Bard Build Guide by kennydude223
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.
Bard: The Top Lane Harasser
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.
Hello! Welcome to my Bard top lane guide. In this guide, I will be showing you how to properly use your abilities to harass and secure kills, when and how to properly use your ult, and different lane match-ups/how to deal with them. I hope this guide helps, and enjoy playing Bard in the Top lane!
As Bard, you have amazing sustain, poke, and mobility that many other champions could never beat. You're able to stay in lane for long periods of time with your Caretaker's Shrine and Traveler's Call, and able to stay relatively safe during turret dives and team fights. His ganking potential and ability CC for teamfights can make him an essential part of a team, and overall will be a great help with map control, mobility, and semi-global ult for those close calls and saves.
Why Bard Top?
Bard's sustain, poke, and mobility allows him to do many things other top laners simply cannot. When placing him on top lane, he only has one direction to worry about early game and can easily farm and get kills in peace whithout worrying about an adc support combo like you'd get on bot lane, or a gank from any direction in the mid lane. Having bard top will allow the top side of the map to be warded up, including keeping Baron in close watch, and ensuring the jungler can gank your lane with ease. Another pro with top lane Bard is that when you run Teleport, you have cross map control and mobility that only Rek'Sai can beat. His AA splash damage from upgraded meeps allow for easy wave clear , and nice farming, which is an essential part to the top lane. With the surrounding area warded up, you can even get your team to wait somewhere while you bait them into the Baron area with your Magical Journey for a surprise ace for your team, and an easy Baron with no worries. As most Junglers start Gromp/Blue Buff, Bard can give them healing shrines for easier sustain in the jungle, allowing them to gank earlier, and putting them a bit more ahead than usual.
+ High sustain
+ Easy combos
+ Pretty damn fun to play
+ Nice splash damage/wave clear
+ Very helpful
+ HUGE lane bully
+ It's Bard
- Easy to play, hard to master
- Ult is a HUGE double-edged sword
- Stun is hard to hit
- Pretty squishy early game
- Very susceptible to cc
- Hard to master escape
Why bring these?:
- Teleport will help you keep control of your lane if you're kind of falling behind or if you just need general map control. Teleport will allow you to gank with your high damage, and be anywhere you're needed.
- Grab flash for those last second saves and/or the Flash+ Cosmic Binding combo. If you've already used your Magical Journey when escaping, your flash will allow you to get that extra distance which could save your life.
- Now, I know this seems weird, but smite could be VERY viable on a top laner. With the double smite in your team composition, paired with Bard's GREAT cross map control, objectives will be pretty hard to be taken from your team.
- Bring this only if you want that extra bit of map control/vision. Aside from that, it won't help much, but it can help you land your Tempered Fate
- This Summoner Spell CAN be useful, considering it can help you if you get focused on your lane by removing any stuns, spell debuffs and lowers the durations of incoming disables, allowing you to take less disables under turret.
- ONLY take this if your team is filled with aggressive champions AND you're going to go full utility (Assisting your team more than focusing on kills) While it can help you secure kills in general, it's better left to the support, as better sustain spells will keep you in lane longer.
- Only bring this if you're sure you have enough sustain in top lane against your lane match-up, and you're willing to give up Flash
What NOT to bring.
- Ghost on Bard isn't very useful, as he has high enough mobility with his Magical Journey and Caretaker's Shrine. Sure, he could catch up for kills, but being able to Flash for a kill is much more practical due to you being able to flash over walls for that extra bit of escape potential.
- This is practically useless on Bard considering his Chimes give him 14% of his mana on collection, rendering clarity pointless.
- As this is honestly a weaker Cleanse, it's honestly not worth dropping Flash for it.
Quintessence of Ability Powerx3 - For the nice damage on your Cosmic Binding
Seal of Scaling Healthx9 - The nice health per level will help you in lane and allow you to still have hp presence in late game without the need of buying a lot of tanky items.
Mark of Attack Speedx4 - The attack speed will help you proc your insane basic attack + meep combo.
Mark of Attack Damagex5 - The damage paired up with your attack speed and meeps will allow you to harass the enemy laner while doing some nice damage at the same time.
Glyph of Magic Resistx9 - For the defence against the AP scaling top laners and end game phase damage. These will allow you to stay in battles more, allowing to assist your team nicely.
Glyph of Armorx9 - For if you're going against an AD top laner.
Mark of Hybrid Penetration - Since the way we're building Bard is run on hybrid damage, hybrid penetration could really help you in lane.
Ancient Chimes: Bard's presence causes sacred chimes to appear on the Fields of Justice, which linger for up to 10 minutes. Collecting a chime grants Bard a brief burst of movement speed (stacks 5 times), experience, and 12 % of his maximum mana. Every 5 chimes Bard collects empower his meeps.
Meeps: Bard's presence attracts small spirits known as meeps to his side. Whenever Bard attacks, a meep throws itself at his target, dealing 30 / 55 / 80 / 110 / 140 / 175 / 210 / 245 / 280 / 315 / 345 / 375 / 400 / 425 / 445 / 465 (+20 per 5 chimes collected after 150) (+30% of ability power) bonus magic damage before disappearing back to the spirit world. At 5 chimes, meeps slow damaged enemies by 25 / 45 / 60 / 70 / 75 / 80% for 1 second, and at 25 chimes they deal area of effect damage in a cone behind the main target, with the cone's size increasing at 65 chimes.
Depending on the number of chimes collected, meeps spawn every 10 / 9 / 8 / 7 / 6 seconds and Bard can hold up to 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 of them at a time.
When your lane is pushed up to the enemy tower, or you just secured a kill on the enemy top laner, or even if you're just on your way back to lane, make sure to collect chimes. Bard is one of the few champs that can continue scaling after full build, as your meeps' magic damage will scale with the amount of chimes you collect. Along with this, your chimes you collect give you mana , so those paired with your Caretaker's Shrine will allow you to sustain in lane for quite the amount of time. Your extra meep damage will help you harass the enemy laner once you stun them with your Cosmic Binding and once upgraded enough, the splash damage from the meeps will help clear waves like they're nothing.
Bard fires out a burst of spirit energy in a line, dealing 80 / 125 / 170 / 215 / 260 (+65% of ability power) magic damage and slowing the first enemy struck by 60% for 1 / 1.2 / 1.4 / 1.6 / 1.8 seconds. After Cosmic Binding hits an enemy, the burst of energy continues through, searching for secondary targets. If it hits a wall, it stuns the initial target; if it hits a second enemy, it stuns both targets, dealing magic damage to the second unit as well.
Use your Cosmic Binding to stun the enemy laner so you can harass them with your auto attacks plus meeps. If you get good at hitting it, you'll save many lives and probably will win lane easily if you don't overextend. If you get turret dived, let him hit you once so the turret targets them, then stun them against the turret targets them, then stun them against the turret or wall or minion so he eats a few turret shots, then unload on him with your basic attacks. For team fights, you can save lives or engage with a well placed stun.
Bard conjures a health pack that builds up in power over 10 seconds. Allied champions who walk over the pack will consume it, gaining a minimum of 30 / 60 / 90 / 120 / 150 (+20% of ability power) and a maximum of 70 / 110 / 150 / 190 / 230 (+45% of ability power) health based on the shrine's power as well as 50% bonus movement speed which decays over 1.5 seconds. Enemies can stand on the pack for a moment to destroy it.
Place these behind your turret for sustain in lane, and when you're roaming for chimes, place them behind your teammates' turrets to help them out. In teamfights, use them to speed up your primary engager, or on yourself if you're going to be engaging with the stun from your Cosmic Binding. Place them on your lowest health teammate if you're backing off, and if you combo your Cosmic Binding and Caretaker's Shrine, escapes should be easy by stunning/slowing them then placing a shrine on yourself to speed away.
Bard conjures a portal on a target wall. The portal tunnels through to the far end of the wall, granting one-way passage to all champions, friend and foe, who enter it.
While inside the portal, allies travel 10 / 20 / 30 / 40 / 50% faster than enemies.
Use your Magical Journey for ganks, escapes, and general mobility and map control for your team. You can even use it to bait the enemy to go into it just to end up in the middle of your entire team. Most people will go through your Magical Journey when you place it, so you can even place it through a wall and not go through it, in hopes the enemy will think you went through it instantly as most bards do, and go through it, giving you time to escape. You can also place your Magical Journey then when the enemy follows you through, land a nice Cosmic Binding to stun the enemies chasing you , and place a Caretaker's Shrine on your feet for speed and proceed to escape.
After a brief delay, Bard places all units in a targeted area - friend or foe, including champions, minions, monsters and turrets - in stasis for 2.5 seconds, making them untargetable and invulnerable but also unable to perform any action.
Your R. The ultimate "Heh, f*** you, enemy." Your ult has about the range of 2/3 of a Twisted Fate ultimate. Use Tempered Fate to freeze your enemies so your teammates can escape, or you can even catch people running away with it, save the dragon by freezing it then making a Magical Journey so you and your teammates can go in to take the dragon and possibly win the teamfight. Try to combo your ult with a Q stun RIGHT when they come out of stasis. Use it only when needed or when your team asks/pings for it, as your ult can GREATLY assist the enemy team if used wrongly, so in that way it's a bit of a double edged sword.
Mejai's Soulstealer- If you're winning lane hard and are snowballing pretty hard, pick up a Mejai's for the nice damage boost from stacks.
Abyssal Scepter- If you're getting bullied in lane by an AP champion, feel free to pick up Abyssal for the extra Magic Resist and AP against them.
Runaan's Hurricane - Pick this up if you're winning lane hard or are doing a farm lane. The attack speed and spread damage will help with wave clear and farm, and a stun + the huge attack speed will be a nice damage combo. This will also help spread out your damage during teamfights.
Iceborn Gauntlet - Grab this if you need some extra tankiness since you'll be spamming abilities, it's like millions of other slows, extra damage, and some nice defense
Rylai's Crystal Scepter - Makes your slow EVEN better, grab this when you have more damage outputting teammates so you can assist in feeding them kills.
Stalker's Blade - Cinderhulk/ Skirmisher's Sabre - Cinderhulk - If you happen to bring Smite, your Skirmisher's Sabre Damage boost can be nice in lane, and considering how often you get smite charges, it can be a nice damage addition if you're going for huge damage. Stalker's Blade will help you close in the gaps for kills for you and your jungler, as well as giving you a tiny bit more damage against them.
Athene's Unholy Grail - This item is great if you are falling a bti behind against a AP champion, as it gives mana regen, MR, and some AP, as well as every kill or assist you get gives bonus mana making it so you won't need mana in team fights
Hextech Gunblade - A great item that gives AD + AP, gives life steal for more sustain, and it gives you extra cooldown for the active by 3 seconds every basic attack you do, notice that Lich Bane? Lich Bane makes your basic attacks stronger, so you want to basic attack a lot, upon activation it slows and deals 150 Magic damage + 40% AP and slows them, another slow! Don't bring on a lane in which you will be outranged.
In conclusion, Bard is a really nice Top pick, with his great sustain in lane, ability to almost nullify turret dives, his never ending scaling, and his combos. Played properly, Bard can be an essential addition to your team composition, and even be a game changer with his Tempered Fate. Along with all of this and his map control, I feel that Bard can find a nice place at home in Top lane. Thank you for consulting my guide, and good luck out there, summoners!
[Credit to myself and DerpyPigSauce for helping me with suggestions and testing. Thank you for all your help!]