Gaps & Punishes
This is a multi-hitting high attack used at close-range. The final hit of ,, is an overhead and can be interrupted by 9 frame or faster attacks. It can also be Flawless Blocked, leaving Nightwolf punishable at -9. Most times however Nightwolf will use his ,, string, which will hit you if you try to interrupt ,,, so you should only attempt to interrupt on a read.
This is a mid into low attack. The last hit of this string can be interrupted by 7 frame or faster attacks. It can also be Flawless Blocked and punished with an +.
The last hit of Nightwolf’s ,, is an overhead that can be Flawless Blocked and punished with an +. Be careful when attempting to Flawless Block this string because if mistimed, the last hit will trigger a Krushing Blow.
Blade and Edge
Nightwolf’s Blade and Edge (,,) string leaves him at +1 on block. However it will create enough pushback to allow you to escape his follow-up attack. Normally Nightwolf will follow this up with his +, string. To avoid this, either walk or jump backwards. You’ll then be able to whiff punish Nightwolf’s +,. Keep in mind that if Nightwolf dashes forward beforehand then you will be hit.
Defending Against Mix-ups
When fighting against Nightwolf you should mainly block low due to his low pokes and +, string. Nightwolf can mix this up by using his +, string which is an overhead combo starter. The overhead is much slower than the low as it has a start-up of 25 frames. With proper defense, the overhead can be blocked on reaction. Once you see Nightwolf raise his axe, immediately block high. It’s important to not get opened up by Nightwolf’s overhead and lows because he can easily hit confirm them into a combo while remaining safe.
Nightwolf will typically mix throws in with his ,, or +, strings, both of which can be easily hit confirmed into high damaging combos without taking much risk. Nightwolf’s throws will also trigger a Krushing Blow if you fail to Throw Escape the previous throw. Usually, it’s advised to take Nightwolf’s throws and only attempt to Throw Escape when absolutely necessary. However if you do try to break Nightwolf’s throw, it’s best to tech his Toward Throw because it will leave you close while his Back Throw will send you away.
Punishing Spirit Arrow
Up-close, Nightwolf has the option to use his Spirit Arrow after blockstrings to counter your attacks. This is mostly done after his ,, string. Make sure to block crouching to avoid the Spirit Arrow and punish it. If the last hit is blocked standing, then the Spirit Arrow will not go over your head and will be difficult to punish because it is -10 on block with pushback. Watch out as Nightwolf can also use his ,, string which ends in an overhead and will stop you from blocking low.
Note that if Nightwolf Amplifies his Spirit Arrow, then you will be hit for trying to punish the regular version. To punish the Amplified Spirit Arrow, continue crouch blocking and punish after the last arrow misses. Nightwolf can also cancel out of his Spirit Arrow at the cost of 1 bar of Defensive Meter. If cancelled, Nightwolf will be punishable. In order to punish Nightwolf’s Spirit Arrow cancels, you must attack immediately when he cancels. While punishing Nightwolf’s Spirit Arrow is ultimately a guess, the risk/reward will be in your favor as you’ll be able to punish him for a full combo.
If Nightwolf has the Lightning Arrow ability equipped, it will replace his Spirit Arrow. Unlike the Spirit Arrow, the Lightning Arrow is a mid projectile. This means that you will not be able to duck underneath it. While this makes his arrows more viable up-close, it is more punishable on block than the Spirit Arrow. If blocked, Lightning Arrow will leave Nightwolf at -21 which can be easily punished for a full combo.
Countering Spirit of Kiba
Nightwolf’s Spirit of Kiba move will temporarily give him a damage buff. However, it has very slow start-up and can be punished if used up-close. If Spirit of Kiba is Amplified then Nightwolf will gain armor allowing him to block in time, so avoid using unsafe moves when attempting to punish. At farther ranges, you will want to stop him from activating Spirit of Kiba by throwing projectiles at Nightwolf. If Nightwolf has successfully activated his Spirit of Kiba, be sure to keep your distance and go on the defensive until his damage buff wears off.
When cornered by Nightwolf, waking up against him can be risky because he can end his combos with Spirit of Kiba and Amplify it to absorb Getup Attacks. Due to its slow start-up, this can easily be reacted to. If you see Nightwolf end his combo with Spirit of Kiba, immediately get up and use a jab or jump out of the corner. Nightwolf will have no choice but to block your attack. Characters with fast jab attacks will also be able to punish Nightwolf before he is able to block.
Dealing with Rhino Charge
Rhino Charge is a quick advancing attack that Nightwolf may throw out as a surprise attack. Rhino Charge however is punishable on block. If you are in range of the Rhino Charge and suspect that he will use it, continue blocking. After blocking the Rhino Charge, use a quick jab attack to punish. Using a jab will also interrupt the Amplified Rhino Charge. Make sure to punish immediately because if you are late then Nightwolf will either be able to recover in time to block, or you will be hit by the Amplified portion which will trigger a Krushing Blow.
Punishing Command Grab
If Nightwolf has the Tomahawk Swing ability equipped, he gains access to a command grab that can be used up-close for mix-ups. In order to punish Tomahawk Swing, duck underneath the command grab and punish with a +KB. Nightwolf’s command grab can also be used after certain attacks on block:
If done after these attacks, Tomahawk Swing can be punished by simply releasing block and using a jab. Note that jabbing does not work after Nightwolf’s +,,,+,+ and +. To punish the command grab after these attacks, you must duck underneath the grab.
If Nightwolf has the Grappling Stalker ability equipped, he gains a new string: ,,+. This is a command grab that can only be done after his , string. In order to punish, duck underneath the command grab and use a jab or +KB. Keep in mind that Nightwolf can counter this by using his ,, string. Since ,, has a start-up of 12 frames and ,,+ has a start-up of 17 frames, the command grab can be avoided by fuzzy guarding. To fuzzy guard this, block for a split-second after , in case he uses his ,,, then duck to avoid his ,,+.
Nightwolf has the ability to Armor Break with his Tomahawk Swing ability, which will counter your Breakaway attempts. This is usually done after Nightwolf has hit you with a ,,KB or +KB. Since Tomahawk Swing can be done at any point in Nightwolf’s combos, it’s best to not use a Breakaway after these moves. By not using a Breakaway, you will avoid the risk of wasting Defensive Meter.
The Spirit Tracks ability is an advancing low Special Move that can be used for mix-ups. Usually, Spirit Tracks will be used as a mix-up with Nightwolf’s ,, and ,, because they end with an overhead. These mix-ups however can be defended against by either blocking low on reaction or fuzzy guarding. Spirit Tracks has a slow start-up of 26 frames. In order to defend against this, block high during Nightwolf’s blockstrings in case he goes for the overhead. If Nightwolf uses his Spirit Tracks, react to the rolling animation and quickly block low.
Another method to defending against Nightwolf’s mix-ups is to fuzzy guard. The overhead in Nightwolf’s ,, has a start-up of 22 frames, and the overhead in Nightwolf’s ,, has a start-up of 18 frames. This means that you will have 4 frames to fuzzy guard ,, (26 – 22 = 4), and 8 frames to fuzzy guard ,, (26 – 18 = 6). In order to fuzzy guard, block high in case he goes for the overhead, then quickly block low.
Once blocked, Spirit Tracks leaves Nightwolf at -12. However, there will be a small amount of pushback after it is blocked. This makes punishing with jab attacks quite difficult or not possible depending on the character. In order to punish with a jab, you must dash forward before jabbing. Characters with an advancing mid attack that is faster than 12 frames may also use it to punish Spirit Tracks. To punish with all characters, you must Flawless Block the Spirit Tracks. Once Flawless Blocked, Nightwolf will be at -22.
Note: If you are attempting to Flawless Block either the overhead or low, then the mix-up will be more difficult to react to or fuzzy guard.
Nightwolf’s arrows are slow high projectiles that can be ducked on reaction. After ducking underneath an arrow, watch out in case Nightwolf Amplifies his Spirit Arrow. When Amplified, he will fire additional arrows that can stop your approach. The Amplified Spirit Arrow will also hit as a mid projectile so be sure to block. If you anticipate the Amplified Spirit Arrow, stay in place and continue blocking. Be careful when trying to approach Nightwolf if he has the Lightning Arrow ability equipped as it will hit as a mid projectile. You will not be able to duck underneath Nightwolf’s Lightning Arrow, so you must block while closing the distance. Fortunately, Lightning Arrow cannot be Amplified so he will only be able to fire 1 arrow at a time.