First Back #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.
Quick! Im in champ select, got Bard, but I have no idea how to play him! He
- Select your tanky runes and masteries and get Flash+ Exhaust.
- As soon as the game started head to your lane and place 3 shrines near your tower,
then head home to get full mana.
- Harass the enemy when you can.
- Put two points into your heal at level 3, then max Q first.
- Before first back, get your chimes when you are out of mana.
- After first back, get your chimes whenever your can.
- Have fun!
Hello Dear reader!
My name is Zongi, I play on EUNE as Zongi, I'm currently holding diamond 4. I have been playing Bard since his original release, and I think I will continue to play him as one of my mains.
This guide is focused on a more in-depth view on Bard, as this is my first guide, it might miss some key parts, please leave a comment and let me know.
As english is not my mother tongue, please forgive me if I make some grammar mistake(s), I will try my best. :)
Before you read on, please watch the official champion spotlight!
2015.03.28 - Original release
2015.04.06 - Minor update
2015.06.21 - Major Update - Many chapters are modified. Got a new build order, still have the old one too, if you prefer that.
2015.11.15 - Updated for early preseason[5.22]
Based on your votes so far, you seem to like my guide. Thank you for your appreciation!
Image by: Trevor-Verges
- Scales well into late game
- Extremely good versus immobile carries
- Extreme teamfighting potential
- Play maker in the right hands
- Gets very tanky with few items
- Many CC with low cooldowns
- Good lane sustain
- Improves your teams mobility/map presence unlike anything before.
- Can force/stall teamfights
- Can punish split pushers easily
- Needs teamplay
- Hard to play
- Then enemy can zone your ADC, when he is roaming
- He is only as good as his team
- Needs to be played by a decisive player to see when to go in
What items should I buy and when?
I recommend starting with Spellthief's Edge and 3 healing pots, as Spellthief's Edge offers the best gold income out of the support items for Bard because when you AA with 1 Meep, then you will consume 2 stacks off it, which is great. Try to upgrade it ASAP.
As Bard's passive spawns chimes around the map, and picking those up gives you mana, you can rely on those to get enough mana. If you are poked and you are on max mana, take your shrines and spawn new ones. If you are poked but your mana is below 50%, use your potions. Your shrines are for your ADC, your potions give you the ability to wear down the enemy ADC with your Q and AA. When you run out of mana, get your chimes. If you can execute this properly, then you should win your lane.
Spend your money wisely, make sure you can grab some potions too, pick either Sightstone or Frostfang and some pots. If you can, then get your Boots of Speed or a Cloth Armor too.
What full item should I get first?
This depends on your match, if you have trouble with AD, get Randuin's Omen, if your enemy AP laner is getting fed, then go for Locket of the Iron Solari, if your ADC is getting locked down, get Mikael's Crucible. Just look at the enemy team, and buy the item, which helps you and your team the most. I have listed some items at the start of the guide, take a look!
Chimes and Meeps: Everything there is to know
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.
As you stack chimes, your meeps gain new abilities with every 5th chime.
- 5 Chimes: Meeps apply a 25% slow for 1 second
- 10 Chimes: Meep attacks deal 25 more damage.
- 15 Chimes: Bard will be able to have 1 more meep following at once
- 20 Chimes: Meep attacks deal 25 more damage.
- 25 Chimes: Meep attacks will strike through their target
- 30 Chimes: Meep attacks deal 30 more damage.
- 35 Chimes: Meeps will reappear 1 second faster
- 40 Chimes: Meep attacks deal 30 more damage
- 45 Chimes: Meep attacks will slow by 45%
- 50 Chimes: Meep attacks deal 35 more damage
- 55 Chimes: Bard will be able to have 1 more meep following at once
- 60 Chimes: Meep attacks deal 35 more damage,
- 65 Chimes: Meep attack strike-through cone increases in size.
- 70 Chimes: Meep attacks deal 35 more damage.
- 75 Chimes: Meeps will reappear 1 second faster
- 80 Chimes: Meep attacks deal 35 more damage.
- 85 Chimes: Meep attacks will slow by 60%
- 90 Chimes: Meep attacks deal 30 (or 35?) more damage
- 95 Chimes: Bard will be able to have 1 more meep following at once
- 100 Chimes: Meep attacks deal 30 more damage
- 105 Chimes: Meeps will reappear 1 second faster.
- 110 Chimes: Meep attacks deal 30 more damage
- 115 Chimes: Meep attacks will slow by 70%
- 120 Chimes: Meep attacks deal 25 more damage
- 125 Chimes: Meeps will reappear 1 second faster
- 130 Chimes: Meep attacks deal 25 more damage
- 135 Chimes: Meep attacks will slow by 75%
- 140 Chimes: Meep attacks deal 20 more damage
- 145 Chimes: Meep attacks will slow by 80%
- 150 Chimes: Meep attacks deal 20 more damage.
- ( Every 5 chimes after 150 adds 20 damage )
Whenever you have the chance, try to be closer to your side of the map when the chimes are spawning, they spawn roughly every 50th second, starting from 0:50 (so chimes will spawn 1:40, 2:30, 3:20, 4:10, 5:00, 5:50 and so on), this way you can try to "manipulate" the area where your chimes will be, and you wont always have to take the risk and go into the enemy jungle in the early levels. If somehow they still manage to spawn in the enemy jungle, go for them only if you know the position of the enemy jungler or you are escorted by team mates.
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.
About Bard's Q
There is not much to tell about Bard's stun/slow. Aim carefully, as its cooldown in early-mid game is not short enough to make mistakes. The only interesting thing is that the range displayed in game is for the first hit, so if you manage to hit somebody with it, the range will reset. In theory, you can increase the range of the second part of your Q by 50% if you hit the first target at max range. Try it out a few times, and you will get the hang of it. Always try to go for the stun effect, but if you cant, the slow can save lives too. A good stun in the early game usually means a kill. Good side steps can help you line up in a way to land the stun.
- 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.
- 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.(Also because of this, you can use that width to your advantage, aim slightly to the side of a pack of minions, so your Q will only hit one of them, then it can stun anything behind them.)
- A good trick to learn is the combo of flash+Q, this takes much practice and big confidence in your abilites, so make sure you practice it if you want to be a good Bard.
About Bard's W
A very versitale spell, offering a good sustain and a way to escape, Bard's heal could be a very underrated spell, as it's mana cost is a bit threatening. Whenever it's possible, give time to the shrine to charge up, as the healing effect increases linearly for 10 seconds.
Whenever you leave your lane, make sure you leave some shrines behind your ADC so when a gank comes, he/she can take them for the increased movement speed. Where ever you gank, place a shrine as every little plus health counts for a mid-laner.
When you rank your W, already placed shrines will heal more too.
If you are chasing, make sure you heal someone to give them a movement speed boost. It's good to note that if your cursor is close to an ally when you are casting your W, it will stick to him/her, so when you cast it, he/she will get the effect instantly. This "insta shrine" doesnt count as a placed shrine, so even if you have 3 shrines placed, making an insta shrine wont replace the others.
I advise you to put at least 2 points early into your heal, because the flat heal increases by 100%/60%(not charged up/charged up) from the first level to its second level. Trust me, early on this make your heals insane. If their poke still wears you down, than you might want put a 3. point put into your W, but no more than that.
About Bard's E: Now you are thinking with Portals
Hands down the best and most creative ability in the league. This ability basically changes the layout of the map to your needs. When you are chasing, or you are being chased, try to set up long tunnels, when ganking, go for the shorter ones. When somebody wants to gank, its a good idea to make a fake roam, and make a tunnel for them so the ganker can get in the enemies face much easier. Dont forget that your team travels faster in the tunnel, so you can gain some space with it too if chased. You will have to relearn the map a bit to use this spell correctly, but once you get the hang of it, you wont know how you could have lived without it before. Dont forget, that you are still targetable while traveling in the tunnel.Plus if someone from the enemy in stealth uses your portal, you wont see them coming, literally. Your tunnel gives vision on enemies, who arent stealthed.
- You can use a tunnel from summoner's platform to any side lanes, to get on lane sooner
- If you are caught, you can try a flash to wall+E, then stun whoever follows you.
- When you want to make a tunnel, put your cursor where you want to end up, this makes making good tunnels much easier.
- You can pick up chimes while traveling in your tunnel.
Some useful locations with pictures:
Good tunnels to gank bot:
Good tunnels to gank mid from bot:
Good ways to leave/get on lane:
You can make tunnels from Summoner Platform to every side lane too:You can make tunnels between enemy inhibitors too:
About Bard's Ultimate
A very strong ultimate, with a very big cooldown time at early levels, Bard's ultimate is game-changer if played right. With its range of 3400, you can easily save your ADC on bot lane while you are at drake for example. I will try to list some example uses for this, but the possibilities are nearly endless, you must decide when and where to use it, as its not a straightforward ultimate.Good to note, that the farther your target is, the more time your ultimate takes to land (just like Zigg's ultimate).
- One main strenght of Bard is catching people out of position, 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, 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.
- 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.
Whenever you land your ult on the enemy, it gives you a very good oppurtunity to set up a good Q. Make sure you time it right and stun the correct targets.
(I used to do what you can read bellow, but nowdays I place 2-3 shrines on my own lane, and if needed 1 for jungler before minion spawn, then recall and get on lane with minions with full mana, you still wont miss leash. Oh... and dont pick up the chimes.)
At the very start of the game, if you dont think the enemy would try an invade, you can help out your teammates by placing shrines to each lane and where your jungler will start. I do this every game, you wont miss leash for your jungler or the first minion death on your lane. As soon as the game starts, buy items, get W and head to top lane. Place one heal near his tower, then head to mid lane and place one shrine there too, by this time your first two chimes have already spawned, go and grab them. If your jungler gets bot leash go B now, if he gets top leash, leave a W close to where he starts then go B. At 1:40 your 3rd chime will spawn, usually you can get that too without missing anything. Even with all this walking you can still help leashing at 1:55 if needed, or be at your lane without loosing any experience. Be advised that if your jungler wont pick up his shrine, then you cant place more (as the maximum number of shrines placed at one time is 3) or the first one will disappear, if you know where will your jungler start, you should try placing his/her first, but that way you might run out of time.
Here is a video showing this on blue side with jungler starting at golems:
In the laning phase as Bard, you should throw an AA every time their ADC goes for a CS and you have a meep and at least a stack on your spellthief's edge. Make sure you always have a shrine behind your minions, not just for the heals, but for the big movement speed boost it gives to avoid potential ganks or deaths by missplay.
If you run out of mana, place one shrine behind your wave and grab some chimes, but make sure you watch your lane. If the enemy tries to all in on your ADC, you can get back to lane pretty fast with a good tunnel, or if you are already level 6, aim your ult in a way that you cut the chase off, if they are on top of your adc, ult him/her too, in the meantime try to get back, so as your ultimate wears off, you can insta-stun them with your Q. Remember that a farm lane is a win lane for Bard.
If your enemy went B, and your lane is pushed too, you may want to gank mid. If he/she is out of position, go behind him/her with a tunnel and slow him/her with your AA and use your Q when you can stun him/her. If your mid laner is absent or about to go B, just throw down a shrine or two, and place some wards on the way back.
When to roam and how to gank
When you play with Bard, you must frequently ask these questions to yourself:
- Where would I be most use of?
- Where is the enemy jungler?
- What is the enemy bot lane doing?
- Is anyone out of position or need my help?
- Where is my jungler?
- Am I out of mana?
- How much experience will I loose with my roam?
Depending on the answers, you may choose to leave your lane, but you must always do so with a purpose! Either it's collecting chimes, because you have seen the enemy jungler ganking on top lane and your lane is pushed, or ganking mid as you can catch their mid laner off guard and possibly make a kill, or you just want to drop some deep wards as Drake will spawn soon. Whatever the reason is, always ping your carry that you will be back soon, but be carefull, leaving your carry 1v2 isnt fun and make sure you dont miss much minion experience, as its very easy to fall behind in levels with Bard.
Now ganking with Bard is quite easy, but he lacks damage in the early game, so dont try to 1v1. If you have got some chimes, your move speed is significantly increased. Get in with your E, or if your have 3 or more stacks from collecting, you can just simply "fly" in, slow with AA, then aim for the stun, you can even throw in your ultimate beforehand to make sure you get in stun range and set up a kill. If you couldnt catch the enemy, drop off some shrines then head back to your lane.
Whenever you see that some ally wants to gank your lane, go on a fake roam, clear out the ward in brushes, then wait for your ganker, make a tunnel, go in and you have an easy kill probably.
Remember that watching the minimap is a must as a support, but with Bard it should come as second nature to you to always know what is happening on the Rift, as you are very mobile, and your ultimate has a very big range.
Control the jungle, control the game
Most of the time your chimes should spawn close to you, but half of the time they will spawn in the enemy jungle. You should try to get these too, but only when you know that its safe. While you are there drop down a few deep wards, as I sad, Bard is excellent at catching people out of position, and for this, the best place is the jungle when they are killing jungle minions or walking between lanes.
Warding the jungle is key for winning, and with Bard this is extra true as you must get all the chimes, if you are cut off from your jungle, because you are pushed , then you will fall behind with Bard. You have to make sure that your wards are in the correct places. Providing your team with good vision is the way to an easy game.
If the enemy can push your lanes better, consider buying a Zz'Rot Portal( Banner of Command is also good), as it it pushes a lane, makes turret fall down quickly, and gives you the gold from the minions when they are killed by a voidling. Also if you place this on a lane, and pressure another, the enemy team will either loose a turret, or they will split trying to protect both lanes, and with Bard splitting the enemy team is very good, as its very easy to catch them out of position with a good tunnel and make short work of them.
Before team fights, you should make sure you have enough vision. Bard is best when the teamfight happens in the jungle, as you can easily make a tunnel to the enemy carries and stun+kill them.
If you have enough vision, look for an opening when you can catch the enemy with your ultimate, if you hit, then you have won the teamfight. If someone else starts the teamfight, then its usually better to save your ultimate till the end of the teamfight (random ultimate on your own team can be devastating for you) except when you know what you are doing.
Try to close in the carries, provide good stuns with your Q, and give heal or movement speed for your teammates depending on their need. A good tunnel to catch those who are fleeing, or to flee is also a good idea. Be creative! And dont forget that your AA is an AOE slow! Always aim for the closest target, so the splash will hit everyone behind him/her.
In later stages, your CC is extreme because if you time it right, you can slow the enemy for 3-4 second by 60% or more, just with your AA, plus you can stun with Q every 4th-5th second, its just insane.
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.
I hope you have enjoyed my guide, feel free to make a comment. If I have missed anything important, or something is not clear, please tell me, so that I can fill out the gaps. Have a good time with Bard!