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Nova Talents

Last updated on Sep 13, 2016 at 05:00 by Oxygen 24 comments

Table of Contents

Nova Image

General Information

On this page, we present the viable talent choices for playing Nova in a competitive environment in Heroes of the Storm. For each talent, we explain what they do and why they should or should not be taken.

The other pages of our Nova guide 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. Talent Build

Level Choices
1 Tactical Espionage Advanced Cloaking Longshot Covert Ops
4 Remote Delivery Rapid Projection Holo Stability Covert Mission
7 One in the Chamber Anti-Armor Shells ? Snipe Master
10 Triple Tap Precision Strike
13 Double Tap Psionic Efficiency Explosive Round
16 Perfect Shot Crippling Shot Lethal Decoy
20 Fast Reload Precision Barrage Rewind Ghost Protocol ?

2. Common Talent Paths

Assassin Build: high single-target burst damage & debuffs

3. Level 1 Talents

Tactical Espionage Advanced Cloaking Longshot Covert Ops

3.1. Descriptions

Tactical Espionage Icon Tactical Espionage increases your Mana regeneration by 4 per second while under the effects of Permanent Cloak, Sniper Icon Permanent Cloak, Sniper.

Advanced Cloaking Icon Advanced Cloaking increases Nova's unmounted movement speed by 25% while under the effects of Permanent Cloak, Sniper Icon Permanent Cloak, Sniper.

Longshot Icon Longshot increases the range of Pinning Shot Icon Pinning Shot by 30%, and causes Pinning Shot casts to increase the range of your next Basic Attack by 30%.

Covert Ops Icon Covert Ops grants you one stack of Covert Ops per second while under the effects of Permanent Cloak, Sniper Icon Permanent Cloak, Sniper. Each stack of Covert Ops increases the movement speed reduction effect of your next Pinning Shot Icon Pinning Shot cast by 2%, up to a maximum bonus of 60%, up from 40%. These stacks are lost upon casting Pinning Shot, or after 1 second upon leaving the cloaked state.

3.2. Recommended

Although Tactical Espionage Icon Tactical Espionage provides a significant amount of Mana regeneration, allowing Nova to roam with Health as her only true limiting factor. The Talent also enables the use of Abilities in PvE situations, whereas Mana would otherwise be a major concern.

Longshot Icon Longshot improves the reliability of Pinning Shot Icon Pinning Shot, which in turn improves the reliabilty of your other abilities and Basic Attacks. The increased Basic Attack range clause of the talent synergises particularly well with Anti-Armor Shells Icon Anti-Armor Shells.

3.3. Not Recommended

Advanced Cloaking Icon Advanced Cloaking provides a significant amount of mobility while cloaked. However, it is bittersweet in the sense that while engaging opponents, the mobility is disabled, and that while traveling, you are typically mounted up. This makes the talent very situational.

Covert Ops Icon Covert Ops's effect is very good, but unrealistically long to rack up. It is also lost upon being damaged and mounting up, making it unreliable at best.

4. Level 4 Talents

Remote Delivery Rapid Projection Holo Stability Covert Mission

4.1. Descriptions

Remote Delivery Icon Remote Delivery increases the range of Holo Decoy Icon Holo Decoy by 100%, and increases the vision radius for the summoned Decoy by 50%.

Rapid Projection Icon Rapid Projection reduces the cooldown of Holo Decoy Icon Holo Decoy to 9 seconds, down from 15, and reduces its Mana cost to 30, down from 50.

Holo Stability Icon Holo Stability increases the duration of Holo Decoy Icon Holo Decoy to 11 seconds, up from 5 seconds.

Covert Mission Icon Covert Mission causes you to generate one stack of Bribe whenever a nearby enemy Minion dies, and ten stacks of Bribe whenever a nearby enemy Hero dies, up to a maximum of 100. Once you acquire 25 Bribe stacks, the Covert Mission button on your extra action bar turns from greyed out to activatable and can be used to consume 25 stacks of Bribe, instantly defeating one neutral Mercenary. Covert Mission cannot be used against Bosses or Mercenaries that have already been claimed. If Covert Mission is used to claim an entire Mercenary Camp, it respawns 50% faster than it would had it been killed through regular means.

4.2. Recommended

This tier's coice comes down to Rapid Projection Icon Rapid Projection versus Holo Stability Icon Holo Stability. Both talent fulfill the similar function of improving Holo Decoy Icon Holo Decoy's uptime. If Rapid Projection provides more opportunities to use Holo Decoy Icon Holo Decoy, Holo Stability makes the ability last much longer, allowing the Decoy to absorb more damage.

4.3. Not Recommended

The effects of additional range and vision radius are rather difficult to quantify. In general, however, Remote Delivery Icon Remote Delivery is deemed to not be nearly as useful as its two rivaling Talent choices, as its defensive properties are lesser.

Covert Mission Icon Covert Mission stacks are rather difficult to acquire given Nova's role as a roamer. Even if you do manage to get enough kills to readily make use of Covert Mission, you still end up sacrificing significant utility and damage potential for a few Mercenary kills. The tradeoff is difficult to gauge.

5. Level 7 Talents

One in the Chamber Anti-Armor Shells ? Snipe Master

5.1. Descriptions

One in the Chamber Icon One in the Chamber causes Nova's individual ability casts to increase the damage of your next Basic Attack by 80%. This effect does not stack in any way.

Anti-Armor Shells Icon Anti-Armor Shells permanently increases the damage of your Basic Attacks by 250%, but proportionally decreases your attack speed by 250%.

Snipe Master Icon Snipe Master causes Snipe Icon Snipe hits against Heroes to increase the damage of consequent Snipe hits by 12% per stack, to a maximum of 5 stacks, or 60% bonus damage. ALL stacks are lost if you fail to hit a Hero with Snipe.

5.2. Recommended

One in the Chamber Icon One in the Chamber provides more DPS than Anti-Armor Shells Icon Anti-Armor Shells, but comes at the cost of requiring better uptime and weaving Basic Attacks in between every ability cast. One in the Chamber tends to be better against teams that do not have the means of pressuring you so that you may maximise the efficiency of your attacks.

5.3. Situational

Although Anti-Armor Shells Icon Anti-Armor Shells may seem like an unintuitive choice at first, the usefulness of delivering nearly 3 seconds worth of Basic Attacks in an instant is indisputable. Leaving aside the fact that burst is harder to respond to than sustained damage, the attack speed reduction allows you to freely move for ~2,5 seconds between each and every attack all while sustaining optimal damage per second. This indirectly increases your survivability.

5.4. Not Recommended

Snipe Master Icon Snipe Master stacks are nearly impossible to maintain in practice. Even if one actually managed to do so, the damage increase provided by this talent is too small to justify the loss of Anti-Armor Shells Icon Anti-Armor Shells or One in the Chamber Icon One in the Chamber.

6. Level 10 Talents

Triple Tap Precision Strike

6.1. Descriptions

Triple Tap Icon Triple Tap causes Nova to lock onto her target for 3 seconds, leaving her unable to act. During this time, she releases 3 large projectiles which slowly move towards the target. These projectiles will stop at the first enemy or structural entity they touch, dealing damage.

Precision Strike Icon Precision Strike causes Nova to deal damage over a large area after a 2-second delay. Precision Strike can be cast globally. A large beam of light signals all players of impending Precision Strikes.

6.2. Recommended

As mentioned on the Abilities page, Precision Strike Icon Precision Strike deals a significant amount of damage in a large area from global range, meaning that you do not to be physically present to partake to large combos. Its cooldown is also relatively short when compared to most other Heroic abilities. Successfully hitting with a Precision Strike, Snipe Icon Snipe and Anti-Armor Shells Icon Anti-Armor Shells ability chain will outright kill most non-warrior class Heroes, however, Precision Strike's 2-second delay makes it easy to avoid. Pinning Shot Icon Pinning Shot, as well as crowd control effects provided by your allies, can ease or secure hits.

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

6.3. Not Recommended

As mentioned on the Abilities page, Triple Tap Icon Triple Tap, while able to deal an unparalleled amount of single-target damage against isolated targets, suffers from the fact that its projectiles can be intercepted by undesirable targets such as resilient Heroes and structures. This makes the ability only situationally powerful. Furthermore, its lengthy channeling time — which you may not manually interrupt, should you be endangered — leaves you open and vulnerable. Its cooldown is also much longer than that of Precision Strike Icon Precision Strike.

7. Level 13 Talents

Double Tap Psionic Efficiency Explosive Round

7.1. Descriptions

Double Tap Icon Double Tap grants an additional charge to Pinning Shot Icon Pinning Shot, allowing the ability to be cast twice in quick succession.

Psionic Efficiency Icon Psionic Efficiency removes the Mana cost of Snipe Icon Snipe and increases its range by 10%.

Explosive Round Icon Explosive Round causes Snipe Icon Snipe's projectile to detonate on impact, dealing 50% of its initial target damage to nearby units. The damage dealt to the initial target is unchanged.

7.2. Recommended

Double Tap Icon Double Tap synergises very well with some of our other recommended talents, though notably with Crippling Shot Icon Crippling Shot. The movement speed reduction provided by Pinning Shot Icon Pinning Shot combined to the Vulnerability provided by the Cripping Shot talent allows Nova to threaten even tanks, assuming that your teammates provide some damage of their own.

7.3. Not Recommended

Psionic Efficiency Icon Psionic Efficiency is unimpressive; the range increase is minuscule, and the Mana cost removal is superficial to Nova, whose Mana consumption is minimal.

Explosive Round Icon Explosive Round's area of effect radius is too small to realistically be useful.

Advanced Cloaking Icon Advanced Cloaking provides large but seldom useful movement speed and health regeneration increases. When roaming, the speed is useless, as you are typically mounted in the first place. In combat, you are usually cloaked for very short time periods. This gives the talent very limited useful uptime.

8. Level 16 Talents

Perfect Shot Crippling Shot Lethal Decoy

8.1. Descriptions

Perfect Shot Icon Perfect Shot reduces the cooldown of Snipe Icon Snipe to 3 seconds, down from 6, if it hits a Hero. Damage dealt through the Explosive Round Icon Explosive Round talent does not trigger this effect.

Crippling Shot Icon Crippling Shot causes Pinning Shot Icon Pinning Shot to render its target Vulnerable, increasing damage taken from all sources by 25% for 2.25 seconds.

Lethal Decoy Icon Lethal Decoy causes Holo Decoy Icon Holo Decoy's Basic Attacks and abilities to deal 40% of the damage that your own Basic Attacks and respective abilities would deal.

8.2. Recommended

Crippling Shot Icon Crippling Shot provides a significant damage increase for yourself and your entire team against anything Pinning Shot Icon Pinning Shot hits, which is incidentally almost always your intended kill target. Crippling Shot is a key talent for burst team compositions, especially when picked with the Hero Level 13 talent Double Tap Icon Double Tap for sustaining the Vulnerability effect.

8.3. Not Recommended

Although there is notable synergy between Perfect Shot Icon Perfect Shot and One in the Chamber Icon One in the Chamber, Crippling Shot Icon Crippling Shot will almost always yield more overall damage through the Vulnerability effect it provides.

Lethal Decoy Icon Lethal Decoy suffers from an atrociously clunky AI that makes the Decoy target otherwise undesirable enemies, such as Minions. Otherwise, Crippling Shot Icon Crippling Shot would still yield more overall damage than Lethal Decoy might.

9. Level 20 Talents

Fast Reload Precision Barrage Rewind Ghost Protocol ?

9.1. Descriptions

Fast Reload Icon Fast Reload completely refreshes Triple Tap Icon Triple Tap's cooldowns when it lands a killing blow.

Precision Barrage Icon Precision Barrage causes Precision Strike Icon Precision Strike to generate an additional charge over time. This charge, displayed as the number 2 on the ability's user interface, allows you to save up Precision Strike's cooldown to later use the ability twice with only a 3-second delay between casts, and without having to wait for its usual cooldown.

Rewind Icon Rewind is an activatable talent that instantly resets the cooldown of your Basic Abilities. Rewind has a 60-second cooldown.

Ghost Protocol Icon Ghost Protocol is an activatable talent that instantly triggers Permanent Cloak, Sniper Icon Permanent Cloak, Sniper, cloaking Nova for 2 seconds. Unlike other types of cloaking, Ghost Protocol is not broken by dealing or taking damage, using abilities, or initiating any other action.

9.2. Recommended

Precision Barrage Icon Precision Barrage has the potential to inflict a significant amount of area of effect damage. This damage potential is, however, gated behind Precision Strike Icon Precision Strike's archetypal weakness of relying on crowd control for successful hits. Against team compositions that either prevent you from isolating vulnerable targets for effective Rewind Icon Rewind kills, Precision Strike's long range is a boon. When ahead of your opponents in terms of levels, and especially before Bolt of the Storm Icon Bolt of the Storm comes into play, Precision Barrage allows for successive kills that are extremely hard to avoid, something that Rewind does not do.

Rewind Icon Rewind allow you to rapidly cast all of your basic abilities twice in a row. A proper Rewind chain essentially allows you to kill all but the toughest of characters. It even has defensive properties in the form of spawning 4 decoys through Holo Decoy Icon Holo Decoy, making it utterly impossible to tell Nova apart. Rewind is simply too good to skip.

9.3. Situational

Although Ghost Protocol Icon Ghost Protocol has some offensive applications through the unbreakable cloaking effect it provides, it is particularly useful to avoid strong single-target Heroic Abilities, such as Illidan's The Hunt Icon The Hunt or Kael'thas' Pyroblast Icon Pyroblast. Otherwise, you should focus on dealing damage.

9.4. Not Recommended

Fast Reload Icon Fast Reload is a winmore talent that relies on the unlikely event that you directly kill a Hero with Triple Tap Icon Triple Tap. Rewind Icon Rewind is simply more useful and reliable.

10. ChangeLog

  • 13 Sep. 2016: Covert Mission added and description for Advanced Cloaking changed to account for the September 13 balance update. No changes in recommendations.
  • 28 Mar. 2016: Talent recommendations updated to account for the Mar 15 patch changes.
  • 15 Mar. 2016: Talent descriptions updated to account for the Mar 15 patch changes. No changes in recommendations.
  • 04 Feb. 2016: Talent descriptions & recommendations updated to account for the February 2nd patch changes.
  • 18 Nov. 2015: Updated the Gathering Power description to account for changes brought about by the Cho'gall patch.
  • 22 Aug. 2015: Updated talent description for Envenom.
  • 22 Aug. 2015: Updated talent description for Gathering Power and talent recommendations.
  • 18 Jul. 2015: Made Precision Barrage situational (was not recommended before).
  • 02 Jul. 2015: Updated description of Conjurer's Pursuit, but this does not change talent recommendations.
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