Welcome to our Talents page for Nova. Here, we give you an overview of how strong each of Nova's talents is. Then, we present several viable builds, before analyzing each talent row separately, so that you can make informed decisions.
Nova's Talent Build
|1||✔ ✘ ✔|
|4||✔ ✔ ?|
|7||? ✔ ?|
|13||✘ ✔ ✘|
|16||? ✔ ✘|
|20||✘ ✔ ✘ ✔|
Nova's Talent Build Cheatsheet
Level 1 Talents for Nova
Increases the cast range of Pinning Shot by 30%. Pinning Shot also increases the range of Nova's next Basic Attack by 2.
After being Stealthed for 4 seconds, Pinning Shot's Slow is increased to 55% and costs no Mana. Bonus is lost after losing Stealth for 1 second.
After being Stealthed for 2 seconds, gain an additional 10% Movement Speed. While Stealthed, regenerate 2 Mana per second.
This Talent tier provides various utility.
Longshot improves the reliability of Pinning Shot, which in turn improves the reliability of your other Abilities and Basic Attacks. The increased Basic Attack range clause of the Talent synergises particularly well with Anti-Armor Shells.
Covert Ops's effect is reasonably powerful, but must compete with other Talents we feel better complement Nova's playstyle. For players who may struggle with accuracy, however, the powerful Slowing effect can help land Snipe and Precision Strike hits.
Advanced Cloaking provides a reasonable amount of Mana regeneration, allowing Nova to roam with Health as her only true limiting factor. The Talent also enables the use of Abilities in PvE situations, where Mana would otherwise be a major concern. The added mobility is also welcomed in combat, as it allows you to reposition quickly between bursts. You should still, however, see to remain Mounted while generally traveling, as your Mount still proves to be faster than walking.
Level 4 Talents for Nova
Reduces Holo Decoy's cooldown and Mana cost by 50%.
Increase the cast range of Holo Decoy by 100% and its duration by 120%.
- Cooldown: 0.25 seconds
Enemy Minions killed near Nova grant a stack of Bribe. Hero Takedowns grant 10 stacks of Bribe. Use 25 stacks to bribe a Mercenary, instantly defeating them. Does not work on Elite Mercenaries. Maximum of 100 stacks. If a camp is defeated entirely with Bribe, the camp respawns 50% faster.
This Talent tier provides various utility.
Rapid Projection improves Holo Decoy by allowing it to be cast more often. This allows you to absorb skillshots and generally confuse opponents more often. Rapid Projection is recommended along One in the Chamber.
Holo Stability improves Holo Decoy by increasing its range and generally increasing its damage output. The range increase is particularly useful for threatning Heroes that would otherwise be positioned out of your effective range. Holo Stability synergises particularly well with Lethal Decoy and Rewind, as it essentially doubles your damage output against isolated targets.
Covert Mission stacks are rather difficult to acquire given Nova's role as a roamer. Even if you do manage to get enough kills to readily make use of Covert Mission, you still end up sacrificing significant utility and damage potential for a few Mercenary kills. The tradeoff is difficult to gauge, but the Talent may find use on Battlefield of Eternity and Infernal Shrines, where capturing the Fallen Shaman Mercenary Camp can be effective when timed right before the Maps' respective Objectives.
Level 7 Talents for Nova
Hitting an enemy Hero with Snipe reduces its cooldown by 4 seconds and refunds its Mana cost.
After using an Ability, Nova's next Basic Attack within 3 seconds deals 60% additional damage.
Nova's Basic Attacks deal 250% damage and decrease the Physical Armor of Heroic targets by 15 for 3 seconds, but her Attack Speed is proportionally slower.
This Talent tier significantly improve Nova's damage.
Perfect Shot essentially amounts to a 66% damage increase for Snipe. Out of all the Talents available at this tier, Perfect Shot provides the highest damage output, provided you can reliably hit Heroes. The added Mana is also helpful for resource management, especially due to the Cooldown reduction effect provided by this Talent.
One in the Chamber provides more DPS than Anti-Armor Shells, but comes at the cost of requiring better uptime and weaving Basic Attacks in between every Ability cast. One in the Chamber tends to be better against teams that do not have the means of pressuring you so that you may maximise the efficiency of your attacks. To best use One in the Chamber, follow this typical rotation : Pinning Shot, Basic Attack, Snipe, Basic Attack. Holo Decoy and your Heroic Ability of choice can be used in the same manner, according to the situation.
Although Anti-Armor Shells may seem like an unintuitive choice at first, the usefulness of delivering nearly 3 seconds worth of Basic Attacks in an instant is indisputable. Leaving aside the fact that burst is harder to respond to than sustained damage, the attack speed reduction allows you to freely move for ~2.5 seconds between each and every attack all while sustaining optimal damage per second. This indirectly increases your survivability. Anti-Armor Shells is particularly powerful against nimble Assassins such as Genji, Li-Ming, and Tracer, as burst damage tends to force such Heroes to play more defensively.
Level 10 Talents for Nova
- 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.
- Mana: 100
- Cooldown: 60 seconds
After a 1.5 second delay, deals 435 (+4% per level) damage to enemies within an area. Unlimited range.
As mentioned on the Abilities page, Precision Strike deals a significant amount of damage in a large area from global range, meaning that you do not to be physically present to partake to large combos. Its Cooldown is also relatively short when compared to most other Heroic Abilities. Successfully hitting with a Precision Strike, Snipe and Anti-Armor Shells Ability chain will outright kill most squishy Heroes. However, Precision Strike's 2-seconds delay makes it easy to avoid. Pinning Shot, as well as crowd control effects provided by your allies, can ease or secure hits.
The Abilities in the list below can combo nicely with Precision Strike to yield deadly results.
- Howling Blast (Arthas)
- Apocalypse (Diablo)
- Mosh Pit (E.T.C.)
- Grav-O-Bomb 3000 (Gazlowe)
- Ring of Frost (Jaina)
- Primal Grasp + Impaling Blades (Kerrigan)
- Entangling Roots (Malfurion)
- Storm Bolt (Muradin)
- Zombie Wall (Nazeebo)
- Leap (Sonya)
- Earthquake (Thrall)
- Divine Storm (Uther)
- Devouring Maw (Zagara)
- Graviton Surge (Zagara)
- Void Prison (Zeratul)
As mentioned on the Abilities page, Triple Tap, while able to deal an unparalleled amount of single-target damage against isolated targets, suffers from the fact that its projectiles can be intercepted by undesirable targets such as resilient Heroes and structures. This makes the Ability only situationally powerful. Furthermore, its lengthy channeling time — which you may not manually interrupt, should you be endangered — leaves you open and vulnerable. Its Cooldown is also much longer than that of Precision Strike.
Level 13 Talents for Nova
Snipe's range is increased by 15% and hitting a Hero grants an additional stack of Precision Sniper.
Pinning Shot now has 2 charges, but its cooldown is increased by 2 seconds.
Gain 25 Armor for 3 seconds after losing Stealth.
This Talent tier improves Nova's survivability.
Psionic Efficiency is unimpressive; the range increase is minuscule, and the added stacks are of no relevance while at maximum stacks, particularly for advanced Nova players.
Double Tap synergises very well with some of our other recommended Talents, though notably with Crippling Shot. The movement speed reduction provided by Pinning Shot combined to the armor reduction provided by the Cripping Shot Talent allows Nova to threaten even Tanks, assuming that your teammates provide some damage of their own.
Level 16 Talents for Nova
Snipe also deals 90% damage to enemies near the impact.
Pinning Shot lowers a Hero's Armor by 20 for the duration of the Slow, causing them to take 20% increased damage.
Increases the damage Holo Decoy deals to 30% of Nova's damage.
This Talent tier improves Nova's damage.
Explosive Round allows otherwise impossible Snipe casts to deal damage. By targeting Summons, Minions, Structures, or even less desirable Hero targets near your intended target, having a direct line of fire is no longer necessary. This ultimately improves your uptime.
Crippling Shot provides a significant damage increase for yourself and your entire team against anything Pinning Shot hits, which is incidentally almost always your intended kill target. Crippling Shot is a key Talent for burst team compositions, especially when picked with the Hero Level 13 Talent Double Tap for sustaining the armor reduction effect.
Lethal Decoy turns Holo Decoy, a defensive Ability, into an offensive one. When picked along Holo Stability and Rewind, Lethal Decoy can allow you to put out a large amount of pressure against any target. The damage of a full Holo Decoy-Rewind-Holo Decoy combo should not be underestimated, especially with Anti-Armor Shells to reduce your kill target's Armor. Against slightly more experienced players, however, Lethal Decoy is not so lethal.
Level 20 Talents for Nova
Triple Tap's cooldown is reset if it kills an enemy Hero.
Precision Strike gains a 2nd charge and its cooldown is reduced by 30 seconds.
Reduce the cooldown of Permanent Cloak by 2 seconds.
- Cooldown: 60 seconds
Activate to reset the cooldowns of your Basic Abilities.
Precision Barrage has the potential to inflict a significant amount of area of effect damage. This damage potential is, however, gated behind Precision Strike's archetypal weakness of relying on crowd control for successful hits. Against team compositions that either prevent you from isolating vulnerable targets for effective Rewind kills, Precision Strike's long range is a boon. When ahead of your opponents in terms of Hero Levels, and especially before Bolt of the Storm comes into play, Precision Barrage allows for successive kills that are extremely hard to avoid, something that Rewind does not do.
Apollo Suit competes with vastly superior offensive Talents.
Rewind allow you to rapidly cast all of your basic Abilities twice in a row. A proper Rewind chain essentially allows you to kill all but the toughest of characters. It even has defensive properties in the form of spawning 2 decoys through Holo Decoy, making it utterly impossible to tell Nova apart. Rewind also synergises with One in the Chamber.
- 05 Apr. 2020: Descripions updated for Covert Ops and One in the Chamber.
- 11 Oct. 2019: Talent builds and recommendations reviewed and updated.
- 03 Dec. 2018: Updated Talent discussions following patch v2.40.1 changes.
- 16 Dec. 2017: Updated Talent discussions following Stealth and Nova rework patches.
- 27 Sep. 2017: Updated Talent discussions following the changes in Ana's patch.
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