Nova Build Guide “Ready to have your mind blown?”

Last updated on Apr 25, 2021 at 19:00 by Elitesparkle 66 comments
General Information

Welcome to our guide for Nova, a Ranged Assassin in Heroes of the Storm. Within these pages, you will find everything required to understand how best to play this hero, in both different map styles and team compositions.


Nova's Overview

Nova is a Stealthed ranged damage dealer. Her strongest point is her exceptional long-ranged single-target burst damage. As a fragile Hero with no movement Ability, she must rely on deception and killing her foes before they can respond. Quick fingers and accurate shots go a long way to playing Nova and forcing opponents to play overly defensively.


Nova's Strengths and Weaknesses

V Strengths
  • +Extremely good burst damage
  • +Long Basic Attack and Ability range
  • +Stealthed when out of combat
  • +Effective ganks and threatening battlefield presence
X Weaknesses

Nova's Talent Build Cheatsheet

Pinning Shot Build

Level 1 Longshot Icon
Level 4 Covert Mission Icon Rapid Projection Icon ?
Level 7 Anti-Armor Shells Icon
Level 10 Precision Strike Icon
Level 13 Double Tap Icon
Level 16 Crippling Shot Icon
Level 20 Precision Barrage Icon Rewind Icon ?

Nova's Pinning Shot Build provides superior single-target damage in the late game thanks to Double Tap Icon Double Tap at Level 13 and Crippling Shot Icon Crippling Shot at Level 16.

Holo Decoy Build

Level 1 Advanced Cloaking Icon
Level 4 Rapid Projection Icon
Level 7 Anti-Armor Shells Icon
Level 10 Precision Strike Icon
Level 13 Ionic Force Field Icon
Level 16 Lethal Decoy Icon
Level 20 Rewind Icon Precision Barrage Icon ? Apollo Suit Icon ?

Nova's Holo Decoy Build provides good single-target damage in the late game. Since you cannot choose the target of your Clones, this Build is more effective against partially or fully isolated enemy Heroes.

Rapid Projection Icon Rapid Projection at Level 4 allows you to get more value from Lethal Decoy Icon Lethal Decoy at Level 16 while Ionic Force Field Icon Ionic Force Field at Level 13 increases your own survivability and makes your Clones more durable.

Snipe Build

Level 1 Longshot Icon
Level 4 Covert Mission Icon Rapid Projection Icon ?
Level 7 Perfect Shot Icon
Level 10 Precision Strike Icon
Level 13 Psionic Efficiency Icon
Level 16 Explosive Round Icon
Level 20 Precision Barrage Icon

Nova's Snipe Build provides superior area-of-effect damage in the late game thanks to Perfect Shot Icon Perfect Shot at Level 7 and Explosive Round Icon Explosive Round at Level 16, with the help of Psionic Efficiency Icon Psionic Efficiency at Level 13.

Do not choose this Build against high-mobility Heroes because they can easily dodge your Snipe Icon Snipe, denying the value you could get from multiple Talents.


Nova's Synergies and Counters

V Nova synergizes with

Nova works best with Heroes that provide one or many form of initiation or crowd control and, more importantly, with Heroes that make up for her huge lack of waveclear.

X Nova is countered by

As a Ranged Assassin with little in the way of escaping, Nova players must rely on burst damage and long-ranged attacks to perform well. As such, she tends to struggle with anything that has a reliable means of mitigating damage for oneself or for allies or closing the gap to get up close and personal with her.

You can pick global Heroes to counter Nova ganks. If you do so, she will have to think twice before ganking due to the risk of being counter-ganked.


Nova's Maps

Nova's stronger maps
Warhead Junction
Nova's average maps
Alterac Pass Battlefield of Eternity Blackheart's Bay Cursed Hollow Dragon Shire Garden of Terror Hanamura Temple Sky Temple Tomb of the Spider Queen Towers of Doom
Nova's weaker maps
Braxis Holdout Infernal Shrines Volskaya Foundry

Nova is a good choice on 2-lane Battlegrounds as they do not require a high amount of waveclear and they give her many opportunities to gank isolated enemy Heroes who tend to expose in the solo lane (such as Hanamura Temple).

Due to her lack of waveclear, Nova is usually a bad choice on 3-lane Battlegrounds, especially if their Objective takes too long for her high Mana consumption to not be an issue (for example Alterac Pass) and/or requires to kill multiple Monsters at the same time (such as Infernal Shrines).


Nova's Tips and Tricks

  • 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 intercept dangerous skillshots (such as Arcane Orb Icon Arcane Orb by Li-Ming).
  • An opposing Keep is nearly destroyed, but your team cannot quite get to it? Try Precision Strike Icon Precision Strike.

Nova's Role in the Current Meta

Nova's uniquely high ranged burst damage allows her to kill certain Heroes in a single successful Ability chain. She is also permanently Stealthed while out of combat, which makes tracking her position difficult. This deadly combination makes her a prime candidate for roaming. The psychological pressure caused by a Nova pick is evident in and of itself: while she is out of sight, opposing players tend to play more defensively, opening up windows of opportunities for your own teammates. She forces fragile Heroes to constantly have to consider their positioning in order to avoid her damage, which reduces their effectiveness.

Nova's binary nature of being outstanding versus fragile Heroes and subpar versus everything else, on top of her limited utility, makes her a niche Hero that is easily countered. She is therefore typically picked late into drafts to specifically punish compositions that rely on many fragile Heroes or lack instant defensive tools.



  • 25 Apr. 2021 (talents page): Holo Decoy build updated.
  • 17 Apr. 2021 (talents page): Builds updated.
  • 17 Apr. 2021 (this page): Builds updated.
  • 11 Apr. 2021 (talents page): Builds updated.
  • 11 Apr. 2021 (this page): Builds updated.
  • 25 Feb. 2021 (talents page): New layout.
  • 14 Dec. 2020 (talents page): Builds updated.
  • 14 Dec. 2020 (this page): Guide updated.
  • 23 Sep. 2020 (talents page): Builds updated.
  • 23 Sep. 2020 (abilities page): Minor fixes.
  • 23 Sep. 2020 (this page): Builds updated.
  • 30 Aug. 2020 (this page): Role in Current Meta section updated.
  • 05 Apr. 2020 (talents page): Descriptions updated for Covert Ops and One in the Chamber.
  • 13 Dec. 2019 (this page): Added a note about current Anomaly.
  • 11 Oct. 2019 (talents page): Talent builds and recommendations reviewed and updated.
  • 11 Oct. 2019 (abilities page): Abilities section reviewed.
  • 11 Oct. 2019 (this page): Guide updated.
  • 03 Dec. 2018 (talents page): Updated Talent discussions following patch v2.40.1 changes.
  • 16 Dec. 2017 (talents page): Updated Talent discussions following Stealth and Nova rework patches.
  • 16 Dec. 2017 (abilities page): Updated page following Stealth and Nova rework patches.
  • 16 Dec. 2017 (this page): Guide fully updated to account for the Stealth changes and Nova update patches.
  • 27 Sep. 2017 (talents page): Updated Talent discussions following the changes in Ana's patch.
  • 06 Jan. 2017 (this page): Guide updated for the Zul'jin patch and moved to the new format.
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