Nova Build Guide “Ready to have your mind blown?”
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 is a Ranged Assassin capable of using Stealth to confuse opponents and surprise them with ganks. Her strongest point is her exceptional long-ranged single-target burst damage. As a fragile Hero with no mobility tools, Nova needs to position safely and always have a retreat path ready.
Nova's Strengths and Weaknesses
Nova's Talent Build Cheatsheet
Pinning Shot BuildRecommended
Holo Decoy BuildSituational
Nova's Holo Decoy Build provides good single-target sustain damage from the mid game. Since you cannot choose the target of your Clones, this Build is more effective against partially or fully isolated enemy Heroes.
In synergy with Anti-Armor Shells reducing your Attack Speed, the utility provided by Apollo Suit at Level 20 can be used to confuse opponents and constantly get Armor from Ionic Force Field at Level 13 between Basic Attacks.
Perfect Shot at Level 7 drastically increases your damage output, given you can constantly hit enemy Heroes with Snipe. Psionic Efficiency at Level 13 helps you to recover Precision Sniper stacks when you happen to miss enemies with Snipe. Explosive Round at Level 16 provides waveclear and can be used to hit targets that would be otherwise impossible to reach.
Nova's Synergies and Counters
More importantly, Nova has to be paired with Heroes that make up for her huge lack of waveclear, otherwise your team will struggle doing anything during the game because of enemy Minions constantly giving vision to the enemy team and continually damaging your Structures until they fall.
Being a Ranged Assassin with little in the way of escaping, Nova must rely on burst damage and long range to perform well. As a consequence, she struggles with anything that has tools for mitigating damage (for example Zarya) and against dive Heroes who get up close and personal with her (such as Zeratul).
Nova does not like to play against global Heroes (notably Brightwing) because they can instantly nullify her numerical advantage when she is trying to gank someone. Never fully commit to a gank in those cases, otherwise it may backfire. Instead, play it safely and always be ready to retreat as someone else shows up.
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
- If you fire 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 to make your Snipe and Precision Strike much easier to land.
- Holo Decoy is useful to intercept dangerous skillshots (such as 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 is quite strong at taking down isolated enemy Heroes.
- Precision Strike can be used to globally clear Minion waves when needed, especially in side lanes with Catapults.
Nova's Role in the Current Meta
Nova, depending on the chosen Build, can either constantly pressure the enemy frontline with sustain damage or hit them with a big chunk of burst damage, with the help of allied Heroes capable of locking them down with crowd control effects.
She is permanently Stealthed while out of combat, which makes tracking her position difficult as she will not appear on the enemy Minimap in those moments. Together with her solid damage output, this characteristic makes Nova good at ganking.
The psychological pressure caused by a Nova pick is evident: 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.
Due to not having mobility tools and being extremely weak to dive, Nova is not that popular in the current metagame, except when picked as a counter to peculiar Heroes who suffer the shenanigans she can perform with Holo Decoy (from blocking Hook by Stitches to defusing Steel Trap by Junkrat).
- 15 Feb. 2022 (talents page): Builds updated.
- 15 Feb. 2022 (this page): Builds updated.
- 03 Feb. 2022 (abilities page): Guide reviewed for the latest Balance Update.
- 03 Feb. 2022 (this page): Guide reviewed for the latest Balance Update.
- 03 Feb. 2022 (talents page): Guide reviewed for the latest Balance Update.
- 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 (this page): Guide updated.
- 11 Oct. 2019 (abilities page): Abilities section reviewed.
- 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 (this page): Guide fully updated to account for the Stealth changes and Nova update patches.
- 16 Dec. 2017 (abilities page): Updated page following Stealth and Nova rework 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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