Final build, offensive
Final build, defensive
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.
First off I would just like to say that by no stretch of the imagination am I a pro at Bard, or at making guides. I simply just didn't see and decent AP Bard guides, so I thought I would make one. If you want a really nice bard guide check out this build/guide - http://www.mobafire.com/league-of-legends/build/6-2-time-to-chime-a-magical-journey-to-high-elo-master-446306
First off you have just your usual support item, there is no reason to really get dorans ring over this. Plus, you still are a support. Then I get Morellonomicon because it has mana regen, AP, and cdr. Pretty much everything Bard needs. Then I get Nashor's Tooth for the attack speed. Because aside from Bard's Q, his auto attacks are his only damage source. Then after that depending on if you are getting fed, if your team is doing well, or if you/your team isn't doing well will effect your final build. If you are ahead then you can just go for more damage and AP. But if not and maybe your team needs a tank, then go for more tanky items. Bard is usually built tanky anyway. So your build will vary from game to game.
So what does AP Bard bring to the table? Why should I go AP Bard and not another damaging supp? Well I like AP Bard because it is fun, and useful. Bard has a really nice kit. His Q is great for team fights, just throw it in and bind up the tank or ADC (Or the first person you can) and it will zone them out for a few seconds. His w is really good for late game healing, I like to just keep using it on myself and collect chimes in the late game, it is quite relaxing... Plus the chimes help your passive. His e, magical journey, is nice for flanking, ganking, running away, and catching up to people. And his ult is really useful for team fights.
So at this point you are wondering, yea this is all great, but what does AP Bard specifically bring to the table? Well, if you are like me, you think the support role is usually kinda boring. Unless you are going a champion who is a support, but still dishes out some damage. And so if you build AP Bard you get his entire kit (which is pretty awesome and amazing) along with some damage. And overall the main goal of AP Bard is to have fun, while still being useful, at least it is for me. Now you don't do crazy damage, you will still have more assists then kills. But you will still do more damage and be a threat. Also bard is a great help to the team, and I found then with my abilities, along with the damage, I was a huge asset to the team.
How to properly use each skill.
To start, with his q. For this you simply just want to tie up someone, and go crazy on them. It is really great in the laning faze, especially if you can connect their adc and supp. But always try to hook 2 enemy champion if you can. This will really help your team in team fights. So I constantly play aggressive with bard and try to land as many Qs as I can. It is effective and can really give the enemy laners a bad day. Try to go in and out of the bushes that way the can't see you, or will waste a ward on the lane bush.
Your w. I don't use this a lot in the laning faze, just because of it's high mana cost. But in the late game I use it all the time. I will simply just spawn it right in front of me and grab it. So maybe I just got out of a fight and I am low, I will do this while running around the jungle collecting my chimes. I can get all my health back in 30-60 seconds. Also you could just follow your adc, or someone who is injured, and keep healing them with it.
Your e. This can be used for roaming to the mid lane, then getting behind their laner for a gank. It could be used for faster passage to lane/through the jungle. It can be used for running away, now yes they can take it too, but if they do just bind them with your q when they get out. And you can use it to catch up to people who are running away. With this along with Bards Q, speed from his w, and his ult, it makes Bard really hard to catch.
Now r, his ult. This is so extremely useful in team fights. I love initiating team fights with it. I will wait till they group up, then use it on them to freeze 2-3 champions. Which could turn a 5v5 into a 5v3. With that right there is could easily win you a team fight. You can also use it if someone is running away and you need to catch up to them. Or you can use it defensively, and you need to stop them from catching up to you and killing you.
So all in all, AP Bard is a powerful team fighting machine. Your q to stun people, w to heal, e to escape or flank, and most important, your ult. And all of this, but you are AP Bard, so you do damage too ;)