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Nova Strategy, Tips, and Tricks

Last updated on Mar 28, 2016 at 06:30 by Oxygen 24 comments

Table of Contents

Nova Image

General Information

On this page, you will learn how to optimally play Nova in a competitive environment in Heroes of the Storm. Everything you need to know is explained, from general gameplay to specific tips and tricks.

The other pages of our Nova can be accessed from the table of contents on the right.

About the Author

Oxygen is a veteran of the MOBA genre, which he has been playing for nearly 15 years. He has coached some of Heroes of the Storm's most prominent North American players and teams alike, including Team Liquid. As a Rank 1 Flex player, he enjoys playing all Heroes and roles.

1. General Nova Strategy

Nova's role throughout all stages of the game is primarily to threaten and kill fragile Heroes, and secondarily to soften up or finish off more resilient targets. The Nature of Nova's design, centered around great burst but mediocre sustained damage, makes it essential that you usefully punish relevant foes. This is usually accomplished through ganking and flanking while abusing her long range. It should be noted that her lack of sustained and reliable area of effect damage means that she is typically unable to be the sole damage dealer on a given team composition.

Despite being permanently cloaked, Nova is easy to pick off when caught off guard. If she does not kill her target in her opening burst combo — because it is mitigated through abilities such as Plasma Shield Icon Plasma Shield or because Snipe Icon Snipe is missed, it is relatively easy to simply turn on her and come out on top. Nova may be an excellent roamer, but she is a mediocre duelist. Collaborate with your allies; let them take damage for you and apply their crowd control, and reward them with calculated kills.

Nova's lacking versatility — she handles waveclearing, mercenary camps and sieging alike extremely poorly — makes her a niche counterpick Hero. Avoid picking her into any of the counters listed in the Synergies and Counters section. Consider picking her if the opposing team features one or more of the following Heroes, against which Nova shines:

  • Abathur;
  • Jaina;
  • Malfurion;
  • Murky;
  • Raynor;
  • Sylvanas;
  • The Lost Vikings;
  • Tychus;
  • Tyrande;
  • Valla;
  • Zagara.

2. Outside of Team Fights

Nova is an extremely effective ganker. Your priority should be stay on the move and seek vulnerable targets — fragile, low health, engaged, or otherwise, overextended Heroes — and, in concert with your allies, kill them. Cloak and Holo Decoy Icon Holo Decoy also enables you to safely scout deep mercenary camps to search for lone wolves to snipe out; Gazlowe, Illidan, Sonya, and Zagara are the usual culprits. As with any other Hero, attacking them alone is not recommended after Level 10 unless you are certain of your Precision Strike Icon Precision Strike accuracy or see them at dangerously low health levels.

In almost all cases, you do not want to be laning and soaking, as Nova's waveclear is potentially the worst of the entire Heroes roster. She is also unable to properly trade, because Snipe Icon Snipe does not hit through minions.

Map objectives commonly aggregate players from both team around them due to their importance. Use this opportunity to flank fragile Heroes. Many objectives require to be channeled to be captured, allowing you to Snipe Icon Snipe accurately. As with all ranged assassins, you need to stay with your team at all times once the laning phase is over. This usually occurs at around Level 13, though you easily can tell when team fighting over objectives becomes a priority over soaking lanes for experience.

3. Team Fights

Nova's fragility, threat level, and lack of an escape ability all compound to make her a choice target. Be aware of this at all times, and try to remain cloaked until someone else on your team has captured your opponent's attention, or has successfully used their crowd control abilities. Besides staying safe, your first and foremost priority is to capitalize on area of effect crowd control to land a Precision Strike Icon Precision Strike against multiple Heroes. Your rotation — Pinning Shot Icon Pinning Shot, Snipe Icon Snipe, basic attack — should be used specifically against assassins, specialists, and support Heroes. Most Warriors have access to the Block Icon Block talent, and later on, Imposing Presence Icon Imposing Presence, or Imposing Will Icon Imposing Will, all of which will drastically reduce your damage output. Holo Decoy Icon Holo Decoy should be used to block incoming skillshots.

The best way of ensuring that you can deliver your damage to the target you want dead is to flank. This is not always possible, however, due to the terrain, team composition, or even the situation at hand. In general, if you have to hold back on dealing damage for more than 3 seconds, it is best to work with your team to focus down whatever is in range. Crippling Shot Icon Crippling Shot is especially effective for this, though it is seldom desirable to focus down whatever is in range. Remain keen and aware of important defensive cooldowns such as Protective Shield Icon Protective Shield, Spell Shield Icon Spell Shield, and Hardened Shield Icon Hardened Shield in order to avoid wasting your attacks.

The abilities in the list below can combo nicely with Precision Strike Icon Precision Strike to yield deadly results.

4. Ability Usage

Nova's talents interact in such a way that there is an optimal order behind using her abilities, unlike most other Heroes. Covert Ops Icon Covert Ops requires Pinning Shot Icon Pinning Shot to be used while or very shortly after being cloaked. Crippling Shot Icon Crippling Shot renders the target vulnerable to further damage, meaning that it is optimally used first. Precision Strike Icon Precision Strike must be combined with crowd control to safely hit. Anti-Armor Shells Icon Anti-Armor Shells makes your Basic Attacks very slow. Holo Decoy Icon Holo Decoy can be used both offensively and defensively, thanks to Lethal Decoy Icon Lethal Decoy, and Rewind Icon Rewind further increases the complexity of the rotation by allowing you to cast your Basic Abilities twice.

The perfect rotation, assuming Anti-Armor Shells Icon Anti-Armor Shells, goes as follows:

Successfully using this full rotation while under pressure and against attentive players is nothing short of a miracle, but you should always strive to push yourself. No other Hero can deliver nearly as much single-target burst damage as Nova, and the rotation is as difficult to pull off as it is rewarding.

The perfect rotation, assuming One in the Chamber Icon One in the Chamber, goes as follows:

Your basic rotation goes as follows:

Holo Decoy Icon Holo Decoy can be used in an offensive manner through Lethal Decoy Icon Lethal Decoy, though it is much more useful when it can also block skillshots or use its own Pinning Shot Icon Pinning Shot. It is therefore recommended to use it as such, and leave it to deal its damage incidentally thereafter.

5. Summary of Tips and Tricks

  • Always keep in mind that cloak is not equivalent to true invisibility, due to its shimmer effect. Try and be subtle; use bushes and the distraction of combat to sneak up on your victims. Pay special attention to abilities such as Tassadar's Oracle Icon Oracle and Tyrande's Shadowstalk Icon Shadowstalk, as well as most incidental area of effect abilities.
  • Use Pinning Shot Icon Pinning Shot to make Snipe Icon Snipe and Precision Strike Icon Precision Strike easier to hit.
  • Holo Decoy Icon Holo Decoy can be used to block skillshots, and hinder certain skills that can only target or prioritize Heroes, such as Blinding Wind Icon Blinding Wind, Water Dragon Icon Water Dragon, Withering Fire Icon Withering Fire, Feral Spirit Icon Feral Spirit, and Sentinel Icon Sentinel.
  • Gank in the early game. Stay with your allies thereafter.
  • Be weary of Block Icon Block, Spell Shield Icon Spell Shield, and Imposing Presence Icon Imposing Presence, which greatly impede your damage.
  • Anti-Armor Shells Icon Anti-Armor Shells give you 2.5 seconds to move between basic attacks while still achieving maximum DPS; use this time to reposition yourself.
  • Practice makes perfect. Go practice your Snipe Icon Snipe accuracy, and do it against real humans. If you cannot land a Snipe, you cannot play Nova.
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