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

Last updated on Sep 23, 2020 at 11:00 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 One in the Chamber Icon Anti-Armor Shells Icon ? Perfect Shot Icon ?
Level 10 Precision Strike Icon Triple Tap Icon ?
Level 13 Double Tap Icon
Level 16 Crippling Shot Icon
Level 20 Rewind Icon Precision Barrage 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.


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. Her high burst damage output also benefits from buffs and debuffs. Since her team fight presence is considered to be low, avoid drafting her along Heroes such as Abathur, Murky, or The Lost Vikings.

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.


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's role as a roamer and abysmal waveclear means she excels on Maps that feature many opportunities to gank, and a lackluster choice for everything else, but especially for Maps that involve a lot of pushing and sieging or killing Monsters.


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 to intercept dangerous skillshots.
  • An opposing Keep is nearly destroyed, but your team cannot quite get to it? Try Precision Strike Icon Precision Strike.

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.



  • 23 Sep. 2020 (this page): Builds updated.
  • 23 Sep. 2020 (abilities page): Minor fixes.
  • 23 Sep. 2020 (talents 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 (this page): Guide fully updated to account for the Stealth changes and Nova update patches.
  • 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.
  • 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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