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Bard Build Guide by Mr buckets

Support (14.4) Lathyrus' Season 14 EUW Challenger GUIDE

Support (14.4) Lathyrus' Season 14 EUW Challenger GUIDE

Updated on February 24, 2024
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League of Legends Build Guide Author Mr buckets Build Guide By Mr buckets 3264 97 3,589,317 Views 195 Comments
3264 97 3,589,317 Views 195 Comments League of Legends Build Guide Author Mr buckets Bard Build Guide By Mr buckets Updated on February 24, 2024
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Runes: Fleet Footwork (My Preferred)

1 2
Precision
Fleet Footwork
Triumph
Legend: Alacrity
Last Stand

Resolve
Conditioning
Overgrowth
Bonus:

+10% Attack Speed
+10-180 Bonus Health
+10-180 Bonus Health

Spells:

1 2
Summoner Spells into Non-Dive Comps
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


Hello! My name is Lathyrus, although some people may still remember me as BardlyMissed. I started playing League of Legends in the summer of 2017, back in Season 7 where I started off as a Jungler. During the next preseason, I started experimenting with a lot of different champions, which eventually led me to Bard, where I fell in love with him and the support role. After picking him up, I started climbing and ended Season 8 as a Challenger. Currently, I have roughly three million mastery points on Bard between various accounts, which I used to climb to Challenger on the EUW, KR, and NA servers. During Season 11, I also managed to hit Rank 1 on my main server, EUW, at 1205 LP.

Why Bard you ask?
Bard fits into a very unique category of supports known as Playmakers. While there’s no official definition for this category, I’ll do my best to explain it to you. Some champions - Thresh, Rakan, and of course Bard just to name a few - have hard crowd control and unique capabilities that allow them to perform game-changing manoeuvres that would have otherwise been impossible. For Bard, there is a semi-spammable 1/2-man stun, the ability to tunnel through walls, and an ultimate that temporarily puts almost anything on the rift that it hits into a 2.5-second stasis.


Even his passive Traveler's Call encourages him to roam and influence the map, rewarding Bard with mana and experience as well as empowered auto-attacks that allow his damage to scale into the later game without even building damage-based items. At no point do you honestly feel like you can’t influence the tempo of the match in one manner or another. Bard just always leaves you with a myriad of options that can make each one feel unique and - in my own humble opinion - fun. So if you love impacting the map, tilting the enemy team, and not just letting yourself get carried, then Bard should be a great pick for you!




My merry band of moderators (Flayless, Ezraek, Venm, and Meltrax) and I are consistently modifying this guide to reflect the most up-to-date changes. However, we do value accuracy over speed, so post-patch it may take us a day or three to test potential builds and re-write the guide accordingly. In other words - once I know, you’ll know!

Coming soon:
A matchup sheet for every matchup in the game, so you know what teams you may or may not want to pick Bard, or what teammates your Bard would do well or badly with. This, however, will take us some time, since there are a lot of champions to cover, but we hope it can be of use to you! All progress can be found in the Threats and Synergies section found above.

Mobafire has just launched a new update for mobile users. This has caused some bugs in how the current guide is coded. This means that a lot of stuff will look a bit weird on mobile, for now, we will be looking for a way to fix this in the future.
For any current mobile user, I advise you to view the guide as the desktop site (done through your mobile browser settings) for now until optimized.

A warding chapter. This chapter will tell you all about where, when, and how to ward efficiently.




Before we get started however I’d like to take this moment to thank Raid Shadow Le... wait, wrong plug. You may have noticed my Twitch channel on your way in - but to save you a few clicks in case this guide leaves you wanting more Bard, I’ve linked my Twitch below. I stream on a pretty consistent basis, and can usually be found playing Bard (when Jankos doesn’t target ban me), testing new builds, coaching, or answering questions from readers like yourself who can’t find their answer here. I’ve also included the obligatory OP.GGs as well as my Discord, where you can meet-up with fellow Bard enthusiasts or receive notifications whenever I begin streaming for the day.

Special shoutout to my moderator Flayless’ Twitch channel, which has also been included.









I came, I saw, I conquered chimed. This passive is one of the most giga-broken things about Bard and the source of his item independence. Unlike other roaming supports, you can build almost any item in a game and you’ll still find yourself with a generous amount of both damage and mobility - two of the more desirable stats for a successful roamer. Whenever Bard is present on a map, he will cause special objects known as Chimes to spawn semi-randomly with respect to his current location at regular intervals. These objects are marked on the minimap as tiny gold flames that turn red shortly before expiration. Collecting them provides several benefits. Some are more immediately noticeable, such as the 12% return of your maximum mana, roughly 20 experience points, and the 24% (plus 14% for each additional Chime - capping at 80%) temporary movement speed increase. Others not so much - like the Meeps that will consistently spawn in increasing numbers for certain thresholds, empowering your auto-attacks with additional damage, an on-hit slow, and an expandable cone-shaped splash AoE.

You can find all of the bonus checkpoints by clicking the button below.

Now some tips for using your Passive!
Don’t allow the chimes to bait you. Slight resemblances aside, Bard is not Pacman. In other words, you don’t have to go for every single yellow dot on the minimap to win the game! Hold off on collecting nearby chimes until there is nothing to be gained in lane or you need the mana, and plan your roaming path around the further ones to help you quickly arrive at your destination.

Weave in an empowered auto-attack before a skillshot. It’s typically harder to hit a faster target, so be sure to utilize your on-hit slow before pressing Q or R.

Meeps count as separate attacks. Every empowered auto-attack counts as two instances of damage, which means double procs for World Atlas.



A medium-range skillshot that is split into two stages. The first involves a projectile that will detonate if it impacts a non-friendly unit, providing damage and a slow effect to the unit before trailing off a short distance. If the trail connects with either another non-friendly unit or any form of terrain both targets will take damage and the slow will be upgraded into a stun. This ability should always be the first one picked and maxed out, since additional points will provide a reduced cooldown, higher base damage, and a longer slow/stun duration.



Now some tips for using your Q!
Not all walls are created equal. While the walls may appear relatively smooth, they are actually composed of multiple invisible ridges. Combine this with your Q trail’s semi-generous nature and you can find yourself hitting stuns that don’t actually seem possible when you can’t find the proper angle. So even in doubt - auto-attack first of course but then - Q out!

If it’s on the rift, it’s fair game. All champion generated terrain - Cataclysm, Volcanic Rupture, etc. and enemy generated units - Mirror Image, Shepherd of Souls, etc. - can be used to trigger the stun.

Most spell shields will not block the stun. Given that the majority are designed to block only the first instance of damage, the follow-up stun from a wall/unit impacting Q will still immobilize the champion. The one notable exception to this would be Morgana’s Black Shield, which absorbs a certain threshold of damage rather than a single hit. In theory Sivir’s Spell Shield or Nocturne’s Shroud of Darkness could be activated after the damage of the Q to block the stun as well, however, this is much less likely.



Spawns a special object, known as a Shrine, that is consumed when pathed over, healing an allied champion, including Bard, and granting them a short movement speed boost. Though each shrine takes ten seconds to fully charge, they can be activated immediately for a weaker heal effect. Only three shrines can exist on the rift at any given time, and setting up a fourth will always cause the first to despawn. However, if Bard specifically targets a champion with his W, the resulting shrine is immediately consumed and does not count against the aforementioned limit. If an enemy paths over the shrine, it is still consumed, but they are denied any of its benefits. This ability should almost always be the second one picked and maxed out, with additional points providing a higher base heal.


Now some tips for using your W!
Think before you shrine, or the ADC will whine. Oh who are we kidding, they’re going to do that anyway! However, your shrine placement can go a long way towards at least reducing the possibility. Use the shrines to set up an escape route for your ADC, spreading them out along a route for twofold reason, to avoid overlapping speed boosts, and to prevent the enemy from being able to quickly destroy all of them.

Placing a shrine grants Bard with a limited range of vision around the object for a short time. This means that you can use the shrine to quickly facecheck a suspicious bush rather than waste a ward.

Self-cast your shrines while roaming to enhance your movement speed and repair chip damage, sometimes even just an additional 30+ health can be the difference between a successful gank and a trade.

Casting W on an ally will trigger the Guarded status for Guardian, allowing you to more than double the range at which this keystone can be proc’d.


Spawns a one-way portal that lasts for ten seconds straight through the terrain that will allow any champion right-clicking it, while standing at the entrance, to traverse the length. This travel counts as a dash so any movement-disabling crowd control applied to the champion will immediately cancel it and the portal will eject them out into the nearest open space. Allies traversing the tunnel will also move at an increased speed, however the increase is rather unnoticeable on all but the longest of journeys. Keep in mind that the portal does have a max length of 2600 units, which is why portals from base to alcove are not possible.


Now some tips for using your E!
The ride or die skill. Bard’s portal creates a unique pathing opportunity on the Rift that makes it almost impossible to predict in what manner it will be used. From setting up ganks that make Kayn look (even more) second-rate to escaping from Alcove-traz with that ranged minion affectionately known as “ADC,” anywhere that you see a wall you should see an opportunity. Use the additional direction to dodge skillshots when opponents think they have you locked down or laugh at fleeing enemies as you wall-ride ahead to cut off their retreat - the versatility of this skill just cannot be overstated.

Magical Journey has a casting range of 900 units, so there’s no need to be right up against the wall before casting. If you open the portal before you reach it, you’ve got a much better chance of escaping since you won’t need to pause before diving in.

When placing your portal, focus on where you want the exit to be, rather than the entrance, to have a better chance at arriving where you intended.

To avoid any weird issues with League’s pathfinding when trying to enter the portal, right-click on the middle of the magical corridor rather than the entrance.

Your portal is not a taxi, it’s a playmaking utility. It doesn’t have to be used on cooldown, and it shouldn’t be used just to save yourself a few steps here and there. Do not fall to the temptation of the Lazy Man Portal!



A long-range circular skillshot that marks the ground and grants vision shortly before launching a projectile that places (nearly) everything caught inside into stasis upon impact. Any unit in stasis is unable to control its movement, declare attacks, cast abilities, activate items or use any summoner spells for the duration, while also being invulnerable and untargetable. Notable exceptions include the Nexus, backline turrets, and the Rift Herald while charging (though you can use it on the turret she’s attacking to nullify the damage), as well as any champion currently protected by some form of displacement immunity or crowd control immunity - though some allied protections may not work due to small indie company coding.


Now some tips for using your R!

With great power comes great responsibility, and skills don’t come much more powerful than this one. Games can be won or lost by a single Bard ultimate depending on who is banished to the Golden Realm, and unfortunately there is only one way to learn how to distinguish one from the other - by using it. So look for opportunities and don’t be afraid to click that ‘R’ key.

In standard front-to-back teamfights, aim for the backline to tilt the fight in your favor. This will minimize the chances of hitting a friendly target and allows your team to focus down their frontline without fear of retaliation.

Similar to Stopwatch and Zhonya's Hourglass, the stasis effect can be used defensively to prevent damage or crowd control to friendly units from otherwise inevitable sources like Karthus' Requiem, Ignite, or the Rift Herald charging your tower. The benefit does however need to be weighed against the drawback that your immobilized ally will be exposed to potential follow-up coming out of stasis (tower excluded obviously).

As a projectile, Tempered Fate has a travel time that has to be accounted for. When utilized at point-blank range the delay from mark to impact is just over half a second, leaving little to no time to react. By contrast, at maximum range the delay from mark to impact is nearly tripled, giving even a dismounted Rell enough time to waddle away in her iron chaps.

Remember that small indie company coding comment? Well here’s the list of allied skills that do NOT prevent the stasis effect: Fiora's Riposte, Galio's Hero's Entrance, Malzahar's Void Shift, and Morgana's Black Shield. Of particular note, though an allied Sion's Unstoppable Onslaught cannot resist Tempered Fate at the very start of the channel, once he starts moving he can.




Flash
Flash is our obvious first choice for our summoner spell. Bard doesn't have any short cooldown dashes so he needs Flash for the mobility it gives. Remember that you can Flash during your Q- Cosmic Binding to redirect it!

Ignite
Ignite is your pick if you are against a comp that plays front to back. It gives you a lot more early kill pressure, for both in lane and when roaming. Late game you can also use it to get some grievous wounds on priority targets.

Exhaust
Exhaust is your pick if you are against a dive comp (a back to front comp). These comps have been increasing in popularity, and Exhaust can completely shut down someone trying to engage into your carries.





Super versatile
Bard is super versatile, he can be played in many different ways depending on the playstyle and preference of the player.

Can be played both from behind and ahead
No matter if you are ahead or behind in the game, due to Bard's strong utility kit, you can always turn a fight later in the game. So as long as you play well, you can turn any game into a win.

Very fast roamer
Thanks to Bard's chimes he can roam like one of the best, without much counterplay. You are fast to move around and do not fall behind quickly.

Setting up ganks
With his E Magical Journey Bard can easily set up ganks for the jungler or roaming laners. Often allowing for a quick 3v1 gank that completely catches the laner off guard.

Getting people caught
Your ultimate Tempered Fate and your general global map presence gives you great pick potential on anyone that is caught out.

High game impact
Bard is one of the supports with the highest carry potential and game impact. You are everywhere on the map, and can completely shut down your enemies with a combination of slows, stuns, and the stasis from your ult.














Mainly skill matchups
Bard can be very good into certain champions, but also really bad all depending on how well the player plays. A new Bard can often lose due to a lack of experience in a matchup.

Weak laning phase
Apart from your level 1, Bard does not have a strong laning phase. Most other supports will unlock good combat spells, but not Bard, he only has his Q, which leaves you to easily be put behind early

Low range
Bard is very low ranged for being a ranged support. This allows him to easily be outranged and outpoked in lane by anyone with decent range.

Needs to scale
Bard is a mid to late game focused support, you need to be patient and wait a bit for your power spikes.

Hard to learn
Bard requires a lot of time to learn. His abilities are hard to hit, and his playstyle is completely different from any other champ in the game, this combined with the macro skill needed to play him well, it makes him hard to just pick up.

Risky ultimate
Your ult is one of the strongest abilities in the game, and although it can win you a game, it can very easily also lose you the game if not used with care.




Bard is extremely flexible and thus can fit into most team comps quite well. His kit allows him to morph into whatever the team needs, he can peel carries, engage, disengage, become an enchanter for the squishies, or be a damage-dealing tank. So generally you do not have that many problems when you want to one-trick Bard.

For detailed descriptions of every matchup, you can look in the threats and synergies section above. But in general, Bard does well with safe longer-range ADCs or APCs, think of champions like Caitlyn or Jhin. While the shorter ranged champions will struggle a bit more, like Kai'Sa or Vayne. This is due to Bard's range not being very long, which can often give an enemy a range advantage.





As mentioned before Bard is extremely flexible and can do many things you want him to do. This goes for both his runes as well as his builds, there are a lot of different options that can fit different people’s playstyles.

In the current meta, I advise you to go for the Fleet Footwork Setup. The Precision tree is a very strong tree with safe options, and Fleet Footwork gives you a high sustain heal and movement speed on auto attack that makes your laning phase trading pattern much safer. It also helps you stick on target in the mid and late game.

Guardian was nerfed in season 12, but still gives you good defence that will help keep both you and your team alive. Should you not like its playstyle and just want to have some fun, then the other setups could be a better option for you. Electrocute gives you the amazing power to solo carry games in elos where relying on your team isn't always possible. The list below is in order of what I think is most viable for you, however, the most important thing is to experiment with what works best for you. You can take your time to scroll through everything, or you can click on the icon of the setup you are interested in, to go there immediately.

You can click on the buttons below to go to the section you are interested in!
Additionally, you can click on the index button above each setup to return here!



Fleet Footwork Setup - Intro


The Fleet Footwork setup has returned as the best option. The precision tree is overall a very good tree with a lot of good options. Fleet Footwork itself gives you a high sustain heal and movement speed buff that makes your auto attack trading pattern during laning phase insanely safe.

How to play with the Fleet Footwork Setup
Fleet Footwork works great with Bard's laning trading pattern. You want to use the bushes to your advantage, weaving in an out to get auto attacks for gold with World Atlas and then back out of vision. You want to try to autoattack when you have 2 stacks of World Atlas and an active meep, so you can get maximum gold value from your auto. Otheriwse, it's usually not worth it to just auto attack trading damage for damage, as Bard does not have the strong laning phase. You are playing laning phase to get gold, so you can get boots, so you can go roam faster. Fleet Footwork will help keep your health topped off and give you bursts of movement speed after you poke for gold so that you can get through the laning phase safely.

Fleet Footwork Setup - Runes

Fleet Footwork gives you a high sustain heal combined with movement speed that makes your auto attack trading pattern during laning phase insanely safe. It also makes it easier to stick on targets during mid and late game, which helps you land better Cosmic Bindings.
Bard loves to roam! Triumph works great with roaming, giving you more gold and health from successful ganks. The percent HP you gain from Triumph is also huge with this build.
Our secondary is now Legend: Tenacity. Tenacity is probably the best state to take here, but if the enemy team does not have a lot of slows or hard CC, you can take Legend: Alacrity
The last rune is the least important one from this tree. We take Last Stand now because the current build involves a ton of HP, which makes it a little easier to activate this rune without also being at risk of immediately dying.



Armor and magic resist are super important, and Bard is a long-game scaling champ. Picking runes that scale well into the late game is always the best choice.
Overgrowth's early health gain is what allows Bard to chooce to build Frozen Heart as a first item if needed. And having more HP in the early and mid game is always good.
For your minor runeshards you will be taking an attack speed runeshard and two scaling health runeshards. The attack speed is going to help you get your meeps out a bit faster, making for easier and faster trades, and in the late game lots of meep smacking. We take HP because HP is the best stat to take in runes,and it helps you stay alive even when building resistances in your first items.



The synergy between the Resolve rune path and all the tank items in the current meta cannot be overstated. If the Fleet Footwork setup feels a little too aggressive for you and you want to play more passively while keeping your team and yourself alive, this is the build for you.


How to play with the Guardian Setup
Guardian is insanely strong, but you do have to make sure that you play around the shield properly. A shield can easily be wasted on damage that wasn’t needed to be blocked. Try and play around the range of the shield, don’t just stand on top of the ADC, stand close enough that you can W them to get the guarded buff on them when they need it, but not too close that if they poke you, that it wastes the shield.
When you need the shield, you can either use a quick W, stand close to someone, or let it proc with Font of Life. Often you will want to use it, when engaging, or when being engaged. Never forget that it doesn’t just shield your ally, but you as well, sometimes it could be just as beneficial for you to shield someone just to shield yourself.


Bard with Guardian is pretty much the most well-known rune setup for him. The rune allows Bard to become better at protecting his team. His W- Caretaker's Shrine is not the best heal in the game, so the bonus shield from Guardian it can provide is always welcome. So even if you are roaming, just leaving a shrine somewhere will allow your team to not only get a heal, and some movement speed, but also a nice shield on top of it.
Bard is constantly impairing movement speed with his meeps, so this is easy to proc, and extra healing for you and your team is always good.
Armor and magic resist are super important, and Bard is a long-game scaling champ. Picking runes that scale well into the late game is always the best choice.
We take Unflinching for the tenacity and slow resistance, as those stats are hard to get elsewhere.



Eyeball Collection is just the most viable choice here because it's the fastest stacking option, assuming you're roaming and getting assists. Which you should do, because you're playing Bard.
Ingenious Hunter is the choice for Guardian because with this rune set, you should upgrade your Runic Compass to Solstice Sleigh. Solstice Sleigh's passive is on a 20 second cooldown, but with this rune fully stacked that is reduced to 12 seconds.
For your minor runeshards you will be taking an attack speed runeshard and two scaling health runeshards. The attack speed is going to help you get your meeps out a bit faster, making for easier and faster trades, and in the late game lots of meep smacking. We take HP because HP is the best stat to take in runes,and it helps you stay alive even when building resistances in your first items.










You can get the item set for this build by clicking the button to the right.
You can either download or copy-paste the text and insert it right into your league client. (you can find your items section under your collection tab, then press on import item builds)

Bloodsong
All supports now start with World Atlas which upgrades into Runic Compass automatically. Bard's best upgrade choice if you are running Fleet Footwork is Bloodsong. The on-hit damage synergizes well with weaving in and out of fights to proc Fleet Footwork and hits with your meeps.

Solstice Sleigh
If you are using Guardian, upgrade your Runic Compass to Solstice Sleigh. It synergizes well with the rune tree and helps give you tank stats while generally assisting in slowing down the other team.

Ionian Boots of Lucidity
These boots are inexpensive and the Ability Haste is great for Bard throughout the entire game, and it's now a rare stat to find on other items.

Mercury's Treads
If the opposing team has a lot of CC, piok these boots. Don't get baited by magic damage - you will build MR elsewhere. Only buy these boots if you need the tenacity.


Frozen Heart
Frozen Heart is one of the items you will build every game, as either your first full item or your second. Build it first if the enemy team has at least 2 strong auto attacking champions. It costs less than it did in Season 2023, and it's insane value for the gold. Don't worry about building this first and having low HP - you'll have plenty of HP from your runes by the time you finish this item, and the effective HP you get from blocking damage from auto attacks makes up for it.



Kaenic Rookern
Our other first item option is Kaenic Rookern, a new item for 2024. If the enemy team is AP heavy, build this first. Otherwise, build it after Frozen Heart. This item again has amazing value for the gold. The shield has a 12s cooldown, and you basically get 1000HP (health+shield), 80MR, and 150% base health regen for 2900 gold. Don't forget that even ADCs and AD bruisers have abilities, runes, and items that deal AP damage. This item is excellent.


Imperial Mandate
Imperial Mandate was also changed for the new 2024 season. When the mark that it applies is removed, it now does 12% current HP damage and give 25% movement speed for you and whoever else on your team procs it, for 2 seconds. That's a great change for Bard, it's basically a buff for him since you apply it so easily and just boost your self and your teammembers while still doing great damage for almost no effort. It also gives you Ability Haste, which is a stat you aren't getting from your other items.

After this, your last slot is going to be used for one more tank item, dependent on game state.


Anathema's Chains
Build Anathema's Chains last if the enemy team has a single important target that you need to take down in order to win fights, or if there's only one threat of a damage type. By that, I mean that if the enemy team is all AD but has one fed AP champ, don't bother with an MR item just for that one champion - build Anathema's and put it on them.

Unending Despair
Unending Despair is another new item option for bard. Build it last for great armor and HP, and it deals some percent HP damage to enemies around you in fights while healing you at the same time.


Force of Nature
Build Force of Nature last if you just need more Magic Resist. This is the MR item. That's what it does. It gives you MR.


Abyssal Mask
Build Abyssal Mask last if you need MR, but you need it faster. It builds out of the same components as Force of Nature, but it's 400 gold cheaper.



Knight's Vow
Knight's Vow is the final last-item option. It was buffed to give you more armor, and is a viable option if you have a super fed carry that you should be protecting.



Elixirs
In most situations, your standard elixir of choice will be the Elixir of Iron. However, sometimes you might need some extra damage at the end of the game to win a fight, or help out your team the most you can, if you find yourself in that situation I recommend getting an Elixir of Sorcery.





Go even in the laning phase

Get Tier 2 boots

Start roaming

Despite having a strong Level 1, Bard has one of the weakest laning phases in the entire game. You’re not there to “win lane, win game” - at least, not your lane. Ideally you’re just looking to go even through safe trades that will allow you to constantly stack up gold via your support item. Remember that empowered auto-attacks count as two hits, so you’ll find yourself stacking the World Atlas in fewer trades than you may be used to making with other champions.

When your ADC goes back to base (via ‘B’ or the Greyscreen Express), feel free to grab a few chimes before heading back yourself to spend gold. You’re rushing for the Tier 2 boots since these will enable you to start roaming, and that is where Bard will begin to shine. Don’t completely abandon your ADC (unless the lane is completely lost), but feel free to leave them to solo-farm if a strong gank opportunity presents itself and your lane isn’t in immediate danger - i.e. pushed under your tower.

That’s the general idea at any rate, so now let’s elaborate!


As previously mentioned, the laning phase is when you’re going to see Bard at his weakest. Your ninth minion’s death marks the end of your reign of terror in the Bottom Lane, and if you’re smart (of course you are, you’re -actually- reading the guide!) you will start back-pedaling as the eighth one goes down. Level 2 tends to bring with it either heavy follow-up damage or crucial crowd control for your opponent - and for you, a minor heal and speed boost. Not ideal to say the least. However, use what you got!

Build an escape route by spacing out your three Caretaker's Shrine and use the fully-charged shrines to stay healthy given that you’re more likely to be pushed out of lane if you’re constantly taking bad trades. Unfortunately Bard is simply too weak at this stage to trade well given your weak constitution and low range, so try not to go for it unless you’re holding an empowered auto-attack or stun your target with Cosmic Binding. Against an all-in champion however, I’d recommend holding the Q for counter-engage/peel.



For the first few levels you’ll want to stick close to your lane, only leaving to collect nearby chimes when warding or helping the Jungler to get priority over the bottom Rift Scuttler.
After you’ve skilled your Magical Journey and plan to do your first recall, feel free to wander off a bit further to collect some stray chimes. Just don’t forget you’re still in the early game, so if you encounter an enemy champion, don’t push your luck. Get your chimes, get out, and (hopefully) get those Tier 2 boots.



A good early roam can be almost impossible to predict for the opposing team, and can set your solo-laners up to snowball the game out of control. Roaming Mid/Top Lane early can completely change the pace of a game, but when should you cut that tether tying you to the ADC? Most of the time a roam like this is easier to pull off after a recall, especially if you’ve since acquired your Tier 2 boots. The enemy is much less likely to have vision in your jungle or suspect you’re not just on your way back to the Bottom Lane. So don’t waste this golden opportunity and auto-path back down your lane! Put on your Jungler thinking cap - look around the map, check for laners who have been pushed in or objectives that your Jungler wants to contest (eg. an early rift scuttler ), and note the locations of your chimes.

Now let’s say that with the information present (your top laner is pushed in, their Jungler is contesting the dragon, and your Jungler is pathing towards Herald for counter-pressure) you have decided to gank their Top Laner, but your Jungler isn’t coming because he wants Herald. Try to pick up as many chimes along the way (as you’re reasonably able to) for the increased speed, since you’ll miss your opportunity if they get spooked and back off.
When your laner is being pushed in, there are two different tactics.

Your first tactic is to utilize your Magical Journey to quickly get behind their Top Laner, allowing you to cut off their retreat and giving them almost no time to react to the play. If the resulting fight doesn’t go the way you expected however, you’ll find yourself lacking a very powerful escape tool.
The second tactic is to simply rely on your innate movement speed or a lucky chime spawn to aid you in your wrap-around. Good warding will allow your target to see the gank coming, but you’ll now have your portal available for repositioning as well. When pulling off a riskier gank, such as against an opponent being pushed in, a smart portal can put you between the enemy laner and their turret to secure the kill.

After a roam (hopefully a successful one) try and make sure that you have your World Atlass stacks, and that the wave of the ganked lane is where they want it to be. You can sometimes help out your laner by helping them push the wave in after a successful kill on a gank to make sure they can get a good reset. Remember as well that you can also get World Atlass stacks from the enemy turret, so be sure to get some hits in on it if you shove the wave in. Then you can either also reset, or keep moving on the map depending on your gold, HP, etc.

While roaming is great in the early game, you shouldn’t just completely abandon your own lane though as we discussed before. Make sure that when you roam it is after you both reset, or if the wave is in a safe position for your ADC to farm. They still play a crucial role in the later game and teamfights.


Of course, not every game goes the way you’d like it to. Sometimes you fall behind early, which although not great, is still completely fine. Bard scales quite well into the game and has enough utility to completely shut down an enemy team even when they get ahead. The most important thing to do is to play super defensively and keep them from snowballing. You do not want to force plays. Let the enemy try things out, and wait for them to make a mistake and when they do, then you have to be there to punish it through. Keep repeating that until you can get your team back into a leading position.




Roam

Setup vision

Punish overstepping

Now here’s where Bard is going to start to shine. By now you should be approaching the 30-35 chime range, where you’ll find yourself with three empowered auto-attacks that expand into a cone upon impact for a decent amount of damage, and also provide a 35% slowing effect. Needless to say, when the enemy team sees three little bobbleheads waddling along behind you, they will have to be wary.


At this stage of the game, you really need to know what your team’s win condition is and play towards it. A win condition can be many things, such as giving promising team members the tools they need to succeed (kills, gold, protection), or an objective like the Dragon Soul. Though it can be difficult as a starting player to identify what your current win condition is - given that it changes throughout the game and varies from match to match - this is one of the most important skills that will come with experience. There are also certain ways to accelerate the growth of this skill, such as reviewing your old matches. Try to identify key members, objectives, and plays that led to either victory or defeat, and then follow those back to see why they happened.



There are two key things to consider while roaming in the mid-game: what objectives are either upcoming or available, and the state of all the lanes.

Various objectives exist on the map that are capable of tilting the odds in your team’s favor and these should influence where you decide to go on the map. The major ones to be on the lookout for are Dragon , Rift Herald (hereafter known as Shelly), and Baron Nashor , however, in their absence you could hone in on something like a Tier1 tower to “free” your laner and open up the map. It's very important to keep an eye on your minimap and the timers in the Tab Menu! If you know that an objective is coming up soon, you should see if your team can contest that area of the map. Do not underestimate the value of any of them, securing Shelly early can win you the entire game when snowballing a key teammate. Similarly, the dragon s play a huge role in how you will have to play the late game, since you’ll need three to obtain the Dragon Soul, a permanent team-wide buff that provides unique properties.

However, that is only half of the consideration when it comes to roaming. Keep an eye on your teammates, and look for those who are making plays or show a capability to take control of the game. Playing to your weak side will often lose you the game since you can only make a finite amount of effort, and that effort, you want going towards bolstering your win condition. Don’t be afraid to cut the leash tying you to the bottom lane, remember this - you are the TEAM support, not the ADC’s pet. If you have identified your Top Laner as the most likely win condition, this is the time to start ensuring that he gets ahead and stays there.
Remember when we spoke about Bard being a Playmaker? While other champions are simply walking through the motions of a game, Playmakers are capable of taking leaps - they make the impossible, possible. As the old saying goes, it is always best to look before you leap, and to look you’re going to need vision. Without vision, that play you’re attempting to make may just end up being your last (of the game I mean, we’re all positive vibes here). Thankfully, Bard is an insanely mobile champion, so you should be relatively safe while setting up your wards compared to the likes of Nami. Don’t forget to have your sweeper going while roaming to help deny the enemy team’s vision, and to keep yourself hidden.

We will go over where and how to ward in more detail in the Warding section of the guide, so that’s all on that for now.



Nearly every portion of Bard’s kit is capable of punishing adversarial mispositioning, and though some may seem rather obvious, others are entirely unique to Bard - which makes opponents more susceptible to them, both offensively and defensively.


For instance, with the removal of the Ohmwrecker item, the only remaining way to shut off turrets lies with Volibear. However, Bard is capable of temporarily placing the tower in a stasis with his ultimate, Tempered Fate (where it likewise won’t be able to attack), enabling a dive that your team might otherwise not attempt. On the other hand, split-pushers tend to ward avenues of approach to warn them of a potential collapse, but with Magical Journey you can open an unpredictable one, giving your team the element of surprise once more. The uses are near limitless, so look for your opportunity! Identify their mistakes, think of the absolute worst-case scenario for someone in their predicament, and then make it a reality.

Zoning and vision for objectives

Ulting in team fights

Looking for double stuns

As the game continues to progress and scaling activates, you’ll find your personal damage becoming less consequential. Though you can (and should) continue collecting chimes, at this stage other supports will begin to overtake Bard in terms of raw stats and/or teamfight utility. However, though you may be down, you’re not out! Bard still has a semi-spammable stun and a myriad of tools that can help shift the outcome of a teamfight in your favor.



Vision makes up a large amount of a support’s power, giving you the ability to pierce the Fog of War and see things that are happening without placing either yourself or your teammates in danger. Your team’s vision is their first line of defense, and you’re responsibility for the majority of it. When preparing for an objective, be sure to pick warding locations that will grant the largest degree of coverage to the potential paths which an opponent might take in response. Your goal is to obtain as much information about your opponents and their pathing as possible.

And now you must act on that information. Objectives at this stage can make or break a game, and it's your job to buy your team time. Realistically speaking, you’re not going to be dealing much damage to either the dragons or Baron Nashor at this point. Leave the objective to your teammates, and instead utilize your knowledge of the enemy movements to intercept them and slow them down with your barrage of slowing auto-attacks and double stuns.
You’re just looking to buy your team as much time as possible, with the best-case outcome granting them enough to safely secure the objective before turning on an already weakened opponent. This is called zoning, and it's far more valuable than subtracting a whopping five-hundred health points from something with over five thousand.


A wiseman once said, “A fair fight is not my fight.” And that wiseman's name was Bard. When your ultimate is up, you have the power to turn every 5v5 into a 5v4/3/2/1, and you need to capitalize on this. If you want to optimize its usage, you need to identify three things: your win condition for the fight, their’s, and which one matters more.

For instance, say that your team has an extremely fed Talon, while the enemy team has their Kai'Sa. If you have been watching your Talon all game long and he has proven himself to be a competent player time and again, you may want to use your ultimate to temporarily remove the frontline and give him a window towards assassinating their win condition. Keep in mind though that if he fails, you’ve wasted your greatest advantage.

On the other hand, by using your ultimate on the enemy backline, you could effectively shut off their primary source of damage and give your team a chance to overwhelm the frontline. By the time their ADC comes out of stasis, she may be faced with a 5v2 situation, greatly increasing the odds that your team can overwhelm her with sheer numbers given her lack of protection. After all, an exposed ADC is a dead ADC.



During team fights you will want to be hitting double stuns on priority targets as much as possible. With good positioning and the right angle, you can completely shut down two people and make it even easier for your own team to follow-up with their abilities. Remember that when combined with your ultimate, you can effectively remove someone for around 8 seconds by using Q > R > Q, which should be off cooldown around the time that the stasis wears off.

Don’t forget that you can also skirt the outsides of a fight and look for terrain-based avenues that might allow you to Magical Journey into position for a crucial double stun as well. Even a short portal can sometimes make all the difference between a minor inconvenience (slowed) and a debilitating ailment (stunned). So get out your protractor and get those angles dialled in!




COMING SOON




How is Unsealed Spellbook?
Unsealed Spellbook is a Poly_Puff original. The rune itself is filled with great utility, and it can be great if the player itself is good enough to fully utilize its potential since you won’t get much combat strength out of the rune outside of your summoner spells. If you want to know more about this build be sure to check out Poly_Puff.

Is Rapid Firecannon any good?
No, it is not good. The stats on it are not what you want to have on Bard, and although the little bit of extra range can feel nice. You do not actually need it at all. Bard has no trouble keeping up with people due to his good amount of movement speed, and lots of slows.

Could I build Bard full AP/AD?
Building damage on Bard is gonna make you deal a lot less damage. Bard is a medium short-range squishy target, the moment you build full AD or AP you will get instantly bursted as soon as someone looks at you wrong. It’s a very high-risk playstyle and thus not worth it if you want to be consistent in ranked.

Who do you ban?
This is a per-patch question, but a safe bet is usually to ban Thresh. In general hard engage champions do well into Bard. What sets Thresh apart from the other engagers is his ability to also save his allies. His W Dark Passage is why, it can completely ruin an amazing ult, and in general will save people you could otherwise kill.

Could I start with W Caretaker's Shrine?
No, you shouldn’t ever start with your W. When doing so you immediately give up your strong level 1. Since your level 2-5 is not that strong, you give up the only time in the lane that you would have a chance to be stronger.
What is the best skin?
Whichever skin you like the best! I like the theme of Elderwood Bard a lot, but there is not really a bad skin.

Why are you not taking Mobility Boots?
Mobility Boots are a nice boot option for a lot of roaming champions, however this is not the case for Bard. The fact that you lose the movement speed bonus in combat is really bad for you. You need the speed from boots to allow you to quickly reposition in fights so you can hit your Q.

Should you be focusing on Control Wards? Do I need more? Help.
No Control Wards are not that good.
Control wards are made to get control over a certain area, mostly around objectives. However, as the game is currently most of the time you will never be able to be in a situation where you need to get that control. Often you are either ahead or behind. When ahead you don't need them because you already have control. When you are behind you can't really get them into proper positions and defend them. If you are equal then the only times you want to do the objectives is when you just won a fight, meaning you no longer need the control. In the early game, some control wards are really good to get, but as the game goes on, the value of the diminishes to pretty much nothing. Don't just buy them thinking you are trolling by not having them, you don't always need them, and having an item instead of the ward is most often gonna be saving you way more.


What do you think about the new Vigilant Wardstone
I wouldn't advise playing with the new Vigilant Wardstone. As explained in the part above, you do not need the extra Control Wards. To add to this the bonus stats it gives are not that great, because supports have little bonus stats to benefit from the extra stats. This means it just takes up an item slot for an item that yes is gold efficient, but doesn't give you anything that you really want. It is much better to rush into your next item, that will help you much more than a minor amount of AP, AH, and HP.




I hope that you were able to either learn something new from the guide or were able to find the runes and builds that you were looking for. From the entire team, thank you so much for taking the time to read the guide. If you still have any questions you can always hop into my stream, my discord, or just in the discussion tab here, I am always willing to help you out!



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