Killer Instinct Wiki

Aeons have tempered my blade.

— Tusk's intro quote

Tusk is a playable character first introduced in the 1996 arcade game Killer Instinct 2. A legendary barbarian and warrior champion who was called Tunth-ska in the ancient world, Tusk's a hefty fighter characterized by his preternatural strength and mastery of two-handed greatswords. In Killer Instinct (2013), he is an immortal guardian known as the "Watchman of the Gods", who was created 10,000 years ago by angelic beings to serve as Earth's sentinel against the demon lord Gargos. Tusk made his return to the franchise after twenty years on March 29th 2016, as the 4th character released during the Season Three of Killer Instinct (2013).



In Killer Instinct 2, Tusk has the appearance of a bare-chested Germanic tribal warrior, who is dressed only in fur leather boots, a belt with a skull for a buckle, a fur-lined loincloth around the waist, and who has a large tattoo of a green dragon painted across his torso; his long locks of blond hair are drawn tightly against the back of his head and are cinched closely together.

In Killer Instinct (2013), Tusk takes on a more Viking-like appearance. He retains his blond hair, but it has become shorter and now features a braided beard. Tusk's face appears more elderly and stern than before, reflecting the immortality he shoulders. He wears black, modern-looking cargo pants that are torn off at the knees, along with an ancient, tattered green tartan and a white sash tied around the waist. He also has a brown belt and a gold buckle with several pouches strapped to his back, and wears a baldric over the right shoulder. He retains his fur-trimmed leather boots, and has gained fur and a leather vambrace on his forearms. Tusk now features an elaborate set of tattoos across his massive torso, representing a Viking motif with rune markings that blaze a fiery red when Instinct Mode is full, and his new greatsword Warg-gram similarly has intricate runic designs etched into its blade. In combat, the sword will begin to heat up and glow red-hot due to the friction caused by the sheer force of Tusk's strikes.

Tusk's retro costume largely mirrors his original KI2 outfit, including the long locks of blond hair, but with a few changes: He no longer dons his black war face paint, and instead features two golden arm bracelets and a leather strap on his right thigh. He wears a necklace made from the canine tooth of a saber-toothed tiger, which can also be seen in his default costume.


A seemingly ♫ never-ending vigil ♫

Often mistaken for a Viking who lives in the modern age, Tunth-ska is an ancient barbarian who was uplifted into immortality by angelic beings and was reborn an undying watchman to our world. Though he lived among Vikings and took a liking to their ways, Tusk predates recorded history. He was alive before farming was developed. He saw creatures now long extinct, ate the flesh of mammoths and fought with saber-toothed cats and short-faced bears. His sword Warg-gram, which was created alongside him, was the only hardened steel in existence for at least 7,500 years. He wandered the land before the rise of the ancient Sumerians, the ancient Egyptians and the ancient Greeks, participated in their civilizations, and outlived all of them.

Tunth-ska watched in stoic silence as the human race gradually went from disjointed tribes of hunter-gatherers to colonies of farmers, to settlements, to city-states, to kingdoms, to empires to the governments of today. He's seen the use of tools progress from sharpened stones tied to wooden sticks all the way up to the internet and modern smartphones. He speaks languages which no longer exist, and has lived among peoples and cultures that are lost forever to the mists of time. He usually doesn't pursue human relationships of any kind, for every other person he meets appears destined to become just a tiny speck in his unending life. He was forged by the gods for the sole purpose of destroying another god, and he has lived for over 10,000 years, waiting to fulfill his divine task.

He is Tusk—The Watchman of the Gods.


Info to be added...

Killer Instinct 2[]


"Let me tell you of the days of high adventure!" (Tusk's original appearance in Killer Instinct 2, 1996)

Tusk's "classic" costume in Killer Instinct (2013), featuring the new character Mira

With the return of the Demon Lord to the land, Tusk leaves the arena to issue his challenge. Only by defeating all adversaries can a hero gain the right to face the evil Gargos.

Extended Story[]

A barbarian killing machine from the cold wastelands to the north, Tusk is the last of a warrior caste decimated by the bitter rivalry of the Warlords and finally reduced to a sole survivor during their costly banishment to Limbo. He now lives in wealth and glory as Champion of the old world’s Gladiatorial Arena; but when the demonic shadow of Gargos rises again, Tusk sets his jaw, takes up his blade and casts aside all other responsibilities to settle this blood feud once and for all.


Kill Maya, Don't Kill Combo: Tusk has achieved his goal and now awaits a greater challenge. With another challenge successfully completed, Tusk thirsts once more for battle. He begins the arduous journey back to the arena. With younger and more skilled fighters around every corner, Tusk wonders how long he'll remain champion.

Kill Combo, Don't Kill Maya: Tusk has achieved his goal and now awaits a greater challenge. Finding one of his past adversaries particularly grateful to him for destroying Gargos, he escorts Maya back to her homeland. Tusk and Maya wed and embark on a long rule over Amazonia. But Tusk is never truly happy, his thirst for battle remaining unquenched.

Don't Kill Maya and Combo: Tusk has achieved his goal and now awaits a greater challenge. Finding one of his past adversaries particularly grateful to him for destroying Gargos, he escorts Maya back to her homeland. But the thirst for battle soon calls again and Tusk returns to the arena to continue his life as a warrior, leaving Maya with her people.

Kill Combo and Maya: Tusk has achieved his goal and now awaits a greater challenge. With another challenge successfully completed, Tusk thirsts once more for battle. He begins the arduous journey back to the arena. For now at least, he lives only for the fight. More than living up to his now legendary reputation, Tusk goes on to become the greatest undefeated champion ever seen.

KI Gold Ending: None of his enemies possessed the skill to prevent his hard fought victory. The mighty tasks of the warrior Tusk are written into legend this day. But, the achievements are but a small part of what is to come. Tusk must face new adventures and experience greater dangers. But that is another story...


Main article: Stonehenge

Killer Instinct (2013)[]

Tusk's appearance in Killer Instinct (2013)

Tusk's teaser was released on February 24th, 2016. It showed his new greatsword, Warg-gram, and much of his body. Tusk's official trailer was first released on March 4th, 2016. He became one of the playable characters for Season 3 of Killer Instinct (2013) on March 29th, 2016.


The immortal Watchman of the Gods, the colossal barbarian known as Tusk is a deathless warrior who lived for ten thousand years and has honed his ability as a swordsman for all that time. Robbed of his memory, Tusk sat idle as Gargos commenced his invasion of Earth. Now awakened from his stupor, the legendary guardian sets out to find and slay the demon warlord. Wielding his arcane blade Warg-gram, Tusk smashes and cuts through his hapless foes with a primal power, his solution to defense: the sheer force behind his massive assaults.

Extended Story[]

Main article: The Watchman Of The Gods


Chapter 2 — The Watchman Awakes:

Main article: The Watchman Awakes

Chapter 4 — Conflux:

Main article: Conflux

Shadow Lords[]

Wrath Of The Wolf

(1/8) - before fighting Mimic Thunder

Tusk: the mighty immortal who can't remember his past... (A frustrated Tusk is shown slamming Warg-gram into the ground with bone-shattering force.) He seeks an end to this endless life. (Images of Kim Wu suddenly begin to shimmer upon Warg-gram's blade. A Mimic Thunder then appears.) A Shadow-born Mimic! "Lord Gargos sent me to find you," the Mimic tells him. Tusk does not like being found.

(2/8) - before fighting Mimic Aganos

(Kim Wu appears before Tusk.) It's the woman from Tusk's vision in Warg-gram. She says that she is going to battle Gargos and needs his help. He asks what a mere stripling can do against a demigod? (A Mimic Aganos appears. Kim strikes it, but the Mimic brutally knocks her to the ground.) This one has the heart of a shieldmaiden. Tusk likes her. (Tusk readies Warg-gram and prepares to defend Kim Wu from the Mimic.)

(3/8) -

(4/8) -

(5/8) - before fighting the Shadow of Jago

Tusk investigates the corrupting influence of the Shadow Lord. After leaving the grotto of Aganos, Warg-gram sensed a surge in Shadow Energy at the City of Dawn. When Tusk arrives in the jungle clearing there is no one in sight, but his blade pulsates expectantly.

(6/8) - before fighting Shadow Jago

Tusk enters Kan-Ra's age-old temple. The decaying sorcerer stands before him, peering at him with his dead-white eyes. Tusk says: "Warg-gram instructed me to come to your foul lair, wand-carrier. What do you want from me? Speak!", to which Kan-Ra replies: "Welcome, Barbarian. I am working with the Alliance to thwart the hated Gargos. But something is threatening to breach my inner sanctum and hinder my good work--the demon called Shadow Jago."

A still from one of Tusk's cinematics in Shadow Lords

(Having defeated Shadow Jago, Tusk approaches and confronts Kan-Ra.) Tusk demands information about the Shadow Lord! Kan-Ra knows this: Tusk and Gargos were born as equals. Now Gargos needs Tusk's blade. Then he will be omnipotent, and can slay even an immortal. (Tusk stares off into the distance.)

Tusk stumbles from Kan-Ra's temple into the bright desert sunlight. A whirlwind of sand rises from the desert and swirls around the Forbidden Archive. Then it disperses on the wind, and the temple is no longer there. Tusk ponders the implications of what Kan-Ra told him. He now knows for certain that Gargos can end his hated eternal life. But that would mean giving over the Earth to pure evil... and failing in his mission as a Watchman of the Gods.

(7/8) - before fighting Mimic Tusk

Tusk bounds up the steps to the dark temple known as the Shadow Tiger's Lair. He enters the decrepit temple and looks around at the empty place, devoid of life and resonating with the hateful corruption of Gargos. (Warg-gram then speaks directly to Tusk, and states: "This is the corrupted version of the temple where Jago trained and worshiped his false god. This is where Shadow Jago was born. I need you to look into your heart--your Soul-Mirror. And you will see a reflection of what may come to pass."

(A Mimic of Tusk appears, and Tusk defeats it.) The Mimic Tusk has been defeated and it fades away like mist after the sun comes out. Tusk asks of Warg-gram: "Was it a true Mimic or a vision?" Warg-gram answers: "It was merely a representation of what will come if you relinquish your immortality. You see, old friend... your greatest fight is with yourself. You must return to Icehaven, where Wavewalker rests for eternity, broken and frozen in the un-melting ice. There your final decision will be made."

Once again Tusk realizes that Warg-gram is right, and he nods his head in understanding.

(8/8) - before fighting Kim Wu and Hisako

Tusk stands facing his old ship Wavewalker, staring at it morosely. The wood creaks and groans as it shifts back and forth in the ice floe. He hears footsteps and glances over his shoulder, catching a glimpse of Kim Wu and a ghostly apparition. She has come here with her companion--the ghost Hisako who serves as an Astral Gatekeeper. (Kim Wu yells out at Tusk: "Tusk! Why are you hiding here from Gargos? Are you a coward?") Tusk warns Kim that she's either very brave, or very foolish, to challenge him thus.

Kim replies: "Call me a fool. I don't care. All I know is that Gargos will not be able to defeat the power of the Dragon Spirit and Warg-gram if they are forever united! Join me now or I'll beat you like a Viking drum!"

Kim tells Tusk that he must keep fighting Gargos. The Shadow Lord is the only one who can set him free. (Kim Wu then swings her fist and nunchaku through the air in frustration and outrage.) Kim asks if his own salvation is more important than the fate of billions? (The meaning of Kim Wu's words pierces Tusk, and he regains his will and purpose. Tusk draws Warg-gram from the ground and brandishes the mighty weapon.) Tusk will remain Tusk so that Gargos can be cast into oblivion.

The three chosen Guardians spar in preparation of their fated battle with Gargos, with Kim Wu saying: "Whatever it takes to keep you motivated, big guy!" Tusk is pleased with how Kim Wu and Hisako fought. He holds Warg-gram to his ear and listens, then smiles and states: "Warg-gram is singing the song called "Wrath Of The Wolf". It is his song of victory."

Kim Wu laughs and says: "Yeouiju wants me to tell you something—Warg-gram is a her."


Main article: Icehaven

Tusk's new stage of Icehaven in Killer Instinct (2013)

Tusk's stage of Icehaven is situated somewhere in the far north. It features a longboat which is split in half due to a collision. There are two frozen, dead warriors lying on the ground and Narwhals are seen to rise above the sea level. Polar bears also come out to have a drink of water and to hunt after seals. A warship shooting flaming arrows will pass by in the background. During an Ultra Combo, the boat erupts in flames and its bow will crash into the frozen sea.

If both combatants remain idle for a while in this stage, the KI (2013) remix of Tusk's classic Killer Instinct 2 theme, Stonehenge, will begin playing.


Killer Instinct 2

Killer Instinct (2013)

Killer Instinct "Dynamite" Comics (2017)


Thousands of years have passed since my flesh was forged. My memory was taken from me, scattered like snow in a storm... This blade - my friend - is Warg-gram. Let evil come! For I am the Watchman of the Gods!

—Tusk in his trailer


—Tusk's famous battle cry in Killer Instinct 2

You were fast - until I hit you.

—Tusk to Omen in his trailer

You play at being a dragon, little one - playtime is over.

—Tusk to Riptor in his trailer

For the dead there is only one rule - stay dead!

—Tusk to Spinal in his trailer

"Only by defeating all adversaries can a hero gain the right to face the evil Gargos."

Death comes to all. Except me.

—Tusk's victory quote

I already like you better when you're angry, young shieldmaiden.

— Tusk to Kim Wu during the events of Shadow Lords

And who created you, little campfire?

—Tusk to Cinder in the Novella

You reek of the grave, my lady...

—Tusk to Mira in her teaser

Wolf spirit!

—Tusk activating Instinct Mode by invoking Warg-gram's quiddity—a wolf's anger


  • According to designer Adam "Keits" Heart, Tusk has found that he's an immortal swordsman, and unlike other returning characters he isn't a "remake" but the original Tusk from Killer Instinct 2 who has survived since the Neolithic age. Heart described Tusk's fighting style as a transition from "patient bully" in the early game to "absolute berserker" when reaching Instinct Mode. Heart also humorously mentioned that Tusk's new greatsword may well be "the biggest sword of all time".
  • In Killer Instinct (2013), Tusk spouts one-liners in his trailer like an action movie hero from the 1980s, in homage to his original basis on Arnold Schwarzenegger's Conan the Barbarian.
    • Tusk's taunt move in KI (2013) has been based frame per frame on a combat stance Schwarzenegger assumes during this movie's palace raid scene.
    • The camaraderie between Tusk and Jago in the 2017 "Dynamite" comics bears a conspicuous similarity to the bond that Conan and Subotai had in the 1982 film.
    • The "Conan" connection is directly referenced to in chapter 4 of the Killer Instinct Novella, titled "Conflux", where Cinder calls Tusk "Conan the Annoy-Her" in an allusion to the 1984 sequel Conan the Destroyer.
  • Tusk's new voice-over and facial design for KI 2013 were inspired by Chris Hemsworth from Thor, and similar-looking actors like Travis Fimmel from the Vikings television series.
    • The cargo shorts Tusk wears for his default costume in KI 2013 seems to be a pop culture reference to the Techno Viking, and the fan-made tributes to this classic internet meme.

Twenty years and a brand new team of developers later...

...and KI's own "Tarzan & Jane" are still a thing

  • The 2nd chapter of the KI Novella, titled "The Watchman Awakes", mentions that the features Tusk likes the most in his women are: "tall and strong-looking, with a pretty oval face and long braids". Interestingly, this matches Maya's new appearance for Killer Instinct (2013) in precise detail.
    • Tusk's "Primal" accessories reflect his prehistoric origins, and bear a striking resemblance to the outfit worn by Maya in Killer Instinct 2; and also to her own (default) retro costume in KI 2013.
  • The name of Tusk's massive new blade, Warg-gram, is derived from the Old English "Warg", meaning wolf, while "gram" is derived from the Nordic "gramr", which means wrath or anger. "Warg-gram" literally translates to "Wolf-anger" or "Wrath of the Wolf" in the languages of Northern Europe.
    • Tusk's unique quest chain in Shadow Lords, which also bears the title "Wrath of the Wolf", reveals that the wolf spirit dwelling inside of Warg-gram's sacred steel is a female.
    • Tunth-ska's association with both the wolf and dragon symbolizes his deep connection to the divine as well as the apocalypse, indicating Tusk's role as an immortal guardian forged to stand in between Gargos and the Earth.
    • The ancient Germanic runes tattooed between Tusk's shoulder blades in Killer Instinct (2013) roughly translate to modern English as: "In Strength There Is Wisdom".
  • Tusk's backstory for KI 2013 reveals that he commanded a great army against Gargos' first invasion of Earth many thousands of years ago. The 3rd chapter of the KI Novella, titled "Dragon's Choice", states that the ancient progenitor of Kim Wu's lineage, a Korean warrior-woman who bonded with the dragon spirit Yeouiju, did the same. This implies Kim Wu's distant ancestor and Tunth-ska were the two leaders of that human army.
  • Narwhals, arctic water predators characterized by their large protruding tusks, are shown in Tusk's new Icehaven background stage. The stage also features a massive polar bear hunting after seals.

External Links[]