Nova Hellbats as Damage Soakers

Do people use Nova’s Hellbats to soak ground damage? I build a few in Swann as damage/ability decoy, but Swann Hellbat is a dime a dozen, Nova’s are gilded with minerals.

Nope, not for “soaking damage” at least. They aren’t that beefy for their price. Any “damage soakers” need to be cheap and abundant (like lings, zealots). Nova can use Drone to beef up and soak damage instead.

I use them for the portion of allies who can’t defend against Zerglings (especially on Malwarfare or MO). It is a better, safer, and smarter investment than Griffin Striking every wave for objective/bonus. Frees me up to push the map while they twiddle their thumbs.

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They’re more like mini-Hercs/Cannonballs in that they just disrupt the swarm for a time while dealing some AoE hoping that your main force can finish the wave off by the time the stun wears off.

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On 2 base eco, nova typically floats minerals hence all the topbar dumps or the occasional odd 100/100 ally worker suicide in a mission where they’re all being healed up well and losing none / Ravens + mastery etc.

Nova’s supply cap on a normal 2 base economy usually tends to be gas limited outside of p1 mass barracks play, but i think hellbats are generally one of nova’s weaker / more disposable 2 base mineral dump/other units are on cd units.

A lot of Novas healing or damage mitigation can come from ravens, defence drones, early sabotague or even aggressive pushing or defence with airstrike fields.

I don’t or can’t imagine a reason to build them on a economy or mutator that wouldn’t float. Siege tanks are stronger vs massed grounds, marines are pretty versatile, ravens provide healing and great abilities, Nova’s goliaths are pretty good anti air, her liberators can absolutely wreck meaty ground /hybrids/trains while her siege tanks take out massed ground like don/Miner evac infested. Etc.

Her hellbats are just like more mediocre meat shields and yeah even defense drones or aggressively killing enemies with airstrikes or sabotague drones or proactive ability use (sabo drone or otherwise) probably works better.

Now… If you float excess resources and you’re still waiting for other stuff to come off charge though or maybe on a mutator where maybe the odd unit died or vipered they’re not bad but with mastery you get passive hp regen. They’re not bad as a spare mineral dump on 2 eco, and a meat shield is fine. But they’re definitely not her star unit.

If there were unlimited charges like most other commanders, i could probably see Gas on ravens / Siege tanks / Goliaths/ liberators/ghosts / Marines(mineral dump).

But i’ve kinda always liked how Nova kinda ends up with a wide unit variety by the cds and ends up compensated with (what was then strong unit strength) for the launch era.

When nova was released, everyone was raving over her strong army WITH a strong hero WITH strong cds WITH absurdly tanky buildings WITH great abilities on each unit as cherries on top.

But she’s like one of those early kinda soft power/effort creeped heros. Tychus and Nova have tons of overlap (highly sturdy, tanky elite units with a army of elites),

But medvac is 3 charges vs griffon’s minerals + ally kidnapping 1, the Odin is so absurdly tanky at some point it’s more a tychus cage than a 4000 hp calldown on p0-2 outside of mutators a 4000 hp odin + army split pushing probably competes with perma stealth nova. (Who needs stealth when you can’t even kill 4000 hp before the timer expires on non reaver / deliberately afk no medvac comps? XD)

Plus then abathur when people learned him got the ultimate p0 army of brutalisks, regen, common units that warp into super elites and life leach and have 15 sec teles.

But as far as Nova’s Hellbats go. They’ve never been a shining unit. There’s probably few non mutator reasons to priortize them without spare minerals.

But they’re a alright spare mineral dump when marines are on cd or killed by something or you just want disposible 100/100 supply filler you don’t have to worry about losing and fill with a raven or siege tank/liberator later.

Defensive drone for damage soaking and hellbats vs mass light where you’re not using Nova with the army.

I actually think I build her Hellbats more often than I build her Marines :sweat_smile:.

Often they are a perfect stop-gap cleaning up T1 units with ease and providing continued tanking and CC. While I used to experienced the common complaint of them wandering off and getting killed most on the time these days I can keep them alive with minimal micro.

Obviously primarily building them against zerg comps that include Zerglings. Against anything else except perhaps Infested and Infested/Broodling mutators I think they’re a bit wasted but are a great calldown in a pinch to deal with a few errant trash enemies.

Going Factory first Hellbat/Siege Tank totally trivialises Explosive Threats comp.

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i prefer to skip hellbats with nova. marine, goliath and raven are more versatile. overmins can be dealt with (constant def drones, air strikes). later in the game, when you really cant spend the overmins anymore you also deal with supply cap. at this point you want to have the best army value. hellbats dont have a place there imo

Honestly, if I’m going Mech/Sky as Nova, I like to make Hellbats as frontliners, if Nova can’t do the job. (Notably on P3.) They do decently well on maps like DoN and ME.

I like them when going P1 factory, not much otherwise. (except DoN…although I usually do P1 factory then)

Yes I use them with my normal unit comp, hellbat/marine/goliath and they tank for the marines which have nothing to stand in front of them but defensive drones or combat mode nova in normal engagements. The hellbats wont kill much of anything but smaller units, but they are not really there to kill stuff rather for the high hp pool and tendency to put themselves in the enemies faces. With a moderate amount of life regeneration mastery used, the hellbats will be healthy enough to survive most fights as long as you have some micro or readiness to drop a defensive drone ontop of them to keep them alive, it is worth (though not always since your other units need them) the 100 minerals and cooldown to keep your numbers higher, 6 or so hellbats become rather powerful in their chain stunning capabilities. They will need the healing, if you dont go with life regen maybe pull an scv or two to keep them healthy between fights.

Almost everyone uses her marines and defensive drones, the question for me is not so much are the hellbats useful as a mineral drop, I think they are. Rather the comparison is between hellbats and the airstrikes, which are more important to you. Most typical unit comps dont really need them to soak damage, with airstrikes and tanks/libs enemy units dont get too close to their army to begin with.

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As damage soakers, I don’t like them, their jump and armour up ability tends to have them dead. But they do somewhere like 55-70 damage a hit to light, so they’re very good damage preventors against Lings comps.

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The jump is researchable, so it’s often best not to research it.

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Skip on the jump :smirk: hehe

If the purpose is to use them for soaking damage, wouldn’t the jump serve that purpose?


Yeah, if you’re “soaking damage” then get it. Otherwise, it isn’t the biggest deal to skip the jump. It adds a temp armor boost with a short stun. Hellbats are mostly used for anti-lings. And whether they have the jump bonus or not, they usually still need some support (via drone or raven), especially if you’re leaving them alone.

I don’t think getting the jump really “kills” them that much faster at all. I also don’t think getting it necessary at all for higher sustain or survival either. Not that Nova lacks the resources.

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The issue there is that they quickly get targeted by everything in the wave, where normally there might be some better distribution of targets or some faster weaning of the ranged units. The armour up is pretty decent for that though.

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The jump is really good for spreading them out vs Banelings.

There are only two scenarios when I would consider hellbats:

  • Defense against Zerg first wave
  • Army got deleted and everything else is on cooldown or too expensive

Otherwise, they’re Nova’s most useless units by far :face_with_diagonal_mouth:

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I wholeheartedly disagree. They’re amazingly good as a buffer in so many situations.

Statistically, I use Hellbats more often than tanks, and both hellbats and tanks laugh at the cobwebs covered banshees and liberators, that never see the light of day (or night for the zombie map), so I’m saying no.
Subjectively, they could be the most useless unit for a specific player, but “by far” is going…well…too far.

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