before calling on the help of Komo, his spirit bear, to rip the opponent in half.
All of Nightwolf’s previous moves have made their way into Mortal Kombat 11 in one manner or another.
Tomahawk Swing: Nightwolf uppercuts an opponent with his tomahawk. In MK 2011, this move has been renamed Axe Swing. Amplifying this ability causes Nightwolf to slam the opponent back down with his tomahawk and bounce them, and this so far seems key to some outstanding strings and juggle combos.
Reflector: This move may be one of Nightwolf’s most versatile thanks to some modifications made. He glows green and reflects an enemy projectile back to his opponent, and this move may be held for a short duration, allowing for slower projectiles to be caught and makes for a more forgiving defensive ability. In addition, amplifying the move has Nightwolf teleport behind the opponent, which means he cannot be kept at range for long.
Spirit Arrow: After creating a mystical bow, Nightwolf shoots an arrow at his opponent that in a manner similar to Reflector, can be held before firing, allowing for controlled timing to opponent’s who may not be getting up right away, or jumping. Alternatively, the move can be cancelled without penalty. Amplifying the move fires three arrows in a quick succession.
Rhino Charge: Nightwolf charges forward and knocks his opponent backwards with a shoulder check, casting the same green colored shadow as the Cage family. Amplifying this move has Nightwolf follow up with an overhead hatchet strike. Paired with a dash forward before executing the move allows for huge mobility, and is an excellent gap closer.
Spirits Assist: These provide either a boost to damage or help keep you save by buffing resistance. Neither lasts long, so the ideal time for a buff is likely after knocking an opponent down towards a corner.
It is far too early into the release of the character to know how well Nightwolf will fare in the kompetitive scene. Even worse is the fact that as this week also saw the first significant patch nerf and buff a large portion of the roster; settling on the best characters will take longer than normal.
However, we can gladly say that the spirit of the character has remained completely intact. Everything about the character from his story to his abilities feels like the developers took their time to make the return of Nightwolf a special event.