Nova Abilities and Strategy

Last updated on Feb 03, 2022 at 21:00 by Elitesparkle 69 comments
General Information

Welcome to our Abilities page for Nova. Here, we give you an overview of every ability in Nova's kit. For each of them, we explain what it does, how to best use it, and how it works in combination with Nova's other abilities. We also give you strategy tips to play Nova efficiently.


Nova's Tips and Tricks

  • If you fire Snipe Icon Snipe when your target is between you and another enemy, a miss will probably hit the other target and thus not reset your Precision Sniper progress.
  • Use Pinning Shot Icon Pinning Shot to make your Snipe Icon Snipe and Precision Strike Icon Precision Strike much easier to land.
  • Holo Decoy Icon Holo Decoy is useful to intercept dangerous skillshots (such as Arcane Orb Icon Arcane Orb by Li-Ming) or to dismount enemy Heroes.
  • While being easy to play around in team fights and near enemy Structures, Triple Tap Icon Triple Tap is quite strong at taking down isolated enemy Heroes.
  • Precision Strike Icon Precision Strike can be used to globally clear Minion waves when needed, especially in side lanes with Catapults.


Nova Snipe
Snipe (Q) Starcraft Nova
  • Mana: 50
  • Cooldown: 6 seconds

Deal 230 (+4% per level) damage to the first enemy hit.

Passive: Hitting an enemy Hero with Snipe permanently increases the damage of Snipe by 6%, stacking up to 30%. Gain an additional 25% damage bonus at maximum stacks. All stacks are lost if Snipe fails to hit an enemy.

As Nova's main source of burst damage, Snipe Icon Snipe is an essential Ability to master. Clever opponents will stand behind undesirable targets such as Minions, Summons, Structures, or resilient allied Heroes in order to prevent you from directly hitting them. They can also move in eccentric patterns or use mobility tools in an attempt to dodge the projectile. Crowd control effects that impair movement will help landing Snipe, but they are not available to Nova beside through Pinning Shot Icon Pinning Shot. Opponents that are distracted by certain tasks, such as killing Mercenaries or dealing with Objectives, are also significantly easier to hit. In the end, however, nothing makes up for being able to predict enemy movement and behavior, for which you will unquestionably need to practice. Learning to lead your target is a good first step to using Snipe well.

One notable aspect of Snipe is its stacking mechanic. Each Snipe hit against Heroes increases the damage of subsequent Snipes. Failing to hit anything with Snipe sets this damage bonus back to 0, making it incredibly important to become a good shot. Hitting non-Heroic entities such as Minions does not reset these stacks, but will not provide more damage either. For this reason, it is always better to try and hit Heroes who are in front of other entities, as missing will at least result in a hit.


Pinning Shot

Nova Pinning Shot
Pinning Shot (W) Starcraft Nova
  • Mana: 65
  • Cooldown: 12 seconds

Deal 100 (+4% per level) damage to an enemy and Slow them by 40% for 2.25 seconds.

Pinning Shot Icon Pinning Shot's unmissable nature and Slowing effect make it a part of a combo with Snipe Icon Snipe and Precision Strike Icon Precision Strike in order to improve your accuracy. The Ability's damage is so unremarkable that it should almost exclusively be used when the Slowing effect will be useful to you or a teammate, or to trigger One in the Chamber Icon One in the Chamber. Due to its long range and reliability, Pinning Shot is typically used as an opening Ability when ganking, allowing your allies to follow up with their own damaging or crowd controlling Abilities. As with most Slowing effects, it can also be used for peeling or hindering the escape of an opponent. It should be noted that Pinning Shot prompts Nova to automatically attempt to use a Basic Attack on the Ability's target if she is in range, unless ordered otherwise.


Holo Decoy

Nova Holo Decoy
Holo Decoy (E) Starcraft Nova
  • Mana: 50
  • Cooldown: 15 seconds

Create a Decoy for 5 seconds with 100% of Nova's current Health that attacks enemies, dealing 10% of Nova's base damage. Whenever a Decoy takes damage, it deals that amount of damage to itself, effectively doubling the damage it takes.

Using this Ability does not break Stealth.

Holo Decoy Icon Holo Decoy's usage varies widely based on your opponent's team composition. In general, placing the Decoy in a location where you could reasonably be, such as behind your team or in a bush, will make it difficult for your opponents to recognize which is the true Nova in order to attack you. In a best-case scenario, Abilities may be wasted against your Decoy instead of you or your teammates. The Decoy's attacks can also be used to force your opponents to dismount. Holo Decoy is also useful for scouting bushes, as its death is largely irrelevant beyond the used cooldown. Its puny damage can also be used to finish off opponents whom are out of the range of your other Abilities.

Against Heroes with line skillshot Abilities (notably Hook Icon Hook by Stitches), Holo Decoy Icon Holo Decoy should almost exclusively be used to proactively prevent these Abilities from reaching you or your teammates. With enough experience and finesse, you can use Holo Decoy Icon Holo Decoy to reactively block these Abilities after you see them being cast. This has the advantage of making it impossible for your opponents to hold onto their Abilities for after your Decoy has vanished.


Triple Tap

Here we explain how this Heroic Ability works. If you are looking for more information about it, check the dedicated section in the Talent Build page.

Nova Triple Tap
Triple Tap (R) Starcraft Nova
  • Heroic
  • Mana: 100
  • Cooldown: 100 seconds

Locks in on the target Hero, then fires 3 shots that hit the first Hero or Structure they come in contact with for 372 (+4% per level) damage each.

Triple Tap Icon Triple Tap's unmissable nature, extremely high damage, and long range make it a threat to any fragile or low-Health Hero. The slow movement of the projectiles fired by Triple Tap, on top of their very obvious travel pattern, means that clever opponents will move behind undesirable targets such as Structures or resilient allied Heroes in order to prevent you from hitting them. Coordinated teams make using Triple Tap even harder, as the projectiles are likely to be intercepted by the well-intentioned allies of your target. Most of these issues can be avoided by carefully selecting isolated targets that have no Structure or allies to use as cover. Being a stationary-channeled Ability, Triple Tap can easily be interrupted by various enemy crowd control effects, therefore its long range should be used to prevent this at all cost.


Precision Strike

Here we explain how this Heroic Ability works. If you are looking for more information about it, check the dedicated section in the Talent Build page.

Nova Precision Strike
Precision Strike (R) Starcraft Nova
  • Heroic
  • Mana: 100
  • Cooldown: 50 seconds

After a 1.5 second delay, deals 435 (+4% per level) damage to enemies within an area. Unlimited range.

Precision Strike Icon Precision Strike is notable for its ability to deal a high amount of damage to any desired location of the battlefield. The 1.5-second impact delay means that it is prone to be avoided by attentive players. As such, Precision Strike is typically used with strong area of effect crowd control Abilities (such as Powerslide Icon Powerslide by E.T.C.). Casting Precision Strike on the escape path of a fleeing opponent may also force them to take the Ability's damage or momentarily stop their withdrawal. Precision Strike's global range also makes it useful for safely finishing off badly damaged Structures.


Permanent Cloak

Nova Permanent Cloak
Permanent Cloak (D) Starcraft Nova
  • Cooldown: 3 seconds

Gain Stealth when out of combat for 3 seconds. Taking damage, attacking, using Abilities, or Channeling ends Stealth. Remaining stationary for at least 1.5 seconds while Stealthed grants Invisible.

Passive: Gain 15% Movement Speed while Stealthed.

Permanent Cloak Icon Permanent Cloak passively causes Nova to become Stealthed when out of combat for 3 seconds. Being Stealthed makes Nova untargetable by single-target Abilities and Basic Attacks, prevents Minions, Structures, and Mercenaries from engaging her, adds a large amount of transparency to her model, and prevents opponents from seeing her on the Minimap. Standing still for 1.5 seconds while Stealthed makes Nova completely Invisible until she moves. Permanent Cloak also increases Nova's Movement Speed by 15% while she is Stealthed.

Stealth is lost when any of the following conditions is met:

  • using a Basic Attack;
  • taking damage;
  • being hit by revealing Abilities;
  • casting Abilities, including Talent-based Abilities such as Rewind Icon Rewind, with the sole exception of Holo Decoy;
  • channeling Objectives;
  • summoning the Mount;
  • using the Hearthstone;
  • being near the opposing team's Fort, Keep, or Core.

Permanent Cloak Icon Permanent Cloak is a fundamental element of Nova's gameplay, allowing her to position herself to deliver her burst damage to the intended target. It is therefore essential that you learn the area of effect and cooldown of the Abilities that can reliably be used to break your Stealth. Common examples include Globe of Annihilation Icon Globe of Annihilation, Moonfire Icon Moonfire, Psionic Storm Icon Psionic Storm, and Multishot Icon Multishot.

It should be noted that the Stealthed state does not make Nova fully Invisible, though she can not be directly targeted or clicked. She instead appears to be transparent and heavily distorted, a visual effect often described as a shimmer. Attentive players can spot this shimmer and thwart your surprise attack attempts. It is generally best to assume that you are not Stealthed at all when dealing with opponents that are not distracted by some task.

A new mechanic was recently introduced to allow you to achieve full Invisibility by standing still for 1.5 seconds. This is particularly useful for keeping an eye on Objectives or simply for setting up ganks.


Ghost Protocol

Nova Ghost Protocol
Ghost Protocol (1) Starcraft Nova

Activate to instantly grant Stealth to Nova and spawn a Holo Decoy at her location. Nova is Unrevealable for the first 0.5 seconds when Stealthed by Ghost Protocol.

Ghost Protocol Icon Ghost Protocol is Nova's only reliable defensive tool. It is generally used to escape melee Heroes who might have closed in on you, as its instant cast time allows you to benefit from Permanent Cloak Icon Permanent Cloak's movement speed increase right as you need it. Furthermore, the Decoy summoned by Ghost Protocol can also be used to block skillshots such as Hook Icon Hook in a pinch. Under rare circumstances, Ghost Protocol can be used to get a little bit more damage out of the Decoy it summons, though this is rarely advisable unless necessary to secure a kill.



  • 03 Feb. 2022: Guide reviewed for the latest Balance Update.
  • 23 Sep. 2020: Minor fixes.
  • 11 Oct. 2019: Abilities section reviewed.
  • 16 Dec. 2017: Updated page following Stealth and Nova rework patches.
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