A Guide to the Wandering Caret
First Ideal Buy
Not Updated For Current Season
The masteries shown here are not yet updated for the current season, the guide author needs to set up the new masteries. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.
Threats to Bard with this build
|Poppy||Stay away from walls, and there's absolutely nothing she can do to you, trade to your hearts content.|
|Soraka||Easiest matchup there is. poke as often as possible on soraka and exhaust her hp so she can't heal often. Keep wards up as the jungler will pressure. Late game, ult soraka when possible to take her out of the fight and stop the healing, or nuke her when stasis wears off.|
Hello, I'm Solaria (Previously Elderwood Bard), a Master tier Bard main, with just over 500k mastery points. I currently hover around mid masters and peaked at 390 lp on NA. I've played 95% of my ranked games as soloq, avoiding dynamic queue of more than 2 when I can. I truly believe that it is possible to climb as a support main this season, and that it is actually much easier than past seasons to do so due to the nature of popular supports currently.
I play Bard purely because I find him one of the few champions in league that I can truly have fun with. Bard as a champion feels like the embodiment of silliness that league of legends does not have. As a whole he just feels so goofy and slippery that its impossible not to have fun while playing him, making him not only a good champion to pick up, but also one to play if you find your interest in league disappearing. He feels incredibly smooth and rewarding to play as well as challenging, and can fill almost any role, catering to most playstyles.
Bard is the support with the highest skill ceiling which makes him one of the harder supports to play well and at a high level. He's extremely versatile and can fit into any support oriented role due to his kit. There are many ways to play Bard in fact, but I will be showcasing my playstyle which is very aggressive and punishing which is the best way to play him in my opinion.
- High mobility
- Strong peel and catch
- Incredible team fighting ability
- Extremely versatile and can fill most roles
- Incredibly easy to set up ganks with Magical Journey
- Very goofy, had to not have fun playing him
- Naturally squishy and short ranges
- Can be difficult to understand at first, especially for lower ranked players
- Ult is incredibly hard to use well, can lose games easy.
- Has trouble playing effectively from behind
- Magical Journey can be buggy and predictable
- Very skillshot reliant
Traveler's Call: Ability to gather chimes and buff your meeps. Collecting Chimes throughout the game is essential to scaling into mid/late game. Chimes are ultimately what give Bard a lot of his utility, increasing the slow %, how many meeps he can carry, how fast they respawn, and even giving and AOE effect. There are quite a few chime milestones that are worth looking out for and aiming for as they are essentially your champions "mini power spikes".
- 25 Chimes gives a strikethrough effect, very effective for using minions to get a little bit of extra range on your slow.
- 55 Chimes will give you 3rd meep to carry at once. Having 3 meeps at once means you can clear almost a full wave at a time or be liberal with where you apply your slows.
- 65 chimes increases the strikethrough giving it incredible range. This is arguably the best upgrade to get and anything past here is minor or you'll need a very long game to get to.
- As a general guide, you want to be aiming for 45 meeps by 25 min and 65 by 35-40 min, or 1.8-2 meeps per minute. Remember to not collect every chime you possibly can when they spawn however. Leaving chimes up gives you the ability to roam with the MS boost it gives you which can be very useful early/mid game.
Cosmic Binding: Skillshot slow that stuns if two targets are hit.
- Most walls aren't actually straight, zigzags are most common patterns within the wall's hitboxes. This allows for unusual stuns that seem parallel to the walls visually, but still connect.
- Abuse Caster minions and how they enemy ADC stands behind them. use the outer minions to send a stun through and trade accordingly
- Using an Meep Empowered Auto + Cosmic Binding allows for easy Thunderlord's Procs.
Caretaker's Shrine: Places down a health shrine.
- Place shrines throughout your jungle as they can come in handy for skirmishes.
- Placing down shrines gives momentary vision, which can be used to check bushes.
- Placing shrines in a line down your lane allows for chaining the MS boosts together to help escape ganks/fights.
- You should try to keep one shrine close to your tower, just in case you need to back up in lane causing you to lose your shrines. This will leave you with one "backup" shrine to use.
- It is possible to use shrines as a ward of sorts. Placing the shrines down in dragon or baron pit, or bushes will tell you when someone goes by there, as they will instinctively run over the shrine, destroying it, telling you someone was there.
Magical journey: Places a Portal through a wall.
- It's possible to place portals going from the fountain to inhibitor by standing at the back of the fountain.
- Use portals often as its a fairly short cooldown when you have high CDR and it vastly increases your mobility.
- There are a huge number of optimal portal uses, which can be outlined here. Take note of the portals that go along the base walls, as they are possible but the angle is fairly small. Some of the portals are hard to hit at first, but with some practice they are very easy to do consistently.
Tempered Fate: Targeted AoE ability that places anything in the area into stasis.
- Use your ult to start fights by catching out their carries when wave clearing and forcing their team to engage or leave the carry behind.
- Ulting in the middle of a fight, seperating the back line and front line is incredibly useful, even if you don't hit them as it forces them to reposition and stop doing damage for a period of time.
- A missed ult is not necessarily wasted. Forcing them to dodge back towards you by overshooting the ult is just as good as hitting it, as it forces them back into you or your team providing the same outcome.
I prefer this mastery over Merciless as it allows for less mana problems, and the 5% dmg is much more situational and doesn't give you very much in the long run.
Increasing your CDR cap to 45% with this mastery is almost a necessity. CDR is the best stat on Bard and should be capped out as soon as possible.
This is okay to run if you don't like CDR heavy builds or building more dmg focused, but it is not optimal.
This mastery is highly underrated. Allowing your ADC to deal 3% more dmg during trades adds up quickly, especially in teamfights when peeling. If you choose to not to run the tankier set up, its best to take this to maximize dmg output.
- Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage: I run Attack Damage Quints purely for early game trading and the pressure it gives in lane. It allows you to have just enough damage to reasonably trade with the enemy adc, as well as give a little bit more to your auto trades. Ultimately it helps give Bard more presence in lane. Alternatively, Greater Quintessence of Health or Greater Quintessence of Armor can be used if you feel the health is more useful.
- greater mark of hybrid penetration: Hybrid penetration is roughly the same use as quints, to give Bard his lane presence and help his damage scale a little better into late game. Alternatively, Greater Mark of Attack Speed can be used if you want to give more early game pressure or Greater Mark of Armor if you feel you need the extra durability.
- Greater Glyph of Scaling Cooldown Reduction: These glyphs allow for very fast scaling into max cdr % and allows for you to only run 30% cdr in items if you need other non-cdr items. Alternatively, you can take 9 Greater Glyph of Magic Resist instead of 3 if against a magic heavy lane.
- Greater Glyph of Magic Resist: Fairly standard, I only run 3 as your build consists of magic resist, and bot lane is generally fairly weak on magic damage, except for certain lanes.
- Greater Seal of Armor: Very standard, should be run on every single support, no exceptions. Alternatively you can run Greater Seal of Health if you are running Greater Quintessence of Armor and vice versa.
|Ignite as a summoner spell gives Bard an innate ability to 1v1 the anemy ADC and sometimes their midlaner or jungler, depending on how fed they are. The addition of Ignite to his kit gives him a big boost to his kill potential and his threat to the enemy team. Its generally a good idea to take Ignite if there is no champ on the enemy team that an Exhaust would be beneficial. Examples of champions that you would like an exhaust for would be Jax, Yasuo, and Ryze. Ignite is very beneficial in some lanes, as it is the only way you will be able to establish lane dominance or have a chance of killing your lane. An example of match ups like this would be when you are facing Soraka, Janna, and Nami.|
|Exhaust Is the staple summoner spell you should be taking as Bard. It enables his kit the best as it spans the time between his cc. Unless you have a reason for taking Ignite, I think Exhaust should be your go to spell to take. Bot lane match ups that you should highly consider taking exhaust against include Kalista, Ashe, and Lucian.|
|Just take this one, trust me, its real nice. There is absolutely no reason for you not to take Flash, it is incredibly useful.|
|Ultimately, these boots are the best choice by far. The only other potentially worthy tier 2 boots would be Boots of Mobility, but those have their own problem with Bard as using Tempered Fate stops the out of combat mobility bonus, making it harder for him to follow up on catches. The other choice of boots would be swiftness boots as they give the highest mobility aswell as slow reductions, but due to nerfs on the base ms bonus, and reductions, Mercury treads are a better option as they give 30% reduction to all cc, instead of the 25% to just slows that swiftness boots give you.|
|Upgrading the Sightstone into Eye of the Watchers is much better than buying Frost Queen's Claim because it frees up item space, rushes earlier cdr, and gives more vision by increasing the amount of wards you can carry.|
|A must buy in most games, even against 2 AP comps. the AOE shield that this item gives is incredible for teamfighting as well as the aoe mr buff helps, even against minor magic damage.|
|Essentially a mini cleanse, which is incredibly useful now, as it means ADC's no longer need to rush a qss as long as they are in a teamfight. It also doubles as a targeted heal.|
|Allows for more wiggle room on Bard, means he can be more aggressive and not be afraid of a single stray cc spell catching him out.|
|This Item is very situational on Bard. If your ADC is incredibly fed and is not buliding a crit heavy build, the buff that it gives will give a huge damage spike and can enable them to hard carry the game.|
|I think this item is fairly good on Bard, however I rarely build it on him. Banner of Command is an item that allows you to slow push another lane, while having no champions there. It couples well with Zz'Rot Portal as it gives more power to the push.|
In the early game, your goal is to bully the enemy laners and ensure your carry a strong laning phase. The idea is to poke as much as possible level 1 to get as much damage down early as possible. Be careful of level 2. Always be aware of who is going to get level 2 and when in the bottom lane, as it is generally the time when most lanes go aggressive, meaning it can get you taken advantage of very quickly. To get level 2, it takes a full wave + 3 melee minions, or gromp+krugs + 3 melee minions and 1 ranged. If you manage to lose lane early, play safer and simply look to roam when you can, or enable your jungler to get an easy gank off, or shadow them in ganking mid or invading the enemy jungle.
Always remember to keep healing shrines in lane, especially if you are going to roam. The shrines can mean if your ADC lives or dies due to the movement speed buff and healing it gives. Whenever the enemy laners go back, or your ADC goes back and you are not low on HP, look to roam midlane or get vision in the enemy jungle. These are the safest times to roam as you lose the least in lane, and its usually expected that you went back unless they have vision of you.
By this time you will be wanting to roam a ton, you essentially should become a secondary jungler of sorts, a mix between vision control and applying pressure/ganking. At this point you will be wanting to chain chimes together to maintain a high movement speed, allowing you to apply pressure all over the map quicker. Remember your priority is to still keep your ADC safe, meaning to keep vision up around them and shrines in lane, in case they need to make a mistake and are not close enough to help.
A lot of late game is just looking at the map, waiting for ult opportunities to come up. A key part of Bard is using Tempered Fate to catch out enemies and allowing your team to catch them out and push objectives 4v5. Your goal in teamfights at this point will be one of two things. It will either be to peel for you adc, to stop their frontline from collapsing onto your ADC or Midlaner, this generally is much easier when 2 or more dive as you can stun them together, or it will be to stun and lock up the enemy backline, enabling your team to collapse on them and decimate their carries.
|Kalista is a very strong ADC to play with Bard as their poke works synergizes together with Cosmic Binding and Sentinel, giving them a strong lane dominance. Fate's Call Is also incredibly good, as the knock up allows for Bard to set up an easy stun on the targets directly after, chaining cc together.|
|Lucian and Bard together are very lane dominant, and while they have no direct synergy, Lucian has an extremely easy time following up with Bard's poke and trading very effectively.|
|Landing a stun on the enemy laners means that Ezreal can land his Mystic Shot 99% of the time on them, allowing for free trading. He is also a very safe laner, making this lane easy to survive and move into mid/late game safely.|
|Caitlyn and Bard have very good poke, and together have an overwhelming presence in lane, forcing the enemy jungle to help equalize the lane, taking pressure off the other laners. Caitlyn can also place Yordle Snap Trap after you stun or vice versa for easy chain cc.|
|Vayne has a very odd laning phase that simply does not work well with Bard. He also has a very hard time creating optimal trades for her due to a short range and the fact that Vayne thrives in long trades, where Bard is stronger in short trades.|
|Both of these champs have slows incorporated into their kits, meaning that the enemy will basically be permaslowed, but it takes a lot of their individual cc away as their slows tend to overlap, and they do not stack. Bard's Cosmic Binding generally creates trades by stunning off the minion wave, which blocks ashes trade as the minions block her Volley.|
|This lane is simply fairly weak in general, meaning the enemy laners will have a much easier time applying pressure and making the lane difficult. The only synergy between the champions is Bard's Cosmic Binding and Corki's Phosphorus Bomb, besides that, they don't have very much going for each other in lane.|
Remember, Bard is a champion that heavily relies upon communication and trust in your teammates. He is best played within a team situation, or in higher ranks where you have good communication with your team and can rely on them to follow through with his kit. Bard is a champ that enables others to make plays, but can only do so with trust. He is not designed to have specific synergy with certain champs or team compositions, but simply good communication.
I hope that I was able to teach you a thing or two about my favourite champ, and convince you to pick them up in the near future c:
I plan on keeping this guide updated as long as I play Bard, and hoping to expand the guide with videos and the little specific details in hopes to cover absolutely everything possible!
(I hope to stream in the near future, my internet currently can't handle it)
OP.GG for Elderwood Bard