Bard Build Guide by SkellyBirb
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Choose Champion Build:
+10% Attack Speed
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+10% Attack Speed
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+10% Attack Speed
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
Ability Order Standard
Threats & Synergies
Early on, you can deal with Ahri. Stay behind minions so she can't charm you. Use your W to help deal with poke. Once she hits 6, you need to play carefully.
Akali really struggled to do anything against Bard as she doesn't have the range or engage to deal with him. You can poke her early on and you can win.
Anivia can't really do much against Bard, but she can zone him from doing much against her. Try to roam to get your lead in this matchup.
Early on Annie likely won't have much kill pressure against you, but once she hits level 6 she can burst you, so play safe once she hits 6.
Aurelion Sol can't do much to kill you and just set up shrines in the back so you can heal from his poke.
Azir could likely be a threat if the player is good. This is such a rare pick though, I wouldn't know much about it.
Abuse your early game damage against her and use your roaming ability to win.
Corki lacks the burst needed to kill you, so you could abuse it to gain your lead. Be careful if he has the package as he could likely 1v1 you with that.
Play safe to avoid her abilities and use your Q on her if she tries to go in. Be careful once she hits 6 as she could burst you.
Ekko's dash and shield can be a huge issue for Bard. Play safe or try to gain your advantage by roaming rather than 1v1ing him. If he charges his dash, try to position yourself in a way where you can stun him with your Q. Play near walls if necessary to avoid getting stunned by him.
He can dodge your abilities and one shot you once he gets level 6. I'd build Zhonya's before Nashor's Tooth in this case. You can use your ultimate to counter his, but he still has a lot of damage, so play safe once he hits 6. He also has a strong level 3 power spike for an all in. Use your range and slow/stun to your advantage and have shrines set up.
Galio is an anti-mage, but he'll struggle to keep up with your roaming, poke, and burst. Just be careful of his dash, as the combo that follows can deal a lot of damage.
You don't have much kill pressure as his turrets will deal damage even if you stun him, but you can roam to gain your advantage and he won't be able to stop you easily.
Karthus can't really burst you and will struggle to do almost anything. He can't really stop you from roaming, but he may out farm you and be a threat.
Kassadin doesn't have much he can do early against you and you can heal up from most of his poke using shrines. If he tries to ult in, he risks getting stunned with your Q if he has minions.
Katarina can burst you, but you can stun her and burst her as well if she positions poorly. Play safe and wait for her to make a mistake.
Leblanc has a lot of burst and snowball potential. She likely won't be able to one shot you early on, so you can set up shrines to heal for when she trades. If she goes in with minions behind her, you can stun her.
Lissandra be tough to deal with, but she likely won't be able to kill you. She won't be able to go in on you often and will try to poke you, so use shrines to your advantage.
Lux has a lot of burst and will likely be able to one shot you once she hits 6 if she manages to land a root. Set up shrines to deal with her poke early on.
Malzahar is hard to deal with. You can heal up from his poke with shrines, but you may struggle to burst him and you'll have to poke him down and keep his shield down if you want to all in. Once he hits 6, you'll need to play very carefully when his ultimate is up.
Orianna has a lot of poke that you can heal past, but you may struggle to kill her. Try to get ganks or gain your advantage from roaming. Take advantage of her mistakes.
Pyke can be really hard to deal with as he can roam a lot and has a lot of burst. Play safe in this matchup and make sure you're behind minions os he can't hook you.
Qiyana has a lot of burst to deal with you. Try to stay away from walls unless using your portal. Play safe in this matchup.
Ryze will struggle a lot early on to deal with you. He struggles with mana and he can't burst you. Use your shrines to deal with his poke and win trades.
Stay behind minions and he can't engage. Your ultimate is situational so he can't do much to use it effectively always. Heal any damage he deals with shrines.
Syndra has a lot of burst and can push you away from her if you try to engage. Roaming effectively is likely the best option to counter her.
Twisted Fate's gold card can be an issue. Play safe and set up shrines to heal from his burst, as he likely can't one shot you.
Veigar can be really annoying to deal with as you don't have much mobility to avoid his cage and he can burst you from high health if he has a slight lead. Roam for your advantage.
Vel'Koz can burst you from high health once he hits level 6. He has quite a bit of poke, so position yourself carefully to dodge it. Shrines early on are important to staying in lane.
Vladimir can't burst you early game and you win trades against him if you trade effectively. Shrines to heal from his poke are great. I'd suggest Morellonomicon after you finish your core if you're facing him, as he does scale and his healing is large.
Xerath has a lot of poke, but very little mobility. If he positions himself poorly, you can catch him out and chunk him down or possibly kill him. You can also roam to gain an advantage.
Yasuo is really hard to deal with. He can dodge your Q easily with his dashes. He can also windwall it. He's also really hard to burst if his shield is up.
Zed has a lot of burst, but can't use it too well early on. Once he hits 6, he can likely burst you. You can use your ultimate to negate his own ultimate. Build Zhonya's Hourglass before Nashor's Tooth against Zed.
Ziggs has a lot of poke, but little kill potential. Just use your shrines and play behind minions to make it hard for him to poke you.
Zilean can't do much to kill you, however he'll be hard to kill with his ultimate and movement speed boost. He can also use his time bombs to stun you, so you need to position carefully.
Zoe really can't do much against Bard. She doesn't have the burst to deal with him and you can heal up with shrines so you don't get low enough for her to burst you. She can't use her ultimate very effectively without risking getting stunned or at least hit with one meep empowered auto attack.
Champion Build Guide
Bard is also extremely versatile with many viable ways to build him, so he can work in most situations. This makes AP Bard mid viable and is why I suggest trying it out for fun.
First, [[Traveler's Call]. Your passive is the largest reason Bard mid actually works. You're able to roam and collect a lot of chimes and build up your damage and maximum meeps. With each additional meep, you get an auto that'll deal 30% of your AP, which can be huge. As such, you should focus on getting a large amount of chimes before they despawn unless they're in dangerous places. Because they can spawn all over the map, having vision is extremely important, which is why I suggest buying control wards whenever you have the extra gold.
Next is Cosmic Binding. This is a fairly basic ability with 65% AP scaling. It does decent damage, but it's mainly used for the slow, or even better, stun if you can collide it with another enemy or terrain. It can travel through walls, but those walls will not count as the first hit so it would need to hit 2 enemies to activate the stun, or it would just activate the slow. This ability is what makes Bard able to succeed in 1v1s and solo lanes.
Some notes about Caretaker's Shrine is it takes 10 seconds to build to the maximum heal. These shrines give a small amount of vision for a moment after being placed. Additionally, place them away so the enemy can't step on them. If you place them correctly against a wall, you can have them stacked on top of each other which'll give a large heal at once. However, this isn't very useful most of the time.
Magical Journey is a pretty simple ability. It's cooldown is 22 seconds at level 1, and decreased by 1.5 seconds for each level put into it, down to 16 seconds at level 5. Allies move 33.3% faster in it than enemies, making it useful for escapes. Additionally, if you hit an enemy about to exit the portal, they will still get stunned. This can be used to burst enemies who go through the portal or to secure your escape.
Finally, Tempered Fate. This ability is a basic concept with so much potential. It can help both sides depending on how it is used and takes time to learn how to use properly. It gives vision of the area it's cast on and will put everyone in a statis for 2.5 seconds. There are a few exceptions with unique interactions.
For example, a Warwick using his Q, Jaws of the Beast, has a second to not be put into the statis. Olaf's ultimate will also make him immune. There are a small handful of these unique interactions, but most aren't that important to learning Bard. This ability can also be used like a Zhonya's Hourglass to dodge Zed's Death Mark or Fizz's Chum the Waters.
This applies to every role, whether it be as a mid laner or a support. Caretaker's Shrine is an amazing ability when used correctly. However, this doesn't mean you should never use it on an ally without the build up, as the movement speed and heal can still be extremely important. Without the build up, it may not be as large, but it can still make a huge difference, which is why I put so much emphasis on this single ability.
-Easily Procs Electrocute
-Good Sustain with Caretaker's Shrine
-Amazing ability to roam.
-Great mana sustain with chimes
-Play making potential with Tempered Fate
-Fun to play.
-Elderwood and Astronaut Bard are great skins
-Little damage after using all meeps and abilities
-Can ruin a fight if Tempered Fate is used poorly
-Not a traditional mid laner
-Your team may not be happy with this pick
-Struggles when behind
-Can be difficult to last hit with if there aren't meeps
-Autoing minions can waste meeps you might want to save for champions.
Electrocute - This is really the only viable keystone you should use. Meep empowered auto attacks will count as 2 hits and make it easy to proc and burst people. A simple combo with a meep empowered auto and Cosmic Binding will proc it for example. Some others may work, like Dark Harvest if you can stack it, but this is the most reliable and the only one I'd suggest.
Cheap Shot - This is what I'd suggest taking. It gives you more burst and is easy to proc with Cosmic Binding
Taste of Blood - This gives you some extra health, but I wouldn't suggest it since you have healing with Caretaker's Shrine anyway.
Zombie Ward - This can work if you clear wards, but I really wouldn't suggest it due to how nice it is to have a yellow or blue trinket and not rely on buying control wards just to clear them.
Ghost Poro - This is a good option if you ward a lot and can be easy to stack and reliable.
Eyeball Collection - Eyeball Collection is good and a not too difficult to stack. I tend to take this.
Ravenous Hunter - This may seem like a decent option, but it doesn't give you the movement speed you need to roam like Relentless Hunter does.
Relentless Hunter - More movement speed allows you to roam better and this is basically a must for Bard mid.
Magical Footwear - This takes too long to get boots for Bard, who relies on roaming early on.
Perfect Timing - This can work as you do build Zhonya's and the active can be useful. The reason I don't take this is simply because I prefer Biscuit Delivery and Cosmic Insight.
Biscuit Delivery - This is great for sustain early game and also increases your maximum mana by 50. This should mainly be used when you're low on mana and there aren't any chimes you can get easily.
Cosmic Insight - CDR is extremely good for Bard. He benefits from it with every skill, which is why I take this. CDR also helps with activating Lich Bane's passive.
Approach Velocity - Bard is already mobile and the point of stunning is to burst them as they're already stunned, so there isn't much of a need for this over Cosmic Insight.
Time Warp Tonic - This just isn't necessary as the main use of Biscuit Delivery is for the mana, especially the initial 50 it gives.
Nullifying Orb - This could help keep you alive against burst mages like Syndra, Ahri, and Fizz, but there are simply better choices.
Manaflow Band - Bard doesn't struggle much with mana with this build as he already builds Sheen early on and chimes will restore missing mana.
Nimbus Cloak - This could be a useful option for an all in or guaranteeing your escape, but there's just better options.
Transcendence - This build already gives 40% CDR so it's not great.
Celerity - This could increase your movement speed overall from chimes and help you roam faster.
Absolute Focus - This isn't reliable enough to be all that great on Bard as he doesn't have the best range and is fairly squishy.
Scorch - This will give you lane pressure, but Bard mid is great at roaming, so it's not as good.
Waterwalking - This helps you roam and get around the map quickly.
Gathering Storm - Bard's AP Scaling is alright, but he doesn't want to rely on getting to late game to use it. It'd also take the spot of Waterwalking, which would hinder his roaming.
Demolish - Helps you take towers faster.
Font of Life - Not very good as you don't build health most of the time.
Conditioning - A decent option, but leaves you a little open early on to being burst.
Second Wind - Helps with poke, but you already have Caretaker's Shrine so it's not necessary.
Bone Plating - This'll help keep you from being one shot, especially early on. If you go Resolve, I'd suggest take this.
Overgrowth - The main reason I don't take this is because Bard roams a lot and doesn't gain enough from it since he's constantly roaming.
Revitalize - This could be useful, but it's not a huge boost, so it's not really necessary as Bard's main goal isn't healing or shielding like many enchanters.
Unflinching - This isn't that great because you're so squishy, the small amount of tenacity likely won't stop you from being burst in that time.
Lich Bane - This is a great item and it gives you burst due to it's passive. Bard takes advantage of everything it gives, which is why you rush it.
Sorcerer's Shoes - Magic Penetration on Bard is huge, which is why I always take these boots.
Nashor's Tooth - More attack speed to get your damage from meeps off quickly, as well as cooldown reduction, AP, and on hit damage. An overall great item for Bard prioritizing damage.
Zhonya's Hourglass - This is great for Bard as it lets him be a little more tanky while dealing damage. Most importantly, it maxed out his CDR and gives him a useful active ability that can save him.
Morellonomicon - Great item for magic pen/damage, some health, and grievous wounds.
Rabadon's Deathcap - This is great late game as 40% is a significant increase in AP.
Rapid Firecannon - More attack speed to get your meep off faster, as well as more burst and a longer ranged auto that can slow the enemy with a meep.
Void Staff - Great against tanky champs who are building magic resist.
Hextech Protobelt-01 - Some mobility as well as a damage active. Also more damage and health.
Liandry's Torment - The passive can be useful for longer fights and keeping the enemy burned. It also gives you some health and more damage.
Mejai's Soulstealer - If you stack this, it can be great. The issue is, if you lose all your stacks you'll fall off and it'll be hard to catch back up.
Hextech Gunblade - An option for healing based on your damage as well as increasing your auto damage. It also gives you more burst and point and click slow with the active.
Rylai's Crystal Scepter - This gives you AP and Health while also giving you a slow, making it a solid option if you need to keep an enemy off you.
Twin Shadows - More AP and movement speed, as well as more vision and a slow.
Banshee's Veil - Helps prevent one shot abilities or crowd control while providing Magic Resist and AP.
Abyssal Mask - Bard can burn through a lot of mana and restore health using the passive. It also provides the aura for more damage to close enemies. Additionally, more health and magic resist.
Warmog's Armor - 800 health makes it really hard to burst you and if the passive if active then you don't have to back simply because you're low and you can regen while just collecting some chimes.
Athene's Unholy Grail - You deal damage so you'll easily stack this constantly and you can heal your allies with it. Great if you have a fed carry. It also gives some decent stats.
Ardent Censer - More AP, More Movement Speed, and a passive that can heal an ally while giving both you and your ally attack speed and damage. Also increases healing.
Redemption - This can be a game changer with the active in team fights. It also gives you some health and health regen. Also gives you larger heals.
Locket of the Iron Solari - More Armor and Magic Resist will help you stay alive, as well as a shield for your entire team. Overall a good item.
Shurelya's Reverie - Good item for engaging fights with the movement speed active. Also gives a bit of health and increased healing.
Mikael's Crucible - If you have a single carry you need to protect from crowd control, this should be your go to item because of the active. The movement speed increase for an ally can also be great. More magic resist and increased healing as well.