The Big Bang: A Guide to Novas

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The Big Bang: A Nova Guide

What is a Nova?  Well in Dungeons and Dragons a Nova is a round of unprecedented Wupp Ass.  The turn you set your sights on that nasty adversary and pull out all the stops. 


 We have seen DPR (Expected damage per Round via reliable means)…


 This is not that thread.


 This thread is devoted to what people want to see.


THE BIG NUMBERS.


 Just how much can your build possibly hit that Dragon/Demon Lord/Cleverly disguised minion?


This thread will serve to remind us of the glory that is Nova as well as point out tried and true strategies to achieve ridiculous numerical greatness.


 If you have a Nova that you feel is worthy of this thread feel free to submit it here.


If a Nova is deemed admissible or non admissible by the Char Op community then such builds will be added and removed as the case may be.


Novas will be categorized as follows:



  • Encounter Novas are Novas that utilize AP's, a Set up Round, and Encounter/At Will powers.

  • Daily Novas are Novas that utilize whatever means possible.

  • "Solar Flares" or "Flares" are Novas that utilize AP's but no Set Up round.  There are Encounter and Daily Solar Flares.

  • "Mini Novas" are Novas that use no AP's, no set up round, and no Daily powers.

  • All Nova submissions should be completely fleshed out and utilize valid, non-situational tactics to achieve a concrete number.


 Special Thanks:    

LDB
for paving the way and of course for format ideas
Obtusehobbit for the name
Nelphine for helping inspire and establish "Solar Flares"
Langeweile for his awesome Iaijutsu: Guide to Alpha-Striking and solid advice.
To the guys on IRC for helping me
Everyone in the Char Op community for being you.


 And without further ado…

Champions of the Nova
 

The Time Bomb
Human Ranger - Adroit Explorer/Eternal Seeker

Nova power base: Encounter and Daily
Nova Features: melee, single target, setup required, item dependent
Other Features: solid DPR, above average Striker resilience
Nova Strategy: Multi Attacks, Action Optimization, Bloody Cheese, Damage Stacking

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Damage Inc. 
Longtooth Shifter Ranger - Blood Fury Hunter/Eternal Seeker

Nova power base: Encounter, Daily, Solar Flare, Mini Nova
Nova Features: Melee, single target, 1 or 2 round novas, item dependent
Other Features: Average Striker Resilience
Nova Strategy: Multi Attacks, Action Optimization, Bloody Cheese, Initiative Optimization, Damage Stacking

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Deadly Little Miho 
Human Hybrid Ranger/Assassin - Soul Thief/Eternal Seeker

Nova power base: Encounter, Daily, Mini Nova
Nova Features: Melee, single target, 1 or 2 round novas, item dependent
Other Features: Average Striker Resilience
Nova Strategy: Multi Attacks, Action Optimization, Bloody Cheese, Initiative Optimization, Damage Stacking, Accuracy Optimization

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Thunderstruck!
Storm Genasi Ranger - Pathfinder/Eternal Seeker

Nova power base: Solar Flare
Nova Features: Melee, single target, 1 round Nova, item dependent
Other Features: above average Striker Resilience
Nova Strategy: Multi Attacks, Action Optimization, Bloody Cheese, Initiative Optimization, Damage Stacking, Accuracy Optimization

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The Berserk Death Dealer
Gnoll Two Hand Talent Fighter/Doomguard Marauder/Eternal Seeker

Nova power base: Solar Flare
Nova Features: Melee, Multiple targets, 1 round Nova, item dependent
Other Features: excellent mobility, Charger
Nova Strategy: Multi Attacks, Action Optimization, Bloody Cheese, Damage Stacking, Crit Fishing/Optimization

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The Oracle of Death
Half-Orc, Barbarian, Divine Oracle, Reincarnate Champion

Nova power base: Encounter, Solar Flare
Nova Features: Melee, Multiple targets, 1or 2 round Nova, item dependent
Other Features: excellent mobility, Stealth, Charger
Nova Strategy: Multi Attacks, Action Optimization, Bloody Cheese, Damage Stacking, Crit Fishing/Optimization, Perma Frost

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Battery: Circle of Destruction
Half-Orc, Barbarian, Divine Oracle, Warmaster
Nova power base: Daily, Solar Flare
Nova Features: Ranged, Multiple targets, 1 round Nova, item independent
Other Features: excellent mobility, strong ally attack buffs, strong action granting
Nova Strategy: Multi Attacks, Action Optimization, Bloody Cheese, Damage Stacking, Crit Fishing/Optimization, Initiative Optimization

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ChargeArdent Barrage (Team)
Tiefling, Ardent, Lyrander Wind-Rider, Harbinger of Doom
Nova power base: Daily, Encounter, Solar Flare
Nova Features: Team based, Multiple targets, 1 round Nova, Charge and Slide shenanigans, Item dependent 
Other Features: excellent mobility, strong action granting, tactical positioning
Nova Strategy: Multi Attacks, Action Optimization, Damage Stacking, , Initiative Optimization

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Evan's Spiked tentacles of Forced Intrusion
Bard, Divine Oracle, Eternal Seeker
Nova power base: Daily, Set Up Round
Nova Features: Multiple targets, 2 round Nova, Item dependent, Crit Fishing 
Other Features: Summons shenanigans, strong action granting
Nova Strategy: Multi Attacks, Action Optimization, Damage Stacking, Initiative Optimization

Nova Building Blocks

The following sections’ intent is to address tried and true Nova strategies in the forms of classes, races, powers, feats, and items.  Nova strategies will be broken down by their respective labels.




Accuracy Optimization


How much damage you deal won't mean squat if you can't hit Demogorgon.  There are many obvious ways to hike up that attack bonus such as the excellent Expertise Feats presented in Heroes of the Fallen Land, Power and Item Bonuses from items such as Ring of Heroic Insight and the Horn of Baldagyr, and of course finding a way to generate some good ole Combat Advantage.  There are more sneaky tactics as well like the Soul Thief's Soul Thief Action as well as the Shifter's Accuracy power.  Keep a lookout for all the possible ways to get that bonus up there, especially if you plan on using a Power Attack.

A good rule of thumb for Accuracy Optimization standards

85% and above is basically considered to be standard.  Thus:

Level 1: +11 versus AC, +9 Versus NADS
Level 11: +21 versus AC, +19 versus NADS
Level 21 +31 versus AC, +29 versus NADS
Level 30 +40 versus AC, +38 versus NADS

Action Optimization


This tactic is exactly what it sounds like.  Garnering as many actions possible in a single explosive round.  There are many ways to achieve this such as Action Point Optimization via the Adroit Explorer Paragon Path, or the Vistani Foresight Feat.  Once the Action Point is gained however, you'll need to actually be able to spend it.  That's where the Crown of Victory and The Charm of Abundant Action come in.

Action Points are going to provide many of you the extra Standard Actions necessary to craft a formidable Nova.  Some of you Rogues, Rangers, and Summoner types tho might need a little more to throw you over the edge.  That's where Minor Action Optimization comes in.  Nothing beats adding extra damage via Minor Actions, whether it be a simple swipe of the Rapier ala Ruffling Sting, or tacking on that extra damage with your Storm Genasi with Promise of Storm.    A couple quick examples would be The Ring of Free Time and the Epic Destiny feature Bountiful Seconds from the Master of Moments Epic Destiny.

There are many, many ways to get these crucial extra actions.  Below are a couple of Great links to help you out.

Ways to Gain or Downgrade Actions

Optimize Gaining Actions



Bloody Cheese


This Nova strategy revolves around taking on the bloodied condition via the Bloodfury Weapon power. Bloodied or not.


After using The Bloodfury Weapon our main damage contribution lies in the form of the Battlecrazed Weapon.  This weapon scales depending upon the enhancement bonus by delivering an extra 1d6, 2d6, And 3d6 damage per attack.  This will become extremely effective as we use multiple attack powers such as Blade Cascade and Hurricane of Blades.



Crit Fishing/Optimization


Tho probability based novas lose some of their appeal on paper, we all have seen what devestation can be wrought from the expert crit fisherman.

Cast enough dies and eventually you will Crit.  This is the Crit Fisherman's mantra.  The more rolls the better.  Avengers are the goto class for this of course.  Picking up the appropriate Mastery feat in Epic is a great way to increase your "threat range".

Optimizing your criticals after ensuring you crit is the flip side of the coin.  Devastating Critical comes to mind.



Damage Stacking


To Damage stack is to Mack the Attack!  The clever Nova optimizer finds the ways to get the most bang for their buck.  Be it thru feats such as Weapon Focus and Called Shot, items such as Iron Armbands of Power and Belt of Titan Strength, and Paragon Path abilities such as Death Dealer, Pit Fighter, and Blood Fury Hunter;

the Nova master will find a way to stack all those Power, Feat, Item, and Untyped bonuses into a force to shatter kingdoms.


Initiative Optimization


Being able to smack a Demon Lord for 1000 points on the first round is pretty sweet so say the least.  But what if that wiley, depraved, scum sucking soul eater beats you to the punch and dazes you?  Bye bye birdy.  Well for those of means there is Initiative Optimization, the art of striking first, striking hard, and striking last.
Sure there's the goto feats of Improved/Superior Initiative, but be sure to be on the lookout for great little items such as Eye of Awareness and powers like Begin the Hunt and the Bard's Synchronicity.  It may be the difference between life and TPK!



Multiple Attacks


There's a reason Twin Strike is held in such high regard.  It applies static damage twice.  So kick this up a notch to Blade Cascade and Hurricane of Blades and all of a sudden your dealing your STR damage, Weapon Focus Damage, and Iron Armband of Power damage to each attack.  Color me impressed.



Perma Frost


I think all of us know what this encompasses.  Stacking extra damage and Combat Advantage with a 2 feat investment merits mention.  For you that are unsure your looking at Lasting Frost, Wintertouched, and a Frost Weapon.





Fat Burning


Fat burning is a very specific strategy.  It involves obtaining an obscene amount of THP’s and “burning” them away thru the Bracers of Zeal.  This essentially converts the THP’s into raw damage.  Some of the more prominent means of obtaining these THP’s are Rune of Hero’s Resolve, Immortal Endurance, and Bloodfury.

This Handbook will use the following system for ratings:

Red
- Garbage, or completely overshadowed by another option.
Purple - Situationally useful…meh.
Black – Middle of the road.
Blue - Good stuff. You probably want this.
Sky Blue - You want this.
Gold – Pretty much as good as it gets.  No excuse not to take this.

Race to Glory

Races born to Nova


Half Orc – With a STR and DEX bump, a PP suited to the Nova, and excellent damaging feat support, you could do worse.


Human – Extra Feat and the only race who can be an Adroit Explorer?  Yep.


Longtooth Shifter - +2 to damage rolls when bloodied means win for Bloody Cheese builds.


Dragonborn – STR bump, +1 to attack rolls when bloodied and possibly utilizing Dragon Fear makes this a potential candidate.  Feat support pushes this one higher.


Gnoll - +2 to damage rolls when bloodied and +4 at level 21.  Yessiree Bob.  Let’s not forget Ferocious Charge for you juggernaught types!

Stormsoul Genasi - Picture this, an Encounter power minor action that adds 1d8 damage to any Thunder or Lightning power.  Now scale it by tier.  Now call it something awesome like Promise of Storm.  Oh ya daddy like.




Class Acts

Assassin – Generally lackluster nova wise, unless your a Ranger and multiclassed into Assassin for Soul Thief.


Avenger – Accuracy and Power gives this class a running start to capitalize on decent Nova potential.  However it is Oath of Enmity that makes this a stand out for Crit Fishers.


Barbarian – Charging tactics, Rages, damage buffs, all point to the possibility of big numbers.  It is worthwhile to note that this is a definite candidate for multi-classing as the Free Action Daily affords a +2 untyped damage bonus till EOT.  Now that’s cooking with gas!


Bard – Bard?  Bard?!  Yes that’s right Bard.  The only class capable of juggling a Ranger, Rogue, Monk Multi-classer to fully utilize a Two Blade Style, Death Dealer, Bountiful Seconds Eternal Seeker.  Ya he’s blue... get over it.


Battlemind – I’ve seen rumors of outlandish potential Novas via Brutal Barrage.  However given the current state of errata, as well as less than detailed examples of Nova breakdowns, I’m afraid I will have to go with this rating until convinced otherwise.


Ranger – So many ways to bring the pain with Two Blade Style.  With the plethora of PP’s and ways to go about bringing doom to your foes, I’m surprised my biased  nature isn’t awarding this made to Nova class a higher rating.


Rogue – Necessary for the Death Dealer PP.  This as well as sneak attacks, Minor Action attacks, and general awesomeness, makes this guy a contender.


Slayer – I have yet to see a defining example of this one’s potential, but judging by the buzz, untyped bonuses to damage via DEX, and a look see of LDB’s Slayer’s Guide, this guy has a very, very bright future.




Paths of Glory – Paragon Paths

Adroit Explorer - This Paragon Path is important for two reasons.  The first is the 11th level feature Ambitious Effort.  This allows us to essentially acquire another Encounter power of 7th level or below, or acquire an additional use of a power we already know (7th or below).  Minor Action Ranger Dangers will likely opt to choose an existing power they know such as Ruffling Sting and then at 21st level when its upgrade time (A power 13th level or below) opt for Nonchalant Collapse. 
Champion of Humanity is where the nookie is.  Two Action points per day?  Every Day?  Well I’ll be a hornswaggled greased up varmint at a slumber party for that kind of action!


Bloodfury Hunter - Longtooth Shifters are already awesome for Bloody Cheese.  +2 to damage rolls while bloodied sets us on our way to Nova dominance, Bloodfury Hunters are the cream of the crop. 
Shifter’s Action gives us a boost to our damage until the EOT equal to our Wisdom Modifier.  Awesome. 
Bestial Accuracy is a terrific way to offset that nasty -2 from Power Attack.  Just make sure you have the baddy quarried and your off to the races.
Unleash the Beast offers yet another damage stack equal to your wisdom modifier.  It takes a minor action to engage and you must be bloodied.  It's a Power bonus, so it won't always stack.  It is worthwhile to note it’s usefulness with Encounter Novas as the more prominent picks for Power bonus items are Dailys.


Death Dealer - This PP is one of a kind.  Due solely to Slaying Action.  Spend and AP and get +2 to each damage die.  That’s right… damage die.  I’m talking to you Two-Weapon Bloody Cheez Rangers.


Soul Thief - The Assassin has a pretty bad name here on the Char Op boards, and with pretty good reasoning.  The Soul Thief Paragon Path however, is a true diamond in the rough.
Soul Theft is the nitty gritty of this PP.  Whenever you  reduce an enemy to 0 HP’s you gain a “soul shard”.  You may expend a soul shard  as a Free Action against your Assassin’s Shroud target to gain a +1 to any attack roll, skill check, ability check, saving throw, or have the target gain an additional shard.  You may have up to 5 shards at a time and when you take an extended rest your shard value resets to 1.  This is crucial as it effects reliable Nova output via Soul Thief Action.Soul Thief Action is  where it’s at my friends.  After you spend an Action Point to take an extra action you receive a bonus to attack and damage rolls equal to 2+the number of soul shards you have.  So this number is always at least going to be at least 3.

Moonstalker - Somewhat situational given the necessity of the prone condition, however the ability to stack this PP's prone bonuses with Headman's Chop and Gauntlets of Brutality lends serious weight to keeping foes on their backs.

Battlefield Archer – Archer’s Glory is money.  Drop a foe and gain an Action Point.  Word.


Bloodfury Savage – a plethora of damage buffs earn this a place here.


Kensei - A straight up +1 to hit and +4 to damage is nothing to scoff at.  Good for any Nova build.


Pathfinder – Action point and gain a Move (minor) action.  Worth mentioning.

Pit Fighter - Spend an Action Point and add 1/2 your level to any Standard Action attacks until EOT.  At 16th level you'll be adding your WIS mod to all your Fighter and Pit Fighter attacks.  Not amazing, but it's something.

Destined Glory

Destined Scion - We'll start out with this bad boy from Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdom.  Let's see, a +1 blanket attack bonus, Demigod stat bumps, and an auto-hit after a miss level capstone power?  Ya... awesome.

Demigod - The godfather.  Somewhat overshadowed now by Destined Scion and Indomitable Champion imo, but the regeneration and Encounter power re-use is nice.  Still a contender.

Eternal Seeker - If this one had a stat bump it would be unquestionably gold.  As it stands the ability to poach extra actions via Haste, Rune of Hero's Resolve, and Minor action goodness via Bountiful Seconds makes this ED Nova'tastic.  And let's not forget snagging Hurricane of Blades with your multi-attack Ranger.  Uber.

Legendary Sovereign - At first glance one may not see the reason for this ED's inclusion.  taking a closer look we see a few interesting features which makes us reconsider.  For one it has a stat bump, granted it's a CHA stat bump so this ED will only work with a few select builds.  For crit fishers this ED is noteworthy in that each time you crit you will be granting an ally a standard action, this has devastating potential.  And finally, the most impressive and unique power in this ED's arsenal is Sword of Kings which allows us to choose one Encounter power with the weapon keyword.  As long as we do not miss all targets with the power the power is not expended.  This alone makes the ED inspiring.


Perfect Slayer - I had someone approach me concerning inclusion on this ED to the guide.  Here is what he said
verbatim

The Perfect Slayer epic destiny is like a Battlecrazed Weapon on steroids for a MC Assassin at level 30.  The level 26 utility is a minor action use your assassin's shroud power, but subject the target to four shrouds instead of one, and the next time you invoke them the shrouds do max damage.  A multi-class assassin can use that to full effect since his limit is on uses of Assassin's Shroud, not on number of shrouds.

The second goody is the capstone feature at level 30, that shrouds don't disappear when you invoke them unless you want them to.  Basically this means that for a minor action setup, the next attack does +48 damage, or 36 damage on a miss, and every subsequent attack made against the target until the target dies does 4d6+24 extra damage from shrouds, and 3d6+18 on a miss.  And, it would stack with Battlecrazed or Promise of Storm.  It's obviously in tough competition with Eternal Seeker, since you have to generate enough attacks to make it worth while, but especially for encounter novas at 30th, and for DPR in general (this lasts until the target dies, not until end of a turn... combine with a Scavenger Bird Ki Focus and you can move them to a second target before the first one dies too).


I am on the fence concerning this ED's practicality but as it stands it is definitely worth mentioning.  Thanks jmcminn!


Punisher of the Gods - Interesting on several levels.  The obvious reason for this ED's inclusion would be the level 30 feature Bringer of Dooms which grants maximum damage to the target of your Immortal Curse.  The curse is easily applied as a free action when you hit a non minion enemy.  As a fringe benefit, once per round you may gain a standard action on a crit, this has the potential for some serious crit fishing/action optimization synergy.  For a final bit of Daily fun, you have a built in Repel Legions power which allows you to mow thru your targets legions to actually get into place to deliver the Nova.  Now that's something.  No stat bump for this ED which on a topical level decides its general rating, however, the right build may find this ED to be madatory.


Reincarnate Champion
- This ED merits serious mention given to the cornucopia of potential Racial feat poaching for Nova exploitation (Gnolls, Dragonborn, and Longtooth Shifter).  Not to mention there's a stat bump.  Nice.

WarMaster - Being able to spend as many AP's as you can possibly scrounge up is straight up $.  Being able to grant your allies Standard Actions every time you spend an AP?  We're talking Mexican slum lord dinero amigo.
Feats of Glory

Action Surge – If this were an EOT effect it would certainly merit a higher ranking, is somewhat useful for say a Hurricane of Blades or Blade Cascade Attack, hence it’s rating.


Called Shot – A Ranger  necessity.  Our Prime Strike targets will eat +5 extra damage per attack.  Note that you will need the Prime Punisher feat to exploit this via melee attacks.


Echoes of Thunder – adding a non typed bonus to damage rolls until EONT that stacks per tier simply by opening with a Thunder power is definitely doable.


Headsmans Chop - If you plan on knocking your targets prone then this is a must.  +5 Damage to those on their back.  This works well with charging prone builds (ala the new Slayer) and of course the ranger with Nonchalant Collapse.


Improved Initiative/Superior Initiative - Strike first, strike hard, strike last.


Lasting Frost – Target hit with a cold power gains Vulnerable cold 5 – part of the Frost Cheese Trifecta.


Martial Mastery - Regaining an Encounter Power after an Action Point is invaluable.  Note the synergy with Minor Action attacks ala Master of Moments/Bountiful Seconds/Ring of Free Time builds. Nonchallant Collapse is an obvious candidate for this.


Prime Punisher – You’ll want this if you like +1 to hit melee and the potential for Called Shot awesomeness.


Power Attack - Initially the -2 to attack may be a little off putting.  Rest assured the scaling bonus is well worth it.  +2/+4/+6 untyped damage bonus is nothing to scoff at.  With the proper preparation this feat is a necessary inclusion to any Nova build.


Rapid Assault - On the first turn of the encounter you receive an untyped, scaling by tier damage bonus.  This would be much more uber for novas if it wasn’t solely relegated to basically your set up round.  However it is still cool enough for “Mini Novas” to gain recognition here.


Rending Tempest - This Feat is nothing short of spectacular.  Adding an extra (W) dice to each successive attack until the End of the Turn is Novarific.  A must for multiple attack Ranger Novas.

Solar Enemy - This is a Channel Divinity Feat, so it is somewhat limited in it's applicatiion to traditionally  "non nova" builds.  However, with the proper hybriding/MC' this Feats' awesome payoff can be exploited.  A close burst 2 Minor Action Encounter Radiant vulnerability 5 to multiple targets.  Already have Radiant vulnerability?  Well now they have 5 more.

Steady Shooter
– +3 untyped damage if you don’t move with a crossbow.  I suppose it’s doable.


Vistani Heritage/Vistani Foresight - This investment of two feat slots mimics the awesomeness  of the Adroit Explorer Paragon Path.  Being able to rock 2 Action Points in one turn is amazing.  Being able to do it without being Human or an Adroit Explorer is downright visionary.  Keep in mind you will need Item support in the form of Crown of Victory or Charm of Abundant Action.


Weapon Expertise (and it’s ilk) - Essentials offers several options in the forms of Heavy Blade Expertise, Spear Expertise, Axe Expertise, and Master of Arms.  There are fringe benefits, but the gist is a scaling +1 per tier to attack via feat bonus.  If you don’t utilize this basic strategm theres something wrong with ya cause your nova attacks will be missing holmes!


Weapon Focus – a scaling bonus per tier to damage is the basic nuts and bolts of any nova build.


Wintertouched – Classic Frost Cheese, gain CA against a foe vulnerable to cold.


 


Multi Class Feats

 


Adept Power – Potential Blade Cascade or Ultimate Confrontation?  Word Up G.


Bravo – minor action per Encounter to gain a +2 untyped bonus to attacks and damage rolls to a designated target ala Hunter’s Quarry style?  Wow.


Berserker’s Fury – A Daily +2 to damage rolls until EOTE is awesome.  Being able to get Hurricane of Blades without going Eternal Seeker?  Priceless.


Cyclone Warrior – Not only will this open up all of your fighter feats and PP’s/ED’s…  an Encounter untyped tier stacking bonus to damage as a Free Action is undeniable.

Disciple of Divine Wrath - Oath of Enmity until EONT.  Now that's what I'm talking about. 


Hero of Faith – The only reason I am even mentioning this is because how amazingly hoodwinked I was into thinking this was amazing.  Until I read the fine print.  The Oath of Enmity drops the moment you hit.  Talk about a one shot deal.  Lame.  Thank Buddy Jesus for Disciple of Divine Wrath

Monastic Disciple – Tack on damage via Flurry of Blows is sweet.  If your going to pick up Bountiful Seconds via Eternal Seeker it’s a must.


Novice Power – The ability to snag Hurricane of Blades and various Minor action attack goodies is very nice.


Shadow Initiate – Free Actions for extra damage, even if it’s only 1d6 (1d6+3 at 11 and 1d6+6 at 21!) is pretty cool.  Being able to qualify for Soul Thief?  What’s another word for stupendous?  Ok we’ll just go with stupendous.


Sneak of Shadows – Qualify for Death Dealer.  Get Sneak Attack once per encounter.  Ok.


Two-Blade Warrior – 2 Bastard swords in each hand, the possibility of Blade Cascade and Minor Action attacks for a couple of feats?  Ya that’s good.

Nova Gear

 


Battlecrazed Weapon – The meat and potatoes of the Bloody Cheese strategy.


Belt of Titan Strength – the massive damage bonus makes up for the fact that it’s a Power Bonus and a Daily.


Blood Fury Weapon – The secret ingredient of Bloody Cheese.

Bracers of Archery - Essentially Iron Armbands of Power for you Bow types with an ignore cover Daily.  Kaching. 


Bracers of Zeal - absolutely essential for fat Burning.

Charm of Abundant Action
– A Nice alternative to the Crown of Victory (see below) however you’ll have to drop it in most cases.


Crown of Victory – downright essential if you plan on using those extra Action Points.  Nice because there’s no drawing and stowing down side.


Dice of Auspicious Fortune – because hitting means winning.  Store up 3 1d20 rolls per day.  Hopefully they are good ones!


Eye of Awareness - If you can afford the head slot, the +5 bump to Initiative and +2 to Will make this gravy on hot buttered biscuits.

Gauntlets of Brutality - The prone condition is somewhat situational, but if your optimizing prone tactics at all such as Moonstalker or even using Nonchalant Collapse with your Ranger Nova, this becomes a little more ideal.
 
Gauntlets of Destruction
Re-rolling 1’s considerably impacts you average damage.  Do the math and you’ll see what I mean.  A 1d10 average is 5.5.  With these bad boys its a 6.  With an 108 attack nova that's 54 damage, not to mention it's gonna work for all that extra damage as well.  Just might actually be gold.


Iron Armbands of Power – Damage bonus all the time.  Yeah.


Frost Weapon – Free Action turn all damage with this weapon to Cold damage.  A Frost Cheese Staple.


Ring of Free Time – An extra minor action per encounter is worth the ring slot/price for some builds.


Ring of Heroic Insight – It’s a Power bonus and it’s a daily but the +2 to attack and +6 to damage forgives these minor injustices.


Scabbards – These come in varying degrees of cool.  They are Power bonuses so they won’t stack with everything, not to mention it’s the first hit only.  But for you damage stackers it’s worth it.


Stone of Earth – Invaluable if you need to keep that Ultimate Confrontation combo going.


Torc of Power Preservation – If you plan on re-using that Hurricane of Blades I would suggest you have this.

SuperNovas
Encounter Novas

Levels 1-5
The Time Bomb36 damage


Levels 6-10


Levels 11-15
Damage Inc. (11th Level) – 144 damage
The Time Bomb (11th Level) – 137 damage
Deadly Little Miho (11th Level) – 110.5 damage


Levels 16-20
The Time Bomb (16th Level) – 210 damage


Levels 21-25
The Time Bomb (Level 21) – 260 damage


Levels 26-30
Damage Inc. (level 30) - 980 damage
Deadly Little Miho (Level 30) – 735 damage
The Time Bomb (Level 30) – 574 damage
The Time Bomb (Level 26) – 363 damage



Daily Novas

Levels 1-5
The Time Bomb (Level 1) – 57 damage


Levels 6-10
The Time Bomb (level 6) – 91.5 damage


Levels 11-15
Deadly Little Miho (11th Level) – 193.5 damage
Damage Inc. (11th Level) – 188 damage
The Time Bomb (11th Level) – 174 damage


Levels 16-20
The Time Bomb (Level 16) – 369 damage


Levels 21-25
The Time Bomb (Level 21) – 450 damage


Levels 26-30
Evan's Spiked Tentacles of Forced Intrusion (Level 30) - 6833 damage - not even sure if legal but damn it's fun!
Jerry the Godslaying Ninja Bard (Level 30) – 2393 damage
Damage Inc. (Level 30) – 2172 damage
Deadly Little Miho (Level 30) – 2021 damage
The Time Bomb (Level 30) – 2017 damage
The Time Bomb (Level 26) – 822 damage



Encounter Solar Flares - No Set Up Round


Levels 1-5


Levels 6-10



Levels 11-15
The Oracle of Death (Level 11) - 147 damage



Levels 16-20



Levels 21-25
The Oracle of Death (Level 21) - 289 damage


Levels 26-30
The Berserker Death Dealer (Level 30) - 1156 damage
The Oracle of Death (Level 30) - 694 damage



Daily Solar Flares - No Set Up Round



Levels 1-5



Levels 6-10



Levels 11-15



Levels 16-20




Levels 21-25



Levels 26-30
Thunderstruck! (Death Dealer Variant) - 1935 damage
Thunderstruck! (Level 30) - 1635 damage
Damage Inc. (Level 30) - 1616 damage
Battery - (Level 30) - 974 damage
ChargeAredent Barrage (Level 30) - 853 damage (4267 in a 5 man identical team)
One Shot One Kill (Level 30) - 724 damage (One shot)




Mini Novas - No AP's, No Set Up Round, No Dailies

Levels 1-5



Levels 6-10



Levels 11-15



Levels 16-20



Levels 21-25



Levels 26-30
ChargeAredent Barrage (Level 30) - 517 damage (2587 in a 5 man identical team)
Deadly Little Miho – 417 damage
Damage Inc. - 397 damage

Super Novas

Encounter Novas

Levels 1-5
The Time Bomb36 damage


Levels 6-10


Levels 11-15
Damage Inc. (11th Level) – 144 damage
The Time Bomb (11th Level) – 137 damage
Deadly Little Miho (11th Level) – 110.5 damage


Levels 16-20
The Time Bomb (16th Level) – 210 damage


Levels 21-25
The Time Bomb (Level 21) – 260 damage


Levels 26-30
Damage Inc. (level 30) - 980 damage
Deadly Little Miho (Level 30) – 735 damage
The Time Bomb (Level 30) – 574 damage
The Time Bomb (Level 26) – 363 damage



Daily Novas

Levels 1-5
The Time Bomb (Level 1) – 57 damage


Levels 6-10
The Time Bomb (level 6) – 91.5 damage


Levels 11-15
Deadly Little Miho (11th Level) – 193.5 damage
Damage Inc. (11th Level) – 188 damage
The Time Bomb (11th Level) – 174 damage


Levels 16-20
The Time Bomb (Level 16) – 369 damage


Levels 21-25
The Time Bomb (Level 21) – 450 damage


Levels 26-30
Evan's Spiked Tentacles of Forced Intrusion (Level 30) - 6833 damage - not even sure if legal but damn it's fun!
Jerry the Godslaying Ninja Bard (Level 30) – 2393 damage
Damage Inc. (Level 30) – 2172 damage
Deadly Little Miho (Level 30) – 2021 damage
The Time Bomb (Level 30) – 2017 damage
The Time Bomb (Level 26) – 822 damage



Encounter Solar Flares - No Set Up Round


Levels 1-5


Levels 6-10



Levels 11-15
The Oracle of Death (Level 11) - 147 damage



Levels 16-20



Levels 21-25
The Oracle of Death (Level 21) - 289 damage


Levels 26-30
The Berserker Death Dealer (Level 30) - 1156 damage
The Oracle of Death (Level 30) - 694 damage



Daily Solar Flares - No Set Up Round



Levels 1-5



Levels 6-10



Levels 11-15



Levels 16-20




Levels 21-25



Levels 26-30
Thunderstruck! (Death Dealer Variant) - 1935 damage
Thunderstruck! (Level 30) - 1635 damage
Damage Inc. (Level 30) - 1616 damage
Battery - (Level 30) - 974 damage
ChargeAredent Barrage (Level 30) - 853 damage (4267 in a 5 man identical team)
One Shot One Kill (Level 30) - 724 damage (One shot)




Mini Novas - No AP's, No Set Up Round, No Dailies

Levels 1-5



Levels 6-10



Levels 11-15



Levels 16-20



Levels 21-25



Levels 26-30
ChargeAredent Barrage (Level 30) - 517 damage (2587 in a 5 man identical team)
Deadly Little Miho – 417 damage
Damage Inc. - 397 damage

 
I highly suggest putting Storm Genasi in as a sky blue race. The only reason they aren't gold is that promise of storm takes a minor action to activate; but once you have enough attacks (or have few enough attacks), getting the extra damage on every attack is actually better than getting another attack.  (Say for example, you get 9 attacks on a nova round; without Promise of Storm they do 100 damage.  Then dropping one of those attacks loses you 100 damage, but you get 24d8 damage in epic, which averages 108 extra damage, but if you have a good crit rate, then it can reach as high as 150 extra damage, which is better than that one attack would have been).   It's so good that my alpha-strike party in Langeweille's group has 2 actual Genasi, and a Deva Soul of the World genasi; even though no one in the party is str based (and neither of the two genasi are int based).  

Additionally, while you might think the keyword requirement is bad, again, having my alpha-strike party go with lightning weapons and losing Morninglord actually ended up with more damage than a radiant mafia (which I usually consider as one of the best keywords.)
Thank you Nelphine for the suggestion.  I actually thought I was neglecting Genasi.  Will add accordingly.
With the definition of a Mini Nova as using Encounter/At-Will only, no action points, and getting one setup turn, my current LFR character (level 16) dishes out 159 points of damage.  Not an average, but a consistant 159 points as long as he hits...and he has 4 chances to make the roll.  He generally skips the setup turn and uses an Action Point to do this in one round...and I think that there's a place in a Nova guide for novas that don't have a setup time (Rushed Novas?).

Show
====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
Agar Doomblade, level 16
Elf, Cleric, Divine Oracle
Versatile Expertise: Versatile Expertise (Heavy Blade)
Versatile Expertise: Versatile Expertise (Holy Symbol)
Background: Aglarond, Forest Warden (Forest Warden Benefit)

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
Str 20, Con 14, Dex 16, Int 9, Wis 18, Cha 13.

STARTING ABILITY SCORES
Str 16, Con 13, Dex 13, Int 8, Wis 14, Cha 12.


AC: 31 Fort: 26 Reflex: 24 Will: 30
HP: 101 Surges: 9 Surge Value: 25

TRAINED SKILLS
Religion +12, Heal +17, Insight +19, Perception +22, Athletics +18

UNTRAINED SKILLS
Acrobatics +11, Arcana +7, Bluff +9, Diplomacy +9, Dungeoneering +12, Endurance +10, History +7, Intimidate +9, Nature +15, Stealth +11, Streetwise +9, Thievery +11

FEATS
Cleric: Ritual Caster
Level 1: Weapon Proficiency (Fullblade)
Level 2: Righteous Rage of Tempus
Level 4: Armor Proficiency: Scale
Level 6: Hero of Faith
Level 8: Versatile Expertise
Level 10: Toughness (retrained to Uncanny Dodge at Level 11)
Level 11: Devastating Critical
Level 12: Armor Specialization (Scale)
Level 14: Overwhelming Critical
Level 16: Superior Will

POWERS
Channel Divinity: Turn Undead
Cleric at-will 1: Sacred Flame
Cleric at-will 1: Gaze of Defiance
Cleric encounter 1: Mighty Hew
Cleric daily 1: Beacon of Hope
Cleric utility 2: Shield of Faith
Cleric encounter 3: Astral Flare
Cleric daily 5: Shield of the Gods
Cleric utility 6: Deliverance of Faith
Cleric encounter 7: Price of Violence
Cleric daily 9: Dismissal
Cleric utility 10: Mass Cure Light Wounds
Cleric encounter 13: Angel's Rescue (replaces Mighty Hew)
Cleric daily 15: Sacred Armistice (replaces Beacon of Hope)
Cleric utility 16: Astral Shield

ITEMS
Ritual Book, Adventurer's Kit, Diadem of Acuity (heroic tier), Keoghtom's Ointment (paragon tier), Viper Belt (heroic tier), Floating Lantern (heroic tier), Agile Wyvernscale Armor +3, Executioner's Bracers (paragon tier), Boots of Adept Charging (heroic tier), War Ring (paragon tier), Vicious Fullblade +4, Demonskin Tattoo (paragon tier), Raven Cloak +3, Symbol of Divine Reach +4, Ring of Giants (paragon tier)
RITUALS
Gentle Repose, Animal Messenger, Raise Dead
====== Copy to Clipboard and Press the Import Button on the Summary Tab ======


The keys to the build are Righteous Rage of Tempus (Channel Divinity feat), Angel's Rescue (level 13 Encounter power for Clerics), Hero of Faith (the Avenger Multiclass that your guide erroneously rates as red), and Prophecy of Doom (Divine Oracle paragon path encounter attack power).  Start within 5 squares of the target, and use Prophecy of Doom.  When you are ready to attack (the following turn, or the same turn if you are willing to use an AP), activate Righteous Rage of Tempus, Hero of Faith, then charge with Angel's Rescue.  You get a +1 from charging, two attack rolls from Hero of Faith, and the ability to reroll both attack rolls from Elven Accuracy.  If you hit, you automatically crit (thanks to Prophecy of Doom), and the crit dice are maximized (thanks to Righteous Rage of Tempus). 

Damage is as follows (all dice maximized):
45 from Angel's Rescue (3d12+9)
24 for the fullblade high crit property (2d12)
10 for the Devastating Critical feat
48 from +4 Vicious Weapon (4d12) - a level +1 common weapon, easily obtainable
12 from the War Ring (1d12)
12 from the Executioner's Bracers (2d6)
8 from the Ring of Giants (4x2=8)
---
159 damage, once per encounter

I'm sure I missed a few ways to add more damage (such as Weapon Focus), but the character is built for practical use instead of a theoretical optomization.

I'd suggest revising the rating on Hero of Faith and adding Elf to the race list (at least mention there use for the one big hit method).
"Mini Novas" are what you are talking about.  I have changed the clarifications as it was confusing, but yes "Mini Novas" means no AP's and no set up round.

I will add the Elf.

I however remain unconvinced that Hero of Faith merits a higher rating from a concrete Nova standpoint.  I am eager to be proven wrong.
Hero of Faith sucks.

Disciple of Divine Wrath, which requires only 13 Wis, and gives you OoE benefit until end of next turn, is bad @$$, though.


No idea why the benefits of those aren't reversed, given the prerequisites. It is what it is, though. Grab DoDW with just 13 Wis, and laugh the night away.
Whats funny Auspex is I knew this existed and somehow morphed it into suckiness ala HoF.  Guess all of us are a little pessimistic sometimes.  Adding now.
Hero of Faith sucks.

Disciple of Divine Wrath, which requires only 13 Wis, and gives you OoE benefit until end of next turn, is bad @$$, though.


Hero of Faith has one major benefit from a Nova standpoint - setup is easier.  Any round where I have a minor action free, I can tag the eventual target of the nova with Oath of Enmity.  As long as I don't hit that particular target, it stays (“The effect lasts until you hit the target or until the target drops to 0 hit points.” ). 

I've done this in multiple elite and solo combats, where my cleric spends the first few turns acting as party support and taking out the target's allies, while the other party members focus on the target.  As soon as the main bad guy is sufficiently worn down, I can move to within 5 squares (Move), use Prophecy of Doom (Range 5, Standard), activate Righteous Rage of Tempus (Minor), and charge in with Angel's Rescue (Action Point).  With a move of 7, I can be up to 12 squares away from the target when I start my turn and still pull off my nova, since I don't have to worry about activating OoE.

Since my character is setup for one massive hit, having the OoE benefit until the end of the next turn is unnecessary...my target dies from the nova, or is so severely wounded that allies take it out before my turn comes up again.  I agree that Hero of Faith is weak if your nova involves multiple attacks, but for a single-attack nova it does the job very well.  It also gives me an extra skill...something I wouldn't get with Disciple of Divine Wrath.
Extra skill is good.  But your defense of HoF is based upon a string of situations, which in Nova terms is bad.

Technically you are using HoF OoE for a finishing maneuver.  There's no such thing as "single hit" Nova.  If I'm going to rationalize OoE in a Nova scenario then by God I want to have a chance to crit with all my attacks.  Not just the sole finisher you are speaking of.
Extra skill is good.  But your defense of HoF is based upon a string of situations, which in Nova terms is bad.


Even without setup, Hero of Faith does exactly what I need it to do.  I can dish out 159 points of damage at level 16 in a single round.  You may choose not to rate it as well as Disciple of Divine Wrath, but rating it red is just silly.
A fair ascertation.  I still see absolutely no practical reason to choose it over DoDW.  I'm glad it's working for you, but to me it's overshadowed entirely.  Had I not been reminded of DoDW I would definitely not hesitate to rate it purple for it's situational benfits.
What about nova helpers? You know... tactical warlords for example

Thank you for the guide  
Your Paragon Path Action point information seems misleading. Popping two action points on a Bloodfury Hunter doesn't yield 2x Wis mod to damage, only one times it, likewise with Soul Theft Action. Looks like untyped bonuses from the same named game element to me... 

I really like the idea of this guide though. Novas are actually a lot more practical than people think. (Although perhaps not Novas which require set-up, bringing down a big target in one round is better if it is the first one...) 
Wow.  Your totally right.  Schooled.  Hehe oh well back to the drawing board!

EDIT: Ok all fixed, a bit of a numbers drop for the builds suffering from unwarranted delusions of grandeur.  In addition Soul Thief and Death Dealer took a rate drop.  So sad.  Anyway good catch, I get a bit carried away sometimes.
I would like to further the idea that there should be a spot for 'rushed' nova's; encounter/daily nova's that do not allow a set-up round.

Reasoning:  A normal nova is good, but a one turn nova that kills the enemy before they ever get a chance to go at all is even better.  If your rushed nova can be combined with high init/mobility, the monsters never get a chance to go.  Compare to a regular nova, where by definition, you take 2 turns to instigate it, and the rushed nova is far better, if you get the numbers high enough.

(As a case in point: My alpha-strike team, that has a rushed party encounter nova doing almost 900 damage at level 11; allowing two turns would allow for far more damage.. and be far less effective at it's goal.) 
@ Nelphine - The Mini Nova section is for "rushed Novas" originally I was not clear and the description therefore was misinterpreted, I have changed it to be more clear.  But yes Mini Novas lack AP's and a set up round.  I took off the Damage Inc. link, he had a set up round, I will fix this.

In addition I took your suggestion and you were absolutely right about the Stormsoul Genasi.  I'm making a new build as we speak hehe.

Also up for ideas for a catchier name than "Mini Novas"
I think Discipline of Divine Wrath really should be light blue.  A minor action to get re-rerolls on all of your attacks for 2 rounds (provided oath conditions met).  Your accuracy goes through the roof and you enhance your crit chances too.  It seems like an ideal nova feat.

Daren 
Also up for ideas for a catchier name than "Mini Novas"



- Immediate Novas

vs.

- Prepared Novas

While on paper both shine, in practice the immediate novas are worth far far more.  Remember that the set up round isn't just for your set up.  That daze you just got hit with during your set up round might be bursting that bubble.

Assuming that your going to make it clean through your set up round is about as situational as my 380 damage round with my L16 Monk using dancer on the sea of battle, AP., lower level version of dancer on the sea of battle that only happened because every monster was situationed just perfectly for me to be able to reach an ungodly number of foes.
Ah; my issue with your mini nova vs encounter/daily nova is that the mini nova isn't allowed to use an AP.  In practice, an alpha-strike nova (or a nova that occurs because something dramatically changes in the middle of the battle, like the BBEG arriving and knocking 2 players out before the PC's know the BBEG is there) would not get a set-up round, but it would get to use an AP.

Thus, I believe there should be a category for encounter/daily nova's that do get an AP, but do not get a set up round. 

I like Gryphyx's description of prepared vs immediate for this category.

Edit: And yes, Stormsoul Genasi are simply a head above every other race; I don't think they (quite) qualify as gold, but I don't think any other race will be sky blue either, since in practice you can always rebuild any build as a Stormsoul Genasi, and get a better nova out of it.
Ok I like this argument, it is valid.  "Mini Novas" should be allowed an AP.  The question is should I even bother with a non AP "MIni Nova"  Thats 4 different kinds of novas and the lines are starting to blur.

So

Encounter Novas - AP and set up allowed
Daily Novas - AP and Set up allowed


Solar Flare - AP allowed no set up?   (Flare for short)
Mini Nova - No AP No Set Up?

EDIT:  I have altered the NOVA criteria... let me know what u think
I definitely think it is worthwhile to have a no-AP/mini-nova section.

Frankly, many Novas are overkill. The simple fact of the matter is that there are threshholds beyond which you really aren't doing anything by being able to tack on another 500 damage. It is also worth noting that, generally speaking, once Team Hero buries 2-3 targets, you're in clean-up mode.

For these reasons, I think that the most truly optimal Novas are:

1. multi-part Novas.
2. on-demand (no set up required).

Here is why:

1. I don't care if someone can do 1,800 damage on a Nova, unless they are standing in front of an L33+ Solo. What I *do* care about is if that 1,800 can be broken up to drop 2-3 standards in 1 or 2 turns, each.
--relating to this: Stone Tempest Rage, Action Point, Hurricane of Blades... looks really sexy, right? With the right elements in place, that can turn passive tofu into F**KING DEAD TOFU. But... what does that actually look like in live play? Are you going to ever actually charge a target, then follow that up on the next turn with Stone Tempest Rage, Action Point, Hurricane of Blades? If you do that against a non-elite, you're throwing away Hurricane of Blades. Odds are good that charge, STR, AP, at-will is enough to crush your target. If you want to be safe, then charge, and Hurricane of Blades on the next turn. If the target is still standing, AP + Howling Strike. In other words... use the higher damage elements up front. You want the target off the grid ASAP-- that's your job. You also want the next target off the grid as quickly as possible, though. Being able to come out of your Nova turn with something in the bag is fantastic.

2. action denial sucks. If you lose your Nova turn to a stun or Dominate, you are not going to be happy. Similarly, you may move up, drop your set-up turn, and be hit with Daze, or a push + prone, etc.

3. as has been mentioned, set-up turns allow the target to get a turn off. I would rather see an ally drop a target in 1 round than use a set-up turn so that they can overkill the target by 500 damage on the subsequent turn. The name of the game is 'get s**t off the grid, NOW', and you don't get to convert overkill damage into extra experience.


I'm groggy. That's all I have right now. Sorry for rambling.
I agree with auspex7, and I'd even go further and say that there should be a place dedicated to aoe novas.  If not this one, then somewhere else, because it's kind of beyond the scope of what you are doing here. 

Striker damage is all well and good, but often times what kills parties is swarms of normal/elites, and I think for far too long charop has been singlemindedly focused on dropping Orcus in one round, instead of killing all of the demons that are surrounding his throne.
Guys... let me start out by saying I love you.

*awkward silence*

No seriously L WORD

Of course 2300 point Novas dont mean HAMSTER DOOKIE

This is Char Op... who cares, its just a numerical exercise...

but yes, this thread needs to adapt to realistic, one turn, drop that turkey slam fests.

I'm on it.
I agree with auspex7, and I'd even go further and say that there should be a place dedicated to aoe novas.  If not this one, then somewhere else, because it's kind of beyond the scope of what you are doing here. 

Striker damage is all well and good, but often times what kills parties is swarms of normal/elites, and I think for far too long charop has been singlemindedly focused on dropping Orcus in one round, instead of killing all of the demons that are surrounding his throne.



I agree. This is also often true for single-target damage dealers. All it takes to put a fight away is to blow up a Solo or Elite monster's allies in short order. I couldn't begin to say how many times I've seen huge XP budgets blown up because 2-3 Standard monsters went down by the end of Round 2.

Many of the guys I run with take the 'Strikers --> Standards, Defender --> Elite/Solo' approach. If you do this with 2 heavy offense characters at the table, you can get into clean-up really quickly.
Guys... let me start out by saying I love you.

*awkward silence*

No seriously L WORD

Of course 2300 point Novas dont mean HAMSTER DOOKIE

This is Char Op... who cares, its just a numerical exercise...

but yes, this thread needs to adapt to realistic, one turn, drop that turkey slam fests.

I'm on it.



Good stuff.

Not surprisingly, when you get into breaking those overkill Novas into multiple mini-novas to be used each enc, Rangers remain the cream of the crop. Having Twin Strike and a slew of non-Standard attacks to work with, they have a painfully easy time of starting a Nova, and then tacking on attacks as necessary, or dropping the target without emptying that cup of Nova Punch. I've seen this in play on more than a few occasions. It often results in the Ranger strolling through 3 targets in 5 or 6 rounds. Twin Strike is also a fantastic minion check. The high at-will DPR makes it a great starter to throw Minor action attacks or AP attacks behind.
*grumble* now I've got two threads where I want to post my alpha-strike team.  Silly massive number of increasingly similar calculations...

Any suggestions on what's better at level 24:  Taclord giving his turn to a ranger|rogue who's still in nova mode (ie has all the crazy bonuses), or Taclord using some kind of abilities to grant many people attacks (ie, are there good taclord encounter powers, whether attack or utility, that will match the Ranger|Rogue getting his next turn)? 
I think the most important nova is the one most likely to occur in play, which is generally done in a single turn.  AoE novas also have merit, although most of the nail-biting combats I've had in 4E were due to a lynchpin foe that the other foes had synergy with.  Take down that lynchpin, and the fight becomes much easier.

Action Points should always be allowed on Novas.  You start the day with 1 AP, and get one every other encounter (which includes skill challenges).  Add in the fact that not combat requires Novas, and a character should be assumed to have the AP available when they need it.

I would divide things as follows:
* Immediate/Rushed Novas (AP allowed, no setup round) - should use damage output and maximum allowed distance to target as measures of effectiveness (rushed novas need to be able to get to the target)
** Encounter Nova (no daily powers)
** Full Nova (dailies allowed)
** AoE Novas (damage per target and area covered as measures of effectiveness)

* Planned Novas (AP allowed, one round of setup) - should be measured on raw damage, since the setup round should allow the character to get in range to execute the nova
** Encounter Nova (no daily powers)
** Full Nova (dailies allowed)
** AoE Novas (damage per target and area covered as measures of effectiveness)
Fedifensor--

Your rationale as to why APs should be assumed may work for LFR, but home games don't generally operate with an AB, AB, AB, AB format. I have to respectfully disagree that APs should be assumed to be a given.
hence my reservations with AP's=Mini novas=Flares=whatever
Your rationale as to why APs should be assumed may work for LFR, but home games don't generally operate with an AB, AB, AB, AB format. I have to respectfully disagree that APs should be assumed to be a given.


Home games don't have skill challenges?  Home games make every fight so tough that you have a hard time holding one AP in reserve? 

Why would either of those things be something that happens in a Living campaign, but not a home game?

Because many home games that I (and at least a reasonable number of others who frequent charop) play in specifically accommodate the fact that we are regulars in CharOp.  As such, the fights generally are hard enough to be a challenge all the time; and skill challenges often occur as part of a combat, not as a seperate encounter; or the skill challenge happens at such at a time that it doesn't grant you extra AP's for a combat (like the Skill Challenge being on a different day.)  And even without that being the case for all home games, the fact that it is a possibility means that there should be some numbers suited to those situations for those people who are interested in them.

I'm glad of the addition of flares MC-DrowBane; I think they suit the purpose quite well (especially because the idea of a true Daily Nova really doesn't make much sense to me anywhere outside of theorycraft. Dailies for me are 'oh crap' buttons, and are either used in emergencies, or simply as a stronger substitute for a regular power.)

Further question to ye olde nova masters:   
Assuming level 24, and vast amounts of party support, who should your primary striker be for a party nova?  Ranger, Thief, or Ranger|Rogue?    My current set up is a Ranger|Rogue/Hybrid Paragon/Reincarnate Champion (thus allowing me both Prime Shot and Brutal Advantage, as well as cherry picking a few choice racial feats, like Infernal Sneak Attack, in order to maximize flare damage).  Assume ranged attacks, so some of the classic choices must be vetoed (including my preferred avenger, or ranger|barbarian).
As another example of home games being structured such that you shouldn't assume AP availability:

Our DM doesn't run 'skill challenges' 4e style.  It's a bit more old school where the die rolls interact fluidly with RP instead of the whole event being determined mechanically.  As such, they're not really thought of as 'encounters' and in most cases aren't considered for milestone accumulation.

Our combats aren't particularly hard, as I'm the only charop watcher (and a mediocre optimizer at best), but still we can only assume that we'll have an AP 1/2 of the combats.

Also, remember that the hallmarks of D&D are DM fiats.  In LFR these are very rare (I've actually never seen one) as the nature of the living world requires a more rigid comformation to the mechanics.
Include Pit Fighter.