Bard Build Guide by First Chime Bard
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Time to Chime!
Not Updated For Current Season
The masteries shown here are not yet updated for the current season, the guide author needs to set up the new masteries. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.
Threats to Bard with this build
|Janna||Always try and poke the target who has not be shielded by Janna. If you poke the target who has the shield this means the Poke will do nothing and you are going to be wasting mana and maybe health if you walk to close.|
|Zilean||I dont play against many Zilean Players so i dont really have the best experiance of this matchup. This matchup will become harder after level 6 but levels 1-5 just watch out for his bombs and try and poke.|
Hi, Im First Chime Bard a Bard player on the EUW server. At the moment I have a bit over 400K mastery points on Bard when currently writing this guide. Bard in my opinion is the funnest champion in the game by a long shot (this may be slightly biased hehe). One of the main reasons I am writing this guide is to show how fun this champion is and that if you play it enough and learn to play Bard you can do so much with him! The highest rank I have reached is Diamond 5 with mainly Bard .
rip my 60% winrate :(
In my opinion Bard is one of the highest skill ceiling champions. His Kit is very unique in that no other in the champion is like him. Bard can be a very hard champion to learn at first and will take a lot of games to learn how you should be playing him. When playing Bard, you have to remember you are very vulnerable if you step out of position and even small mistakes can get you caught out and killed.
Traveler's Call is Bards passive. Bards passive has 2 different effects which we will go over.
The first one is Ancient Chimes. Ancient Chimes (also known as chimes) are chimes that are randomly placed on the map (usually close to you)that give bard a boost of movement speed when he picks them up. This bonus stacks up to 5 times and grants 24% bonus move speed(on the first chime and 14% on all chimes after that). If bard enters combat when he has this move speed it will be lost. These Chimes also grant bard 12% mana back on each chime and a little bit of experience. Bard empowers his Meeps each time he collects 5 chimes on the map. One of the biggest mistakes I see made by Bard players is leaving the lane to go get Chimes at a really bad time. Try to put yourself in the ADC's shoes and think what would I think If my support left me 1v2 in a lane for 20-30 seconds. Try and go at good times and communicate with your ADC on when you are going to go get them. An example of this could be you are low on mana and you ping your mana bar for the ADC to see and tell them you are going to go get some Chimes and come back as fast as you can.
The second part of Bards passive is Meeps. Meeps are little spirts that are attracted to Bard and will sit by his side. Each time Bard uses a basic attack it will consume 1 Meep dealing bonus damage on his auto attack. After 5 Chimes have been collected by Bard, Meeps thrown will slow the enemy for 1 second. After 15 Chimes Bard will deal splash damage when using Meeps in a cone shape area. The size of this cone area will increase after 35 Chimes have been collected by Bard. Meeps spawn every 8/7/6/5/4/ seconds (depending on amount of chimes) and Bard can keep up to 1-9 Meeps at a time (based on amount of Chimes). Bard's Meeps can hurt alot during the early and even late stages of the game to squishy targets.
Cosmic Binding is Bards Q.
Bard throws out a burst of spirit energy in the target direction dealing magic damage to the first enemy it hits. If Bards Q connects with a wall or a second enemy ( Minions , Baron Nashor , Dragon or a Champion) it will stun them also and deal the damage to them. If the first target is hit by the Cosmic Binding but no enemy or wall are close to them, they will be slowed instead of stunned.
This is bards main ability and can be used in many many different ways. One of the most basic ways it can be used is to stun two champions together. This will lock both champions down for 1 / 1.2 / 1.4 / 1.6 / 1.8 depending on the level of the ability. The main way this stun should be used in lane is to either poke one of the laners with the slow and damage or stun them against there own minions to get some free damage off. Here are a few examples of stuns that can be done in the bot lane. 1,2,3,4. There are many other ones that can be done but it is hard to showcase them all here. An important part of Bards Q is knowing: 1. Can I stun this target? 2. Should I use My q to damage this target or hold it for a guaranteed stun?. These are both very important as they may decide the end result of a fight and every little bit of Crowd control and damage makes the difference in a close fight. When first learning Bard this ability will be very difficult to use properly. It will take many games and practice of Bard to know the limits of this ability (EG Am I in range to hit this champions with my Cosmic Binding?). Another thing about Bard's Cosmic Binding is that sometimes it looks ridiculous when you stun someone. Here is an example.
So why do we max this ability first?
There are 2 main reasons:
1. The higher rank this ability is, the longer it will stun the enemy for. This also means if we hit 2 people with the bind they will be both be stunned for longer. This gives more time for our Q to come back up again so we can stun them again. Also, this is bards only damaging ability meaning that it should always be the first choice to max.
2. The cool down of the ability goes down when we put points into it. Cosmic Binding starts at a 11 second cool down at rank 1 with no CDR. At max rank with no CDR Cosmic Binding is on a 7 second cool down. With 45% CDR mastery from the cunning tree ( Intelligence ) Cosmic Binding is on a 3.15 Second cool down. This means if you stun a enemy at max rank Cosmic Binding with 45% CDR there is only a 1.35 second gap between you getting your next stun up. Just BardThings.
Caretaker's Shrine is Bards W ability.
Bard's W is Caretaker's Shrine, it creates a shrine at the target location that builds up in power over the next 10 seconds when used. Bard can have up to 3 Shrines active at once which will remain there until a champion steps on them. If the champion is an teammate they will pick up the shrine and be granted a burst of movement speed and be healed for an amount based on how much the shrine has been charged up. Here is the maths for the heal:「 MINIMUM HEAL: 30 / 60 / 90 / 120 / 150 (+ 30% AP) 」/「 MAXIMUM HEAL: 70 / 110 / 150 / 190 / 230 (+ 60% AP) . If an enemy champion were to step on the Shrine, it will get rid of the shrine and making it disappear.
Caretaker's Shrine is an interesting ability in that for such a basic sounding ability and a basic sounding heal, it can be used in a number of ways and has lots of tricks to it. One of the tricks it when you have 3 Shrines active and want to heal yourself but don't want to get rid of the active shrines you can quickly place Caretaker's Shrine at your's or a teammates feet to heal them instantly. This does not get rid of any of the shrines you have placed. Another trick that can be done with Caretaker's Shrine is to use it for saving a ally or yourself with the movement speed. This can be done to help you out of a sticky situation. However Bard's Caretaker's Shrine has a cast time meaning you stand still for a small amount of time when using this ability. This is something to be careful for as it may cost you your life if you try and heal yourself when an enemy is coming for you. Because Bard's Caretaker's Shrine can heal you, some people go for Windspeaker's Blessing which I will discuss later on in the Keystone Section of this guide.
Magical Journey is Bards E ability.
Bard opens a one-way magical corridor through a piece of terrain in the target direction for 10 seconds. Whats unique about Bards Magical Journey is that both allies and enemies can pass through the corridor by right-clicking on it or its exit, with allies and Bard travelling at increased speed.
Why do we max this ability Second?
There is 1 main reason you should max this ability second.
(Apart from the cooldown going down)
Its Because of the bonus movement speed you get for your allies when they go through it. ALLY BONUS SPEED: 10 / 20 / 30 / 40 / 50% This can make the difference between you getting out of a sticky situation and not. This can make the difference between you securing a kill or not. This can make the difference in letting your Jungler into the baron pit to steal the baron. Many people choose to max W second on Bard, I feel that maxing E second is always the better option. A choice you can make though is putting 2 points into W to increase the heal a slight amount.
There are some things to note about Bards Magical Journey. People who are in the Magical Journey ARE still target able meaning they can be stunned and killed in it. Another thing to note is that Magical Journey can be used more than once during the time it is up. Magical Journey can also be used even if you are silenced by a champion such as Cho'Gath. One last tip for this ability is that you can get back to lane quicker with it. Here is an example of me using a portal to get to lane quicker
Tempered Fate is Bards R ability.
Bard sends magical energy arcing to the target location, putting all units and structures in the target area into Stasis for 2.5 seconds upon impact.
In my opinion this is one of, if not the most difficult abilities to use in the game. It has so many uses it is unreal. One of the uses is to catch enemy's off guard (picking them off. This is the most basic way to use your ultimate but at times can be the most effective if that is what your team composition is best at doing. Another use can be to stop enemies from chasing you. Stopping an enemy in there tracks can be very easily done and may even force them to use a summoner spell such as Flash to keep up with you. Another usage of Tempered Fate is to ult yourself if you know a big amount of damage is going to come through and you can avoid it with a nicely timed Tempered Fate. Another use can be when tower diving, ult the tower so that 0 damage is taken from the tower when going to kill an enemy. These are just some of the uses for Tempered Fate, and there are many more than can be used. Here is a clip of me both saving a teammate and catching the enemy off guard with a nice flash Q.
As I said before, the uses of Tempered Fate is endless and that when you play bard more and more, you will find out the best ways to use your ultimate and the best times to use your ultimate. Only through practice of the champion you will learn this. You have to feel it for yourself.
Pros / Cons
[*] Really Fun to play and learn.
[*] High skill cap (learning is fun?)
[*] Good amount of damage even if you don't buy damage items.
[*] Strong at all stages of the game
[*] Amazing set of skins!
[*] You Have to hit your Skillshots.
[*] Short range on Q.
[*] Harder for new players when first starting.
[*] Ult is easy to mess up and can cost games.
[*] Collecting Chimes at the wrong time can hurt your lane.
[*] Roaming at the wrong time can hurt your lane.
Runes, Masteries and Keystone discussion.
The only Rune Page I run:
9x Greater Mark of Magic Penetration
9x Greater Seal of Scaling Health
6x Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction
3x Greater Glyph of Magic Resist
3x Greater Quintessence of Armor
Marks: There are lots of options when it comes to what marks on bard you should take, Attack speed, Magic pen and even precision marks. I prefer the Magic pen marks overall after trying all 3. I would recommend you try all 3 (If you have the IP) and make the choice for yourself on what feels the best overall. Only you can make the choice on what feels the strongest, I would recommend Greater Mark of Magic Penetration as it feels the strongest to me in lane and out of lane phase.
Seals: You can either take normal Health seals or scaling seals. I like to be greedy and take the scaling health seals and most of the time it pays off. If you are looking to go all in very very early I would recommend the normal Greater Seal of Health as it gives the slight advantage in all ins. However I don't think this is worth it in my opinion and that you should always be taking the Greater Seal of Scaling Health
Glyphs: CDR is VERY important on bard and you always want to get 45% on Bard to make sure you have Cosmic Binding up as many times as possible in a fight. The magic resist Glyphs are taken because most supports you will come across will do some kind of magic damage. EG: Thresh Flay, Death Sentence and The Box, Alistar Pulverize , Headbutt , Trample.
Quints: I take 3 armor quints as you will be laning vs an ADC (99% of the time) who will be dealing in most cases physical damage. Also, good support players will always try to weave in auto attacks when trading and fighting in lane meaning you will take less damage from this. Overall I think this is the best choice for Quints.
I feel this is the best overall set of Runes to take on Bard, however some can be swapped out if you do prefer certain things over others.
I will talk about which masteries I take and why i am taking them.
Wanderer VS Savagery
You should not be attacking minions or monsters unless you are trying to help push out the lane for your ADC meaning the obvious choice will be Wanderer which helps you roam the map more and get back to lane faster.
Secret Stash VS Runic Affinity VS Assassin
Runic Affinity increases buff duration by 15%. Bard doesn't clear the jungle meaning he doesn't use this very well. This buff does also increase barons length but I don't feel that this is worth it. Next up is Assassin which is more damage when you are alone and since you are in a 2v2 lane, I dont feel this is worth it either. This leaves Secret Stash which helps us in lane and is the best option in my opinion.
Greenfather's Gift VS Bandit VS Dangerous Game
First up Greenfather's Gift . This mastery can be okay on bard if you are wanting to do more damage when you come out of a bush in the lane. I would still not recommend it though. Next Dangerous Game which can be good in close fights, but I feel that Bandit and the gold it gives will be more beneficial to you overall in a laning phase. Also, you are a support, you do not make your gold from last hitting creeps you make it from your support item, Bandit and kills/assists.
Precision VS Intelligence
Intelligence increases your cool down reduction cap to 45% and gives 5% CDR when you get in game. This is HUGE for Bard as he is so good with CDR and makes a lot of use out of CDR. I always take Intelligence because it is so important for Bard so cap his CDR.
Recovery VS Unyielding
I always prefer Recovery over Unyielding as I feel that the health regeneration I get from Recovery is much stronger than the Armor and Magic resist from Unyielding . Recovery is also better for laning in my opinion.
Explorer VS Tough Skin VS Siegemaster
Firstly, I feel that you should never use Siegemaster on Bard. Unless you know you are going to be under your tower the whole game and even then the two other choices can still be better. Explorer is nice if you are going to be roaming a lot of the game but I prefer going with Tough Skin because most of the time you will be getting auto attacked in the bottom lane and this will help with reducing the damage.
Runic Armor VS Veteran's Scars
Even though at first Runic Armor looks good for bard with the 8% bonus healing for his W on himself, I feel that the extra 50 HP you get from Veteran's Scars is a lot better overall as 8% really is not that much as your heal is pretty weak.
Insight VS Perseverance VS Fearless
I really don't think that taking Perseverance is worth is for Bard as both of the other masteries provide better stats for Bard. Insight is nice for Bard as it allows for your Ignite to be up sooner meaning you can fight more. Also it allows for more Flash plays or Flash escapes. I also think that Fearless is a good option for Bard so it is up to you on what you value more.
So you have 3 choices at the end of the Cunning Tree.
The only option you should ever take is Thunderlord's Decree . Why Thunderlord's Decree ? With Bard you can proc this keystone with 1. Auto attack (with meeps) and Q. 2. Auto attack (with meeps) and another auto attack. Your meeps are counted as a individual spell meaning 1 auto attack counts as 2 hits towards Thunderlord's Decree . This is very good for Bard because it allows him to have a even more powerful trade in a short amount of time. This makes it harder for the other support to trade back.
Why not Stormraider's Surge ?
Bard can not proc this keystone very easily meaning that you will not get much use out of it. Also, even if you are able to proc the keystone bard is already a mobile champion and doesn't need more speed from this keystone. If you are comparing it to Thunderlord's Decree it really is not very good.
Why not Windspeaker's Blessing ?
At first glance, Windspeaker's Blessing doesn't look bad for Bard. This is true but if you compare it to Thunderlord's Decree and how effective it is with Bard it isn't that good. Also Bard isn't meant to be a good healing support, hes meant to be a utility support that helps out the team.
Items that you shouldn't buy
I have talked about Items you should buy in the little notes next to the items. I will now talk about items to look out for and not fall for when playing Bard.
At first look, this item doesn't look to bad and has many things that Bard likes. 20% CDR, 500 mana and 65 armor. All of these stats seem really good for Bard. However the passive is a trap for new Bard players. UNIQUE Passive - Spellblade: After using an ability, the next basic attack deals bonus physical damage equal to 100% of base Attack Damage in an area and creates an icy zone for 2 seconds that slows Movement Speed by 30% (1.5 second cooldown). The reason this passive is so bad for Bard is because the slow Bard gets from his Meeps on autos does not stack with this slow. If you want to buy an item like this, go for Frozen Heart as it provides very similar stats but a better passive.
Another item that looks good for Bard. It provides nice stats for Bard in that it gives 60 Ability Power, 10% CDR and +50% mana regeneration. The passive also seems good UNIQUE: Heals and shields on allied champions (excluding yourself) enhance their basic attacks for 6 seconds. Granting them +20% - 35% (based on level) attack speed and 20 - 35 (based on level) bonus on-hit magic damage healing them for the same amount. The only problem is that you do not heal and shield enough to keep this up constantly. The only form of heals and shield you provide is through W and redemption (most of the time). This usually isn't enough to make the item worth it. However Aphromoo was experimenting with a build that looked interesting and very unique. I will leave a link to it Here. Basically, Aphromoo was trying to proc ardent passive with stoneborn pact with the slow your meeps apply.
The final item to look out for is Lich Bane. Even though I have it listed as a carry item on Bard, there are 100 better options out there for you to choose from. The stats are nice for Bard also, 7% move speed, 250 mana, 80 Ability power and 10% CDR. All of these stats are good on Bard but there are better items out there that help Bard deal more damage.
What Spells Should you take?
90% of the time I will run these two summoner spells. Flash in mandatory is my opinion for many reasons. One of the main ones is that if you make a mistake sometimes you need an instant escape to get out. Even the best players in the world make mistakes. Especially when you are learning Bard you will need this spell as you may not know how to position yourself correctly yet. Another use of Flash is for making Big Bard plays. Flashing in and stunning an enemy or getting a kill on a valuable target are just some of the uses of flash.
My second summoner spell is Ignite. I like taking ignite for the pressure you are able to bring to lane with it. It can make the difference in a close lane and make sure you get the kills that might of got away if you took a different summoner spell. Ignite also helps shut down healing targets such as Vladimir and Dr. Mundo
This is the only other option in my opinion. I will take this if I feel that there is a assassin or bruiser who may be able to kill your ADC faster than you can save them. It is also good to take if you feel you be playing very passively in lane and do not want your ADC to die. Exhaust was nerfed recently meaning its power did go down slightly and I do not take it as much.
This is the end of the guide, I hope you enjoyed! Bard is an amazing champion and has so much to offer in terms of utility for his team. I will be adding more chapters to this guide soon with more technical and advanced Bard tips and tricks.
Published on: 13/8/2017