Bard Build Guide by Amstramgramite
[10.5] Jungle Bard : how to control the game
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Runes: Most common
+10% Attack Speed
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+10% Attack Speed
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
Ability Order Cheese
Threats & Synergies
Lots of dashes and high dmg early, your portals wont always save you.
Hardcore lvl 6, if he manage to catch you with ult
High burst, you need to be carefull mid game, depending on his items.
Spiders can make you miss the q stun, she can e to dodge ult and q.
Annoying champ with e and high burst, that cant be countered by bards kit.
High engage potential and lots of dashes.
You cannot e in his ult wall but you can stun him with q.
Be carefull mid game, like Ekko.
Burst and can stun with ult on the other side of portal, be carefull.
High engage and anti cc spell
He can go through walls and dodge with q but he's rather weak before transforming.
Be carefull of the burst, look at his items. Squishy when you have 2/3 items. Buy red trinket for his ult.
Too much regen, think about taking Morello and/or Liandry. But you can escape easily.
He will kill you early because or higher AD and AS, but with 2 items you should be able to burst him. You can also catch him on his camps, easy kilos. Buy red trinket.
Champion Build Guide
Nerf on Bard's passive, decreasing meeps dmg from 15 to 12 for each 5 additionnal chimes. The nerf increases with the game duration, from 340 to 280 add. dmg at 100 chimes, though the early won't be impacted much.
Time to try Gathering Storm in compensation? ;)
Kayn can now transform sooner, so be careful if he goes assassin.
Mobility Boots are now 100g more expensive...
And i secretly hope that Riot will make some changes in Bard's kit to give him more possibilites in the jungle. It could be just as they buffed some non-jungle champs in the jungle ( Garen, Gnar, Zed, ...) by increasing dmg on jungle monsters in patch 10.4.
Why in the jungle?
Well, because he's designed for it: chimes appear in the jungle, you can make Magical Journey to go through walls, you have Cosmic Binding that work with walls, plus you're a cosmic spirit, so you shouldn't be stuck on a lane !
And it's, from far, the coolest champion in the rift, with overpowered ultimate.
In addition, Bard is a highly adaptive champion, and playing him support doesn't allow to explore all his possibilities. In the jungle, you get more build options and you can adapt his utility depending on the enemy team and the current of the game. In fact, he can become a jungling support, like Ivern, with high engage than has nothing to envy to Sejuani, Zac, Amumu, etc., or become a dangerous ap burster, like Ekko, Elise, with high movespeed to catch solo targets like Hecarim, Kayn, Gragas, or even build some tanky items, that won't allow him to frontlane but he can still stand some damage while engaging, like a Rakan, Jarvan IV, Vi, ...
So this is the point you need to focus the more on : the versatility of your build. Because you will be a jungler with a lot of interactions in the rift, you do not want to afk farming.
- Chimes improve your meeps every 5 you get.
- Important powerspikes are:
15 -> AoE dmg > important for clearing, this is the moment you should start perma clear raptors, plus you can now help lanes to push and get plates.
30 -> third meep > the 3 meeps combined with finished Skirmisher's Sabre - Runic Echoes (15min), will make it possible to 1v1 targets, even if they're not too squishy.
Next powerspike comes with items, like Hextech Revolver or Sheen.
- If you want to know precisly how meeps scales, go check here. I've done it myself 0:) Tell me if you have any suggestions.
- The movespeed chimes gives is great for ganking, think about taking them before a gank.
- You need to learn the timing to use it right after your ult ends, so opponent has no time to react.
- Hextech Rocketbelt makes it easier to re-position for landing a stun.
- Distance travel : there is a max distance to hit a first target, and then a different max distance to hit something behind. Get used to both distances, by practising on jungle camps for instance. The second has a smaller range.
- Cosmic Binding after Magical Journey is the best way to proc a reliable cc, since you can Q the enemy before he gets out of your portal because the second hit of Q will then travel in the wall and stun. Very usefull for escapes.
- Don't forget to put some shrines on lanes when you gank, or in your jungle to have some heal packs.
- In teamfights or ganks, use the movespeed it gives on an ally.
- This is what makes Bard a really good ganker. Use it for surprising ganks from unexpected spots, combined with ult for dives.
- It's also the most efficient spell to avoid fights with agressive enemy jungler.
- Keep it to escape when you go get chimes in enemy jungle. Even if you only go do the scutle in the weak side.
- When you do an abjective on the weak side, you can use your portal to go back to safety with all team, but warn them or they wont think about it.
- Be carefull, some spots are tricky around the pits next to te tribush.
- Always put a tunnel in base to go back on lane faster.
- Get to learn with the sound the moment when you ult ends, to chain cc with Q.
- On dives, keep it to release aggro at the end of the dive.
- Usefull to save an ally from ignite or similar abilities ( Malzahar, Brand, ...).
- In pits to contest : ult the enemy team, not the objective, and steal it with a higher burst than them (the best is to ult the enemy jungler).
- For escaping think about using it when enemy get out of your portal. You can ult enemy while they're still in the portal. Combined with a Q before gives you 4 seconds to escape.
Runes that I don't discribe are mostly useless on Bard. Take some time to think about their advantage compared to others and you will realize it yourself.
The strongest early
Doesn't scale that well
Easy and really good rune, you can proc it easy with AA-Q (mostly in this order to benefit from slow to land q, unless you want to stun fast).
Gives a midlife burst early game and helps 1v1 as soon as you have 3 meeps.
Powerspike to 1v1 at 30 chimes
The extra Attack Speed gives a huge burst once you have 3 meeps. Doesn't help alot on ganks though. The best lategame, unless you have many Dark Harvest's stacks (>35).
Can carry late
Hard to play, because Bard has already much to do in the jungle. But if you manage your stacks well, or if they have a late game compo, think about taking it.
You will need to gank very often, but it's quite natural with Bard. Try to gank right after a kill to get a second stack with no cd.
Hail of Blades may be a safer scaling, although dark harvest is an enjoying rune to play with that little sound when you get a stack 0:)
Easy to proc with an AA, increases the burst and you can proc it multiple times (4sec cd), which gives 10-45 dmg 2 times
Other option would be Taste of Blood, but the cd on this rune is 20sec, so you will heal less, 18-35 one time, than the dmg you would deal with Cheap Shot.
The main difference between those 3 are how you get the max stacks :
with kills for Eyeball Collection
with warding for Ghost Poro
with ward clearing for Zombie Ward.
Since you have to buy Oracle Lens pretty soon, i guess the best should be the Zombie Ward. With this in mind, forget taking Ghost Poro.
With a great synergy with Bard's movespeed and roaming, it's undubitably the best rune to pick here.
Other possible option would be Ultimate Hunter, for more catchs with your ult, but since there's a rune giving movespeed, it's propably not worth.
I sometimes think about taking Ingenious Hunter if i go for Zhonya's Hourglass, in addition to the Hextech Rocketbelt and eventually Twin Shadows
Probably the secondary path you will always take.
Is the best, because of great synergies with others runes ( Relentless Hunter), items ( Dead Man's Plate, Lich Bane, Mobility Boots, ...), abilites ( Caretaker's Shrine, Magical Journey, chimes).
Could be pick versus ap jungler, or agressive ap midlaner, and always when there's both of them.
Pick this else, because you will play alot around rivers, for many ganks and taking the scuttler's vision.
Could be picked for late game, though keep in mind that you already scale pretty good. So you may take more early/mid runes to help you sooner.
For some more tankiness or utility.
Maybe the best option to get some tankiness on ganks or versus the enemy jungler.
Can be usefull if you plan to push with your laners, and build something tanky ( Locket of the Iron Solari, Dead Man's Plate, Liandry's Anguish, ..)
Can give utility combined with Athene's Unholy Grail and Redemption. You will take it if you're confident in you team mates.
Can be useful vs high cc compos, though you rather want to avoid the cc than taking them :p
Here it goes for the first item you will buy after jungler item !
You can also start with Sheen and then go for Hextech Rocketbelt to have an early powerspike. If you see an opponent laner inting for instance or if you trust an ally to gank him hard early.
Other good idea is to rush Dead Man's Plate if they have ad midlaner or agressive ad jungler.
Last option for first item would be Rod of Ages but I haven't tried it recently. It's a quite tanky build for lategame, but you will lack of camps clearing, so maybe buy Stinger before/after Catalyst of Aeons.
If you have still no tankiness, choose between those.
Frozen Heart is maybe the best option vs full AD compos, combined with one of boths to be really tanky.
I've seen some builds with Thornmail, though I haven't tried it yet and I dont see how it can be better than Frozen Heart.
This could be your third item choice, right after Hextech Rocketbelt.
As last item, if they have 3 or more AP damage dealers and if you still have no MR.
Athene's Unholy Grail and Locket of the Iron Solari are the others MR items in Bard's pool, but they will rather be bought for utility, as third or fourth item.
Drakes are hard to take early, try to have it ward often to know if they're doing it. If so maybe trade it with something else (herald, gank top, clear their jg, ...).
On any pits, you can always contest by trying to ult as many enemies as possible when the objective is low hp to try to have a higher burst than them. The best is to get the jungler. But avoid hitting the objective too.
No matter which one you pick, there are also particular jungling specificities to Bard
Ganking with Bard
These are the usual portals you will use for ganks, depending on your side.
1) is for cheese and blue invade, put a point in Magical Journey lvl 2 and directly gank top with your laner.
2) with those you can avoid being seen by a ward in the river. It's quite good if enemies have pushed in the early game (when there's still no pink).
The thin walls on the midlane are tricky, don't smartcast them (which means, click on the spell, and then on the wall, where you want it to be, don't just press E on the wall).
Don't even Dream about having a proper farming. I hardly go above 50cs/15min, though i'm not focusing it enough. Before 15 chimes (8min) and/or completed Skirmisher's Sabre - Runic Echoes you wont even try clearing raptors. Krugs are good because they give more XP ans gold and you can kill them properly, Wolves are ok and gromp is quite tanky. Once you pass your first powerspike, go clear raptors ans Wolves as often as possible, because it will go fast and you should focus on easy farm.
What you lack of in farming is balanced with high gank potential and agressive jungling. You may be behind on cs, but you will put the enemies even more behind. Red trinket and pinks should be bought before 10min in addition to Mobility Boots.
Try to ward the enemy jungle to catch the jungler low life on a camp, to see where they're going, or use the advantage of him not being here to setup a gank.
Next keypoint to focus on is obviously your ganks. You want to put an enemy laner as behind as you can be, with lots of ganks with Magical Journey and Tempered Fate once you reach lvl 6. Best lane for this is top if you started top side or bot if you started botside. Midlane is Always a good lane to gank, take Care of not smartcasting your Magical Journey on the thin wall, else there is a high risk you don't go as far as expected. See which allies you can trust for snowball, and if you can't, then take the kills and buy high kill potential items ( Lich Bane, Hextech Rocketbelt, Nashor's Tooth, Twin Shadows, ...).
Towers and drakes will be hard to get, keep them warded and try to put your AD carries above their opponents for more dmg on objectives.
Your goal is catch enemies with help of high movespeed and burst damage. You will build Mobility Boots fast, then either Sheen if you feel confident or Hextech Revolver to go on a safer build. Electrocute is the best Rune early for this, but if you plan more lategame go for Hail of Blades.