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Bard Build Guide by Mr buckets

Support Lathyrus' [11.20] EUW Challenger Guide: How To Carry In Solo

Support Lathyrus' [11.20] EUW Challenger Guide: How To Carry In Solo

Updated on October 6, 2021
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League of Legends Build Guide Author Mr buckets Build Guide By Mr buckets 2086 55 2,223,851 Views 152 Comments
2086 55 2,223,851 Views 152 Comments
League of Legends Build Guide Author Mr buckets Bard Build Guide By Mr buckets Updated on October 6, 2021
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Runes: Guardian Setup -Best in High Elo

1 2 3 4 5
Resolve
Guardian
Font of Life
Conditioning
Unflinching

Domination
Taste of Blood
Relentless Hunter
Bonus:

+10% Attack Speed
+6 Armor
+8 Magic Resist

Spells:

1 2
Summoner Spells into Dive Comp
LoL Summoner Spell: Exhaust

Exhaust

LoL Summoner Spell: Flash

Flash

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Support Role
Ranked #11 in
Support Role
Win 52%
Get More Stats
Support Role Ranked #11 in
Support Role
Win 52%
More Bard Runes
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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, and Venm) 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 Spellthief’s and two out of the three attacks required to activate Electrocute or Phase Rush.



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 would always advise you to go for the Guardian Setup For high elo and the Arcane Comet Setup is good for every elo.
Guardian gives you an incredible defence that will keep both you and your team alive. While Arcane Comet gives you the amazing power to solo carry games in elos where relying on your team isn't always possible. Should you not like its playstyle and just want to have some fun, then the other setups could be a better option for you. 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!





The Guardian setup is currently, in my opinion, the best setup. The synergy between the Resolve rune path and my preferred Mythic, Locket of the Iron Solari, cannot be overstated. Without the much-needed tankiness provided by this potent combination, Bard is just a medium-ranged squishy champion who will continuously struggle to find opportunities where he can safely poke with his empowered auto attacks. Ironically, the moment you begin building for more damage tends to also be the moment you begin dealing less. You’ll find yourself dealing more than enough damage just by stacking your passive, so keep calm and chime on.

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 setups 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 impairs movement a lot! His meep empowered auto-attacks, his Q, and his ultimate, all impair the movement of an enemy. This is exactly why enabling allies to heal from you impairing them is so amazing. It adds a good amount of extra utility to your kit, and you don’t have to do anything special for it.
With our current build of Locket of the Iron Solari, Frozen Heart, and Banshee's Veil we already get a ton of resistances. Conditioning works really well with this due to its increase of 5% to both resistances. Since Bard is mostly focused around his strong mid game, this rune just fits super well with the current build, and his overall strong phase in the game.
Unflinching helps you out a ton when facing any form of CC. Overgrowth is still good, but since we changed the build slightly we now have more HP in the build making the rune a little less needed. So in its stead Unflinching is now gonna keep you safe and out of the CC chain..



Taste of Blood is replacing Eyeball Collection. Since we are no longer building Cosmic Drive the AP is not worth it anymore, and thus we are getting this rune to give you some sustain for during the laning phase. Helping you gain that early gold easier by keeping you healthier.
Relentless Hunter grants you a lot of extra movement speed out of combat. You need all the mobility you can get, so this rune will help you with that. Remember more speed = more chimes = more roams = more LP.
For your minor runeshards you will be taking an attack speed runeshard, an armour runeshard, and a magic resist runeshard. 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. The defensive runes are gonna help you be just that bit tankier, especially once Conditioning also pops to increase them even further.





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)

Spellthief's Edge
Easily the fastest stacking support item you can have on Bard if you're abusing your early poke like you should be doing. Once fully stacked it offers lots of (practically-free) Ability Power and some much-needed mana regen for those critical moments when you can’t top off your mana on chimes. It even comes with some HP, which is super nice for adding a little thickness to Bard.


Plated Steelcaps
We have dropped Ionian Boots of Lucidity as the meta has shifted to be a little faster, so we want some defensive boots faster so we can be tankier faster. Plated Steelcaps are a great choice when facing a team that has their main carries rely on auto-attacks. Look at the game and decide which boot choice is best.
Mercury's Treads
We have dropped Ionian Boots of Lucidity as the meta has shifted to be a little faster, so we want some defensive boots faster so we can be tankier faster. Mercury's Treads are a great choice when facing a team that has a ton of CC that can be negated by tenacity (knock-ups, suppression, and the like cannot be reduced so keep that in mind when looking at how much CC is there). Look at the game and decide which boot choice is best.


Boots of Swiftness
We have dropped Ionian Boots of Lucidity as the meta has shifted to be a little faster, so we want some defensive boots faster so we can be tankier faster. Boots of Swiftness are the choice when facing a team that is very balanced damage wise, has a lot of slows (and not too much hard CC), or when you need some extra speed to roam. Look at the game and decide which boot choice is best.


Locket of the Iron Solari
We are taking Locket of the Iron Solari since it fits the best with the Guardian playstyle. The shield you get is extremely good, especially against burst heavy comps. Apart from that, the item has some really good tank stats which will be what keeps you alive since most of the rest of the build is just made of supportive items. The aura effect isn't super powerful early, but in late game team fights, it boosts your entire team to be just a little tankier. When building this item try and build the health components first. If you already have a Ruby Crystal and have enough gold then you can consider Aegis of the Legion, otherwise stick to either the Ruby Crystal or Kindlegem.


Anathema's Chains
This newly added item is amazing for Bard. It provides the HP that was still a bit lacking in the build due to building Frozen Heart while also giving an amazing passive. When binding it to someone think about the person that will do the most damage to you, but also to what item you are gonna build after this. If the enemy team has 4 ad members (or three and a low damage ap support) and only one AP threat, then it is wise to bind it to the AP threat so you can focus on building armour. And the same goes vice versa for an AD threat in an AP comp.
Frozen Heart
This item gives you an insane amount of armour and two amazing passive effects. The rock-solid passive will reduce the damage of incoming basic attacks, and the aura will slow the attack speed of everyone nearby. This makes you insanely tanky against any form of AD damage dealers, and even some of the AP attack speed reliant champions. When building the item, you always want to try and pickup the Warden's Mail first.


Abyssal Mask
Abyssal Mask is an incredibly strong item that gives you not just a ton of defensive stats, but with it’s passive also gives you and your team a lot more damage. With it whenever you hit your Q’s stun or your ult, you will make the enemies take 15% increased damage. This makes it even easier for you to setup kills for the team as even when you ult someone the effect will last long enough to still be active when they come out of stasis.


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.





Arcane Comet has entered the fray and will be here to stay (at least for now). Comet has quickly overtaken Electrocute thanks to its super-short cooldown that can also easily get reduced to almost nothing thanks to Bard's Meeps counting as a spell for its cooldown reset. This setup has two item paths that you can take, using Shurelya's Battlesong in normal circumstances, and using Night Harvester when you get a lot of kills early to snowball the game even more.


How to play with the Arcane Comet Setup
Arcane Comet is incredibly easy to play with. Your Q and meep empowered auto attacks will procc it for you, and since both of them impair the movement from the enemy, it will almost always be a guaranteed hit. Any hits with your Q and meep empowered autos later will reduce the cooldown of Arcane Comet allowing you to use it again in quick succession.



Thanks to some in-depth testing it has proven that Arcane Comet reliably outdamages Electrocute. This is mostly due to the fact that although there is a bit less base damage and scaling on the rune, you can use it way more. Thanks to the resets and ease of use this is by far the nicest damage rune you can run.
Nullifying Orb is the best out of three not so incredible choices here. You will gain a small magic damage shield once hit by an ability that is not hugely impactful but can save your life. The main reason is that Manaflow Band is useless as Bard has no mana issues, and Nimbus Cloak is overall very underwhelming.
With the new season, there was also a large change to Transcendence, you gain a lot of free ability haste, but also whenever you get a takedown you will reduce the cooldown of your standard abilities (Q, W, E) by 20%. With Bard's long cooldowns this really helps to escape after getting a pick.
Waterwalking helps you roam a lot more during the early game, giving you that great early movement speed through the river, plus of course also gaining some adaptive stats while there, which can help you when fighting with the jungler in the river.



Although a weird choice, we are taking Eyeball Collection over Ghost Poro and Zombie Ward because we want the most damage as fast as we can so that we can snowball the game a lot harder. Eyeball Collection is for that reason the best choice since it is the fastest stacking of the three.
Relentless Hunter grants you a lot of extra movement speed out of combat. You need all the mobility you can get, so this rune will help you with that. Remember more speed = more chimes = more roams = more LP.
For your minor runeshards, you will be taking one attack speed and two defensive runeshards. After some testing the second adaptive force was not worth taking and thus is changed to a permanent armour runeshard, then depending on the matchup, you can choose between another armour runeshard or an MR runeshard.







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)


Spellthief's Edge
Easily the fastest stacking support item you can have on Bard if you're abusing your early poke like you should be doing. Once fully stacked it offers lots of (practically-free) Ability Power and some much-needed mana regen for those critical moments when you can’t top off your mana on chimes. It even comes with some HP, which is super nice for adding a little thickness to Bard.
Ionian Boots of Lucidity
With the recent buff to Ionian Boots of Lucidity, they have become so incredibly gold efficient. The amount of ability haste combined with the CDR for your summoner spells is too good to pass up.


Shurelya's Battlesong
If you do not get enough gold early to buy Night Harvester then it is better to just go for Shurelya's Battlesong it is the cheapest item that will still work which will still give you some combat power. Although Locket of the Iron Solari is good, it doesn't give you the offensive options you want with this rune page. If you go for this item, you want the Kindlegem first as health is more important than the AP and mana regeneration.


Night Harvester
When you are super far ahead gold wise in the game (especially in lower elos) then it is okay to go Night Harvester. The item adds a lot of damage to your combos, while also giving you a ton of movement speed when it procs, allowing you to reposition much easier. The ability haste you get from it’s mythic passive is also very useful


Cosmic Drive
With changes to Cosmic Drive, this item has become a lot stronger for Bard. Although it may sound counterproductive since AP is not really the best stat for Bard. However, the big reason why we are taking this item, is because with 40 ability haste, a good amount of hp, and a nice boost in movement speed, it makes it incredibly valuable. This build was made especially to make sure you get enough AP to unlock the passive, so no need to worry. The the Night Harvester or Shurelya's Battlesong + fully stacked Eyeball Collection + Shard of True Ice + Cosmic Drive will get you over the 160 ap threshold.


Frozen Heart
This item gives you an insane amount of armour and two amazing passive effects. The rock-solid passive will reduce the damage of incoming basic attacks, and the aura will slow the attack speed of everyone nearby. This makes you insanely tanky against any form of AD damage dealers, and even some of the AP attack speed reliant champions. When building the item, you always want to try and pickup the Warden's Mail first.


Abyssal Mask
Abyssal Mask is an incredibly strong item that gives you not just a ton of defensive stats, but with it’s passive also gives you and your team a lot more damage. With it whenever you hit your Q’s stun or your ult, you will make the enemies take 15% increased damage. This makes it even easier for you to setup kills for the team as even when you ult someone the effect will last long enough to still be active when they come out of stasis.


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.





The Electrocute setup is one focused on getting as much damage out of your early game as possible. The rune is incredibly easy to use for Bard and gives him a ton of damage tools through the Domination rune tree. This setup is a lot more selfish than the Guardian setup, however, it is a consistent rune that is also a lot of fun to play. I would currently advise you to take this rune when you are in a lower elo and feel that you are not able to rely on your team. This setup has two item paths that you can take, using Shurelya's Battlesong in normal circumstances, and using Night Harvester when you get a lot of kills early to snowball the game even more.

How to play with the Electrocute Setup
Electrocute is incredibly easy to proc since your meep-empowered auto attacks count as two hits, so a meep-auto + Q will be enough for you to proc the rune. In addition, your Ignite also counts as a hit so in an all-in one meep-auto plus Ignite can help kill secure that all-important First Blood. Keep an eye on your Electrocute cooldown and try and time when you go in, with when it’s available. Of course, you can’t always guarantee it, but it is still good to keep an eye on it whenever possible.



This rune will help your early game and helps you to deal a surprising amount of poke damage. It will give you a nice damage boost that can often secure you a kill, one combo will deal easily do around 200 damage, this level of damage isn’t normally expected by ADCs and they can be quickly forced out of lane with just a few bad trades.
Taste of Blood is great to give you some sustain for during the laning phase. Helping you gain that early gold easier by keeping you healthier. Especially since poke matchups are very common in lower elos this will help you greatly to stay relevant all game long.
Although a weird choice, we are taking Eyeball Collection over Ghost Poro and Zombie Ward because we want the most damage as fast as we can so that we can snowball the game a lot harder. Eyeball Collection is for that reason the best choice since it is the fastest stacking of the three.
Relentless Hunter grants you a lot of extra movement speed out of combat. You need all the mobility you can get, so this rune will help you with that. Remember more speed = more chimes = more roams = more LP.



With the new season, there was also a large change to Transcendence, you gain a lot of free ability haste, but also whenever you get a takedown you will reduce the cooldown of your standard abilities (Q, W, E) by 20%. With Bard's long cooldowns this really helps to escape after getting a pick.
Scorch gives a bit of burn damage that procs when you hit an enemy with a spell i.e. your Q, as well as your meep-autos. This is just free damage that will give you an even stronger early game – not much more to say. Once more, the idea of this build is to present a strong early Bard who can still scale into a monster later off of just chimes – so Gathering Storm doesn’t really give us as much as you might think.
For your minor runeshards, you will be taking one attack speed and two defensive runeshards. After some testing the second adaptive force was not worth taking and thus is changed to a permanent armour runeshard, then depending on the matchup, you can choose between another armour runeshard or an MR runeshard.





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)


Spellthief's Edge
Easily the fastest stacking support item you can have on Bard if you're abusing your early poke like you should be doing. Once fully stacked it offers lots of (practically-free) Ability Power and some much-needed mana regen for those critical moments when you can’t top off your mana on chimes. It even comes with some HP, which is super nice for adding a little thickness to Bard.
Ionian Boots of Lucidity
With the recent buff to Ionian Boots of Lucidity, they have become so incredibly gold efficient. The amount of ability haste combined with the CDR for your summoner spells is too good to pass up.

Shurelya's Battlesong
If you do not get enough gold early to buy Night Harvester then it is better to just go for Shurelya's Battlesong it is the cheapest item that will still work which will still give you some combat power. Although Locket of the Iron Solari is good, it doesn't give you the offensive options you want with this rune page. If you go for this item, you want the Kindlegem first as health is more important than the AP and mana regeneration.

Night Harvester
When you are super far ahead gold wise in the game (especially in lower elos) then it is okay to go Night Harvester. The item adds a lot of damage to your combos, while also giving you a ton of movement speed when it procs, allowing you to reposition much easier. The ability haste you get from it’s mythic passive is also very useful

Cosmic Drive
With changes to Cosmic Drive, this item has become a lot stronger for Bard. Although it may sound counterproductive since AP is not really the best stat for Bard. However, the big reason why we are taking this item, is because with 40 ability haste, a good amount of hp, and a nice boost in movement speed, it makes it incredibly valuable. This build was made especially to make sure you get enough AP to unlock the passive, so no need to worry. The the Night Harvester or Shurelya's Battlesong + fully stacked Eyeball Collection + Shard of True Ice + Cosmic Drive will get you over the 160 ap threshold.


Frozen Heart
This item gives you an insane amount of armour and two amazing passive effects. The rock-solid passive will reduce the damage of incoming basic attacks, and the aura will slow the attack speed of everyone nearby. This makes you insanely tanky against any form of AD damage dealers, and even some of the AP attack speed reliant champions. When building the item, you always want to try and pickup the Warden's Mail first.


Abyssal Mask
Abyssal Mask is an incredibly strong item that gives you not just a ton of defensive stats, but with it’s passive also gives you and your team a lot more damage. With it whenever you hit your Q’s stun or your ult, you will make the enemies take 15% increased damage. This makes it even easier for you to setup kills for the team as even when you ult someone the effect will last long enough to still be active when they come out of stasis.


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.





The Hail of Blades setup is very similar in playstyle as the Electrocute playstyle, however, it trades the early burst damage from Electrocute for a low cooldown mid to late game meep enhancer. Attack speed becomes extremely good on Bard in later stages of the game, where getting multiple meeps out in quick succession will do tons of damage. It won’t deal as much damage as level 1, but as you gather chimes the value of Hail of Blades scales really well since more meeps mean more damage.
How to play with the Hail of Blades Setup
Your main strength with the Hail of Blades setup is that you can use it so much. The bonus attack speed allows you to quickly get two or three auto attacks off gaining you an easy 60 gold from your Spellthief's Edge before backing off again. You can keep repeating this over and over as long as it is safe and quickly stack up gold while poking out the enemy laner, and forcing them to reset.




Hail of Blades allows you to unleash 3 auto attacks in rapid succession. Allowing you to quickly burst people down with multiple meep empowered auto-attacks. In the early game, it helps you gain more gold by auto-attacking enemies more often to proc Spellthief's Edge. While later in the game, you will gain great burst damage from your passive. Furthermore, due to the low cooldown, it is almost always up by going in and out of combat.
Taste of Blood is great to give you some sustain for during the laning phase. Helping you gain that early gold easier by keeping you healthier. Especially since poke matchups are very common in lower elos this will help you greatly to stay relevant all game long.
Although a weird choice, we are taking Eyeball Collection over Ghost Poro and Zombie Ward because we want the most damage as fast as we can, so that we can snowball the game a lot harder. Eyeball Collection is for that reason the best choice since it is the fastest stacking of the three.
Relentless Hunter grants you a lot of extra movement speed out of combat. You need all the mobility you can get, so this rune will help you with that. Remember more speed = more chimes = more roams = more LP.

With the new season, there was also a large change to Transcendence, you gain a lot of free ability haste, but also whenever you get a takedown you will reduce the cooldown of your standard abilities (Q, W, E) by 20%. With Bard's long cooldowns this really helps to escape after getting a pick.
Scorch gives a bit of burn damage that procs when you hit an enemy with a spell i.e. your Q, as well as your meep-autos. This is just free damage that will give you an even stronger early game – not much more to say. Once more, the idea of this build is to present a strong early Bard who can still scale into a monster later off of just chimes – so Gathering Storm doesn’t really give us as much as you might think.
For your minor runeshards you will be taking an attack speed runeshard, an armour runeshard, and a magic resist runeshard. 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. The defensive runes are gonna help you be just that bit tankier, especially once Conditioning also pops to increase them even further.






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)


Spellthief's Edge
Easily the fastest stacking support item you can have on Bard if you're abusing your early poke like you should be doing. Once fully stacked it offers lots of (practically-free) Ability Power and some much-needed mana regen for those critical moments when you can’t top off your mana on chimes. It even comes with some HP, which is super nice for adding a little thickness to Bard.


Ionian Boots of Lucidity
With the recent buff to Ionian Boots of Lucidity, they have become so incredibly gold efficient. The amount of ability haste combined with the CDR for your summoner spells is too good to pass up.


Locket of the Iron Solari
We are taking Locket of the Iron Solari since it is currently just the best mythic for Bard. The shield you get is extremely good, especially against burst heavy comps. Apart from that, the item has some really good tank stats which will be what keeps you alive. The aura effect isn't super powerful early, but in late game team fights, it boosts your entire team to be just a little tankier. When building this item try and build the health components first. If you already have a Ruby Crystal and have enough gold then you can consider Aegis of the Legion, otherwise stick to either the Ruby Crystal or Kindlegem.

Anathema's Chains
This newly added item is amazing for Bard. It provides the HP that was still a bit lacking in the build due to building Frozen Heart while also giving an amazing passive. When binding it to someone think about the person that will do the most damage to you, but also to what item you are gonna build after this. If the enemy team has 4 ad members (or three and a low damage ap support) and only one AP threat, then it is wise to bind it to the AP threat so you can focus on building armour. And the same goes vice versa for an AD threat in an AP comp.


Frozen Heart
This item gives you an insane amount of armour and two amazing passive effects. The rock-solid passive will reduce the damage of incoming basic attacks, and the aura will slow the attack speed of everyone nearby. This makes you insanely tanky against any form of AD damage dealers, and even some of the AP attack speed reliant champions. When building the item, you always want to try and pickup the Glacial Shroud first.
Abyssal Mask
Abyssal Mask is an incredibly strong item that gives you not just a ton of defensive stats, but with it’s passive also gives you and your team a lot more damage. With it whenever you hit your Q’s stun or your ult, you will make the enemies take 15% increased damage. This makes it even easier for you to setup kills for the team as even when you ult someone the effect will last long enough to still be active when they come out of stasis.


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.





The Prototype: Omnistone setup is the true show of Bard’s extreme versatility. Bard can make use of pretty much every single keystone in the game, and although some are 100% better than others, the fact that Prototype: Omnistone gives them you on a super short cooldown is what makes it so good. This setup unlike the others chooses to go a bit more damage heavy, picking up some more AP, which helps the runes you get from Prototype: Omnistone to scale a bit better.

How to play with the Omnistone Setup
Prototype: Omnistone is definitely one of the harder runes to play with and thus isn’t advisable for newer Bard players. You will always have to keep an eye on what rune you currently have and try to play with what you have available to you at that time. This means that you have to pay a lot of attention to your active runes, and have to quickly swap tactics depending on what you get from it.


Prototype: Omnistone is a very special keystone. It's simply most of the other keystone put together in one where you will have the option to get any of the other keystones but with a lowered cooldown. I choose to use Prototype: Omnistone because Bard very easily can use every single keystone. You are trading off your ability to choose the rune, with amounts of times you can use a rune.
Perfect Timing will give you the item called Stopwatch which will give you a free Zhonya's Hourglass pretty much to outplay the opponent. It is the best option for the first 3 runes because you want to buy boots as early as possible so Magical Footwear is not an option and let's be real if you take Hextech Flashtraption on Bard, you're trolling.
You would like to take Future's Market here because this rune gives you the option to rush to your core items early and be able to roam. Biscuit Delivery isn't as good, as you usually want to get biscuits for mana regen and a bit of sustain. However Bard will get the mana back from his chimes, so he doesn't have any mana issues. And Minion Dematerializer is just bad because you just don't want to take the minions from Your ADC, even in case you are running Relic Shield (which you should never) it is not good because you are ranged and will rarely need the Minion Dematerializer to farm relic stacks.
The cooldown reduction from Cosmic Insight is always a nice and reliable choice, cause free item haste and summoner spell haste is never something you pass up. Approach Velocity is also quite nice, but Cosmic Insight is just a bit more consistent throughout the entire game. Furthermore, getting this will lower the cooldown on your Shurelya's Battlesong by a bit as well, allowing you to get more damage off.







Taste of Blood is replacing Eyeball Collection. Since we are no longer building Cosmic Drive the AP is not worth it anymore, and thus we are getting this rune to give you some sustain for during the laning phase. Helping you gain that early gold easier by keeping you healthier.
Relentless Hunter grants you a lot of extra movement speed out of combat. You need all the mobility you can get, so this rune will help you with that. Remember more speed = more chimes = more roams = more LP.
For your minor runeshards you will be taking an attack speed runeshard, an armour runeshard, and a magic resist runeshard. 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. The defensive runes are gonna help you be just that bit tankier, especially once Conditioning also pops to increase them even further.






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)


Spellthief's Edge
Easily the fastest stacking support item you can have on Bard if you're abusing your early poke like you should be doing. Once fully stacked it offers lots of (practically-free) Ability Power and some much-needed mana regen for those critical moments when you can’t top off your mana on chimes. It even comes with some HP, which is super nice for adding a little thickness to Bard.


Ionian Boots of Lucidity
With the recent buff to Ionian Boots of Lucidity, they have become so incredibly gold efficient. The amount of ability haste combined with the CDR for your summoner spells is too good to pass up.
Locket of the Iron Solari
We are taking Locket of the Iron Solari since it is currently just the best mythic for Bard. The shield you get is extremely good, especially against burst heavy comps. Apart from that, the item has some really good tank stats which will be what keeps you alive since most of the rest of the build is just made of supportive items. The aura effect isn't super powerful early, but in late game team fights, it boosts your entire team to be just a little tankier. When building this item try and build the health components first. If you already have a Ruby Crystal and have enough gold then you can consider Aegis of the Legion, otherwise stick to either the Ruby Crystal or Kindlegem.


Anathema's Chains
This newly added item is amazing for Bard. It provides the HP that was still a bit lacking in the build due to building Frozen Heart while also giving an amazing passive. When binding it to someone think about the person that will do the most damage to you, but also to what item you are gonna build after this. If the enemy team has 4 ad members (or three and a low damage ap support) and only one AP threat, then it is wise to bind it to the AP threat so you can focus on building armour. And the same goes vice versa for an AD threat in an AP comp.


Abyssal Mask
Abyssal Mask is an incredibly strong item that gives you not just a ton of defensive stats, but with it’s passive also gives you and your team a lot more damage. With it whenever you hit your Q’s stun or your ult, you will make the enemies take 15% increased damage. This makes it even easier for you to setup kills for the team as even when you ult someone the effect will last long enough to still be active when they come out of stasis.
Frozen Heart
This item gives you an insane amount of armour and two amazing passive effects. The rock-solid passive will reduce the damage of incoming basic attacks, and the aura will slow the attack speed of everyone nearby. This makes you insanely tanky against any form of AD damage dealers, and even some of the AP attack speed reliant champions. When building the item, you always want to try and pickup the Glacial Shroud first.


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 Spellthief's Edge 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!


Be forewarned that this manoeuvre tends to earn you more than a few pings from those uninformed, so let everyone know you’re doing this in the pre-game lobby. When the match starts, head toward your Top Lane and stand halfway between the Tier 2 and Tier 3 turrets until your first set of chimes spawn in the upper Jungle. Go collect these and use the movement speed to path through the middle of the map - where unsuspecting mid-laners tend to stand. If you can hit them with the empowered auto-attack+Q combination while your mid-laner is nearby, you’ll proc all three stacks of your [Spellthief’s Edge]] and you can now path through your lower Jungle to rejoin your ADC on the way to lane.


Do keep in mind that this is only 60 gold however, so if the enemy is running a composition that could severely punish this positioning with a Level 1 First Blood, it’s simply not worth attempting.

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 Spellthief's Edge 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 Spellthief’s 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.

Could I also go Moonstone Renewer?
I wouldn’t advise it. Moonstone Renewer is great for enchanters, but Bard is not an enchanter, and neither should he be played as such. In the past, he could get away with a playstyle like it due to Athene's Unholy Grail, but since it’s removal, enchanter Bard is dead. The stats on it are not good for you, and you have trouble proccing it consistently in fights since you lack a lot of tankiness.

Could I also go Shurelya's Battlesong?
This mythic is the one you might want to pick up if you really dislike the playstyle of Locket of the Iron Solari. The stats it gives are really not good for Bard, however the passive is the nicest out of the other 3 ap support items. It is far from a great item, but you can make it work.

Who do you ban?
I am currently banning Lulu, after the buffs to her directly and to her items, she has become very oppressive. She is not the direct counter to Bard, but she is very annoying to play against and can ruin your late game. I used 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 Spellthief's Edge over Relic Shield?
You take Spellthief's Edge due to its much faster stacking speed. You get 40 gold per meep enhanced auto attack. Furthermore, it also helps you conserve your meeps for when you want to auto attack a champion, instead of needing to waste them on last hitting creeps. Lastly, Spellthief's Edge allows you to earn gold anywhere on the map, not just in a lane. So even when you are fighting with the junglers you can still earn your support gold.

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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Teamfight Tactics Guide