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Bard Build Guide by beefyylol

Support [12.8] Rank 1 Bard NA - Beefy's Challenger Guide

Support [12.8] Rank 1 Bard NA - Beefy's Challenger Guide

Updated on May 5, 2022
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League of Legends Build Guide Author beefyylol Build Guide By beefyylol 50 3 55,225 Views 1 Comments
50 3 55,225 Views 1 Comments League of Legends Build Guide Author beefyylol Bard Build Guide By beefyylol Updated on May 5, 2022
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Runes: Guardian - Best Page

1 2
Resolve
Guardian
Font of Life
Conditioning
Unflinching

Domination
Taste of Blood
Relentless Hunter
Bonus:

+10% Attack Speed
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+6 Armor

Spells:

1 2
Ignite
LoL Summoner Spell: Flash

Flash

LoL Summoner Spell: Ignite

Ignite

Threats & Synergies

Threats Synergies
Extreme Major Even Minor Tiny
Show All
None Low Ok Strong Ideal
Extreme Threats
Ideal Synergies
Synergies
Ideal Strong Ok Low None

Champion Build Guide

[12.8] Rank 1 Bard NA - Beefy's Challenger Guide

By beefyylol
Welcome!
Hello! My name is Beefy and I am a Bard one trick on the NA server. I reached Challenger in Season 12 playing Bard and I want to spread my knowledge and help other Bard mains reach their ranked goals!



If this guide helped you at all please consider giving it an upvote, it really helps me out. You can also catch my streams at https://www.twitch.tv/beefyy and ask me any questions or tell me if I missed something in this guide. You can also flame me whenever I miss my skillshots. Thanks!
Skills

PASSIVE - Traveler's Call


Traveler's Call
Chimes will spawn periodically around the map for you to collect. They give a small amount of experience and mana, so make sure to use some mana in lane before you pick one up. This is the main reason that Bard's roaming is so strong. The experience you miss from lane minions is made up by the experience gained from chimes.

One mistake I see many Bard players make is roaming JUST to get chimes. You should be picking up chimes on the way to go do something else (roam mid, go to herald, etc.). Most of the time giving up pressure and making your ADC 1v2 just to get chimes is not worth it.

The second aspect of Bard's passive are his meeps. Meeps will follow you around and empower your auto attacks. As you collect more chimes your meeps will become stronger, gaining damage, a slow, and an AOE cone behind your inital target.

Meeps are what give Bard his ability to trade in lane. You want to make sure you have at least 1 meep before you go in for any trade because without meeps your auto attacks are pretty much useless.

Q - Cosmic Binding


Cosmic Binding
Bard's Q is a line skillshot that does damage and slows enemies. It will also travel through the first target, hitting a maximum of 2 targets. If you hit multiple enemies or one enemy and then a wall, your Q will stun its targets instead.

This skillshot takes a lot of practice, but once you master it can become an extremely impactful ability in any fight if you can stun multiple targets. I would recommend going into the practice tool just to get used to this ability's range and projectile speed.

Something to keep in mind when using this ability is that it will always travel a fixed distance after the first target. This means that if you hit a champion at the very edge of the ability's indicator, it will travel beyond that threshold after and can hit another target. This is extremely useful when ganking a lane and you can easily surprise your enemies with how far this ability can travel.

W - Caretaker's Shrine


Caretaker's Shrine
Bard places a health pack on the ground that grows in strength over time, reaching it's maximum potency after 10 seconds. Allies can step on this shrine to gain health and a burst of movement speed. Enemies can also step on the shrine, destroying it. You can have a maximum of 3 shrines at a time.

Place these shrines bot lane for your ADC before you go to roam. While they don't heal for much, that small amount of health and movement speed can be the difference in them living or dying. They do cost quite a bit of mana, however, so be smart early to make sure you aren't wasting mana on shrines that you don't need.

Keep in mind that this ability can also be used directly on an ally for a quick heal and movespeed buff. This is still possible if you have 3 shrines on the ground already; using another one directly on an ally will not get rid of any of the 3 on the ground.

E - Magical Journey


Magical Journey
Bard creates a tunnel on any wall that both allies and enemies can take to travel through the wall. Allies travel faster through the portal than enemies do.

Use this ability to peel for your allies, escape when you're caught, and chase after low health enemies. If you time it right this ability can also be used to pull champions such as Master Yi and Maokai into unfavorable positions. You can also use this ability in your own fountain to get out on the map a little bit quicker.

This ability synergizes extremely well with your Q, Cosmic Binding as you will be able to stun enemies against the wall when they reach the end of the portal. It is always important to use this ability wisely, as this is your only form of escape and if you get caught without it you will have no way out.

Ultimate - Tempered Fate


Tempered Fate
A long range skill shot that will place everything in its zone into a statis, making them unable to move, attack, or take damage for 2.5 seconds. This is one of the most versatile abilities in the game and has a plethora of different uses.

You can use it to catch enemies out, forcing them to burn their flash, give an ally a free Zhonya's Hourglass, or stall the enemy team on an objective. Another common use that is extremely good is to ult your own tower when the enemy is using Rift Herald to deny the turret damage and plate gold if it is before 14 minutes.

My best advice for this ability is to practice (a LOT), and to not be afraid to use it. You will throw amazing ults that win a teamfight, you will throw terrible ults that lose a teamfight. I have played Bard for years now and I still throw bad ults all the time. Don't be timid; learn what you can and cannot do with this ability and don't be hesitant to pull the trigger.
Runes

Guardian - Best Page


This rune page is the most consistent and the one I recommend you use if you are trying really hard to climb.

After the recent nerfs to Fleet Footwork, Guardian is once the most consistent keystone for Bard. It synergizes very well with both Locket of the Iron Solari and Caretaker's Shrine.


Font of Life will proc on Cosmic Binding, Tempered Fate, and your AOE cone meep auto attacks, meaning you can almost always have it proc'd on an enemy. Doesn't heal for much but really adds up over the course of a game.


Conditioning is one of the best runes in the game. It is an absolutely insane power spike at 12 minutes and makes every armor and magic resistance buy that much better.


Unflinching has become extremely efficient because of the abundance of CC in the game currently. It is also especially effective in the support role because of the CC heavy engage supports such as Leona and Nautilus. The slow resistance is also nice for dodging skillshots, especially if you are low.


Taste of Blood is like a miniature Fleet Footwork as its heal can really make a difference for trades in lane. It also has a surprisingly low cooldown so make sure to try and get an auto in whenever its up for that extra sustain.


Relentless Hunter helps to make your roams more efficient as 45 out of combat movement is an extremely significant amount. Try to roam early to pick up a few early stacks and you can really snowball the game with this rune.

Electrocute - Fun Page


If you are like me, you find the Guardian playstyle to be extremely boring and want to play something that, while it might not be as good, is much more interesting than the standard enchanter playstyle.

Electrocute is the most consistent damage rune and can be proc'd extremely easily on Bard as your meep empowered auto attacks will count as 2 separate abilites out of 3 needed.


Everything I said before about Taste of Blood applies here as well.


Eyeball Collection, like the Hunter runes, can really help you to snowball the early game if you pick up a decent number of eyeballs early. A lot of supports like to take Zombie Ward but I have never been a fan. Test out both and see which one you like more.


The newest rune added to the game, Treasure Hunter fulfills the same purpose of all the other Hunter runes; snowballing the early game. This rune is especially effective on junglers and roaming supports as you have a much higher chance of picking up early stacks. When combined with Future's Market, you will able to hit your item spikes much sooner and exponentially increase your snoballing power.


Future's Market might seem counterintuitive on support because your income is so low, but when used correctly it can actually get you more gold, cause the extra item you bought could be the difference in getting an extra kill or not. Treasure Hunter also makes this rune more forgiving in case it does not pay off.


Cosmic Insight will give you a lower cooldown on your Everfrost, increasing your pick and teamfighting power. You can also combine this rune with Ionian Boots of Lucidity to pur your summoner spells on a very low cooldown.
Items
Sorry guys, no AP Bard! Tank stats are the way to go. Your base stats are so good and the only real damage scaling you get is through collecting chimes. When you build AP on Bard, you end up actually doing less damage because you die so much faster. But, by becoming tanky you are able to survive for much longer and you will end up doing more damage with your meep empowered auto attacks and multiple Q's.

Starting Items


I start Spellthief's Edge over Relic Shield 100 games out of 100. While the stats for Relic Shield are better, you can stack Spellthief's Edge so much faster. Completing the first quest and unlocking your wards as soon as possible is necessary so that you roams are much more effective and you can set up vision in the river for your team. Keep in mind that a meep empowered auto attack will proc Spellthief's Edge twice, making your meep trades that much better. Remember to grab health potions as well for that early sustain.

Boots


On Bard, you want to complete your tier 2 boots as soon as possible, so you can roam around the map faster with the increased movement speed. Plated Steelcaps are currently the best boot choice for Bard, as most of the time the enemy team will have at least 2 AD threats and they make you extremely tanky. If the enemy has only one AD threat, Ionian Boots of Lucidity are also a good choice for the extra ability haste. They are also cheaper than Plated Steelcaps which is good for supports as your income is much lower than other roles. There are some scenarios where the enemy has 2-3 AD threats but on my first base I have around 1000 gold. In that case, I will buy Ionian Boots of Lucidity just to have my tier 2 boots, even though Plated Steelcaps would give more value. However, if you can afford them, Plated Steelcaps are the best choice 9 times out of 10.

I never buy Mercury's Treads because with those boots you are mostly paying for the tenacity. Since you are already taking Unflinching in your runes, this tenacity from Mercury's Treads will be much less useful due to tenacity's diminishing returns.

Mythic Item


After the nerfs to Evenshroud, I believe that Locket of the Iron Solari is the best mythic item for Bard in a majority of games. The stats that it gives you are exactly what you want: armor, magic resist, health, and ability haste. In addition, the aura it gives your allies is extremely good, blocking a few thousand damage by itself most games.

But the real benefit of Locket of the Iron Solari is the AOE shield for your allies. If you use it correctly, it can block nearly 1,000 damage in a single teamfight alone. It will also proc Guardian, giving that one ally who needs it an insane shield. It's drawback of course is it's fairly long cooldown, as opposed to Evenshroud which has no cooldown and is available in every fight.

There are certain games where I build Evenshroud. If the enemy team comp has virtually no dive and I have teammates that can easily follow up my CC with damage, I opt for Evenshroud. In addition, Evenshroud has a much better mythic passive, granting you extra armor and magic resistance, making you extremely tanky. Allies that synergize well with Evenshroud include but are not limited to Caitlyn, Orianna, Miss Fortune, and Rumble.

Legendary Items


In most games, I will choose between the same 4 legendary items, but the order that I build them in changes. These 4 legendaries are Frozen Heart, Force of Nature, Anathema's Chains, and Knight's Vow.

Frozen Heart is the best armor item in the game currently, as it gives an insane amount of stats (armor and ability haste) in addition to its insanely good aura effect. While it is not optimal to purchase mana on Bard, the value of the other stats far outweighs the burden of spending gold on mana. I will build this item after Locket of the Iron Solari if the enemy has at least 2 AD threats, which is most games.

If they enemy is magic damage heavy, I will instead build Force of Nature. Force of Nature, like Frozen Heart, has both extremely good stats and a great passive. While it is rather expensive at 2900 gold, it is most definitely worth the purchase, especially if the enemy team has a damage over time ability that can stack it quickly, such as Brand or Malzahar. Once you complete it, the item passive will make you both very fast and virtually unkillable versus magic damage when combined with Conditioning.

Anathema's Chains is a very unique item. If there is one player on the enemy team that is extremely fed it can be essential to help shut them down. But, the main factor that makes this item amazing is this: you can use this item to make it so you don't have to build a certain resistance. For example, if the enemy team has an AD top, jungle, and ADC with an AP mid laner, you can attach Anathema's Chains to the enemy mid laner, completely eliminating the need to buy magic resistance. This item also gives you a ton of HP, which makes all the resistances you stacked in your other items and Conditioning even more valuable.

Finally, the item that I typically build the least is Knight's Vow. It was recently buffed so it is good again, but it does not fit my playstyle as much as the other 3 legendary items. I would rather be frontlining with my team and trying to land stuns on the enemy backline than sit back and protect my ADC. But, if your ADC is extremely fed and they are the one that needs to carry, Knight's Vow is a good item to help protect them. Just like the other items, its stats are very good as well, giving you the HP and ability haste that are so good on Bard.

The order in which I build these legendary items varies greatly from game to game. You can build Anathema's Chains first if an enemy is extremely fed early or can just stick to the more versatile options with Frozen Heart and Force of Nature. While you should be building the same items every game on Bard, you should still be actively thinking about your purchases and have good reasoning as to why you are spending your gold. Because support's income is much lower than other roles, it is important to make sure you are using that money as efficiently as possible.

Control Wards


If you watch my games, you'll notice that I purchase far fewer Control Wards than other supports at my elo. As stated in the previous section, your income on support is very low. Spending 75 gold on a Control Ward may not seem like much in the moment, but over the course of the game buying a lot will really add up. Obviously if a major objective is spawning, Control Wards are necessary sometimes, but for the most part I believe that it is possible to get effective vision control without breaking the bank on Control Wards.

Fun Items


If you want to break away from the mold, there are a few more items that you can buy.

Everfrost is the best non-tank mythic on Bard. It's stats are okay and it's unfortunate that you are spending gold on mana, but it's active is insanely good and synergizes amazingly well with the rest of your kit. If you use your Ultimate on an enemy but there is no wall/2nd enemy to stun them off of, you can use your Everfrost as extra lockdown for your team to follow up on. You can also chain the active with your Q to create an extremely long CC chain (you can Q into Everfrost or Everfrost into Q depending on the situation). Finally, once you have Ionian Boots of Lucidity, Everfrost, and Frozen Heart completed, your Ability Haste will be high enough to where you can almost Q -> Everfrost -> Q for a ridiculously long CC chain.

The main thing that was preventing me from recommending this item in the past was its cost. On a support's income, spending 2800 gold on your first item feels really bad, and if you aren't ahead in the early game it will take you ages to finally complete your Mythic. However, with the new Treasure Hunter rune and the use of Future's Market, we can circumvent this issue and Everfrost becomes affordable.

Cosmic Drive fits in extremely well into this build because it gives you all the stats you want; ability power, HP, ability haste, and movement speed. While it is quite expensive, it has a good build path and components you can sit on while you wait for enough gold to finish the item. You can proc it extremely early in a fight because your meep empowered auto attacks will count as two separate instances of damage, and you should be positioning well enough to keep it up the entire fight.

The only other AP item I recommend you buy is Demonic Embrace. It is more of a bruiser AP item, which is better for Bard than just straight up ability power. You can get some really great burn value in a fight if you line up your meep cone auto attacks to hit mutlipe enemies in a fight, and your Ability Haste will be high enough to where you can spam Q's in a teamfight and be burning the enemy almost the entire time.

Demonic Embrace is better into teams that are not full AD because if the enemy is full AD you will need to buy Frozen Heart, the only item in this build that does not grant HP (which Demonic Embrace converts into AP).
Laning
Bard does best in short, bursty trades. If trades last too long, you will most likely come out more hurt than the enemy. This obviously differs based on the matchup and there are some lanes where you will be able to press for those extra couple auto attacks without getting punished. However, you are by no means invincible so a stray Nautilus hook or Nami bubble could mean you end up back in fountain.

As a reminder, if you collect your first 3 chimes before laning starts, you will hit level 2 1 minion early and can use this level advantage to press up and harass the enemy.

A good rule of thumb for trading is to only walk up when you have Taste of Blood, a meep, and at least 2 Spellthief's Edge stacks. You should be walking up with your meep auto attack, using the meep slow to help land your Q Cosmic Binding. Versus most enchanters you will actually slightly lose this trade, but it is worth it because you got gold from your Spellthief's Edge, getting you closer to your question completion, and you can sustain back up with Caretaker's Shrine.

Versus most engage supports, you will have to avoid their counter engage. Most of the time this entails dodging an important skillshot like Leona E or Blitzcrank hook. For others this just means spacing properly so you don't get combo'd by champions like Alistar or Rell.

Remember to place down Caretaker's Shrines periodically, incase you take a bad trade and need to heal. You should also be looking for chimes that spawn close enough to lane that you can grab without having to commit a significant amount of time.

It is important to get bush control as a ranged support. If you have a positioning advantage on your opponent, it is much easier to zone them off the wave or take a favorable trade than if your opponent has a position advantage on you. Finally, you can use your Magical Journey in the alcove to escape to your turret if you are at risk of dying 2v2 or getting ganked. This takes some practice so I recommend you load up the practice tool to make sure you have this crucial portal on lock.
Roaming
Roaming is the bread and butter of Bard's kit. If you want to climb with this champion you need to love roaming and you need to be really good at it. You need to learn when you can roam, when you can't, where to go, and most importantly of all, WHY!

So let's start with the most basic mistake I see most Bards (and support players in general) making: walking from fountain to bot lane. I know that minion wave experience looks tempting and your ADC might spam ping you, but you need to get into the habit of walking to bot river nearly every time you leave base. Getting vision in river is the most important job for the support in the early game. Having vision control in river means that your laners will see every gank attempt, your junglers can take crabs, and you can have the fastest route to and from the different lanes.

As soon as you complete your first support quest and get Oracle Lens, it should be your goal to have vision control of as much of the river as you can (without dying for it of course). This is extra important on Bard because it will allow you to collect more chimes as well, increasing your combat power in the process. Once you have successfully cleared and planted wards, you can head back bot lane if you need to.

Roam timings are dependant on two things: wave management and matchups. A wave in a good spot means you can roam without consequence, a wave in a bad spot means if you roam your ADC will die and you will get flamed. If the wave is slow pushing or is frozen on the enemy's side of the lane, then you cannot leave. You have to push the wave into tower so it will reset or if you need to call your jungler down to help break the freeze. If you roam on a frozen wave your ADC will get permanently zoned from gold and experience, or, in some cases, they will greed for the wave and die 1v2. But, if the wave is frozen on your side or is pushing towards you, you have a window to roam while your ADC can sit back and wait for the wave to come to them.

In these scenarios, the other thing that effects roam timings comes into play, matchups. There are certain matchups where you cannot leave your ADC to 1v2 even under their own tower as they will get zoned off the wave or just straight up dove. An example of this would be if your ADC is playing Vayne versus Caitlyn and Karma. They will be able to poke Vayne under the tower without taking damage, and Vayne will eventually have to reset, making her lose out on the wave. Another example could be your ADC is Twitch laning versus Lucian Leona. If the wave crashes under your tower and you are not there to protect Twitch, the enemy bot lane will simply walk up and kill your ADC.

This is not always the case, though. Say your ADC is Ezreal and the enemy locked in Jinx Yuumi. In this scenario, you can stay out on the map even as the wave crashes, because Jinx Yuumi poses no threat to dive an Ezreal.

With all that being said, it is important that you identify the win cons in your team comp and play towards that. Just because you can roam as Bard, doesn't mean you always should. There are some games where the best play is to stay bot and play more of an enchanter role because your ADC is the one most likely to carry. You should be thinking about these things even before the game starts, in champ select and the loading screen. Play towards your team's strengths and negate any weaknesses, and you will carry with Bard in the support role.
Teamfighting
Teamfighting, if done well, can be one of Bard's greatest strengths; double stuns and 3 man ults can win a teamfight singlehandedly. I often like to engage the teamfights with Tempered Fate if my team has damage or CC that I know they can follow up with, or if an enemy is out of position.

Alternatively, if you have a fed backliner on your team that you want to protect, you can use your ultimate to give them a free Zhonya's Hourglass. Deciding what to use your ult on in a teamfight requires lots of practice and split second decision making. For example, if Zac is jumping onto your backline, you can use your ult on the enemy backline to prevent them from following up, making it much easier to deal with the enemies on top of your carries. Using your ultimate correctly in this way means that a fight can be 3v5 or 4v5 for 2.5 seconds. While that might not sound like long, 2.5 seconds is an eternity in teamfights.

When it comes to your other abilities, you want to use your Cosmic Binding to look for as many stuns as possible and weave meep empowered auto attacks in to get that massive cone slow. Your Caretaker's Shrine is not the most useful ability in teamfights, but it never hurts to top off an ally with a little bit of missing HP. Finally, you can use your Magical Journey to reposition you or your allies in a fight, or use it to escape after you made a pick. Never stop looking for angles where you can hit multiple enemies with your Cosmic Binding or stun them against a wall. When it comes to your Q, 1 good stun in a fight is better than 3 slows.

Finally, the last thing I want to emphasize is to use your health bar as a resource. With the recommended build, you will be extremely tanky and you should be putting that to good use. It doesnt matter if you have 200 armor if you are sitting behind your carries, waiting for them to get hit first. You should be an annoying pest in the enemies face, distracting them so that your carries can free hit while you tank the enemies' abilities. In these scenarious the combination of Fleet Footwork and Triumph has come up so clutch so many times, allowing me to walk away with a sliver of HP after tanking the enemies for as long as I needed to.

Also, remember to use Locket of the Iron Solari active. It's really good.
Closing
I really hope you learned something from reading this guide. I had a lot of fun making it and I will try to keep it updated as new patches come out.

I love Bard; he is by far my favorite champion and I hope this guide helps anyone who reads it to have fun playing Bard as well. If you did enjoy it, an upvote here is greatly appreciated as it helps me spread the Bard love even more.

Finally, if you have any questions you want to ask I am more than happy to answer. I stream most days on Twitch, but if I'm not live you can shoot me a whisper on Twitch or a message on Discord and I will try to get back to you ASAP.

Thanks for reading and good luck in your chime collecting adventures!
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[12.8] Rank 1 Bard NA - Beefy's Challenger Guide

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