DNF Duel is a unique and utterly bonkers game that features a deep cast of characters who feel broken and overpowered in specific ways, making each encounter feel refreshing and hectic. From combos that can last seemingly for minutes to flashy animations and devastating abilities, DNF Duel makes every victory feel earned and personal.
Furthermore, every character has access to an Awakening Skill whenever their health gets dropped to thirty percent or less, allowing them a chance to turn the tide if they can weave it into a combo or attack string. Awakening Skills are long, animated Special Attacks that deal extensive damage and will either clinch your victory or give you a fighting chance to close the round.
While undoubtedly one of the strongest characters in the game, Crusader's Awakening Skill falls flat and lacks the impact you'd expect from the holy death tank. Despite the insanely intimidating wind-up and his ability to sprout wings of light, Crusader hovers high above the arena and summons rays of divine light down onto his opponent, dealing mass damage.
Crusader is one of those characters that you go in expecting to see a brutal beatdown with his great hammer or him hurling bolts of holy lightning bolts down in a rage-fuelled storm, but instead, we get something a tad generic and more straightforward. Mediocre visuals aside, his Awakening Skill still does immense damage, so it isn't all bad.
15 Lost Warrior
Lost Warrior's Awakening Skill sure does miss the mark for a character with the universe in the palm of his hands. Throwing your enemy into rocks with telekinetic powers is cool and all, but using that ability to set up a death beam strike from above feels like a wasted opportunity. Lost Warrior has many cool moves and actions at his disposal, but his Awakening Skill is not one of them.
His ability to freeze time, summon swords from portals, switch positions with his opponent, and much more make this Awakening Skill feel like he's holding back, which is the exact opposite of what it should be. Furthermore, because Lost Warrior is the only unlockable character in the game, we expected much more from him, and he disappointed us all.
Vanguard is one of the coolest characters in DNF Duel, which is why it hurts to see his Awakening Skill be so basic in pretty much every aspect. However, despite it being on the generic side of things, it sort of feeds into his overall design philosophy and highlights his 'Dynasty Warriors' hack-and-slash playstyle, so he gets a bit of a pass compared to the others mentioned.
This Awakening Skill consists of Vanguard taking several wide swings at his opponent with his lance before performing an explosive overhead slam with it, dealing tons of damage in the process and sending his opponent flying backward with force. As touched on already, this is as generic as it gets, but in a way that feels 'right,' as opposed to disappointing.
Launcher shares a similar boat with Vanguard in that her Awakening Skill makes sense but is overall pretty generic in the grand scheme of things. Ninety percent of her move list involves her pulling out various weapons and gadgets to keep her opponent at bay, so her special move is obviously going to be a massive railgun that launches a supercharged shot at her opponent.
The sheer scale of this Awakening Skill alone makes it better than the others mentioned, but it's not quite enough to place it in the conversation of being one of the best in the game. Still, Launcher is a cool character with a cool super, and that's all that matters at the end of the day. Sure, it's a bit safe and predictable, but it serves its purpose and does it with style.
When it comes to a character's Awakening Skill meeting or exceeding the bar they set with the rest of their kit, Troubleshooter clears his with ease. Placing his opponent on an enormous mine before saying "Have a good time!" and blowing them sky high is the ultimate flex. This Awakening Skill goes hand-in-hand with Troubleshooter's playstyle and also fits his overall character design, which is always a bonus.
However, while it fits Troubleshooter like a glove and is a rather unique Awakening Skill, it still falls a bit short of the others. Don't get us wrong, this is an excellent special move, but it does fall victim to playing things a bit safe and being a little generic compared to some of the game's more robust offerings.
Creepy, pernicious, and stylish is how we'd describe Enchantress' Awakening Skill, even if it is relatively swift and a little unsurprising. Enchantress takes control of her opponent before making her stuffed bear companion, Madd, tower over them. Then, with her puppeteering abilities, she controls Madd and performs a devastating slash with its enormous and sharp claws.
Enchantress has one of the more unique Awakening Skills out of the current list of characters, but it also feels a bit too safe, predictable, and lacking that extra push needed to reach greater heights. It's a solid, middle-of-the-road, special move, and Enchantress showcases her terrifying puppeteering skills without breaking a sweat.
Time to pick up the pace with Hitman's Awakening Skill, which also begins the more complex and robust offerings in DNF Duel. Hitman begins this special move with a series of slashes from his saber before plunging it into the ground to dual-wield Mini-Uzis, which culminates with him firing a barrage of bullets at his opponent for maximum damage.
There's no denying that Hitman's Awakening Skill gets your blood pumping as it's easily one of the faster-paced ones in the game. However, this is just merely the start of how outright bizarre these can get, which is why it may seem a bit low on the list. Still, this Awakening Skill rules, just like Hitman does.
Grappler is an odd character in the world of DNF Duel as he is undoubtedly one of the best grappling archetypes in the genre, but since everyone is off their rocker in this game, he can't soar like he should be able to in any other fighting game. Nonetheless, Grappler is still a pretty decent character but has a monstrous Awakening Skill that showcases his raw power.
To expand on Grappler's monstrous strength, he opens his Awakening Skill by slamming his opponent to the ground with a forceful powerbomb, then swiftly tosses them into the air, where he carries out several mid-air strikes that send them hurtling through rocks. After this, he sends them back towards the ground, where he finishes his onslaught with a devastating plunging kick that uproots the earth beneath them.
One of the first Awakening Skills we saw in DNF Duel was Berserker's, and that's for a good reason. It's phenomenal from start to finish and demonstrates the raw, animalistic power he possesses, making his opponents tremble in fear before him. Not only is this Awakening Skill immensely powerful, but seeing it play out never gets old, which is a testament to how cool it is.
Berserker transforms into the Blood Majin, where he then grabs his opponent with his mouth and drags them across the ground like a dog's chew toy before tossing them high into the air and divebombing them creating a pool of blood and destruction in its wake. Whether you love or hate Berserk, there's no denying his Awakening Skill is bloody good.
Pressing buttons, chaining Mana Skills together, and suffocating your opponent with ungodly amounts of pressure is the name of the game for Striker, and her Awakening Skill demonstrates all of that perfectly. Furthermore, her Awakening Skill also captures Striker's incredible strength and combo potential, making it one of the best in the game.
Striker opens things up with a flurry of catastrophic strikes and kicks before launching her opponent high into the air with a well-placed bicycle kick. She then channels her energy and pulls her opponents towards her, where she closes the attack out with a devastating one-inch punch that sends her target hurtling through time and space.
You can't have a 2D Anime Fighter without a ninja character. Kunoichi fills that role perfectly and even takes it a step further with her Naruto-inspired actions, abilities, and overall design. From casting Ninjutsu with hand seals to summoning oversized toads to substituting her body with a log to distract her enemy, Kunoichi is a splendid ninja and one that deserves respect.
In terms of her Awakening Skill, Kunoichi casts a hand seal and summons the Sword of Kusanagi (yup, we know) and sprouts wings made of fire, and takes flight high into the air. Once she's airborne, Kunoichi nosedives into her grounded opponent, then rises from the ash as a phoenix immediately after. This is unquestionably one of the game's coolest, most stylish Awakening Skills.
5 Dragon Knight
Dragon Knight's Awakening Skill is similar to Kunoichi's in many ways but does some things slightly better, placing it one space above. However, both are exceptionally cool, powerful, and stylish specials that will always be captivating to watch unfold, no matter how many times you see them. Unless, of course, you're always on the receiving end of them, but that's another topic.
Anyways… Dragon Knight's Awakening Skill has her adorable dragon companion, Astra, transform into an enraged dragon that towers over the entire arena. Dragon Knight jumps on Astra's back and heads high above the stage, where Astra launches a blue, flaming ray of death from its mouth onto the target below. Dragon Knight finishes the attack by plunging from Astra with a series of front flips culminating with a fatal downward slash onto the opponent.
Following the trend of having your trusty companion help you execute shockingly cool Awakening Skills is Ghostblade. His Awakening Skill is simple yet badass in every way, shape, and form, which is fitting for a character that literally oozes that very trait from top to bottom. Ghostblade and his ghostly friend make one mighty duo, and their Awakening Skill proves it.
Ghostblade's Awakening Skill has him summon his ghost buddy above his opponent, which comes down hard with an overhead sword slash. Then, almost immediately after, Ghostblade dashes through his target with blinding speed, cutting through them with his katana. Ghostblade then looks over his shoulder and sees his foe is still standing and summons his ghost companion once more, this time across the stage, opposite of himself. They close the Awakening Skill off by dashing through the opponent from both sides, Lighting Release: Lariat style, slashing diagonally, forming an 'X' pattern, and dealing unmatchable damage.
3 Swift Master
According to the general consensus, the best character in the game is the one and only Swift Master, who also has an excellent Awakening Skill that will quite literally blow you away. In terms of animation, transitions, and visual fidelity, this is one of the best supers in DNF Duel by a mile, despite what you may think of Swift Master after facing him in Ranked matches.
Swift Master sends his opponent into the clouds and immediately starts his onslaught, which consists of several strikes and a large cyclone of wind and chaos. As the towering tornado rages on, Swift Master lands a few more hits before charging up his final one. When he lands it, his opponent gets sent to the ground with incredible force and momentum, clearing the clouds from the sky, making for a breathtaking sight and seamless transition back to the stage.
Perhaps the most brutal Awakening Skill of them all belongs to Inquisitor, who burns her opponent at the stake, which is a play on her name and character design, based on the death penalty heretics faced during the Inquisition. Though this is assuredly the most vicious and sinister one in the entire catalog, it's also the best due to everything that plays into it.
This Awakening Skill is incredible for several reasons, ranging from the animations to the setup to the lore, historical implications, and much more. Inquisitor ties her opponent high up on a wooden pool before saying what appears to be a short prayer for her victim and setting them ablaze. While quick and not flashy in any stretch, it's a horrific and brutal super move that makes a statement, and that's okay from time to time.
And finally, the best Awakening Skill in the game goes to Ranger for having one of the wildest supers in DNF Duel. This Awakening Skill has everything you could ever wish for packaged neatly into one action for your enjoyment. Swift movements, excellent animations and transitions, and even blood-pumping action that will have you on the edge of your seat.
Ranger shoots his dual revolvers at his opponent before vanishing, leaving nothing but black feathers in his place. He then shortly reappears in another location and fires a few more rounds off before dashing at the speed of light to another area. He proceeds to dash all around his target, leaving trails of black feathers behind, unloading several rounds from his revolvers into his opponent before launching himself into the air and landing even more shots as he twirls backward through the sky. When he lands, he cocks the hammer back once more and shoots his last bullet at his target for a devastating finishing blow.
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