Bard Build Guide by Zakith
Not Updated For Current Season
This guide has not yet been updated for the current season. Please keep this in mind while reading. You can see the most recently updated guides on the browse guides page.
Situational - Tanky
Situational - Damage
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
|Bard||Another Bard is actually a very nice lane, as you both will want to roam around, leaving the ADCs to duke it out for themselves. Beware of being counter ganked by enemy bards while ganking, and remember to countergank them while they're ganking. You can even attempt to snowball bot lane by staying in lane and pushing it hard, making it actually a good idea sometimes to try to stay in lane. You're better, so don't sweat this one.|
|Janna||A very safe lane, without real all-in potential. Roam freely|
|Soraka||A sustain lane. You aren't going to get too much done here, so throw some W's down and roam.|
|Sona||A poke and sustain lane, with no real all-ins until level six. You both have some good sustain. Roaming is safe in this lane.|
|Kayle||Some poke, but not much. No hard CC. Can become dangerous late game, but if they're playing support and you don't hand them free kills, she won't get much gold. Roam freely.|
|Urgot||LOL this guy is barely an ADC. If you EVER see one, then lucky you. His poke is "eh" and his all-in is his ultimate, which has tiny range. Most ADCs will laugh at this lane, even if you are gone.|
Hello, My Name is Zakith. I am a support main in NA who has become very interested in the new champion Bard. Currently, I have not lost a game with him, and I have found him to be one of my favorite champions, and one that will scale very strongly with the player's skill.
When I first looked for a bard guide to help me get started, though, I found nothing that would really help me. After playing around a bit, I found a couple tricks that worked very well, and I decided I wanted to share them, especially since Bard is such a high skillcap champion, meaning that a lot of people will have trouble learning him.
This is my first guide on Mobafire, so please let me know if I have screwed things up, left things out, am just plain wrong, etc. I hope this guide helps you out, and please feel free to leave comments about the guide! :D
Pros / Cons
+High Roaming Potential
+Scales Quite well with Chimes
+High Outplay Ability
-Leaves Bot Lane Often
-Can Make a Poor ADC Very Behind
-Vulnerable to Ganks, Especially While Roaming
-Can End Up Under Level
-Countered By All-in Lanes
-Very Dependent on Team, the Jungler Especially
-Hard to Play While Behind
The main reason to play Bard is his map control. You can be anywhere at any time, and can cause the enemy team to become confined, force them to play safe, end up behind, or unable to gank due to vision. By allying with your teammates, you can perform some epic catches, leading to getting your team ahead. However, leaving bot lane can be open to abuse by your enemies, and forgetting your ADC is good way to get them killed. Remember that the ADC wins games, and that keeping them safe is your #1 job, even if it means that you can't roam as much as you'd like to. Bard works extremely well with people you can count on, so beware playing him in soloQ. DuoQ or Teams synergize much better with him.
Bard's passive is what gives you the incentive roam about the map. The chimes spawn pretty early in the game, generally near Bard, and start spawning more often as the game goes own. They restore some Bard's mana each time, and can allow him some pretty ridiculous sustain with his Caretaker's Shrine. His second passive, the Meeps, are a really cool augment to his auto-attacks that scales well into late game with the chimes. Every five chimes you get increases their power! They get a slow, AOE damage, bonus damage, additional "charges," and reduced cooldown time!
Bard's Q is his only ability that does damage, and thus should be used wisely. However, that doesn't necessarily mean save it, but it can. Use this ability to hopefully stun two opponents, like the entire enemy bot lane, and take them out with your allies. If you can't line that up though, that's fine, just hit a minion or a wall as well and it will stun the enemy too. Your positioning is everything on this one, so always look for good angles! We max this second for the full power during teamfights without hampering early sustain.
Remember what this ability can Proc the stun on!
Using this against Carries is likely a better option than on the tank.
Don't be afraid to only use it for the slow while harassing or chasing.
Use this to harass through minions.
Use this when be chased through your E. If you hit them when they come through it will stun them on the wall behind them!
Bard's W allows him and his allies to have high sustain, even while you aren't around! These have two parts: the heal and the speed buff. The heal starts out relatively small, but in 10 seconds grows to a large heal. The speed buff doesn't grow at all, but instead starts out at a full 50%. Enemies can destroy these by walking over them, so place them carefully. We max this first for super sustain.
Place a few of these for the jungler early to help with his first clear and let him farm longer. Placing them for him after his first camp is best.
Place these near your turret so enemies have a hard time getting to them.
Don't be afraid to place these right on top of yourself or an ally in an emergency or teamfight; the heal is always helpful!
Use these in chases to save you or an ally, or to doom an enemy.
Always have some down while you roam.
The power increase happens after 10s, which is about the same as the cooldown on it. Use the cooldown as a quick reference for if it's full power.
Bard's E is a super cool ability that helps his roaming abilities. It creates a corridor which can be used by ANYONE, as many times as they can get to the entrance before it expires. It is a one way journey only, however, so be careful where you send it! Use this for ganking, escapes, and roaming speed. The portal can cover huge distances with the right wall, so it can be used to cover distances extremely quickly. It is a directional ability, so the angle you put it at on a wall DOES make a big difference. We max this last, as it doesn't scale too hard.
Since it goes through walls almost regardless of the wall length, use this to make ganks where the enemy has no wards.
Teammates travel faster through it, so utilize it in escapes.
Use this to bait an enemy into your team, drawing them through a portal to where your team is waiting.
Beware using this without vision, as you don't want to use it into THEIR entire team.
Since it is one way, always have an escape plan.
Using this to flank a fight can win the day for your team.
Bard's ult is his most gamechanging feature. This is the ability that will separate the good Bards from the bad. This ability can win you a fight or get you called a troll. It puts everything (and I do mean everything) in a stasis where it cannot attack, be attacked, move, etc. This has a thousand uses. It also has massive range, allowing you to save or destroy enemies all over the map. Like any other ult, we max this whenever possible.
Use this power to deny finishing moves such as Caitlyn's
You can use this to holds an enemy still while your team positions to destroy them.
Use this to remove one or two enemies from the teamfight so your team can mop up.
With good timing you can save your buddies from all ins a distance away, rendering a Thresh hook irrelevant or some such. Beware, it does have travel time, so some quick abilities may not be stoppable.
Use this to prevent an enemy from escaping or catching up to you or an ally.
Since this effects monsters, use this to delay/prevent the enemies from taking dragon or baron.
Since this shuts down towers, you can use it to tower dive effectively.
You can use it to stop an allied tower from being destroyed, but only for 2.5 seconds, so make sure to utilize that time!
|This item is your gold item, and also some AP for your abilities and meeps. Don't underestimate it, the slow is great for escapes, engages, and landing skill shots. The CDR is always nice and mana regen is useful.|
|This item is a more tanky magic resist item, as well as a party friendly item. The hit points and magic resistance for yourself are good, but giving nearby allies 20 magic resist and some health regen is great, especially if the enemy team has multiple AP champions. Build this only if you really need the extra magic resistance for your team and Mikael's Crucible isn't enough. Also, coordinate with the jungler, as some junglers take this item, and having two on a team is useless.|
|Upgrading to this item is cheap, and it is really helpful for finding enemy wards, especially if they aren't being placed where you'd expect them. Build if you are playing the vision game or if they have someone like Teemo.|
Situational - Tanky
|This is a good item to build against AD heavy teams, especially if they rely on auto attacks. Plan to build this if you need to be extra tanky and they aren't doing much magic damage, and the CDR would benefit you. Build after Randuin's Omen|
|This is a great anti-ADC item, but it only works if the enemy team is heavily reliant on auto-attacks. If you need the extra armor but don't need the extra CDR from Frozen Heart, give this a look.|
|Sunfire is the tank-carry item. Build it if you need more damage, armor, and hitpoints. This item is also good at racking up assists. However, it does require you to get close, which is something you likely won't be doing much of.|
|The splitpushing support's dream. This is a good tanky item for if you are ahead and trying to dominate the lanes. You can place one of these by an enemy turret to help destroy it quickly, use it to split push a tower or an inhibitor, Be careful, it may require some protection as enemies can destroy it, and for the love of all that is holy don't build it against Nasus|
|This item, while providing some magic resistance, is mainly used for its active, which acts like a cleanse for yourself. Only buy it if the enemy ahs a ridiculous amount of CC. Normally this is used by the carries, which you are not.|
|A tank item that is anti-magic. This gives you health, a ton of magic resistance, and a shield that blocks the first spell that hits you. This can be a good item if the enemy leads off combos with their CC.|
|The active is what you're really here for. The chase potential of this item is silly, and can be really helpful on Bard, who is already great at chases. The large amount of HP is also really useful.|
|For when you need some serious hitpoints. 'Nuff said.|
Situational - Damage
|This is the offensive version of Locket of the Iron Solari. As such, don't get both, as the passives won't stack. This item gives a moderate amount of AP, some hp, and some CDR, but the really useful thing here is the active, which can help push or splitpush lanes.|
|For when you need more damage. This item increases your speed and gives you a steroid to your auto attacks. Useful, but you aren't going to be spamming that many abilities in combat, so this is pretty situational.|
|The new item is here...and it isn't all it was made out to be. Yeah, lots of AP, but the movement speed isn't all that useful, even on Bard, who is built to roam. The passive does some damage that can help rack up assists, but...eh.|
|Here we go! this item has some AP, a huge amount of CDR, great mana regen, and a passive that can screw over ADCs who try to use heal! If you're going AP, you likely want this somewhere.|
|This item has a few useful features for an AP support. First off, the cdr helps to round out the build. The main draw is the active, which is great for doing everything from winning chases to giving yourself an alternative to facechecking bushes. Utilizing this item effectively can get your team more map control and prevent ganks. Also, any enemy who goes into stealth while being targetted by a ghost will be revealed, making it strong against champions like Shaco and Rengar.|
|These are your "I'm winning this game" boots. If you have the enemy team pushed, then these boots can help move your team around quickly to keep it that way.|
|These are your "I'm losing this game" boots. These can help you quickly defend your base, get back to lane quicker, and do whatever you need to protect your base. Hence the name "Homeguard."|
|This item is for you AP Bards out there. Some extra AP once you finish your main build is helpful. the mana regen gives you super sustain.|
|This item makes you slightly more tanky, and helps make your minions a force to be reckoned with. Kinda' like a mini baron buff!|
|This elixir makes you super tanky. It gives you some serious tenacity and slow resistance that make you hard to pin down, but even better, you get to help increase your allies' movement speeds!|
|Get some of these. Seriously, they are great. Use them to sweep for wards, create bushes that you know are ward free, and gain lasting vision of areas. The pros do it, so it must be a good idea :D|
|Get some of these if you can't afford a sightstone on your first back. You will need the vision to protect yourself and your allies from ganks.|
The rule with items is always know what you want to do, what you need, and what you are going to need. Plan the game based on what your goals are, who the enemy champions are, how fed they are, and what they are building.
Team playing with Bard is super important. Roaming is useless unless it gives you a benefit, and if you play with your team, that benefit may be strategic map control, kills on the enemies, and hopefully winning the game.
Bard benefits from teams where everyone is on the same page. This means a few things: Firstly, he works best in Ranked Teams and Duo Queue, and is significantly more difficult and less effective in Solo Queue. Secondly, he works best with live communication. Using Skype or being in the same room means that your team will have the communication to make the flashy plays that Bard excels at. Finally, it means that you are playing a support for the entire team, not just the ADC. While it is true that the ADC will need your help the most, don't disregard other players in favor of the ADC. Doing simple things like leaving a Caretaker's Shrine can be very impactful on the game.
The best team compositions with Bard are people with strong ganks who are capable of taking advantage of his Magical Journey and gank effectively. This means that you likely want assassins, gap closing top laners, people with a lot of CC, and generally a lot of burst. Just about every jungler likes Bard because they can engage and save their gap closer. ADCs are a bit harder, though. For an ADC you need someone who will be safe if left alone for a little while.
Another team composition in which Bard excells at is a seige composition that will take advantage of Bard's tremendous sustain. Bard has decent poke too, and scales up very well with his passive, whuch means that teams that will help him get there are very favorable.
The top three ADCs in my opinion are:
Caitlyn: She has all the tools she could ever want for surviving alone. She has huge range to kill minions with, long range poke, an escape/slow for hairy situations, and traps to prevent ganks from bushes.
Corki: Corki works great with Bard, because as a caster ADC he benefits greatly from the bonus experience he gets while Bard roams. He has exceptional poke, and huge escape, and a reveal to avoid bush-sitting supports.
Sivir: Sivir is an amazing ADC to pair with Bard because she can push the wave. Hard. Once the wave is pushed she can sit back safely for a little bit, and can harass with her Q and W if she wants to. In case of an enemy all-in, she can spellshield the CC and run away with her ult.
These aren't the only people who work well. Just about any ADC can work.
A quick list of who DOESN'T work well with Bard:
Fiddlesticks: Fiddles like to jump in with his ult, which has a channel time. It doesn't work too well if your enemies can see it coming, so he is unlikely to take the Magical Journey.
Zac: Same story as fiddlesticks, his elastic slingshot has to charge up, which he doesn't want to do in plain view of the enemies.
Kalista: Kalista is an ADC who is super reliant on her support. Without the support, she cannot use her percent health passive nor her ult. She is also very squishy, and can die easily if left alone.
Roaming as Bard is NEVER random. Always have a purpose. One common misconception with first time Bard players is that you need to roam the whole time. THIS IS NOT TRUE. You are still a support, and should spend time with your ADC to help him in lane.
When roaming, you should have a goal in mind. Some goals include: Warding, Ganking, Supporting Another Lane, and Chime Collecting. This is not to say that these are the only goals, as sometimes more arise. It also doesn't mean that you can only do one at a time.
For example, a good roam might include: You wander up from bot lane to dragon pit, so you place a ward to get vision. There is a chime by the enemy's blue buff. Go grab it (cautiously) and place a ward there to have information on the enemy jungler. Wander up to mid lane and place a Caretaker's Shrine under your midlaner's tower. There's a chime behind dragon pit, so you go grab it. It's time to be back in lane, so you use Magical Journey to move back to lane faster. You've done some important things on that short little excursion. You have 1. Placed deep wards to prevent ganks and get information on the enemies, 2. Improved your midlaner's sustain so that he can farm for longer and beat the enemy in farm, and 3. Grabbed 2 chimes to improve your own abilities. No kills, but still very successful. The best part is that you were hardly out of lane for long. Even if the enemy team did try to push, you got back before they could do much.
In lane, your job is to protect your ADC from the enemies. But once you start roaming, they are going to try pushing your ADC. You have two options here. 1. Go snowball another lane. You can gank, try to help other lanes, and improve your mid and top laners' games. If your ADC is good alone, and not being pushed too hard, this is a good option, but if they are, then you can 2. Gank your own lane. Go round up your jungler and use Magical Journey to punish them for taking advantage of your absence. If done well, you can snowball your lane to the point where you don't even need to worry about roaming.
Here is a good picture for great places to gank from with your Magical Journey in order to avoid wards.
By taking these paths, you can likely get the jump on your enemies.
As a support, one of your primary jobs is warding. One thing that a lot of new players ask is "Where do I ward?" This particular set of photos is useful for all supports, so I'm putting it here to help anyone who isn't sure of how to ward effectively. The pictures assume you are blue.
For Early Game (not pushed/being pushed)
For if you are being pushed
For if you are pushing the enemy team
Bard is an amazing support for supporting not just the ADC, but the entire team.
Important things to remember:
Grabbing Those Chimes
Liking This Guide :D