November Terra, also known as Nova, is the female counterpart to Jim Raynor and to any other template for the perfect ranged assassin. Able to deal damage from a distance, Nova is one of the best heroes to play as for beginners. However, her ghost and cloak abilities make her a favorite even among the most skilled of players. Truly, Nova’s abilities make her one of the best characters regardless of your skill level. With that, here’s our detailed guide on what to expect with the Dominion Ghost from the Starcraft universe.
November “Nova” Terra is a Terran Dominion Ghost, and is one of the most powerful soldiers that came out of the Ghost Academy. Initially shielded by her parents due to her vast psionic powers, she eventually found her way in the arms of the very Ghosts that her family was shielding her from. Nova is a supremely dedicated soldier, even to the point of having her memories of her past wiped in order to become more effective.
Her missions as part of the Dominion have included battling the zerg as well as pursuing the rebel Jim Raynor. With her abilities, she is one of the Ghost Dominion’s most valuable assets, and enemies of her faction consider being in her sights one of the most feared places to be in.
Nova’s primary weapon is a sniper rifle that can deal tremendous damage to single or multiple enemies. Her rifle also has different capabilities and effects depending on the rounds or abilities used. For more skilled players, they would also be able to take advantage of Nova’s cloaking and holograph projection capabilities which would allow her to hide from enemies as well as to confuse or distract them while you move away or put yourself in a better position to attack.
Nova’s Permanent Cloak allows her to be cloaked when not in combat for 2.5 seconds. This cloaking ability will be removed once Nova attacks or is attacked, although certain abilities will not affect this status. Nova’s trait allows her to move around without being detected by enemies which makes her able to move more freely around the map as compared to other heroes.
For her starting abilities, Nova has three, namely Snipe, Pinning Shot, and Holo Decoy. Snipe (75 mana cost, 12 seconds cooldown) lets Nova deal large damage to a single enemy using her rifle, while Pinning Shot (80 mana cost, 15 seconds cooldown) deals damage to a single enemy as slows him by 30% for 2.25 seconds. Lastly, Holo Decoy (60 mana cost, 15 seconds cooldown) allows Nova to create a decoy which would appear to attack enemies but will not deal damage. Holo Decoy does not break Nova’s cloaking trait. These abilities can be enhanced and more abilities can be unlocked by choosing the appropriate talents as Nova levels up.
The first build mentioned below is recommended if you want to maximize Nova’s damage dealing abilities. The kit focus on being able to deal as much damage as possible but compromises other enhancements. This type of build is not recommended if you do not have a good supporting cast that will help keep you out of danger as weak allies would simply cause you to get swarmed early on.
Tazer Rounds – increases slow duration of Pinning Shot for 3 seconds
FN92 Sniper Rifle – increases the range of Nova’s basic attacks
Explosive Round – Snipe deals 50% splash damage to nearby enemies
Triple Tap – targets an enemy and hits the first enemy or hero in its path up to three times
Holo Drone – let’s Nova’s decoy gain the ability to deal damage and use abilities, albeit to a reduced degree
Crippling Shot or Railgun – Crippling Shot makes enemies hit by Pinning Shot take 25% increased damage for 2 seconds
Fast Reload – cooldown for Triple Tap is reset if an enemy hero is killed by it
This second build gives Nova more flexibility. Although she can still deal some tremendous damage, the character will be more balanced out as she’ll also get some buffs and additional support abilities enhancements that will help her and her teammates survive for longer.
Ambush Snipe or Psi-Op Rangefinder – Ambush Snipe increases the damage of Snipe if it is used while in cloaked form while Psi-Op Rangefinder increases Snipe’s range by 20%
Vampiric Assault – basic attacks heal Nova for 15% of the total damage dealt from basic attacks
Explosive Round – same reason as above
Precision Strike or Triple Tap – Precision Strike deals large damage to a target area after a short delay
Advanced Cloaking – Nova moves and regenerates health faster while in cloaked form
Blood for Blood – allows Nova to steal 15% of a target enemy’s total health and slow him by 30% for 3 seconds
Fast Reload or Precision Barrage – provides enhancements for Nova’s heroic abilities. Select depending on which heroic ability you have chosen
Combine the two builds in order to find the best combination for you. Take note that Nova needs both damage and survivability to be really effective, so balancing out these two factors is certainly a must. It is recommended, however, to focus your builds more on extending your range rather than increasing damage, and to prioritize talents that will take advantage of your cloaked form.
Nova is a ranged assassin, which means that she can deal high damage from afar. Keep your distance from enemies and pick them off one by one. Have teammates control enemies and have them keep the opposing team away from you, and then deal supporting fire using your abilities. This is where Pinning Shot would be at its best as this also provides slowing effects that would give allies a window of opportunity to deal more damage.
Using Nova’s trait as well as her Decoy ability is also very advantageous so that she can hide from enemies and keep away from danger. For maximum effect, use Holo Decoy after Penetrating Cloak has been activated so that enemies would be confused as to your original location. Talents at higher levels will enhance this ability as well as give your decoy the ability to deal damage.
Pros and Cons
Nova is extremely powerful at long range, but can be easily contained once multiple enemies are able to come in close. Players must be able to use their cloaking abilities effectively in order to avoid getting swarmed, as Nova would get killed quickly once this happens. Also, while Nova has relatively short cooldown times for her abilities, they have high mana costs which will greatly compromise your hero should you want to spam a certain skill.
Nova can either be a simple or complex character to play. Using her is extremely advantageous if you are using a simple ranged attack tactic, but being able to take advantage of her other abilities is certainly a must. Being able to attack while cloak will, in some situations, cause you to deal more damage, but do make sure to be in a good position as attacking will reveal your position and would then make you vulnerable to getting chased by enemies.
Tips and Tricks
Nova is a great character to play as for newbies, but in the hands of an experienced strategist, she can be a real headache for any opposing team. Have Nova strike from as far as possible, and it doesn’t matter if she picks a random target or focuses her attacks on just one character. Just keep pounding on enemies until they die, but always have one or two allies that will keep them at bay.
As Nova levels up, players will have the option to provide splash damage to Snipe. Pinning Shot is also a very useful ability as not only does it deal some decent damage, but it also slows enemies which make them ripe for the picking. Lastly, Triple Tap is the recommended heroic ability as there is always the risk of you hitting thin air when activating Precision Strike as it only fires after a short delay, which is more than enough time for enemies to move away.
With that, experienced players will control Nova while also trying to predict the enemies’ next moves. This will allow you to build up your strategy for when you would need to line up your shots or, if you chose Precision Strike, forecast where groups of enemies would be going so that you can deal maximum damage once they walk into your intended target area. Also, knowing their attack patterns will help you confuse them especially when cloaking and decoy abilities are already put into use. Fool enemies into thinking that you are in one spot while moving towards the other. Switch movement strategies to confuse enemies and strike when you least expect it.
Take note that Nova’s Permanent Cloak trait can be used offensively as well as defensively, so make sure to activate it whenever you are not contributing to the team. This will allow you to regroup, recover, and move into a better position while keeping yourself hidden. Don’t compromise your team’s lives in exchange for this ability, though, and always return to the action whenever you are already capable to.