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
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.
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.
The extra range is quite useful when enemy Heroes are retreating or playing safe. Thanks to it, sometimes you will be able to secure kills you would have missed otherwise. You can get even more value from this Talent by pairing it with Double Tap at Level 13.
Nova's Abilities cost a lot of Mana. To help with that, we suggest to combine this Talent with Rapid Projection and to avoid casting Holo Decoy too often. If you still have Mana issues, then feel free to replace this Talent with one of the alternatives in the same Tier.
After being Stealthed for 2 seconds, Pinning Shot's Slow is increased to 60% and costs no Mana. Bonus is lost after losing Stealth for 1 second.
You can count on this Talent for landing Precision Strike more easily against Heroes who have access to Movement Speed buffs. For players who may struggle with accuracy, this Talent can help land Snipe too.
After being Stealthed for 1 second, gain an additional 10% Movement Speed. While Stealthed, regenerate 3 Mana per second.
The bonus Mana provided by this Talent helps you to stay on the battlefield for a bit longer, allowing you to roam with Health as the primary limiting factor. On most Battlegrounds you will spend around 10 seconds for going from a lane to another, so you will end up having 30 more Mana each time you switch lane to gank.
The extra Movement Speed by this Talent can be used to move around while Stealthed at almost the same speed as when using a Mount, allowing yourself to cast Abilities without slowing down your movements on the battlefield. In particular, you can use Holo Decoy to dismount enemy Heroes without dismounting yourself in the process. You can empower this strategy by going for Rapid Projection at Level 4.
When you do not need to cast Abilities for a while and need to travel for a long distance, prefer using the Mount for having 5% additional Movement Speed. If you need to cast Holo Decoy on the way, you will stay in Stealth but your Movement Speed will drop a little.
Level 4 Talents for Nova
Reduces Holo Decoy's cooldown and Mana cost by 60%.
Rapid Projection is a strong Talent that heavily reduces the cooldown and Mana cost of Holo Decoy, allowing you to spend less Mana when casting it occasionally or to cast it more often for the same amount of Mana over time.
Combined with Advanced Cloaking at Level 1, this Talent can be used to dismount enemy Heroes without slowing down yourself while traveling from a lane to another at high Movement Speed, although not exactly as fast as a Mount.
The cooldown reduction can be used to trigger One in the Chamber at level 7 more often. That said, you should usually hold Holo Decoy for blocking skillshot-based Abilities or use it for scouting dangerous areas before walking nearby.
Increase the cast range of Holo Decoy by 100% and its duration by 120%.
Passive: Reduce the cooldown of Ghost Protocol by 15 seconds.
- 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 is a good Talent which 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 with Snipe reduces its cooldown by 2 seconds and refunds half its Mana cost, doubled against enemy Heroes.
The cooldown reduction against Heroes included in this Talent, together with the bonus damage coming from 5 stacks of Precision Sniper, makes it the best sustain damage option in this Tier when fighting against enemy Heroes, but only if you are facing easy-to-hit opponents.
The cooldown reduction against non-Heroes helps when capturing Mercenaries, defending Mercenaries, taking down Monsters, or damaging enemy Structures. In addition to that, if you miss a Hero and happen to hit a non-Hero behind them, you will not lose Precision Sniper stacks and you will get some cooldown reduction as well as some Mana back.
After using an Ability, Nova's next Basic Attack within 3 seconds deals 65% additional damage.
One in the Chamber is a good Talent that empowers the next Basic Attack you execute after casting any Ability, resulting in a higher damage output if you make sure to Basic Attack after casting each Ability.
Double Tap at Level 13 and Rewind at Level 20 have great synergy with this Talent as they allow you to cast your Abilities more often. Similarly, Rapid Projection at Level 4 has moderate synergy for the same reason.
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 is a strong Talent that increases your Attack Damage (from 105 to 262.5) but proportionally decreases your Attack Speed (from 1 to 0.4). In addition to that, right before dealing damage, your Basic Attacks reduce the Physical Armor of enemy Heroes hit, resulting in 15% more damage per second from your Basic Attacks.
The primary advantage coming from this Talent is the ability to constantly deal more damage without having to spend Mana, something that indirectly increases your Map uptime as you will have to Hearthstone less often.
Coming in big chunks, the damage from this Talent is quite useful to deal as much damage as possible to high-mobility Heroes (Zeratul comes to mind) before they quickly move out of Attack Range or to deal constantly deal damage without exposing too much as you will have 2.5 seconds to move between Basic Attacks.
The extremely slow Attack Speed and drastically different gameplay may be confusing at first, so we do not recommend this Talent if you are new to the Hero. Instead, start with One in the Chamber that is easier to use.
You can combine this Talent with Lethal Decoy at Level 16 to make your Clones deal even more damage when they attack the same target as Nova because their Basic Attacks benefit from Physical Armor reduction effects.
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 is a good Heroic Ability that can be used to deal an extremely high amount of damage to a single enemy Hero, sometimes even from high distance, granted there are no other Heroes or enemy Structures the way. Just be careful when using it, though, as you will be locked in place for 2.3 seconds.
- Mana: 100
- Cooldown: 50 seconds
After a 1.5 second delay, deals 435 (+4% per level) damage to enemies within an area. Unlimited range.
In the late game, do not hesitate to use Precision Strike for clearing distant Minion waves when needed because you will be able to one-shot Minions. To check when that is possible, you can mouse-over Precision Strike to read its damage at a given Team Level (your scaling parameter) and use the Target Info Panel to see how much Health the enemy Footman Minions have at a given minute (their scaling parameter). If you last-hit enemy Minions with it, other than helping that lane, you will get valuable Experience for your team and useful stacks for Covert Mission at Level 4, if you have it.
Level 13 Talents for Nova
Snipe's range is increased by 15% and hitting a Hero grants an additional stack of Precision Sniper.
Getting twice the default amount of Precision Sniper stack makes your damage ramp up quicker, especially when playing Perfect Shot at Level 7, and helps you build it up again when you happen to miss enemies with Snipe.
The range increase is not surprising, however, it may occasionally turn a miss into a hit or at least a Hero miss into a non-Hero hit, thus saving Precision Sniper stacks. When possible, try to position yourself and aim Snipe in a way that takes advantage of this: with the target between you and another enemy.
Pinning Shot now has 2 charges, but its cooldown is increased by 2 seconds.
Double Tap is a strong Talent that gives you access to a second charge of Pinning Shot at the cost of having a slightly longer cooldown for each of them. After casting one of them, you will have to wait 1 second before being able to cast the other. After casting both of them, you will have to wait twice the cooldown to be able to repeat so.
The additional charge provided has synergy with Longshot at Level 1 and Crippling Shot at Level 16 because you will be able to use them more often during short team fights and can be used to get an additional trigger from One in the Chamber at Level 7.
When your team is not providing crowd control, Pinning Shot is usually being used as a setup for Snipe and Precision Strike, however, that is not always possible due to their cooldowns not aligning well. The second charge of Pinning Shot will help with that.
Gain 25 Armor for 3 seconds after losing Stealth.
Ionic Force Field is a good 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 for 3 seconds 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 briefly channeling your Hearthstone or your Mount and then immediately interrupt their channel to keep moving in the direction you intend to go.
Level 16 Talents for Nova
Snipe also deals 90% damage to enemies near the impact.
Explosive Round is a good Talent that, thanks to the 3.5 explosion radius, allows otherwise impossible Snipe casts to deal damage. Even if your intended target is hiding behind another enemy, you will still be able to hit them for only 10% less damage.
Pinning Shot lowers a Hero's Armor by 20 for the duration of the Slow, causing them to take 20% increased damage.
As always, Armor reduction effects provide a significant damage increase for yourself and your entire team, making it a great tool for burst compositions. To get the most value out of this Talent, focus the same Heroes that are being targeted by your teammates.
You can and should combine this Talent with Double Tap at Level 13 because it helps you get the Armor reduction effect going when you want to cast Snipe a second time or when you want to use another Precision Strike, if you have Precision Barrage at Level 20.
Increases the damage Holo Decoy deals to 30% of Nova's damage.
Lethal Decoy is a good Talent that turns Holo Decoy from defensive and utility Ability to offensive Ability. Thanks to this Talent, Clones will deal 30% damage compared to Nova, rather than 10% baseline damage. The only drawback is that Clones will not necessarily target who you would like to.
You can use Holo Decoy, Ghost Protocol, and Rewind at Level 20 to reset their cooldowns and spawn multiple Clones at the same time. The resulting damage output against isolated enemy Heroes should not be underestimated, especially with Anti-Armor Shells to reduce your target's Physical 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 25 seconds.
Precision Barrage is a strong Talent that unlocks a second charge of Precision Strike, usable only after a short delay of 3 seconds from the first one being used, and reduces its cooldown from 50 to 25 seconds. After casting one of them, you will have to wait 3 second before being able to cast the other. After casting both of them, you will have to wait twice the cooldown to be able to repeat so.
You may need this Talent not only to take down enemy Heroes but also to clear enemy Minions from global range as a way to lessen the macro pressure on your team or to increase the macro pressure on the enemy team. This trick is particularly useful in side lanes with Catapults.
Reduce the cooldown of Permanent Cloak by 2 seconds.
Apollo Suit is a good Talent that makes you become Stealthed after not being in combat for just 1 second, rather than 3 seconds from baseline Permanent Cloak. As a consequence, when trying to chase or flee, you will get additional Movement Speed almost immediately.
While this Talent is not great on its own, it can be combined with Advanced Cloaking at Level 1 and Ionic Force Field at Level 13 to increase your survivability. If you are good with mind games, you can use this Talent to confuse enemy Heroes who are trying to find the real Nova surrounded by various Clones.
- Cooldown: 60 seconds
Activate to reset the cooldowns of your Basic Abilities.
Rewind is a strong Talent that can be activated to reset the cooldown of all your Basic Abilities, including Ghost Protocol. Cast them twice in a row to deal high burst damage. The extra Clones can be used to further confuse enemy Heroes.
You can use this Talent in combination with One in the Chamber at Level 7 to deal even more damage, if you alternate Abilities and Basic Attacks. On the other hand, you should avoid picking it when you already have Perfect Shot at Level 7 because, due to Snipe having way lower cooldown when used against enemy Heroes, you will get less value from the cooldown reset.
- 15 Feb. 2022: Builds updated.
- 03 Feb. 2022: Guide reviewed for the latest Balance Update.
- 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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