Bard Build Guide by linkydw
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.
First Back (Option 1)
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
Play maker in right hands
Can tower dive with ease
can force/stall team fights
Improves team mobility and map presence
Passive allows him to scale in to late game
Low cooldown cc abilities
Champ is only as good as his team is
Requires decisive player
Hard to play due to high skillcap
Spell thief's edge is the best item for bard as it provides the best gold income out of the support items as an auto attack with an empowered meep consumes 2 stacks of the passive, it also makes your auto attacks hurt more. However I do not recommend upgrading this item as the extra damage is not required outside of the laning phase.
Option 1: Buy boots on first back if you are playing aggressively (poking and harassing a lot in lane) as the extra movement speed lets you get in and out of auto attack range quickly allowing you to outrade the bootless adc/support. The ruby crystal also makes you a bit tankier further allowing you to win trades.
Option 2: If you are forced to play passively, a sight stone is the way to go as it is part of your core build.
By mid game you should have either lucidity boots or mobility boots and a one or two of the recommended defensive items based on whether you require health, magic resist or armour.
By late game you should sell your boots for ninja tabi or mercurial treads, you should also decide whether you require a banner of command or a locket depending on which active you need more. If they have a heavily attackspeed based comp take frozen heart, zekes harbinger is also extremely useful for boosting your adcs damage. Take righteous glory if your team lacks hard engage and a mikaels crucible if they have game changing cc abilities.
Bard Passive (Travellers Call)
Bard's passive, Traveler's Call will make chimes appear on the map every 50 seconds. When you pick up one, you will get mana based on your missing mana, 20 xp and a stackable movement speed buff, which makes it very easy to collect chimes which are close to eachother and placing some deep wards in the enemy jungle. Important to note, chimes will despawn after 10 minutes, they will turn red on the minimap if they are close to despawning. The extra mana you get from your chimes when you collect them is really useful in the early game because you have to place alot of Caretaker's Shrine wich cost alot of mana. Each chime gives about 50 mana back, this increases when you level.
There are some important numbers considering your stack, which if you can, reach as soon as possible. They are the blue, green and yellow ones. These are increasing your width of attack, slow rate and max number of meeps. You dont take Bard for his dmg, altough you can clear one big wave after mid game if you picked up most of your chimes.
As your meeps alter your autoattack, they will be able to slow, do area effect+damage and more. If you put slow on attack+area effect together, you get a very useful passive which works great in teamfights as you can slow multiple enemies multiple times, and though his damage is still not great, in later stages of the game meeps will hurt the enemy carries. Also note that empowered meeps count as a single spell thus procing slows from rylais and also has the extremely useful ability of removing spellshields such as sivir's shield, nocturne's shield as well as banshees.
Bard Q (Cosmic Binding)
This skillshot is only slightly faster than morgana's q which makes it an extremely slow and easy to dodge skillshot. However as it works like a lux binding, you can double your distance if you fire it off into a minion or another opponent before landing on your desired target. However the range is fixed so if you fire it point-blank the second part of the skill won't go very far. Always aim to stun the opponent however the slow is also beneficial especially when paired with your passive slow (beginning when you acquire 25 meeps).
If someone followed you through your tunnel, you can easily stun them, as they will exit next to a wall, if more follows, wait a bit so you will stun two. You may even ult in to set up a very good team fight for your team, or just to get away if noone is near.
If you managed to catch somebody with your ult, get in range (with E or just walk), so that when your ult wears off, you can insta-stun them. If you have close to 40% cdr and a level 5 skill you can also q stun an opponent, ult then q them as they come out of statis allowing you to lock down an opponent for an enormous 5.1 seconds
You can try to stun through minions, but keep in mind that if the minions are cramped up, your Q will probably hit another minion as the width of it is pretty big.
Bard W (Caretaker's Shrine)
It takes 10 seconds for the shrines to build up in power and you can only place 3 of these shrines on the map which remain unless consumed. Stepping on the shrine allows the ally or Bard to consume it providing a 50% speed boost which decays over 1.5 seconds instantly however enemy champions stepping on the chime consume it with no effect.
You can place 3 shrines on the map and then proceed to place a 4th chime over an ally or Bard instantly consuming the chiime and providing the unempowered heal and 50% speed boost without destroying the original 3 chimes.
Bard E (Magical Journey)
You can use it on the walls of the spawn area to get to lane faster or get back to spawn quicker when sieging inhibibtor towers.
Pretend you are fake roaming in lane when your jungler is ganking and portal in behind the enemy unexpectedly.
If you are caught, place your e first before flashing in to it for quick get aways.
Use your q ability for a free stun if an enemy follows you in to the tunnel, wait a few seconds if there are two enemies as you can stun both.
When traversing through the portals you can collect chimes that your body nicks.
Traveling through the portal does not mean you are not target-able.
Your team travels faster than your opponents in your tunnels (even faster when you level the ability).
Use this ability on small walls/towers to dodge skillshots.
When sieging adjacent two inhibitor towers at once you can place a portal tunnels in the wall between the inhibitors and rotate faster than your opponents can blink.
Bard R (Tempered Fate)
A very strong ultimate that is hit or miss. This ultimate is extremely hard to use and when used wrong can end up benefiting the enemy team instead of your own team. It has a large range of 3400 meaning you can make plays from a distance, however the land time is not set (e.g. Ziggs ultimate) and depends on the range of the ability making it extremely harder to hit at max range.
One main strength of Bard is catching people out of position or fleeing opponents and so, this ultimate can be treated as a 2.5 sec stun with a very long range. Great tool to make sure your enemy cant farm alone, or they face you and a carry getting a kill.
Whenever you see your enemy out of position, you must take the initation and hit their team with your ult, if you manage, that 2.5 second will give you enough time to position yourself for a quick clean up fight or an easy follow up by more cc champs, usually resulting in a dead team on the enemy side, and praising people on yours.
As this ultimate can even stun towers, turret diving with it is not a gamble, but an easy kill for your team if done right. If your jungler comes to gank, but the enemy managed to get under turret, depending on their champions, you can dive them easily. Place the tower in stasis, sometimes its even better if you manage to hit the enemy as well, because then you can walk as close to them as you want, and when the effect wears of, they wont be able to run away. Just make sure you kill them fast.
Also with this ult you can put Baron or Drake in stasis, which gives a very good opportunity to your team to engage on the enemy, if they are already doing it or set up steals from your jungler.
If one of your teammates is caught, throw your ultimate on them, and try to close in for a fast heal and stun to save, and potentially turn the fight. If he/she has Zhonya and uses it, then he/she will have time to get away while your ultimate wears off,
You can also use it to zone ,when fleeing for example.
A good way to force a teamfight when you feel tanky enough, is to make a tunnel directly into the enemy team, they will either jump on you, or run away from you, so you either use the ultimate on them plus covering you (if they have jumped on you), or you land your ultimate on the fleeing enemy team, be sure that you can survive and your team can follow.
Save your team mates by ulting them when targeted by telegraphed abilities such as Karthus Ult and Caitlyn Ult.
You can counter engages when champions such as amumu and ori ult your team by throwing your ult on the enemy team just as they are about to ult, thus preventing the enemy team from following up.
During fights you can ult their backline so that it becomes a 5v(4-1) and also cutting their damage in half.
You can ult your own towers so your team can position to save it as well.
When opponents are in melee range of you and you are trying escape, you can place a magical journey through a long wall and ult yourself allowing you to travel through the wall whilst in statis leaving the enemies in statis behind you.
I like to start q on bard as it provides more kill potential and harass, you can also start w if you feel like your lane needs the sustain. If so you can place 3 shrines in the jungle for your jungler making sure you back before 1:25 to ensure you can regenerate mana and walk back to leash/lane.
Attempt to obtain all 3 spawned chimes before 1:50, I recommend standing in your jungle close to lane so that the chimes spawn nearby, this will grand you increased exp meaning you hit level 2 faster than your opponents and also allow you to reach 5 chimes quicker which means your empowered meeps provide a 25% slow.
As soon as you enter lane you should attempt to auto attack your opponents with your empowered meeps and throw out your q allowing you to harass and zone the opponents, also always try to aim the adc over the support especially when they are going for a last hit as they will then have to decide whether they want to trade with you or get the last hit. Paired with your adc you will usually be able to zone the opponent or go all in after a few won trades with your ignite which will most likely secure the skills as it cuts the opponents heal in half.
Place shrines behind your minions close to the walls as the speed boost is extremely useful for escaping and it also means if the opponent wants to remove the shrines they will have to tank the minions and standing next to a wall allows you to stun them for free with your q.
When low on mana get the shrines in the existing lane when there is no danger. Only roam to get chimes when you have wards to protect your adc and have killed the opposing adc or both opponents, or you have pushed your lane and your adc is backing however this means you must be healthy enough and have enough wards to stay in lane after your roam as you should not leave your adc alone. When it is safe to roam, you can collect chimes through the river and the speed boost allows you to roam mid and attempt or gank and also allow you to place wards for your mid laner or deep wards in the enemy jungle however make sure you have your e as an escape if you encounter the enemy jungler.
If your team is early-mid game focused and you arent behind too much to loose the teamfight, Bard can force the teamfights and close out the game sooner, of course its much easier if you have won the laning phase.
If your team is late game focused, Bard can prolong the game by increasing your teams mobility/map presence, making those nasty split pushers dead in the water when you get in ultimate range.
If your team is behind, Bard can decide whether the teamfight will, or will not happen by making a good tunnel or by landing a good ultimate. Of course loosing objectives is no fun, so you cant win without wining teamfights, but Bard has the ability to stall, if you just need time.
Good Adc's to be paired with are those with burst combos as your long stun and ultimate allows them to set up their combos usually resulting in kills.
Changes to Bard
Q - Cosmic Binding
DAMAGE 75/100/145/180/215 magic damage ⇒ 80/120/160/200/240 magic damage
REMOVEDCOSMIC COINCENDENCE Cosmic Binding can no longer tether to unusual units such as Jarvan IV's Demacian Standard, Syndra's Dark Sphere, Jayce's Acceleration Gate, and Wards
E - Magical Journey
COOLDOWN 26/24/22/20/18 seconds ⇒ 20/19/18/17/16 seconds
SPIRITED AWAY Clicking on a Magical Journey portal is now more forgiving
TRAVEL GUIDE Allies that go on a Magical Journey will grant Bard an assist on their kills for a short time afterwards
MAGICAL EQUALITY Clones (such as those created by Shaco, LeBlanc, Mordekaiser and Yorick) can now be commanded to take a Magical Journey
R - Tempered Fate
TEMPERED MONSTERS Neutral Monsters will no longer have their health reset while under stasis
BASE ATTACK DAMAGE 46 ⇒ 52
BASE ARMOR 21 ⇒ 25
Passive - Traveler's Call
MEEP RESPAWN TIME 12/11/10/9/8 seconds (with chimes) ⇒ 10/9/8/7/6 seconds (with chimes)
CHIME MANA RESTORE 15 + 8% missing mana ⇒ 12% of Bard's maximum mana
Q - Cosmic Binding
BASE DAMAGE 80/120/160/200/240 (+0.5 ability power) ⇒ 80/125/170/215/260 (+0.65 ability power)
Passive - Traveler's Call
SAFE AND SOUND Chimes will avoid spawning in the enemy jungle before 5 minutes
EXPERIENCE PER CHIME 20 flat XP ⇒ 20 + 1 XP per minute (after 5 minutes)
W - Caretaker's Shrine
COST 100/105/110/115/120 mana ⇒ 90 mana at all ranks
E - Magical Journey
COOLDOWN 20/19/18/17/16 seconds ⇒ 18/17/16/15/14 seconds