Last Updated: 13-May-2015

Fun fact: The sun will never go nova because it’s not massive enough. BUT THAT DON’T MEAN YOU CAN’T. Wait, did I just make a fat joke? Sorry.



For a brief period, the Nova was a great Clan mech. Then they nerfed ER Small Lasers and machine guns, and time to kill (TTK) got even lower, and brawling got even more rare, and it sucked. Well guess what – IT’S BACK (sort of but in a limited capacity). This laser mech without the tonnage available to fill up all of its slots with just heat sinks, the Nova has returned due in large part to quirks as both a brawler and sniper.

Thanks to the variant-specific CT quirks, the Nova is one of the select clan mechs where the CT you choose actually does matter! The NVA-C (currently only available through the gift shop) is absolutely the best CT available, due mainly to its 8 extra points of structure and also to decent secondary movement quirks. Second up is the NVA-B, which features exceptional acceleration quirks as well as the highest quirked torso twist range of motion and a decent boost to its torso twist speed. The NVA-A takes the third slot with its extra turning speed and reverse speed and the NVA-S’s extra torso twist speed (as well as a boost to AMS effectiveness) put it in fourth. Finally, we have the NVA-Prime, whose unique point is a pretty useless reduction in overheat damage. And yeah, you’d think that different builds would take advantage of the different quirks in different ways and thus one of the normally sub-par ones might be better in a certain niche…but you’d be wrong. That being said, the gap between the variants is not that huge, and I don’t think the NVA-C is actually worth it. Anyways, due to these factors, we’ll be making our builds on the NVA-C chassis, and I will also include a NVA-B loadout with only F2P components.


Chassis-Wide Information


  • The greatest boon at the Nova’s disposal is the sheer number of hardpoints available. Each side torso can mount either an energy or two ballistics, depending on the omnipod, and each arm can mount anywhere from one ballistic to six energy hardpoints. This makes the Nova optimal for boating a high number of low-tonnage weapons, and one of the few mechs which can surpass the hard-coded limit of 16 weapons (though only on paper as any mech with more than 16 weapons systems cannot be taken into battle).
  • Having jumpjets (even if there are too many) make the Nova fairly nimble, letting you escape or get into some sticky situations.
  • The Nova has some of the best quirks of any Clan mech, and is the only one that can make exceptional use of them.




  • No endo nor ferro, plus 5 locked jumpjets, mean that your available tonnage is severely (and I do mean severely) limited. With the armor maxed out on each, the Nova has less pod space than an Adder. Ridiculous, I know.
  • Some of the worst hitboxes in the game – incredibly broad mech with large legs, arms, side torsos, CT, etc. This makes it one of the squishiest mechs too.
  • Weapon mounts are almost exclusively low and spread out, meaning that you have to expose even your legs to shoot with your arms and convergence can even become an issue.


Generic Tips

  • The main unifying feature of all Nova builds is that you really, really, really don’t want to get shot, or even seen. Flanking, hit and run tactics, poptarting, or any other techniques that reduce your risk of getting shot are a must.
  • The way weapons are arranged in game when you have a buttload of lasers on this mech is…just bad. Take some time to set weapon groups up, you’ll need it.
  • Important omnipods besides CT:
    • Prime or C Legs: Both have 16 extra structure which is important (especially in a medium mech)
    • B or C RT: Both have a single energy hardpoint, as well as 5% energy cooldown (all side torso omnipods get 8 structure)
    • S RT: The only RT with 2 ballistic hardpoints, plus it gets some MG quirks
    • Prime RT: This has nothing in it, and has (accordingly) the best movement quirk – 2.5% torso yaw rate
    • A LT: This is the only LT omnipod with an energy hardpoint (it also has AMS and AMS quirks but who cares)
    • S LT: This is the best LT hardpoint without energy, has the ballistic hardpoints and MG quirks of the B LT in addition to some torso twist range of motion (if you prefer torso twist speed and don’t want the hardpoints, you can use the Prime LT)
    • Prime Arms: These each have 2.5% energy heat gen quirks, plus 2.5% ER heat gen quirks, resulting in 10% reduced heat gen total if you use ER lasers, and the most energy hardpoints at 6 each but the worst durability quirks at 16 structure
    • A Arms: These each have 3% reduced ER PPC heat gen and 7.5% increased ER PPC velocity
    • S Arms: These are the same deal as the Prime, but with Pulse lasers instead of ER, and fewer hardpoints, but also slightly better durability with 8 points off the structure quirks switched to armor.
    • B RA, C LA: These are the only ballistic arms, but the C has better quirks unless you’re using UACs
    • B LA: This has some pulse laser and generic laser duration quirks attached to it, as well as some great structural buffs.
    • C LT: Don’t. Just don’t.



For those of you who are not familiar with the general format, here’s how it goes (and it is different from the IS ones). We’re going to be identifying build archetypes (generally listed from long range to short) and customizing them to fit the variants, often coming up with a few separate versions of the same type of build which function differently in some way. Some Clan mechs (like the Summoner) share the same CT and so don’t need differentiation based on the variant, but others (like the Timber Wolf) have variants with very different center torsos and so a custom build for each of those variants must be made (if it’s getting a bit confusing, don’t worry it should all become clear momentarily). I will italicize the variant(s) that the archetypical build fits best in as well. In general, the builds will be labeled according to their armament, but occasionally I will name a build if it is particularly badass.

Also, the consumables I’ve listed are the ones that are best for normal play, but while leveling the mech you may want to swap the less important one out for a UAV, if you can afford to use consumables at all (they aren’t necessary, just nice).

Now then, on with it!


cERLL Sniper

Yeah I’m pretty disappointed that I broke ghost heat, too. But these loadouts are about as good as you can get for the extreme range fighting, with 5% reduced heat gen, 5% reduced cooldown, and 3% reduced duration, and plenty of heatsinks for extended engagements. Unfortunately, the Nova isn’t the best platform for this style of fighting, but it does remain an option.

To do this effectively in a Nova, you’ll need to stay mobile. Try to rotate around your main force to the edges in order to avoid the enemy’s guns, and pull range whenever reasonable so that you can use your extreme range advantage effectively. Reposition often to keep the enemy guessing, and use your jumpjets to find new spots to poke from that aren’t usually available.

Mech Modules (In order of importance): Radar Deprivation, Seismic Sensor

Weapon Modules (In order of importance): cERLL Range, cERLL Cooldown

Consumables (In order of importance): Cool Shot 9×9, Improved Artillery Strike

If spookyheat is too spooky, you can use this. It sacrifices quite a bit of your long-range punch, but won’t leave you nearly as vulnerable if the distance closes.

Weapon Modules (In order of importance): cERLL Cooldown, cERSL Range



This is the build that convinced me to try the Nova again. With 6% reduced heat generation, 15% extra ERPPC velocity, and 5% cooldown (before modules), the Nova has become the best, and perhaps the only, true poptart in the game. The velocity still holds it back, and the alpha strike doesn’t exactly break the bank, but with roughly a 900 meter optimal and more than enough jumpjets to let you soar over virtually any cover, this is one of the best combinations of fun and effective in the game.

Anyone who’s poptarted before should know just how to play this, and below is an edited version of the quick guide to it from the Cataphract Master Guide

There are a few ways to play a poptart and often you’ll want to do more than one of them in a game. The first method is the MWO iteration of jumpsniping – move behind cover roughly perpendicular to your target, jump to clear the cover, and fire your full alpha as you fall back down. The next method is more traditional OG poptarting where you jump vertically over a ridge or what have you just long enough to let loose the lightning before dropping back down. This is more risky as it’s easier to lead you, but it’s simpler and an easy way to learn.

The Nova has the added advantage of being relatively quick, which means you can poptart, relocate, and poptart again without wasting much time while your PPCs are cycling. And any time when you’re too hot to poptart (when mastered, your threshold is a bit below 60%), you should likewise be relocating. Of course, you don’t have to be poptarting in order to shoot and you can just set up at extreme range and try to get sicknasty shots off, but that can be difficult with how slow PPCs are these days. Use your best judgment.

Mech Modules (In order of importance): Radar Deprivation, Seismic Sensor

Weapon Modules (In order of importance): cERPPC Cooldown, cERPPC Range

Consumables (In order of importance): Cool Shot 9×9, Improved Artillery Strike

If leading targets is too scary for you (kidding), you may enjoy this more. Originally I just had 2 cLPLs, but I figured it was so cool that I might as well drop a heatsink for a cERML. And then I was like, what’s the point in just one cERML? So here ya have it. Feel free to lose one or both of the meds for extra heatsinks if you feel like it, though.

Weapon Modules (In order of importance): cLPL Range, cERML Range


cERML Spam

Due in part to its low tonnage, and in part due to its weapon hardpoint locations, it can be a bit awkward to create a laser vomit build that mixes either cLPL or cERLL with cERMLs and produces a result better than just spamming cERMLs does. As such, I’m skipping the builds that mix them and going straight for cERML spam. As you see, the firepower is pretty crazy, but the heat is killer, and the ghost heat is worrisome.

There are two methods I use to avoid triggering ghost heat with this build. The first is firing one side at a time, and this can be useful when corner peeking or in a full engage. Otherwise, you can use one weapon group for the arms and one for the torso. I use both of these methods when playing it myself, (Left Mouse does the left 4, Right Mouse does the right 4, middle mouse does the torso lasers, and Mouse 4 does the arms) but you can experiment to see what feels right. You want to keep your range limited to around 600 meters as past that you won’t be getting many favorable trades, but moving around a lot and flanking from medium range is highly effective with this build, and as with the poptart you should be repositioning whenever you get too hot.

Mech Modules (In order of importance): Radar Deprivation, Seismic Sensor

Weapon Modules (In order of importance): cERML Range, cERML Cooldown

Consumables (In order of importance): Cool Shot 9×9, Improved Air Strike

This is actually my pet build from back when the Nova first came out. It sacrifices some mid-range potential (though on the bright side, no more ghost heat!) to get some crazy in-close deeps. I love the versatility, but you gotta remember that your MGs are just backup weapons. Though if you find yourself running out of ammo anyways, you can sacrifice a heatsink for a ton of ammo.

Weapon Modules (In order of importance): cERML Range, cMG Range

If you’d rather commit to your right side than split your weapons evenly (and I don’t blame you), this may be for you. It’s a simpler build to use and does better right-side peeking.

This is the same thought, but turns it up a notch and avoids ghost heat – personally I’d recommend it over the previous asym version.

Weapon Modules (In order of importance): cERML Range, cERLL Cooldown

And the same thing, again, but with a LPL twist on it, though I prefer the cERLL version.

Weapon Modules (In order of importance): cERML Range, cLPL Cooldown

Fire one arm at a time, whichever is most suitable for the range you’re at (and corner you may be peeking around).

Weapon Modules (In order of importance): cERML Range, cERSL Range


Wubsity Wubsity Wubs

With 6% reduced beam duration, 5% reduced heat gen and 5% reduced cooldown, this build is one of my personal favorites to use. The quirks may not seem like much, but they add up to a healthy little chunk of extra DPS, plus cMPLs are just a hell of a lot of fun to begin with.

This mech finds its niche somewhere between a mid-range mech and a brawler, serving as a great mech to flank with and harass. Poke around corners at around 300-400 meters to let loose an alpha, then dodge back and hit them from somewhere else. Fire as often as heat (and safety) permit, and you’ll do great.

Mech Modules (In order of importance): Radar Deprivation, Seismic Sensor

Weapon Modules (In order of importance): cMPL Range, cMPL Cooldown

Consumables (In order of importance): Cool Shot 9×9, Improved Artillery Strike

It might not break ghost heat, but that don’t mean it ain’t hot as ballz. You’ll have to pick your shots more carefully, but this may suit your playstyle better.


Laser Brawler

And here we have it; the, dare I say iconic, cERSL Nova brawler. Currently seeing something of a resurgence due to its incredible alpha strike, as well as its nasty DPS and shocking cooling efficiency, this is the definition of a glass cannon. Your weapons do damage past 400 meters, but only marginally, and you don’t want to have to engage any further out than 300, but as long as you can get in range, you can use these beams to pick off the components of even the most durable mech.

As fun as this mech is when you get to use it, it can be rather boring in the leadup. You absolutely have to be close in order for this build to work, and unless you’ve somehow found a target which is guaranteed to be isolated and you’re sure that you can take, you need to let your team engage and distract before going in yourself. But once you do get such an opportunity, it’s all over. Select components to target carefully – legs are some of the juiciest bits but if the target is larger or already hurt, you may want to hit CT or finish off whatever’s open already (as long as it’s an important bit of course). Bon appetite.

Mech Modules (In order of importance): Radar Deprivation, Seismic Sensor

Weapon Modules (In order of importance): cERSL Range, cERSL Cooldown

Consumables (In order of importance): Cool Shot 9×9, Improved Artillery Strike

Personally, I’m not a huge fan, but I know some people that swear by this combination. It was the original build, after all, but I prefer to go full pew over adding a bit of dakka.

Weapon Modules (In order of importance): cERSL Range, cMG Range

Yet another variation on the style, this features extra damage which gets even more concentrated, but I can’t help but feel that it’s a bit too hot for me. Enough people disagree with me on that so I’m including it anyways.

Weapon Modules (In order of importance): cSPL Range, cSPL Cooldown

And finally, we have the combination of the last two versions. Again, see if it’s too your taste. And if you’re up to it, you can drop a couple heatsinks and switch the left arm to a Prime omnipod for extra lasers, but I’m not sure if that’s a great idea.

Weapon Modules (In order of importance): cSPL Range, cMG Range


LRM Boat

Just kidding.


Miscellaneous Builds

Just a few things I’ve thrown together with some potential, but nothing too special worthy of its own section.

20% ballistic cooldown and 30% reduced jam chance? Not to mention 20% extra velocity and 10% range. Effective DPS goes through the roof, but it’s ridiculously fragile, though that Right Arm’s never falling off. And hell, you can always swap out the UAC20 with an LBX20 or Gauss Rifle if you’re feeling frisky. YMMV

Mech Modules (In order of importance): Radar Deprivation, Seismic Sensor

Weapon Modules (In order of importance): cUAC20 Cooldown, cERSL Range

Consumables (In order of importance): Cool Shot 9×9, Improved Artillery Strike


Skadi and I made this (I’ve updated it) when Clans first came out. It’s bad, but fun. And…well, the original build may have been a bit different…

Mech Modules (In order of importance): Radar Deprivation, Seismic Sensor

Weapon Modules (In order of importance): cGauss Cooldown, cERPPC Cooldown

Consumables (In order of importance): Cool Shot 9×9, Improved Artillery Strike




Pilot Skills

I’ve figured that this is the best skill order for pretty much any mech, and so I’m just going to customize it for mechs that have to emphasize unusual pilot skills. The Nova is unusual, but its pilot skills are not.

Basics: Cool Run – Heat Containment – Hard Brake – Kinetic Burst – Twist Speed – Twist X – Anchor Turn – Arm Reflex

Elites: Speed Tweak – Fast Fire – Quick Ignition – Pinpoint

Then just master it. Though right now, the NVA-C (or NVA-B if you’re not gonna pay) is the only one worth having, you might want to hold onto the others in case quirks change.


And that’s that. I hope you enjoy your mech, let me know if you have any questions, and as always glhf

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