Bard Top is a thing
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+10% Attack Speed
Ability Order Safe setup
Threats & Synergies
He is immune to your cc, don't get baited fighting him past mid lane, stay safe and roam.
Your cc is a bless for her.
Your cc is a bless for her.
Champion Build Guide
I wrote this guide to help out Support players that have to fill top lane. I think that Bard is a very safe option in the top lane, provided that you can play him well. I started playing League of Legends on season 3 wow! I'm a boomer now I guess, initially I was achieving very poor results (gold and below) until I learned some basics concepts beyond game mechanic. After a brief period, I grasped fundamental ideas and my ranking promptly advanced.
A: I don't know! Some supports performs great top lane ( Karma) but lacks utility in the mid to late game. A support cannot match a bruiser damage so better he has utility to bring on the table. Bard top is an ideal choice if you are decent with him as a support. If you don't play him well as a support, don't think you can be of any value to your team by just playing him top. He won't magically make you good. Another important aspect if knowing your enemy kit and interactions. For example you can use many enemy-created items as an edge for you Q stun. The third part is personal master skills, this refer to knowing your champion above the average player and know tricks that are often ignore by the mass. You can get there with experience.
Q: Why not build Bard for full damage when top lane?
A: Why didn't you read the first answer? The value of Bard comes from utility not damage, he cannot add-up enough damage as a normal top laner would, that's why we essentially build him as a support. His utility kit compensate and often goes beyond the raw damage a top laner can bring. In particular if your support has little or no cc at all, or if he/she lacks of overall utility.
Q: Can you write a guide for off-meta [insert game role here] that I play?
A: I could but not every off-meta are a good choice,take Bard top as an exception that confirm this rule. You can play many champions is unusual roles and get good results, however this involve that you are really good with them, above the average gold player. You can perform well as Lee Sin support or Garen mid lane. However keep in mind, every mistake will be punished harder, and by mistake I mean also a misuse of their kit, or using it at the wrong moment, for the wrong effect you have in mind.
Use this as a reference for communication with your jungler. These are all good spots for your tunnel. You can follow the jungler or walk the other way to prevent the enemy top laner from understanding and trying to escape through your jungle.
Some junglers such as Kayn would not require this help, however the tunnel is faster and safer than his skill, since the enemy is warned when the tunnel is already open and not when Kayn starts crossing the terrain.
Never force your jungler, let him gank however he likes. Nothing prevents you from using these tunnels your own, pretending you had recalled instead.
This is the best item to help you push the wave, take cs, harass the enemy, and generally improve your damage. We can argue that there are better bruiser alternatives, the point is that it will never turn Bard into a full-blown bruiser. While your long-term purpose is utility, you need some damage to even the playing field with the top lane champions.
Default support item for [bard], providing overall speed and mobility. I also run this pair of boots as bot lane support, and I listed it as a core item instead of Berserker's Greaves due to the overall concept that the [Bard] is looking for support, not a bruiser. There are better damage alternatives, but damage is not your purpose as a Bard. Focus on utility for your team, not kills for yourself.
Your bread and butter as support. This is a cornerstone item for Bard in the current meta. It provides haste and tankiness, making you harder to kill along with the other items. Remember, you will be a lot less usefull if killed :) so staying alive is part of your utility.
To be as broad as possible, we need to consider macro cases, and I'll then provide help and guidance in various macro cases. Always remember to adapt what I say to the particular matchup you end up with. There are new champions coming out all the time, and it would be nearly impossible to cover future releases. We can group top laners into archetypes, which will allow me to provide general help while being more specific to the given category.
[BRUISER / NON DIVER]
Please note what was said in the Threats section above. In this category, you will find all the bruisers that cannot dive you under the tower. Let's be clear, any champion, including Yuumi, can dive under the right conditions. What I'm talking about here is that they don't have a kit that favors them while diving you under tower. A trivial example: Tryndamere's ultimate will actually help him not only dive you for a kill, but also hit tower for plate regardless of whether you hit him. He will dive you for a kill in a safer way than another champion could.
In this case, if you are relatively certain that you will not be dove under your tower early in the game, you can push the lane up to 50% of the way to the river and take as many cs as you can. I know you will be tempted to poke the enemy champion, and you should! However, your priority is to take the cs, so aim for an average of 8 cs per minute to start. You want to finish your Statikk Shiv as soon as possible. You won't be able to finish it in the first five minutes of the game, but you're laying the groundwork here to be able to finish it later.
If your enemy, due to skills or other causes, get a permanent buff from killing minions, the you have to harass him when he is doing so, while 1) not risking your neck and 2) still be proficient at taking at least 8cs/min. If you can do this, welcome poking the enemy, and example could be Nasus, once he is fed up, you are dead meat. And possibly everyone else in your team in a 1v1 confrontation.
[BRUISER / DIVER]
In this case play safer, you want to stay in the first 1/3 of your lane and possibly farm there freezing the wave. Also consider you might prefer roamning in this case and not seek direct confrontation with your laner opponent. You can gank the mid lane and ward enemy jungle to help out your jungler gank his opponent. Controlling where the enemy jungler is also benefit the team, for example bot lane can decide to push further since they are safe from a gank from the jungler, or maybe decide they can take dragon.
Past level 6 keep your Tempered Fate in case that they dive, you can save yourself and the tower. Better is if you can let them damage you once then ult and cc only yourself, letting them take free hits from the tower and the minion. For example if Olaf lands his Q while under tower range, you can safely R yourself and let the tower untouched hit him. Never engave with a diver without your ultimate or your tunnel ready in the case tunnel can save you. if your jungler is smart ask him to help and setup a gank using your tunnel. You can also fake a recall.
This group is easy to identify; assassins generally have Execute-like abilities. Keep in mind that some bruisers also have this type of ability, and junglers like Rek'Sai have an Execute-like ultimate. Needless to say, you don't want to stay low on health in the lane. For this purpose, assume that you always play with a Pyke that can one-shot you if you are below a certain threshold.
The good part is that assassins are often soft, they have escape abilities, but once down they are as dead as you. Pray for a smart jungler to gank you, possibly in the first 5 minutes of the game. Giving you a lead can be crucial. If you see the jungler struggling to take camps (cound the stacks left on his jungler item), he probably doesn't have enough experience, chances are he won't know how to gank before level 6, so don't count on him. If this is the case, you can try asking the midlaner for help, some have no problem ganking the top if they feel the situation is favorable.
Some mages rightfully fall into assassine category as well. Come to mind a Kassadin for example. Mages have in general more range than you, and often they can bypass minions with they skills, while your Q relies on extending beyond the first minion hit for a little bit. Mages are actually a problem cause you cannot hope to win a direct confrontation without the help of your jungler. However mages are also soft, some often lacks reliable escape abilities. Take Ryze he can hard cc you but need to land his E first, in this case don't play near your minions, so he cannot cc you. Again, you really don't want to all in a Ryze you will die.
The good part, aside from mages not having a reliable escape skill, is that they are horrible at pushing the wave, Bard is horrible as well, but you are going to build Statikk Shiv and with this item you will be a lot more effective. They will end up with a lot of minions under their tower, lose cs and if they roam they will quickly lose the tower. During this part of the game, stay alive, take cs and if you can, get a level 3 gank from your jungler. They are bad at taking cs, so make them regret when they try to take cs using aa, force them at using skills to take cs and drain their mana. This will also help during the gank.
Do not limit yourself to thinking of this as a pure tanking item. Thornmail is a passive debuff for the opposing team. Let's face it, even a mage will be tempted to auto-attack a Bard. You will be a target because they will think you are easy to kill. Build this with confidence every game.
Another core support item. The passive is amazing for the price, it gives you extra damage, it marks the enemy to receive extra damage and provide a movement speed buff. Cooldown? Just 6 seconds per each champion hit. Your charged auto attacks (15+ chimes) will have a little AoE and hit multiple targets at once.
During this time you should also consistently roaming, if this is a good idea. You should in any case ward your river and possibly enemy jungle. don't lose the focus on the utility part of Bard also if you are playing top lane. Utility is your end-game priority in any case. Again if you want to turn Bard into a killing machine, you are reading the wrong guide.
[BRUISER / NON DIVER]
You should be relatively safe, depending on how many cs you let him take. You probably have a lower cs than your opponent, but you will catch up with him as soon as you finish your first core item Statikk Shiv, at that point you will start getting more cs, push the wave into his tower, and put a stop to his cs count. When they see they cannot kill you, they will call for jungler help. Imagine the situation: "Please gank me, I can't beat Bard!" has never been said by a top laner. I know it is not nice to quote myself, but as I say in my Mind Games Win Games guide, consider the situation. Especially at low elo, people tend to swallow their pride and not ask for a gank rather than admit to their team that they cannot beat a bard. Never underestimate the psychological factor.
[BRUISER / DIVER]
This is the worst situation, they will consistently dive and kill you, regardless if you have a Statikk Shiv or a BFG2000 (Quake anyone?) so consider the obvious and dont give them this oportunity by being low health or over-extend in your lane. In some cases it is beneficial to let the jungler where hs is, rather than risking to give the enemy a double kill. Consider the jungler kit, his experience and personal skills, evaluate if he can help you or just get the both of you killed. Rather work toward securing the Rift Herald if you can. Ideally your Statikk Shiv will force a choice to your opponent: 1) helpf his team and lose the tower, 2) kill the bard but leave your team without a bruiser help. I'd say in either case you get a win, however depending on the outcome you will have to pursue a different strategy.
At this point in the game, they can also kill you in the middle of the lane, no chance to run back. Before the 15' mark, get your jungler help and secure some kills, push the lane, and take the tower ahead of them. If you do this, they will be forced out of the lane, they do not have good gear to take cs fast enough to still help their team. Again, you are forcing them into a bad choice. You usually beat assassins by winning the lane, kills come from jungler assist. Consider giving the kill to your jungler, as he is a mobile support and can help other teammates with the gold provided. Remember, you are still a support.
Mages can make your life miserable, they will gank constantly, eventually they will carry Teleport to help the bot lane with ganks and by securing the kite. You will lose the tower, but be careful because your team can pay the higher price in this case. Be aware of the situation and freeze the lane if necessary, roam and help your team if your opponent is causing trouble. If you finish your Statikk Shiv, push the lane, and let Minons take the tower piece by piece, your opponent will come back and use his skills to push the wave, giving him a break from helping his team. Ideally, he will recall more often than you and waste a lot of time out of the game that way.
Very few low elo people realize the synergy of this item with Bard's Ultimate Tempered Fate. If you read both descriptions, you will see that both have a 2.5 second duration/charging time. This means you can R the enemy, then immediately cast the active and have a 100% chance of hitting them. They also have similar cooldowns.
It is an ok situational item, provides a reasonably good steroid for AP based champions, provided that you Caretaker's Shrine them in time. It also works in sinergy with Radiant Virtue when casting Tempered Fate provided that team members are within range.
The advantage of having two supports are that you can compensate the lack of skills in your named support if that is the case, and also work with your team in creating favorable situations. Use the communication tools provided to coordinate with your team, you can spot a juicy target like the enemy adc that is frustrated enough to solo push the bot or top lane. This is an easy target, get that kill and gold by involving your team members