Nova OverviewEdit

Nova has excellent point damage with her drones and her snipe ability. She can mark bosses to trigger them when Anvil scans an area, which saves Anvil from picking the Nuke mastery prematurely. 

She has a hard time dealing with weak mobs, but in multi-player games, other heroes deal with small, weak and numerous mobs of enemies, not Nova.

Additionally, with the number of power cubes that spawn in the game, if picked up at proper times, allows Nova to deal with spine and roach drops with ease.

While Nova's perks and mastery order for Hellwalker is constant, she has 2 viable playstyles for Oldschool. This is due to the fact that she can only pick 3 perks, and the perk that is not selected completely changes her mastery order, and consequentially, how you play her on Oldschool.

Nova's Perks for Hellwalker (HW)Edit

Nova is straightforward for Hellwalker. She has 4 fixed perks:

  1. Onslaught
  2. Weaponsmith
  3. Leadership
  4. Absorbtion

Perks ExplanationEdit

  1. Onslaught adds +20% snipe damage and nuke damage and auto-attack damage, which makes it a critical perk for Nova
  2. Weaponsmith increases drone damage, auto-attack damage, auto-attack range and snipe damage. Weaponsmith is critical as a perk to outrange spore crawlers and keep moving forward and deep to reach your 2500 score. Weaponsmith is a clear winner over compartmentalization, because when picked as a perk, weaponsmith is instantly completed for free. Compartmentalization needs to be picked manually, and takes both time and minerals to complete. 
  3. Leadership provides Drones with +50% damage and Nova can unlock by level 30-35 in Oldschool and Hellwalker games with the right order of Masteries. Drones provides constantly high DPS from beginning to end-game, allowing Nova to melt spine and spore drops and buildings later on, with ease. A more detailed breakdown on Drones can be found here:
  4. Absorption is a core mastery for Hellwalker, where there is a need to snipe numerous bosses and high HP targets.
  5. NEVER pick toxic waste for Nova for Oldschool and Hellwalker. Many beginners tend to make this poor selection. It might be fun to melt the huge waves of small enemies once the roach trap is triggered, but you are much better off saving your valuable perk for something useful. You will unlock your 2000 kill-streak bonus mastery anyways with or without toxic waste.

2 Viable Playstyles on Oldschool (OS)Edit

Nova on Oldschool has 2 playstyles. Both of which are effective. However, both are not equally effective. The overall effectiveness of which playstyle to use would depend on the expected length of the game and the expected number of deaths.

Nova's Perks for Efficient OS Games (~1H00) with little deathsEdit

Here Nova gets her 2500 score before level 40, allowing bosses to be triggered early.

  1. Onslaught
  2. Weaponsmith
  3. Leadership

In an efficient team, it is expected that teams mostly stay together, meaning that hordes of Hive guardians and roaches and queens are dealt with by other members of the team, while Nova is only need to snipe the major bosses and occasionally, the dangerous blue, green and purple ultralisks.

This is where Drones with Leadership shine at decimating high HP targets such as hive guardians, heavy flyers such as brood lords, hives, and spine crawlers. When your team keeps them busy, you can split your sniping and auto-attacking to sustain your energy, and both your auto-attacks (with the help of drones) and snipes would deal great damage.

Nova's Mastery Order for HW and Efficient OS GamesEdit

For leadership drones Nova, her optimal mastery order is very straightforward:

  1. Level 0 = Combat Drones
  2. Level 10 = Killer Instict
  3. Level 20 = Lightweight Equipment
  4. Level 30 = Executioner
  5. Level 40 = Ghost Academy Training
  6. Level 50 = Ricochet
  7. 2K Streak = Energy
  8. Level 60 = Marksman/ Weakspot

With the above perks and the above mastery order, Nova will unlock between levels 30 to 35 on Hellwalker. This would allow her to pick Executioner Mastery from her Level 30 Mastery point.

Pick Ricochet by level 50. Use Nova's Displace talent freely just for the sake of improving the ricochet step-wise upgrades. (and other step-wise upgrades as well). Ricochet will also accelerate your 2000 killstreak, which would happen imminently after level 50.

At level 60, it is situational between the increased range of Marksman and the slightly increased damage of Weakspot.

Nova's Perks for Longer OS Games (>1H20)Edit

Even without any speedrunning strategies, efficient OS games that follow the traditional boss trigger orders still complete around ~1H00.

This means games that drag on for more than that contain inexperienced players, and therefore, the probability of having numerous deaths also increases as well.

Death has penalties. If the Brutalisk, Omegalisk and Leviathan are dead, each subsequent death will trigger a number of omega sentinels, culminating in elder hive guardians later on. Therefore in those circumstances, Nova would be better off with a pure snipe build, skipping Leadership perk and the Combat Drone mastery completely in favor of more energy with Absorption perk.

This is a pure snipe build:

  1. Onslaught
  2. Weaponsmith
  3. Absorbtion

Nova's Mastery Order for Longer OS Games (>1H20)Edit

For longer Oldschool games, this is a pure snipe build:

  1. Level 0 = Killer Instinct
  2. Level 10 = Lightweight Equipment
  3. Level 20 = Ghost Academy Training/ Ricochet
  4. Level 30 = Ricochet/ Ghost Academy Training
  5. Level 40 = Executioner
  6. Level 50 = Energy
  7. 2K Streak = Weakspot/ Marksman
  8. Level 60 = Marksman/ Weakspot

At level 20, Ghost Academy Training is a much better mastery than Ricochet since it increases Nova's energy maximum (Remember that killer instinct procreates energy based on Nova's energy maximum) and reduced snipe cooldowns (combined with lightweight equipment and all talents) means instant snipes. However, if your allies are not donating minerals to allow you to reach 5000 minerals to select Ghost Academy Training, pick Ricochet instead.

By level 30, you should have enough for Ghost Academy Training in the event you could not pick it at level 20.

Once you pick Energy mastery by level 50, you will be a sniping force to be reckoned with. 

At your 2K Streak, it is situational between the increased range of Marksman and the slightly increased damage of Weakspot. If you still want to further improve the damage of your snipes, especially against heavy flyers such as bane lords and ultralisks, pick Weakspot. If you need the range to support your allies from afar, pick Marksman.

Comments on Nova's MasteriesEdit

Nova has 14 Masteries:

  1. Energy -> Core Mid Game Mastery
  2. Lightweight -> Core Mastery
  3. Weapons Research -> Core Mastery
  4. Combat Drones -> Core Early Game Mastery
  5. Iron Man -> Useless for Nova
  6. Killer Instinct -> Core Early Game Mastery. Energy regeneration
  7. Weakspot -> Decent Late Game Mastery 
  8. Ricochet -> Core Mid Game Mastery
  9. Marksman -> Decent Late Game Mastery
  10. Nuke -> Global Nuke
  11. Ghost Academy Training -> Core Mastery
  12. Armageddon -> Useless for Oldschool and casual/normal speed HW games
  13. Emergency Kit -> Useless

Iron Man(5) would not be selectable during the game owing to the fact that Onslaught perk has been taken. 

Emergency kit(13) is always picked last. 

Armageddon(12) is a very situational mastery, and in most games, is also picked among the last masteries.

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.