There's quite a few neat tricks you can do with Nova's E that I've discovered over the course of playing her, so I thought I'd share what I know, and leave a format for other people to share tips on how to use this awesome ability! Note, some of the tricks specifically require an uncloaked clone (from either the decoy attacking a hero or fort, or from you placing the decoy while YOU are uncloaked. If you need to uncloak quickly at range, throw a snipe/AA into the nearest safe enemy hitbox, such as a building or minion). Most of these uses are best paired with > at 4 since creating lots of disposable copies is best, but you can still make use of these without it!
Soak (Uncloaked – Easy) — Your decoy counts as a hero for soaking purposes, meaning that it will pick up nearby XP globes while uncloaked! If you deploy it while cloaked, it will only pick up ones that are really close by until it uncloaks/moves. Great for grabbing a large wave of XP that's just out of reach. Throw a snipe into the nearest minion, then your E at max range so you don't miss any soak.
Minion/Merc aggro (Uncloaked – Easy) — For whatever reason, minions and enemy mercs will prioritize attacking an uncloaked decoy over other heroes, minions, or even structures. Use this to freeze a lane near your towers, or to save your forts from taking damage from attacking minion waves. Note: Doesn't pull catapult aggro if it's already attacking something, and it doesn't draw enemy boss aggro while it's going down lane.
Neutral Boss aggro (Uncloaked- Easy) — If your team is taking a boss, try putting an uncloaked decoy directly under the boss' hitbox. If none of your allies are closer to the boss than your decoy, the boss will prioritize attacking your decoy, saving your tank 3-4 boss AAs per decoy! (Just be careful to not deploy it during the boss' special attack, or it will melt instantly.)
Scouting (Either – Easy) — Throw your decoy into bushes that you're unsure about, behind walls, or into nearby enemy merc camps to see if they're being taken. Information is powerful in this game, and knowing where an enemy is before they see/gank you is extremely valuable. (Just keep in mind there may be times you don't want to let the enemy know you're coming!)
Punisher aggro (Cloaked – Medium) — If you're on infernal shrines and an enemy punisher is approaching, pop your decoy on your side of the gates while an enemy hero is nearby. Your clone will attack an enemy hero and draw the punisher's stuns and AAs, saving a teammate from potentially getting blown up.
Fort aggro (Either – Medium) — Your decoys will attack forts and keeps (but not normal towers for whatever reason), but they prioritize attacking enemy heroes above all. If you see that your team is about to go for a kill, throw out a decoy near the enemy. The fort will attack it for a moment, giving your team the opportunity to focus an enemy without the fort attacking them immediately.
Armor breaking (Either – Medium) — Because your decoys count as heroes in most cases, and it uses weaker copies of your Q, W, and AAs, you can use it to break enemy instance armor before you attack. For example, if you place your E near a Lunara who was distracted enough to leave their > up, the clone will snipe her, and the spell armor will start ticking down. Similarly, it can remove charges of physical block/spell block if it attacks a target with those up. Use it to soften up a target for a full ability rotation.
Blocking Enemy Skillshots (Either – Hard) — The hardest, but most impactful use of decoy. It'll be difficult to list out all the abilities you can/should block with this when able, but most linear skillshots are fair game. A few prime examples:
Artanis' E: Place your clone between the Artanis and his likely swap target
Qhira's E: If you position correctly and time it right, you can block the intial stun, and your clone will absorb the rest of the swing (just remember she can still heal off your clone)
Li-Ming's W: Good for stopping orb spam if you put your E close to her just before she launches it.
Hanzo's Q (and W): Pretty straightforward, just put your E between him and a low teammate who's running.
Kael'Thas' untraited E: Good for preventing him from stunning you or a teammate
Kel'Thuzad's E: Hard to pull off, but very worth it to prevent you or a teammate from being combod into oblivion. Try to place your E close to where his chained target is, so that it messes up the distance that the victim will be pulled (and thus wastes his combo)
Stitches Q: A little difficult, but it is a telegraphed ability. Stay on your toes and you can deny the enemy stitches perhaps the biggest piece of his kit!
Garrosh E: You'll need to be uncloaked for this one to work. If you see him going for a toss on you or a teammate, put your E DIRECTLY on his hitbox, or between him and his victim. With a bit of luck, your decoy will be thrown back, the enemy team will waste abilities on it, and your ally lives to fight again.
Caution: Just remember that there are some heroes who benefit from hitting heroes or "heroic" type enemies, such as your clone. Be a bit more sparing with your decoys around those heroes (Orphea – gets trait stacks, Kel'thuzad – gets quest stacks, and basically any other "hit hero" quests). Basically, use common sense so that you aren't feeding free stacks to the enemy team while you're providing utility to yours.
Hope this was helpful! If you have a trick that I missed, please share it below!
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