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Bard Build Guide by Rusberg

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Rusberg

comprehensive guide to being a real Bardstard. [Diamond]

Rusberg Last updated on September 10, 2016
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Ability Sequence

1
3
5
7
9
Ability Key Q
2
13
15
17
18
Ability Key W
4
8
10
12
14
Ability Key E
6
11
16
Ability Key R





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.



Masteries

Fury
 
 
5/
Sorcery
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Vampirism
 
 
5/
Natural Talent
 
 
 
 
 
Bounty Hunter
1/
Oppressor
 
 
 
 
 
Battering Blows
 
 
Piercing Thoughts
 
 
 
 

Ferocity: 12

5/
Wanderer
 
 
Savagery
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
5/
Merciless
 
 
Meditation
 
 
 
 
 
1/
Bandit
Dangerous Game
 
 
 
 
 
Precision
 
 
5/
Intelligence
 
 
 
 

Cunning: 18

Recovery
 
 
Unyielding
 
 
 
 
 
Explorer
Tough Skin
 
 
 
 
 
Runic Armor
 
 
Veteran's Scars
 
 
 
 
 
Insight
Perseverance
 
 
 
 
 
Swiftness
 
 
Legendary Guardian
 
 
 
 

Resolve: 0



Threats to Bard with this build

Threat
Low
High
Show all
Threat Champion Notes
1
Jhin Low mobility, but high damage. Make sure to rush your ult at him if he tries to take your ADC down with his ult.
Guide Top

Who am i?

hey. This is my first guide and English is not my native language, so please have patience with me. I recommend that you actually read the guide, and not just copy items, runes and masteries.

I'm a Bard main currently playing in Diamond. Update: Due to a longer period being inactive during the summer i got demoted to platinum. Buhu.
I've seen several ways to play as Bard, and i guess it all comes down to what kind of player you are. defensive or offensive. Personally i like playing Bard very offensive.
i have played Bard for over 300 games, so im starting to get experienced. I've also reached mastery 7 with over 230k points for what its worth.
With these runes/masteries/items i usually end up having about the same damage dealt as the rest of my team.

When i wanted to start maining a champion i started thinking about what champions that REALLY can make a great impact and carry a game, if played correctly. also what champions that rarely get picked or banned. This is my result.






What i love about Bard is that you can really turn a losing game around if you master him. Also he doesn't give me the feeling of playing a totally useless champion if you are alone, but at the same time he have pretty good synergy with an ally.
He is not quite like pure DPS Annie or Brand support, but he is more of a hybrid.

I see several guides writing about how bard is not such a great damage dealer, but he is good for his CC. I think this is a false claim. 9/10 times i Out-dps the enemy support, if it is a Brand, Sona, Zyra or whatever. These champions do indeed deal more dmg than Bard on paper, but it's all about your positioning and being able to aim your skillshots. Being able to safely land your burst without the enemy being able to move is what makes Bard the better choice in my opinion.


Hope this helps you on the way to becoming a good or even better !

Feedback, good or bad, are welcome in the comment section. If you feel like something is missing or if you want me to cover something, please let me know. I have tried to make the guide as complete as possible with what i tought was the most vital to becoming a educated Bard. Simply ask if you are wondering about something guiderelated. I would prefer if you read the section about items, runes and masteries before debating against how i build.






Guide Top

For the lazy one

Lots of good tips, some of them i have covered in my Tip section.







Caretaker's map to success.

Marks areas where you can make smooth travels with Magical Journey. Note that i have marked turrets aswell. this is because they can be used to reposition, escape or catch up to enemies. Works extremly well when you have a high level Magical Journey.



Marks the spots to stay at 0:35. this will make the first 3 chimes spawn in the area marked with yellow dots.

Marks the spots where i try to keep Caretaker's Shrine at all times. Note that i put them against the wall under my turret if lane is pushed or 50/50 in lane. this is to make it extremly risky for enemies to try to destroy them, also you are less likely to walk over them by accident. instant stun against terrain if they move towards it and punish hard. if we are pushing lane hard i usually make a path of 3 Caretaker's Shrine for a planned escape in case of ganks. Walking over all 3 gives you a alot of health aswell as the speed you need to escape.

Marks a route where you can roam mid if not warded. simply walk up and use Magical Journey as shown on the map. CC the enemy as best you can with AA's so your midlaner can catch up, then attempt a Cosmic Binding against wall as shown. you are almost guaranteed to force a flash or get a kill. same thing toplane if you are able to leave botlane for so long.


















Interesting montage that are worth watching for ideas.





Guide Top

Pros / Cons

Pros:


* Game changing abilities
* Healthshrines to be placed anywhere.
* Highly mobile for roaming
* good damage and cc

Cons:


* Hard to master
* Can ruin your own team if used wrong
* bad instantheal with Caretaker's Shrine
* Requires farming of Traveler's Call


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Skill Sequence

With my abilities i always Max out my Tempered Fate, needless to say really.
What really makes Bard unique is how his passive Traveler's Call works. when you have farmed up about 80-100 chimes for lategames its so insanely overpowered. The slow, the damage, and the area of effect are just remarkable. The trick is being able to farm your chimes without leaving your ADC alone too much. I try to make sure that i have about 2 chimes per minute when u reach mid-game. That means at the 15 minute-mark i'd preferable have 30 chimes.
there is no point in leaving your lane to collect chimes unless you can grab enough to upgrade your Traveler's Call to the next stage, your lane is pushed and there is not much else to do, you are going to ward, you are low on mana or you are planning on making a roam midlane. Try to always place out a Caretaker's Shrine before you grab the chime so the bonus mana is not wasted.

I've seen and heard of Bards that start with Caretaker's Shrine to help jungler and such, and that is a good tought, but your jungler should be able to deal without it and starting with Caretaker's Shrine removes all of Bards early pressure.

out of all the supports im going to be ballsy enough to say that bard is probably one of the guys you should fear. landing that early 2 stun Cosmic Binding with a AA can really wreck their start or atleast force their Health Potion. Also, the Cosmic Binding helps the jungler just as fine when you stun the junglemonster.
After you have maxed out your Cosmic Binding its really based on what you need. at first look, leveling your Magical Journey can seem kind of useless, but its really, really good. So unless im suffering from big pokes or my ADC is too dumb to dodge skillshots i level my Magical Journey first.
Skilling your Magical Journey is good for so many reasons. You can use it to reposition during a fight so you can land a good Cosmic Binding or help a teammate. You can use it to engage, escape or just send a enemy straight into your turret. Yes, putting your Magical Journey without jumping in can sometimes result in your enemy travelig before you do. That is a ballsy move, but genious when it works.
There is ALOT of practice to mastering Bard. personally i still have alot to learn, but im on my way. You will just have to read your own situaton and skill based on what you need after Cosmic Binding


Guide Top

Items

Always make a build for each game. No games will be exactly the same, and you might need to switch it up. Read your situation, what champions you got on your team and what champions the enemy got on theirs.



Frost Queen's Claim, Boots of Swiftness, Sightstone and Zz'Rot Portal is my corebuild. I get these items no matter the team i have or the team im against. I've seen several guides where people dont upgrade to Frost Queen's Claim, but i dissagree. Frost Queen's Claim, Magical Journey, your Traveler's Call slow, your Tempered Fate and your Cosmic Binding makes you impossible to escape. Frost Queen's Claim also provides you with the damage and healing needed to make a real impact in the game. Frost Queen's Claim can be sold if you reach a really late stage of the game, but personally i've never sold it to be brutally honest. i'll admit that i have been in situations where i probably could have, but i feel that it gives you alot. Example, no wards when baron is being forced. Often you get baited into a slaughter, but if you have frostqueen you can put vision on the enemy and either disengage and bait, engage targets that are split up or go for a baronsteal if possible.

Boots of Swiftness versus Boots of Mobility? Boots of Mobility gives you a really big advantage for picking up chimes, roaming mid and returning to lane. On the other hand it slows you down more than it helps if you play agressive the entire game. That's why i always play Boots of Swiftness. RIP Bootenchantments.

Zz'Rot Portal, why?
several things makes Zz'Rot Portal a great item for the Bardman.
You get the extra movementspeed around turrets, and that helps you alot when you always are on the move for chimes and ganks. You get some armor and magic-resitance which allows you to stay healthy while kiting or fighting up close. The biggest part is obviously the active. If the portal is placed well and its not removed it can do ALOT of damage to the enemy base and structures. Example, rot botlane while Baron is being forced or the other way around with the Elder dragon. likely one of them have to back to clear waves, and then you can force the fight. even if he got Teleport to get back in the fight, Zz'Rot Portal will do its work.
Being a support doesn't mean that you should only help your ADC stay alive, but support the team to win the game. Sometimes that means supporting your minionwaves ninjapush a structure while the enemy is tunnelvisioned at what is happening around them. Tactical and smooth.


After this i usually go for Zeke's Harbinger, unless i got a Ezreal as adc or if my ADC already are at 80% + critchance. This is because Zeke's Harbinger gives both you and your adc a good boost to your abilitypower + 50% critchance. the critchance is obviously not to big on Bard, but the extra dmg from AP and 200% dmg on AA's helps alot. It also gives you Armor and CDR, which is great.

from there i go for either Banner of Command or Locket of the Iron Solari. this is obviously depending on the enemy team. if they have a toplaner/spilitpusher who deal magic dmg it will be very well spent gold. Banner of Command / Zz'Rot Portal / and 80+ chimes from Traveler's Call makes bard a pretty sick waveclearer and gives him insane pressure down lanes. If the enemy have a high DPS magic dmg like Viktor, Amumu ap, or Brand - Locket of the Iron Solari will be very good for keeping both yourself and your allies healthy.

Last item is also very much situational. Most of the time i find myself building Frozen Heart versus a high dps ADC and/or Tryndamere, Jax, Yasuo. This is basically what i go every game and it makes me a very durable bard. Most of the time i 1v1 adc's with no problem as long as u manage your Cosmic Binding correctly and the ADC ain't overfed.

I see some guides promoting Iceborn Gauntlet, but what does it really provide you as Bard ?
The only interesting thing about Iceborn Gauntlet is it's Onhit effect.
Having a slow on your autoattack is always good.. but, oh wait.. Thats what your passive Traveler's Call already provides you. Other than that it gives you a slight increase in armor, mana and CDR. Based on this i see no reason to pick this item over Frozen Heart. it gives you the same stats, just stronger. If you're going for the extra damage you might aswell just go for Lich Bane.

I recently added Righteous Glory. This is not a item i've been usually buying, but i'd recommend it as a mmaybe. It makes you more tanky and gives you even greater initiate capabilities.

If im superahead and the game is as good as Free Elo i happen to play around with items such as Liandry's Torment. The passive will bring suffering and destruction with the Cosmic Binding and Traveler's Call. Lich Bane if feeling frisky. Wit's End also brings some fun to the table. It's attackspeed + onhit damage matches real good with your passive. your crowdcontroll and damage will be outstanding. Enjoy.


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Runes

Personally i think that the greater mark of hybrid penetration is a must on Bard if you play him agressive. This because you do a high ammount of dmg and crowcontroll using AA's.
As you can see below, quite alot of all my dmg dealt as Bard is physical.





With the perfect rune/mastery-setup you can easily burst 50% of the average supports HP bar at lvl 3 without even putting yourself at risk. then you have your Greater Seal of Armor and Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist
As Quintessence i usually use Greater Quintessence of Ability Power to give you the extra punch when poking, aswell as the extra healing. i have saved teamates simply because of the AP runes + Spellthief's Edge several times. I suppose 1 or 2 Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed with 1 or 2 Greater Quintessence of Ability Power would be my second choice so you can Traveler's Call around and reposition for Cosmic Binding more easily.

Note: Currently testing out 2 Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed and 1 Greater Quintessence of Scaling Cooldown Reduction

The cooldown reduction is pointless because your items often give you 35% or 45% CDR..
Suffered alot in poking capabilities, but the extra movementspeed was quite good.


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Masteries

In my masteries i max out cunning for my Thunderlord's Decree keystone. This is in my opinion easily the best and most usefull keystone for bard. Thunderlord's Decree require 3 hits to be activated, but because of your passive you only need to land your Cosmic Binding + one AA. This gives you a really good poke if you manage to aim your Cosmic Binding well. My masteryset are pretty much just like a APC running Thunderlord's Decree .. As i said, agressive.

Double Edged Sword versus Expose Weakness ?
I suppose Expose Weakness is the more supportive way to go, but because i find myself doing so much solo and dealing quite high damage, i like to go with the .

But the fact that i play him like that doesn't mean that it's the best way. I can imagine a superlate game where you have farmed 80+ chimes. The size of the cone will guarantee that you will damage most of the enemy team, and proc the Expose Weakness quite hard.
in a very late game those 3% can mean quite aot.

Merciless versus Meditation ?
Same as before. i find myself playing Bard like highpoke supportive champion, and i never really have any mana issues as long as i manage to get my 2 chimes per minute for Traveler's Call

How you choose to build your masteries is up to you and your playstyle. You should never blindly follow a guide, but rather use it as guidelines to making your own flow with the champion.

Currently testing out Expose Weakness over Double Edged Sword , and Intelligence over Precision

Note 1: Feeling a slight reduction in poke, obviously.
Need to play a long game to feel the late effects.

Note 2: Seems to work out. preferable a good burst adc in laningphase. CDR is gold.
Game review

Note 3: This masteryset seems to work quite good for longer games. 45% CDR gives you permanent portals. good dmg aswell.


Guide Top

SOLO QUEUE

Playing Bard in soloqueue can be extremly hard. You have to make choices that can mean victory or defeat in less than a second. Your Magical Journey and Tempered Fate might ruin you or make your game.
This is why i'd recommend getting alot of experience with Bard before you try using him in solo-Q. The trick is getting good at timing how long traveltime your Tempered Fate got at all ranges and getting good at timing the perfect second the effect ends. If you know exactly when the effect ends you can keep 1-2 persons permanently stunned for a entire teamfight. or atleast 4,5 seconds.
Also, if you happen to Tempered Fate both a teamate and a enemy in a situation where your teamate is losing a 1v1, Put a Caretaker's Shrine where your friend is standing while he is stunned by your Tempered Fate and reposition yourself so you can instantly stun the enemy when the effect ends. i cant count how many times i have pulled this off and saved the teamate/killed the enemy. The key really is to time it perfectly. know when it lands and where you must aim.
On the other hand, playing Bard in a premade 5v5 with a team you have practiced with and learned plays you can do some insane moves to win the game.


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Spells

when it comes to spells its very individual i suppose. Personally i go Flash - Ignite 10/10 times. I can't describe how many times i've secured kills and won 1v1's using ignite. Important note is trying to put the ignite before the enemy ADC use's his heal. This will almost secure you winning the trade. this goes for every enemy that got big healing capabilities. I guess my choice is a result of how i play Bard.. AGRESSIVE.
If you want to go Exhaust over Ignite, that is a good choice aswell, but that wont make you a REAL Bardstard. NOTE If you have played bard alot and you are getting real good at landing your Cosmic Binding, Exhaust is wasted. Your CD will be so low late that it wont matter.


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Tips

You can learn alot about tactics and such with Bard by watching youtube and reading. The most important thing is to spend alot of time playing him to get the mechanics needed to perform.




At the beginning of everygame i'd recommend walking down lane and stand in the bush next to your Tier 2 turret at 00:35. This will make the first 2 chimes spawn close to your lane.
also, save the chimes for as long as possible if they are on the way down to your lane. this is because you will get faster into late AND regain mana lost by helping your jungler if you are a greedy bardstard.
The Third chime spawn at 1:25, so try to grab it before going into lane because it gives you a slight XP-advantage.


Chimes spawning around your lane should be left alone unless you need them for mana, or if it will upgrade your Traveler's Call. This is because they are great for engaging or escaping a gank.


If the enemy is going for a objective such as dragon or baron nashor and your team is awaiting to attempt a steal; You might want to use your ultimate for removing the enemy jungler (and hopefully some of his team] at the perfect moment, instead of just ulting the objective itself as i see many Bard's doing.


During laningphase, try to aim your Cosmic Binding at one of the ranged casterminions.
9/10 times it will connect with a champion behind it and result in a instant stun.
Then you land a AA and proc your Thunderlord's Decree if it dont put you at the risk of being punished.


If you use Cosmic Binding at a enemy who is chasing you trough Magical Journey he will be instantly stunned at arrival because it will hit terrain anyway.


When trying to use Cosmic Binding at an enemy against terrain, they will usually try to juke you by moving around. Keep calm and just autoattack him. he will be slowed down and he will be way easier to hit.


In a teamfight, if you are unsure what to do with your Tempered Fate because you might risk ruining your teamates spells, ult the enemy backline. often you will take out the enemy ADC and/or support/APC. This can be devestating for the enemy because they lose all their damageoutput for 2,5 seconds. 2,5 seconds is a LONG time in a Teamfight


You can use Magical Journey to travel faster from nexus - inhib and from inhib - Turret tier 2. Last one can be used to escape from Turret tier 2 - your base. This move can be hard to pull of in stressing situations and your mechanics with bard should be on point before attempting a escape using this method.


while being dived you can often outplay your enemy using Cosmic Binding against your turret, then using Magical Journey on the turret to reposition and kite him out. enemies can often have trouble targeting your Magical Journey to follow because they will often start hitting the turret instead.


After first back; try to get a Vision Ward and place it in the bush next to your turret. As bard you can make some really powerfull ganks by using Tempered Fate - and then while it's midair you bring your ganking ally into the lane using Magical Journey. (As seen on the Caretaker's map to success Toplane) Often the enemy will ward the area you tunnel from when playing against bard to stay safe. the Vision Ward will deny them this, and they wont be able to clear it without making some really risky moves. Using Tempered Fate first might not always be the best move. read the situation. sometimes you can save it to catch someone using Flash or other escapes to get away.


When do you buy Banner of Command over Locket of the Iron Solari ?
often the enemy team got either a very strong waveclearer in midlane, a toplaner dealing mainly magic damage to clear waves or both! if you are facing a midlaner like Brand og Ziggs they will naturally have a strong clearingpotential troughout the game. Getting Banner of Command will remove ALL of their damage versus that boosted minion, (Preferably boost the cannon minion). If you are facing a Yasuo or Zed, not so much.
But most of the time the toplaner will be the only one with Teleport. If facing a champion like Maokai, Vladimir or Swain, buying this item will make it a nightmare for them to keep a sidelane pushed. This can be really good when your team group for objectives. Try it out


Keep in mind that the Caretaker's Shrine gives you movementspeed aswell as healing!
This can be really helpful when trying to chase down a enemy. Boost yourself to set up a stun with Cosmic Binding, or boost one of your carry's who is falling behind.


Make sure that you pop your mastery icon everytime you land a cosming binding. This is to ensure that everyone knows that you are a real Bardstard.