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

Last updated on Dec 16, 2017 at 10:15 by Oxygen 64 comments

Table of Contents

Nova Image

General Information

Welcome to our Nova guide for Heroes of the Storm. Here you will learn everything you need to know in order to play Nova in a competitive environment, whether you play on your own or with a team.

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. Quick Reference for Nova

Decoy Build (talent calculator link)

Level 1 Longshot Icon
Level 4 Holo Stability Icon
Level 7 Anti-Armor Shells Icon
Level 10 Precision Strike Icon
Level 13 Double Tap Icon
Level 16 Lethal Decoy Icon
Level 20 Rewind Icon

New to Nova? The Holo Decoy Icon Holo Decoy Build is for you. It revolves around improving Holo Decoy and your general ability to deal unavoidable damage. Key Talents include Holo Stability Icon Holo Stability, which greatly increases Holo Decoy's duration and range to allow you to threaten vulnerable Heroes from afar, and Lethal Decoy Icon Lethal Decoy, which allows Decoys to inflict a significant amount of damage. Rewind Icon Rewind allows you to deal bold amounts of burst damage.

Snipe Build (talent calculator link)

Level 1 Advanced Cloaking Icon Longshot Icon ?
Level 4 Holo Stability Icon Covert Mission Icon ?
Level 7 Perfect Shot Icon
Level 10 Precision Strike Icon
Level 13 Double Tap Icon
Level 16 Crippling Shot Icon Lethal Decoy Icon ?
Level 20 Rewind Icon Precision Barrage Icon ?

Snipe Icon Snipe Build revolves around improving the eponymous Ability to maximise Nova's burst damage potential. Although more difficult to play than Nova's other builds, its overall damage potential is higher in the hands of a skilled player.

One in The Chamber Build (talent calculator link)

Level 1 Advanced Cloaking Icon Longshot Icon ?
Level 4 Rapid Projection Icon Covert Mission Icon ?
Level 7 One in the Chamber Icon
Level 10 Precision Strike Icon
Level 13 Double Tap Icon
Level 16 Crippling Shot Icon
Level 20 Rewind Icon Precision Barrage Icon ?

One in the Chamber Icon One in the Chamber Build revolves around the idea of exploiting the eponymous Talent to maximise Nova's offensive utility and damage potential. This is achieved by weaving Basic Attacks in between every Ability cast. Since the build's effectiveness is a direct result of how many Abilities you are able to cast, its Talent choices provide Cooldown reduction or Charges, such as Rapid Projection Icon Rapid Projection, Double Tap Icon Double Tap, and Rewind Icon Rewind. This build also provides aggressive utility for your teammates to capitalise upon through the aforementioned Double Tap Talent and Crippling Shot Icon Crippling Shot.

See our Talents page for further information Create your own build and share it with friends!

Synergies and Counters

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.

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 stronger maps Warhead Junction
Nova's average maps Battlefield of Eternity Blackheart's Bay Cursed Hollow Dragon Shire Garden of Terror Hanamura Temple Haunted Mines 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.

TL;DR Tips

  • 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.
See our Abilities page for further information

2. Introduction

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.

3. Strengths

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

4. Weaknesses

5. 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.

6. Reading Further

To take things further, we have 2 more pages that you can read:

7. ChangeLog

  • 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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