Winning matches in Heroes of the Storm is all about understanding the different characters in the game and using each of them to the best possible effect. There are several different types of characters in the game including assassins, warriors, specialists, and support.  While characters fit into specific roles, each character plays very differently from the others and that is where this guide comes in.

Nova – Basics

Nova is a character from the Starcraft series of games and is a Ranged Assassin, and is in-fact one of the best assassins in the game.  Being an assassin character you can expect her to be able to put out large amounts of damage in a very short time.  Since she is an assassin though, she is not meant to mix it up in close combat and has very little health or armour.


  • Has a cloaking ability that hides her from enemy sight until she attacks
  • High damage output from even basic attacks
  • Extremely high damage special attacks


  • Very low health
  • No escapes or movement abilities
  • Skill based class due to needing to aim her Snipe attack

Cost: 10,000 Gold or $9.99 USD

Nova – Abilities

Snipe (Q) [10 second cooldown] – This is a skill based attack that sends a shot out in a line dealing heavy damage to the first target hit in that line.

Pinning Shot (W) [12 second cooldown] – This attack deals damage to the target and slows them by 30% for 2.25 seconds. This attack can help you keep your distance from a target but is not a true escape.

Holo Decoy (E) [15 second cooldown] – This ability can be used without revealing your cloaked position.  It sets up a decoy that appears to attack enemies, but does not actually deal any damage (unless you take a talent for that, talked about later in this guide).

Triple Tap (R) [100 second cooldown] – Deals 3 big damage shots to a single enemy over the next 3 seconds.  Each shot deals almost as much damage as a Snipe, so can be used to take out most other assassins, or finish of almost any damaged enemy character.

Precision Strike (R) [60 second cooldown] – This attack can be used to deal extremely heavy damage to all enemies in an area of effect.  Better yet it has unlimited range, so you can use it from far away where the enemy cannot strike back at you.  There is a 3 second delay before the attack strikes though, so plan accordingly as players will start moving to avoid being hit.

Permanent Cloak (Passive) – This is a passive ability that puts you into stealth whenever you are out of combat for 2 seconds.  You are revealed whenever you attack, take damage, or channel an ability.

Nova – Talents

Every hero in Heroes of the Storm has several talents that they gain access to as they level in each match.  Rather than look at every talent here, we will focus on the best at each level.

Level 1

There really is no choice here, you have to take Ambush Snipe.  Snipe is going to be your main attack as Nova and any time you can you will be doing it while hidden to open your burst on an opponent.

Level 4

Another simple choice at this level with Gather Power to do more damage.

Level 7

This is where you start to get your real power as Nova.  Hot Shot slows your automatic attacks by 3 times, but makes each one hit 3 times harder.  This really gives you a lot of burst power to take done enemies.  It also slows them down enough that you will cloak in between attacks if you are not being hit.  This gives you a chance to turn and run if you need to.

Level 10

At this level you gain access to either Triple Shot or Precision Strike.  Both are extremely useful and provide some solid burst ability, however I would recommend Precision Strike since it has no range limit.  That means that you can be across the map and still help out allies at another strategic point.  This does two things for your team, firstly it helps with damage, and secondly it scares the opponents as most will think that you are nearby.

Level 13

At this level you gain access to two good options depending how you like to play.  The first option is Lethal Decoy which allows your decoy to actually attack and deal damage to enemy players.  This ups your overall damage output as well as increasing your survivability as an enemy being damaged by a decoy will think it is actually you.  The other option is Advanced Cloaking which boosts your move while cloaked by 25% which makes it much easier to chase down enemies or to reposition.

Level 16

This level brings with it two more good choices which are Railgun and Crippling Shot.  Railgun upgrades Snipe to penetrate through the first target and deal half damage to every other target hit as well as lowering the cooldown by 1 second per additional target hit.  Crippling Shot boosts all damage against the enemy hit by your Pinning Shot by 25% for the duration of the slow effect.  This can help your team immensely when trying to take down an enemy tank that has a lot of health.

Level 20

Your top level talents have some good options.  My two favourites are the two that boost your level 10 talents.  This means taking either Fast Reload or Precision Barrage.  The choice is obviously dependant on which talent you took at level 10.  Fast Reload instantly resets Triple Shots cooldown if you kill an enemy hero with it.  Since this does so much damage to start with, being able to reuse it on multiple wounded heroes back to back can help clear the enemy team.  Precision Barrage is equally useful as it allows you to store 2 charges of Precision Strike, allowing you to deal additional damage anywhere on the map any time you need it.

Nova – Strategy

While playing as Nova your goal is to pick off enemy heroes whenever you can, while staying alive.  This may sound like the goal of any hero in Heroes of the Storm, but it isn’t.  Many heroes can be useful in other ways, such as claiming mercenary camps, defending towers, or capturing objectives.  Nova however is so fragile that she has issues staying alive against anything that will target her directly, like mercenary camps or towers.  In fact, Nova is one of the most fragile heroes in the game.

Luckily, Nova can put out some of the highest burst damage of any hero in the game.

Using Nova is all about hitting enemy players out of your cloak when you think you can either kill them off, or scare them enough to go running away.  To do this to the best effect it is best to hold back and stay cloaked until an enemy is engaged with one of your allies, then once they have been damaged a bit, hit them out of your cloak with a Snipe, then pin them and either kill them off or fade back away and re-cloak.

Later in the game once you get your tier 10 talents you can do even more to help kill enemies, especially if you take Precision Strike, since you can hit enemies anywhere on the map.

It can not be overstated how fragile Nova is though.  You should never get involved in a fight where you are outnumbered or cornered.  Stay cloaked and stay alive.  Being so easy to be killed off, it is too easy to over estimate your survivability and spend more time dead than alive and helping your team.  If you can make it to the end of a game without having died, and have killed 15 or more enemy heroes you have learned to play the class the right way.

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Last Updated: Mar 13, 2016

About The Author

Byron has been playing and writing about World of Warcraft for the past ten years. He also plays pretty much ever other Blizzard game, currently focusing on Heroes of the Storm and Hearthstone, while still finding time to jump into Diablo III with his son.