Nova is the ghost sniper operative from the Starcraft 2 universe. In Heroes of the Storm her play style is a great representation of those characteristics. You will spend most of your time as Nova sneaking around in stealth mode trying to score opportunistic kills. Recently Nova’s win rate has been climbing up slightly due to the fact that the meta is shifting back towards squishier team compositions after the addition of Lt. Morales. When the meta shifts and players start looking to run teams that rely on positioning their squishy characters in the back while the front line is attempting to control the engagements then Nova will always be the character of choice. If you want to see some of basics about Nova, such as her stats, head on over to her BlizzPro hero page located here.
Permanent Cloak, Sniper – (Passive Trait) This is what keeps Nova cloaked from the enemies vision. Once you’re out of stealth mode you need to be out of combat for 3 seconds in order to reactivate cloaking mode. This also increase Nova’s basic attack range and vision. It is best to play Nova assuming that enemy will notice your shimmer if you move around without cover too often. It’s best to stick to brush, fog, or outside of the enemies vision radius until it’s time to make your move.
Snipe – (Q) – Nova’s damage mostly comes from this skill shot. A good Nova will not miss this skill shot and will open with it out of a cloak due to the level 1 talent pick.
Pinning Shot – (W) This is a nice follow up skill that does damage and slows an enemy. The main purpose of this skill is to ensure enemies who survive your burst move slower so they can be cleaned up by a teammate or Nova has an easier time landing Precision Strike.
Holo Decoy – (E) This ability is meant to confuse the enemy and be used to draw attention from the real Nova, It’s best used from the shadows like fog or a bush as it makes it very hard to tell where the real Nova is.
Triple Tap – (R) Good players will not die from this heroic. Teams will body block for others to mitigate the damage and Nova can be interrupted while using Triple Tap. A heroic needs to impact the game at all levels of play and all this really does is clean up one feeling hero or punish newer players. I’m not a fan of Triple Tap at all and will never take it,
Precision Strike – (R) A great ability that you can use to initiate against a clumped team on top of an objective or mercenary camp or it can be used to guarantee the death of a fleeing enemy in a tight spot. The more people you hit with Precision Strike the better but try to always at least get three people damaged at the start of a fight or kill 1 or 2 trying to escape a fight.
Ambush Snipe – This is the only talent choice worth taking at this level. The damage increase is very significant when you use snipe from cloak which will be how you enter most combats. Take this skill and enjoy the extra 20% on your primary ability.
Gathering Power – I still prefer this talent despite its changes from its previously OP version. A good time for Nova is to pick her when the enemy team will have a hard time tracking her down or stunning her out for kills. If you are good with Nova surviving will be natural which gives you a chance to really snowball her damage with the Gathering Power talent pick. It’s also helpful in the Murky or The Lost Vikings match-up because its stacks for Nova. If you don’t have confidence in your ability to survive due to an enemy counter pick then taking Envenom is probably a better idea.
Anti-Armor Shells – Only choice here at this level. Nova is a burst assassin and slowing your attack speed to put a bunch of damage into one shot is sorta the whole point of burst. Follow up a snipe with an Anti-Armor Shell shot then a pinning shot and leave your opponent questioning their positioning choice.
Precision Strike – see heroic abilities section.
Lethal Decoy -There are really two choices at this level. I like Lethal Decoy personally just because it makes it much harder for the enemy to detect where the real Nova among her decoys. The usual tell for a decoy is that it does no damage so this fixes that and provides some extra damage. If you don’t like taking Lethal Decoy and your play style requires a little more speed and self sustain then Advanced Cloaking is a great talent. Honestly either choice is a good one it’s just with my play style I prefer Lethal Decoy.
Double Take – I like confusion this creates along with the extra damage provided when you take lethal decoy. The chaos two decoys provides can often allow Nova to sneak into position for a kill or escape lethal damage. If you didn’t take Lethal Decoy or just feel that your team needs more damage to take down priority target then Crippling Shot is the talent pick for you. Once you have crippling shot it is a good idea to initiate with it and fire off your Q within a second of breaking stealth to still gain the benefit of your level 1 talent pick thus maximizing Nova’s damage.
Rewind – Nova really relies on on her abilities for massive burst damage more so than most so giving her rewind is the most beneficial choice at 20. Her popping off the combo going back to cloak and rewinding to do it again will kill most enemies in the game and creating advantages and securing kills post 20 is what wins games. No real other choice at this level in my opinion unless you’re playing in a wombo combo comp that would benefit greatly from the two charges of Precision Strike that the Precision Barrage talent provides.
Early game is all about roaming and putting the fear of Nova into the enemy team. Moving around the map and forcing people to stay cautious is an advantage that only stealth characters bring to the table. Make your presence felt in the early game by popping off some shots in multiple lanes and punishing people who over extend and don’t respect the rules of fighting against a stealth character. Try to avoid characters who have a strong AOE reveal ability that will tip your position and leave you vulnerable. If Nova’s position is discovered it is best to flee to the cover of brush and pop a decoy while looking to re-cloak. Once Nova has gone back into cloak mode you can circle around to keep up the harass or change lanes to put pressure elsewhere. The name of the game is confusion and pressure so keep that in mind and stay safe.
Mid-late game Nova will often remain hidden until a primary burst target becomes available such as a squishy assassin or support. Nova’s other job will be putting a massive amount of damage on a grouped up team with precision strike or cleaning up a kill that might have gotten away. Just be present for team fights and make your presence felt when the opportunity arises. Nova is very squishy so missing kills or revealing yourself too early really diminishes her effectiveness. Nova players should try to get a real feel for what they can get away with against each enemy hero they come up against. This can be accomplished through practicing the various match-ups and watching the enemy players tendencies.
Overall Nova is a very strong hero choice in the current meta and has a very particular play style. Learning this play style and recognizing when it would be difficult for the enemy team to overcome makes her a very handy pocket pick to have for a draft type setting. I hope you were able to learn something about Nova from reading this guide and feel free to leave any comments or feedback below. Come back next week for an all new guide right here at BlizzPro.