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Nova Overview[]

(Updated to v15.0)

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.

2 Possible Playstyles for Nova[]

Nova has 2 possible playstyles. The two playstyles are:

  1. Pure Snipe Nova
  2. Leadership-Drone Nova

A more detailed breakdown on Drones can be found here: https://cp2.fandom.com/wiki/Drone_Hangar_Mastery

Pure Snipe Nova is a much more efficient playstyle[]

The ELITE upgrades in V14.17 increase drone attack speed by +30%, drone acceleration towards the target and make drones shoot lasers at their target. On OS, Nova can reach her 25,000 score before the hour mark, usually at 55 minutes, but only with a lot of nuking. On HW, she can reach the same score slightly faster, but again, a lot of nukes are required.

Nova is much better off with a pure snipe build for 3 and 4-player OS and HW (the pros):

  1. There are no snipe resistant enemies in OS and HW
  2. Sniping with Executioner Mastery and Ghost Academy Training and fully upgraded Ricochet and Lightweight Equipment masteries deals far greater and more consistent damage compared to Leadership-Drone Nova. Additionally, Sniping has much larger range that Drone-attack range.
  3. Nova saves 2 masteries by not going for Leadership-Drones. She does not need to spend a Perk on Leadership, and thus picks Compartmentalization Perk, meaning she gets Lightweight Equipment for free. She also does not need to pick Combat Drones mastery. The 2 masteries saved means that Nova can invest 2 additional masteries in a Pure Snipe build, making her effective from early game onwards.
  4. Pure Snipe Nova avoids relying on Drone Wars talent, which is as good as a mastery. It greatly increases Drone attack speed, and sometimes Nova does not get this talent until levels 50+, making the whole Leadership-Drone build very weak. This is an unfixed game design issue that has existed for very long. 
  5. Even with the ELITE upgrade, OS games are ending by the hour mark, making Pure Snipe Nova an even better playstyle that it already is for OS, because Nova can continuously snipe mobs of enemies to allow allies to focus on buildings instead.
  6. The same applies to HW games, where the ELITE upgrade does little for Nova aside proving melee firepower against Yagdras and Hives. The advantage of being an extremely powerful sniping force from the beginning of the game itself more than outweights this niche advantage of being effective against Yagdras and Hives with Leadership-Drones.
  7. Power cubes spawn frequently enough to allow Nova to melt surrounding roach and snipe drops with ease, further reducing the relative efficienty of Leadership-Drone Nova.
  8. The longer the game, the more likely there are inexperienced players. When deaths happen, there are punishment bosses. Pure Snipe Nova is extremely well suited to deal with them. This means that the longer the game goes by, the better Pure Snipe Nova becomes. Nova can and should also be continuously nuking after she picks Armageddon Mastery. 

The Cons:

  1. A slight delay in reaching her 2500 with a pure snipe build. It is expected that Nova reaches her 2500 score by level 40, which is around the 22nd minute mark with a Leadership-Drone build. With a Pure Snipe build, Nova reaches her score only 2 or 3 minutes later.
  2. Leadership-Drone Nova is much better at handling Hives and Yagdras.

As such, the ELITE V14.17 upgrades does very little for Nova on Oldschool and Hellwalker. They might be effective in other difficulties where mechanics are different, such as the existence of snipe resistant enemies.

Nova's Perks for OS and HW[]

Nova has 4 very rigid perks for a pure snipe build, which is her most effective playstyle by far for OS and HW games:

  1. Onslaught
  2. Weaponsmith
  3. Absorption
  4. Compartment

For quick entry of Perks at the beginning of the match, type (without quotes) "-perk owec".

Perks Explanation[]

  1. Onslaught adds +20% snipe damage and nuke damage and auto-attack damage, which makes it a critical perk for Nova
  2. Absorption is a core mastery for Sniping and synergizing with Killer Instinct mastery, by providing extra total energy for each stack of absorption.
  3. Weaponsmith allows Nova to outrange spore and hive detection range. It also increases drone damage, auto-attack damage, auto-attack range and snipe damage. 
  4. Compartment saves Nova a mastery point when she needs to pick Lightweight Equipment.

NEVER pick toxic waste for Nova for Oldschool and Hellwalker multiplayer games. The only exception is for solo games. 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, meaning you are only trading off 1 perk for your 2000 killstreak mastery. Therefore, not only does Nova gain nothing (except slightly faster score unlock) in doing so, she also wastes 1 critical perk by picking toxic waste.

NEVER also pick Bug Zapper for Nova. While it is not a terrible perk, other perks are far more important.

Nova's Mastery Order for OS and HW[]

Nova goes Pure Snipe:

  1. Level 0 = Killer Instinct + (Free) Lightweight Equipment
  2. Level 10 = Ricochet or Ghost Academy Training
  3. Level 20 = Ghost Academy Training or Ricochet
  4. Level 30 = Energy
  5. Level 40 = Executioner
  6. Level 50 = Marksman
  7. 2K Streak = Global Nukes
  8. Level 60/ Free Hourly bonus = Armageddon

At level 10, Ghost Academy Training is a 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 latest at level 20, pick Ricochet. 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.

If the level 30 mastery is saved, Nova reaches her 2500 score by levels 38 or 39. If Nova picks Energy with her level 30 mastery, she reaches 2500 score by levels 35-35, with the advantage of stacking up a higher killstreak. Therefore, Nova should pick Energy by level 30 and use her level 40 mastery point to pick her Executioner mastery instead (Credit to player with battle.net name Kangaroooo for asking a question about that)

Nova completes her pure snipe build by Level 50 with Marksman.

At level 60 and further, other situational masteries such as Nuke and Armageddon mastery could be useful.

Comments on Nova's other Masteries[]

Weakspot Mastery[]

Marginal increase in snipe damage against armored targets. Armored targets include ultralisks and heavy flyers, which are slaughtered by a level 50 Nova with Executioner anyways. Marksman is always a better pick for Nova. 

However, Leadership-Drone Nova benefits non negligibly from Weakspot, since her Drones and Auto-attacks ignore armor.

Emergency Kit Mastery[]

The very last mastery Nova should pick. There is no reason to get placed in the line of fire. This mastery adds very little to Nova's capabilities.

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