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
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Nova's Talent Build Cheatsheet
Pinning Shot BuildRecommended
Holo Decoy BuildSituational
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.
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 synergizes particularly well with Anti-Armor Shells.
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.
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.
After being Stealthed for 2 seconds, gain an additional 10% Movement Speed. While Stealthed, regenerate 2 Mana per second.
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%.
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. If you have this Talent, remember that you can exit from Stealth and then use Holo Decoy to distract enemy Minions so that allied Minions take less damage. Rapid Projection is recommended along One in the Chamber.
Increase the cast range of Holo Decoy by 100% and its duration by 120%.
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 synergizes particularly well with Lethal Decoy and Rewind, as it essentially doubles your damage output against isolated targets.
- 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.
Covert Mission gives Nova the ability to instantly kill a non-Elite Mercenary with each Charge accumulated by killing Minions and Heroes during the game. Mercenary Camps entirely captured this way will respawn in half the time.
Keep in mind that you cannot use Bribe effects on Elite Mercenaries (the Sentinel from the Sentinel Camp on Hanamura Temple and the Support Camp on Volskaya Foundry, and all Bosses from any Boss Camp on Battlegrounds featuring them).
Being able to capture Mercenary Camps helps to compensate for Nova's lack of macro. The faster respawn allows your team to use a given Mercenary Camp more often, something that is especially useful for the non-Elite ones dropping Items (the Fortification Camps on Volskaya Foundry and Hanamura Temple).
Level 7 Talents for Nova
Hitting an enemy Hero with Snipe reduces its cooldown by 4 seconds and refunds its Mana cost.
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. By using Snipe more often, you will also be more prone to miss, therefore Perfect Shot synergizes with Psionic Efficiency at Level 13 because it helps you stack Precision Sniper with 3 casts of Snipe rather than 5.
After using an Ability, Nova's next Basic Attack within 3 seconds deals 60% additional damage.
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 maximize 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. While you do not want to spend a long cooldown just to empower a single Basic Attack, it is good to know that activating Ghost Protocol will trigger One in the Chamber.
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.
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 about 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.
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.
- Mana: 100
- Cooldown: 60 seconds
After a 1.5 second delay, deals 435 (+4% per level) damage to enemies within an area. Unlimited range.
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 in large combos. Pinning Shot, as well as crowd control effects provided by allied Heroes (such as Storm Bolt by Muradin), can make it way easier to hit the desired enemy Hero or even Heroes.
Level 13 Talents for Nova
Snipe's range is increased by 15% and hitting a Hero grants an additional stack of Precision Sniper.
Psionic Efficiency is a decent Talent that helps you stack Precision Sniper, the Baseline Quest for Snipe. The range increase is not surprising, but getting twice the default amount of stack makes your damage ramp up quicker when playing Perfect Shot at Level 7.
Pinning Shot now has 2 charges, but its cooldown is increased by 2 seconds.
Double Tap synergizes 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 Crippling Shot Talent at Level 16 allows Nova to threaten even Tanks, assuming that your teammates provide some damage of their own.
Gain 25 Armor for 3 seconds after losing Stealth.
Ionic Force Field is a decent Talent that increases your survivability by giving you a fair amount of Armor right after Stealth ends. Clones will benefit from this Talent as well, so they will be harder to take down and the enemy team will not be able to easily spot the real Nova because of it.
In case you are going to take damage while in Stealth and you want to mitigate it (for example Consume Souls by Mephisto), you can manually break Stealth by channeling your Hearthstone or your Mount and then immediately interrupt their channel to keep moving.
Level 16 Talents for Nova
Snipe also deals 90% damage to enemies near the impact.
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.
Pinning Shot lowers a Hero's Armor by 20 for the duration of the Slow, causing them to take 20% increased damage.
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.
Increases the damage Holo Decoy deals to 30% of Nova's damage.
Lethal Decoy is a decent Talent that turns Holo Decoy, a defensive Ability, into an offensive one. You can use Rewind at Level 20 and Ghost Protocol to spawn multiple Clones at the same time. 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.
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.
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.
Reduce the cooldown of Permanent Cloak by 2 seconds.
Apollo Suit competes with vastly superior offensive Talents, however, it allows Nova to trick enemy Heroes by giving herself and her Clones the ability to get into Stealth after 1 second, rather than the default 3 seconds of wait.
- Cooldown: 60 seconds
Activate to reset the cooldowns of your Basic Abilities.
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 obviously synergizes with One in the Chamber and surprisingly resets the cooldown of Ghost Protocol.
- 25 Apr. 2021: Holo Decoy build updated.
- 17 Apr. 2021: Builds updated.
- 11 Apr. 2021: Builds updated.
- 25 Feb. 2021: New layout.
- 14 Dec. 2020: Builds updated.
- 23 Sep. 2020: Builds updated.
- 05 Apr. 2020: Descriptions 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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