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Nova Abilities and Strategy

Last updated Yesterday at 10:13 by Oxygen 50 comments

Table of Contents

Nova Image

General Information

Below, we give you an overview of the abilities that Nova has access to. We also explain how to best your these abilities.

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 Master player, he enjoys playing all Heroes and roles.

1. Tips on Ability Usage

  • Practice often to acquire and maintain your Snipe Icon Snipe accuracy. If you cannot reliably land Snipe, you cannot play Nova.
  • Snipe Icon Snipe stacks fall off only if you fail to hit anything at all, including Minions, Structures, and Mercenaries.
  • 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 to intercept dangerous skillshots.
  • An opposing Keep is nearly destroyed, but your team can't quite get to it? Try Precision Strike Icon Precision Strike.

2. Snipe

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

Deal 255 (+4% per level) damage to the first enemy hit.

Passive: Hitting an enemy Hero with Snipe permanently increases the damage of Snipe by 5%, stacking up to 25%. 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 displacement Abilities in an attempt to dodge the projectile. crowd control effects such as stuns, roots, and movement speed debuffs 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 Map Objectives, are also significantly easier to hit. In the end, however, nothing makes up for being able to predict enemy movement and behaviour, 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.

3. Pinning Shot

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

Deal 105 (+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 an excellent Ability to use 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.

4. Holo Decoy

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

Create a Decoy for 5 seconds that attacks enemies, dealing 10% of Nova's normal damage.

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 Brush, will make it difficult for your opponents to recognise which is the true Nova in order to attack you. In a best-case scenario, Ability Cooldowns 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 Brushes, 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 such as Storm Bolt Icon Storm Bolt, Hook Icon Hook, Hungering Arrow Icon Hungering Arrow, Singularity Spike Icon Singularity Spike, Decoy should almost exclusively be used to proactively prevent these Abilities from reaching you or your teammates... although with enough experience and finesse, you can even use 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 Cooldowns for after your Decoy has vanished.

5. Triple Tap

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. It should be noted that as a channeled Ability with a long casting time, Triple Tap can — and will — easily be interrupted by stuns, knockbacks, and silences. Its long range should be used to prevent this at all cost.

6. Precision Strike

Nova Precision Strike
Precision Strike (R) Starcraft Nova
  • Heroic
  • Mana: 100
  • Cooldown: 60 seconds

After a 1.5 second delay, deals 456 (+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 2-seconds 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 Apocalypse Icon Apocalypse, Mosh Pit Icon Mosh Pit, Grav-O-Bomb 3000 Icon Grav-O-Bomb 3000, Leap Icon Leap, Divine Storm Icon Divine Storm, and Void Prison Icon Void Prison. 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.

7. Permanent Cloak (Trait)

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 Minimap portrait. Standing still for 1.5 seconds while Stealthed makes Nova completely Invisible until she moves, as opposed to merely transparent. 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 such as Oracle Icon Oracle;
  • casting Abilities, including Talent-based Abilities such as Rewind Icon Rewind, with the sole exception of Holo Decoy;
  • channeling Map Objectives;
  • mounting up or using the Hearthstone;
  • being near the opposing team's Fort, Keep, or Core Structures.

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 Map Objectives or simply for setting up ganks.

8. 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.

9. ChangeLog

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  • 16 Dec. 2017: Updated page following Stealth and Nova rework patches.
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