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
|Sona||You can outpoke her fairly easily. Only problem is that she has more healing abiliy than you.|
|Soraka||A fairly mild lane, but her healing is quite ridiculous. Most of the time, you will want to focus her because her healing will keep the ADC alive.|
Bard is Hard
Bard is one of those champs that, without proper experience, will mess up the game for your teammates really bad and the salt will flow like the Nile. Yet if you know what you are doing, you will be GODLIKE and be under praised by your teammates QQ (It's ok).
(click for enhanced image)
When riot put Bard as difficult in the info page for him, they weren't kidding. Sure you understand his skills perfectly and learn how to play him easily, but to learn how to use him effectively is a completely different story. Whether it's the poking or landing the q correctly or using your Magical Journey effectively or timing your ult. Bard really is Hard. I have seen people play Bard with no experience, and it made me want to cry. That's why I decided to make this guide.
In this build, the main focus is to be able to burst your enemies in the early game, while retaining some of the damage late game as you start getting fairly tanky. I hope you enjoy the read.
Now there are a great deal of ideas about how bard is supposed to be built, but this is what goes best with my build.
- Since this build is focused on your abilities damage, magic pen is a must have.
- This is the default seal for any champion I play, just because base armor is so low.
- Although Bard's ability scaling is low, it is still significant to have AP.
- This provides a pleasant mix for a balance of pen and damage.
How not to troll with Bard
Traveler's Call (Passive)
- This passive can save lives and end them. Chimes appear (not so) randomly on the map, but mostly around Bard. When Bard collects these chimes he gain a % of his maximum mana, exp, and a short speed boost. If Bard collects multiple chimes in quick succession, the speed bonus stacks up to 5 times. Also, whenever Bard collects 5 chimes, his passive: Meeps, becomes empowered. Bard's Meep passive spawns a Meep that follows Bard around and makes Bard's next basic attack become empowered. Through collecting chimes the meep limit will increase, the meep's damage will increase, meep's spawn rate will increase, the meep's will damage in a cone in front of them, and the meep's will slow enemies damaged by the meeps. There is a lot of information for this passive. When you go to collect your chimes, it is important that you know what your route will be and that your lane is safe while you are gone. There are times at the beginning of the game where the enemy team will wait for you to go collect a chime that is in your jungle, and kill you when you go there for first blood, but that doesn't happen often. This skill provides a lot of your damage, cc, and utility. Don't underestimate it.
Cosmic Binding (Q)
-This ability is your playmaker. You shoot a mystic bolt to a target location. This bolt can hit one enemy to slow them or two enemies and one enemy and a wall to stun them. What riot doesn't tell you about cosmic binding is that after the first enemy hit, there is a fixed range it will travel after that (about 1/3 of the range). This means that if you hit an enemy at point blank, the total range is greatly reduced, but conversely, if you hit an enemy at the maximum range, it will travel even further. This is both a blessing and a curse. Some tips to using this is if you are pushed to your turret, as the enemy champ walks around try to hit them when they are infront of the minions so you can stun them, and as they are being poked, the minions will get in the way. Bonus point if the minions die and turret starts attacking them. Here are some doodles of Q interactions by yours truly.
Caretaker's Shrine (W)
- This is your sustain/kiting/chasing spell. You place a shrine that has a base healing stat that grows over a few seconds. This shrine also provides a short speed boost that decay very quickly. You can cast it directly on an ally to boost them up. This ability is extremely costly with its 90 mana cost, and should only be used when you have mana to spare or need to get away/chase. It is most efficient when placed and left for it to get to its full healing potential. Also as a bonus, you can use your shrine to bait enemies into walking next to a wall. THIS ALMOST ALWAYS WORKS. You place your shrine next to any wall that you will be next to(preferably in your turret range) and q them as they go to crush it to pin them to the wall. You would be surprised as to how often this happens, especially in low elo.
Magical Journey (E)
-This ability can also save lives and end them. You summon a wormhole(basically) in a target wall that wall create a tunnel leading to the other end of the wall. You can only travel through the side you summoned it from, meaning it is a one-way tunnel. You and your allies travel slightly faster than the enemies. You can use this for ease of traveling, but it's cooldown is so long that it is better to save it just in case something happens, such as a surprise jungler hug. The main strategy for this skill is to lead allies into a fight, escape from enemies, or to bait enemies to their death. At the same time you could accidentally lead the enemies to your carries or lead an ally of yours into the enemies. It is a very situation ability.
Tempered Fate (R)
-This ability is deadly. Bard throws a ball to a target location that, after hitting its target, puts EVERYTHING that can attack into stasis for a few seconds. I recommend that you not try to use this ability at max range, unless the target is stationary, because it's air time is really long. There are many ways to use this ability. You can ult enemies that are chasing an ally. You can ult enemies that are running away to allow your team to converge on them. You can use it to initiate a fight. You can use it to stop the enemies from taking an objective. The only drawback is that you can mess up, really bad. This is an ability that takes time to master. You will make your enemies rage, or your allies rage.
-> Frostfang into Eye of the Watchers
-As a support that focuses on poking, frostfang allows for optimal gold earning, a fair amount of AP for the cost, and a small amount of mana regen to keep you in lane . How this passive gold works is that every time you hit an enemy with a ability or basic attack, you earn gold and bonus damage on the target. With that, you will want to wait until you have at least 2 stacks ready and your passive meep ready. That way the bonus gold and damage is applies twice, allowing for a slight burst. If you have 3 stacks, you can combo it with your q for a nice chunk of health. I don't go with Frost Queen's Claim because this build already provides a lot of the CD and Damage that you need and combining your Sightstone and Frostfang into Eye of the Watchers also clears up one item spot that would otherwise be taken by Ruby Sightstone and Frost Queen's Claim.
-Any support without sightstone is seriously lacking. In all elos under plat (and maybe even in plat) the only person that consistently wards is the support, or sometimes the jungler (aka. Lee Sin). This item is the main support item.
Ionian Boots of Lucidity
-Ever since the changes that added Summoner Spell cooldown reduction on it, it has been a very under appreciated item. The combination cooldown lets you provide so much utility more often for your team.
-The effectiveness of this item is open for debate, but this item is a must have for my build. It provides a strong passive and a fair amount of AP for damage. The icing on the cake is that if you throw a meep empowered basic attack while the revolver is on CD, you will instantly proc Thunder Lords. There will be MATH further down the guide c:. This item will be sold only when there are no more slots. You could purchase an advanced Hextech item, but it is much more preferred to get a tanky item such as Guardian Angel.
-This item is a must have for me. From all my time playing Bard, I would roam around collecting chimes, drop a portal near an enemy tower and get with the team. It provides for more mobility around turrets and great defensive stats.
Locket of the Iron Solari
-A great utility item, while providing cooldown, aura mr, and health. Great for tough teamfight and a good defense against aoe magic damage such as amumu or morgana.
-This item is a personal favorite when you reach late game. It tops off your Cooldown while providing a great deal of health and sustain.
-Legendary defensive item that provides for lots of health and a decent amount of armor. The passive also allows for some ambient damage during fights.
-A fair item to increase health and magic resistance against those strong apc, and a passive that may save your life in certain situations.
Banner of Command
-Not as good as locket, but is great paired with the zz'rot portal to maximize pushing potential. Decent defensive stats.
-This would be a last buy item, as you do not normally heal yourself because you should be focusing on the carries. Still a great buy with nice effects.
-A great item for when the enemy team is either heavily AD or all AD. Unless you sacrifice one of the core items, the 10% cdr from this item is wasted, but it is a sacrifice that can be made.
-Perfect for late game, where a death can throw the game. Since you are already tanky, this provides for the perfect stats.
Here is what I do at the start of every game. I say "gl and hf", buy my items, and rush up to tribush if I am blue side, or river entrance to the blue buff if I am purple side. This way, you can watch for any invade attempts. If they have a Blitzcrank, Nautilus or Thresh, just put a ward. If you get pulled there is a very low chance you will survive if you are grabbed. Start Q to help the jungler if they is starting where you are. The stun and damage is a great way to help.
Study the Enemy
When you get to lane, you are gonna want to look at the enemies stats. The one with the lower mr and hp will be your target. Also take into account how easy it will be for the enemy to retaliate. Poke as often as your spellthiefs passive is up. Getting the max efficiency out of the gold on hit is very important. How you play is very reliant on how your enemies play and who they are playing. If they are an aggressive support like Sona, Annie, and Vel'Koz, you will either need to find a way to match them or play safe. If it is a more defensive support such as Alistar or Janna, your best bet is to poke and set up for your jungler.
Always keep an eye on your jungler, especially if they are a slow clear like Amumu, and if the enemy jungler is a Shaco. This also goes conversely for if your jungler invades. If they get invaded or need help invading, make sure to ping like crazy. If it is within Bot lane, then you better head over there, and keep an eye on if the enemy bot lane follows. You will not need to ward river until about the time that your jungler is about done with there clear (if they didn't get invaded). This will be a little after the 2 minute mark.
Know Your Limits
When playing Bard, it is very important to know your CD's, ranges, and Mana usage. Bard's abilities are his core, so you have to accustom yourself to them, but mana control is one of the most important things about Bard's abilities, especially in early lane. I was advised by a fellow Bardian that keeping your mana around 50% while in lane is optimal, and I agree. You need to make sure you have enough to deal with an all in or a gank.
It's all about Learning
The best way to learn how to play is by actually playing. Some people prefer to roam a lot. Some not so much. You do not need to follow my guide to a tee, so find what you are comfortable with, and enjoy.
Do not go and collect chimes willy nilly like people say Bards do. The best time to collect chimes is on your way back to lane. You can use the movement speed as a way to gank mid lane, and as a way to make it back to lane in a reasonable amount of time. If you notice that bot is getting pushed in, don't go collecting chimes like it is Pokemon Go, go straight to lane. The only other times you would leave lane for chimes is if, your ADC is safely warded, shrined, and the enemy is b'ed, or if you are critically low on mana.
This all depends on the enemy jungler. For example, lets say you are on blue side, and you are not pushed. If they have a jungler that has the ability to jump over walls like Lee Sin, then you are going to need to ward the bush at the river entrance. If the enemy is pushing then you just need to ward tri and lane bush for blue side, and lane bush for purple side, unless you think they might try to dive, then ward the tri bush on purple side. If you are not pushed, and the enemy has a jungler that moves very fast like Hecarim or Master Yi at 6, then you will want to ward further down river for a little more time to respond (assuming you have map awareness c:).
You will also need to pay attention the the enemy jungler ganking habits. Most junglers tend to follow a pattern when ganking. Right after a gank on mid, they might go straight to bot. If this happens, make sure to either
1) ward tri bush or
2) ward the bush above red buff if you are on blue side
1) Drag and baron
2) enemy buffs (as long as it is safe),
3) the bush 5n the other side of the blue buff at mid lane and
4) Jungle entrances.
All of these places are great general warding places. And here are secondary warding places based on your current stituation.
Once you get your hextech revolver is when you start to shine. With revolver+meep+basic attack, Thunderlords is instantly proced. Ready for some estimated math? :D Lets start by stating you will be about level 6 have approximately 80 AP (everything in blue is AP scaling).
Meep damage is at 55+24
Basic Attack is say, 60
Revolver is 100
But wait, there's more! Don't forget the 45 from frostfang if you save up all 3 stacks!
That is at least 352 damage.
To put that into perspective, Sona at level 6 will have 867 hp. You could deal at least one third of her HP (assuming she hasn't gotten SS and not taking into account MR or Mag Pen). Now it doesn't seem groundbreaking, but remember, this is just one basic attack.
You still have 170 + 48 damage on your Q.
Then slap on another Meep and basic attack for 60+55+24.
That is a grand total of 709 damage (605 without AP scaling). Over 80% of a no HP item Sona at level 6. This is not even mentioning your ADC. This auto+q+auto combo only takes less than 3 second, and, if you land the stun, your ADC has free reign for 1.4 seconds.
You will be repeating this process a couple of times. Hextech Revolver has a cooldown of 40 seconds, but you do not need to wait for hextech revolver. You can still poke without it and deal a healthy chunk of damage.
Now it is good to understand your ADC. Some ADCs need don't have any sort of mobility. Some don't have any hard CC. Understand how well your ADC can follow up on your stun. Someone like Caitlyn can follow a stun with a trap for a large amount of damage. A Lucian can jump close to the target and deal damage. An Ashe can deal damage if she is close to the target upon stunning, or follow up with an ult if 6. Learn the limitation of your ADC, and also the enemy. A Vayne can dodge fairly well and often. A Kog'Maw on the other hand can't.
Usually while in lane, you will want to use your ult to engage, either with just your ADC, or with a gank. Either to hold the ADC so you can converge on him, or to keep the support from interfering with the gang bang. Otherwise, it is a great way to disengage. You will need to practice with aiming though, especially with fast enemies like Hecarim.
Mid Game / Late Game
The way you play in mid and late game will be very similar. You will need to ward often, and keep dibs on when objectives spawn. You will tend to stay close to your ADC or APC. In teamfights, you will want to stay in the back end so you can cc and exhaust and Assassins that the enemy team has. You will also want to catch people out with your ult. I you see someone out of place and your team is near, you ult them. Be hesitant with people that have a lot of mobility though. Always be ready to use your locket or throw shrines under allies to heal or boost them. Keep shrines behind the team in case you need to fall back. Besides ulting to catch people, you can also ult to save allies. For example, a Zed can ult a carry, but before his ult pops, you can ult the ally and prevent damage to them.
Pros and Cons of this Support Build
This is not a carry all games build.
- Great burst early game
- Relevant damage late game
- Tanky late game
- Cooldowns for more Utitlity
- Map control and Speed
- Squishy early Game
- Not as tanky as other builds late game
- Not as much damage as other builds late game
- Fairly aggressive build