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.
The optimal perks for Nova for Oldschool and Hellwalker are:
- (Hellwalker) Absorption
Beginners might be surprised:
- to not see Toxic Waste in this list,
- to not see Absorption for Oldschool,
- to even see Leadership as a perk.
However, Nova is as straightforward as it gets for Oldschool and Hellwalker.
- 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.
- Weaponsmith is critical as a perk to outrange spore crawlers and keep moving forward and deep to reach your 2500 score. Weaponsmith increases drone damage, auto-attack damage and snipe damage.
- Onslaught adds +20% snipe damage and nuke damage and auto-attack damage, which makes it a critical perk for Nova
- Absorption is a core mastery for Hellwalker, where there is a need to snipe numerous bosses. On Oldschool, there are far less bosses to snipe. Additionally, for Oldschool, Nova's leadership + drones deal more damage than Executioner snipes to non-boss enemies apart from the Omega Sentinels. This is not the case for Hellwalker, where even enemies such as Hive Guardians die faster from Executioner snipes compared to drones with Leadership. It still would have been quite good to have absorption for Oldschool, but her 3 core perks Onslaught, Leadership and Weaponsmith by far outweigh Absorption, which is her 4th best perk. Regrettably, Absorption is out for Oldschool.
Nova's Mastery Order
With Nova's perks solidly in place, her optimal mastery order is very straightforward:
- Level 0 = Drones
- Level 10 = Lightweight Equipment
- Level 20 = Killer Instinct
- Level 30 = Executioner
- Level 40 = Ghost Academy Training
- Level 50 = Energy/Ricochet
- 2K Streak = Ricochet/Energy
- Level 60 = Marksman
With the above perks and the above mastery order, Nova will unlock between levels 30 to 35 on Oldschool, and even earlier on Hellwalker. This would allow her to pick Executioner Mastery from her Level 30 Mastery point.
Preferably, 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).
Comments on Nova's Masteries
Nova has 14 Masteries:
- Energy -> Core Mid Game Mastery
- Lightweight -> Core Mastery
- Weapons Research -> Core Mastery
- Combat Drones -> Core Early Game Mastery
- Iron Man -> Useless for Nova
- Killer Instinct -> Core Early Game Mastery. Energy regeneration
- Weakspot -> Decent Late Game Mastery
- Ricochet -> Core Mid Game Mastery
- Marksman -> Decent Late Game Mastery
- Nuke -> Global Nuke
- Ghost Academy Training -> Core Mastery after ULTIMATE
- Armageddon -> Useless for Oldschool and casual/normal speed HW games
- Emergency Kit -> Useless
Nova should avoid picking Iron Man(5), Armageddon(12), and Emergency kit(13). Armageddon is only useful in speedrun games where nova must use general mass nukes to damage specific targets. She can easily avoid nukebacks in casual games by simply paying attention to the game.