Season 10: An In-Depth Bard Guide
Thu 8th Oct 2020 - 10:04pm
Bard is a complex champion that exists to lock down the enemies, zone them with his ultimate or create opportunities for allies to engage or escape to safety. This guide will take you through things you need to know when picking up Bard in League of Legends!
Passive: Traveler's Call - Innate - Ancient Chimes: Bard's presence causes sacred chimes to appear at random locations and linger for up to 10 minutes. Collecting a chime grants Bard 24% bonus movement speed out of combat for 7 seconds, stacking up to 5 times, with every other chime collected beyond the first granting an additional 14% bonus movement speed, up to a total of 80% bonus movement speed, 20 + (1 per minute after 5 minutes) experience, and 12% maximum mana. Bard empowers his Meeps each time he collects 5 chimes.
Innate - Meeps: Bard's presence attracts small spirits known as Meeps to his side. On attack, he consumes a Meep, dealing 40 (+12 per 5 chimes collected) (+30% AP) bonus magic damage.
- At 5 chimes, Meeps start slowing damaged enemies by 25-75% (based on number of Chimes) for 1 second.
- At 15 chimes, Meeps deal splash damage to enemies within 150 units of his target as well as those in a cone behind them.
- At 35 chimes, the cone's radius increases.
Meeps spawn every 8-4 (based on number of Chimes) seconds and Bard can keep up to 1-9 (based on number of Chimes) of them at a time.
Q: Cosmic Binding - Active: Bard fires a burst of spirit energy in the target direction, dealing magic damage to the first enemy struck and slowing them by 60% for a duration.
80/125/170/215/260 (+65% AP)
After Cosmic Binding hits an enemy, the energy continues behind them for 300 units. If the burst hits terrain or a second enemy, it stuns both targets for the same duration, dealing the same magic damage to the second target as well.
W: Caretaker's Shrine - Active: Bard conjures a shrine at the target location that builds up in power over 10 seconds, granting sight of a small area around it for 1.8 seconds. Up to 3 shrines can be active at once, which last until they are consumed by champions stepping on them.
If the champion was an ally or Bard himself, they are healed for an amount based on the shrine's power and gain 30% bonus movement speed that decays over 1.5 seconds.
30/60/90/120/150 (+30% AP)
E: Magical Journey - Active: Bard opens a one-way magical corridor through a piece of terrain in the target direction for 10 seconds. Magical Journey will not cast unless it can open a corridor.
Both allies and enemies can pass through the corridor by clicking on it or its exit, with allies and Bard traveling at 33.3% increased speed. All units are revealed while taking Magical Journey.
R: Tempered Fate - Active: Bard sends magical energy arcing to the target location, revealing the area before putting all units inside into stasis for 2.5 seconds upon impact. Enemies hit are revealed for the duration. Despite normally being crowd control immune, epic monsters and turrets also enter stasis.
It is most commonly maxing Q-W-E. Your Q is the only ability except for your passive that deals damage, and it also allows you to set up different plays. Your W will be the second ability that you will use the most, due to the utility and healing it provides. Lastly, your E will be the last as it currently doesn’t provide anything more than a lower cooldown.
Keystone: On the Resolve tree, the most common Keystone is to choose Guardian. You will most likely always stay near your teammates and won’t be far away from them. This is the perfect rune to proc. This will make you a bit tankier than normal and you benefit a lot from being near your carries. This is primarily intended for support. If you want to play Bard for other purposes, then it would be more natural to choose other runes such as Electrocute.
Slot 1: Looking at what is available on slot 1, the most suitable rune would be Font of Life. Bard can build items such as Athene’s Unholy Grail and apply the effect with his Q and the basic attacks with Meeps. On the other hand, if you prefer something else such as siege, you can go Demolish, but others would probably think that Font of Life is more suitable. Go for this one if that is your playstyle.
Slot 2: Bone Plating is usually optimal since Bard is quite squishy if you face champions that have burst, and the reason you choose this one is to survive through combos that require 3 spells, like Zed or LeBlanc's combos. Second Wind is a good pick if you face champions like Brand and Caitlyn that are constantly poking you out. But bear in mind that since you are ranged, there won’t be always an opportunity for them to poke you if you position yourself right. If the champions have more range than you, you can consider this.
Slot 3: Out of all of the slot 3 options, Revitalize seems to be the most suitable for Bard. This can increase the healing on the W, Caretaker’s Shrine, and in critical moments the 10% will be a lot of help.
It is most common to go Domination for a few reasons, but there are times when it’s observed that it is wise to go either Inspiration or sometimes Sorcery. Let’s take a look at Domination first.
Domination: Bard roams a lot and with the ward placement he can do while getting Chimes, so Zombie Ward is a highly effective rune to run. It also gives more sight over units on its 1100, meanwhile, a normal ward has 900. Although it has the only 1HP, spawning 10 Zombie Wards will give Bard an useful extra 30 AP.
For the last rune, depending on what you like to do you can choose the preferred rune for your playstyle. If you choose Relentless Hunter, your movement speed when you are out of combat will be increased by 10 each stack and that can help your roams, disengages, engages, and chases. Meanwhile for Ultimate Hunter, it gives you a bigger opportunity to create plays and rescues since you can use your ultimate R, Tempered Fate, more often.
Sorcery: The first of the honorable mention secondary trees. It is possible to consider Waterwalking if you want to roam through the river to help your Jungler, Midlane, or simply gathering Chimes. Celerity also provides a substantial boost, as collecting Chimes or using your W, Caretaker’s Shrine, will be grant you even more movement speed.
Inspiration: Although you have to charge it, Hextech Flashtraption can help with catching your opponents off-guard and allows you a "free" gap closer. Biscuit Delivery is a very nice rune to go if you either play champions that have a high mana consumption, or you are facing poke laners. Cosmic Insight is also a popular rune for supports, this helps you with more cooldowns and especially summoner spells. Normally without this rune, your Flash will be at 300 seconds, but this gives you the cooldown at 285 seconds. Meanwhile, with Ignite it will be at 171 seconds when it is normally 180 seconds. If you run Exhaust which is normally 210 seconds, it will be at 199.5 seconds.
Typically you would like to adapt this to the enemy you are facing, but this is a very common set-up
Slot 1 Offense: 5.4 bonus Attack Damage or 9 Ability Power (Adaptive)
Slot 2 Flex: 8 bonus magic resistance
Slot 3 Defense: 6 bonus armor
Bard has so many different build paths, and we will primarily take a look at the Enchanter path and the more tanky path. It is important to decide early what you want to go as it is not recommended to mix the path too much. This is so that you can be as cost efficient as possible.
Starting Items: Bard’s normal starting items are Relic Shield and a Health Potion.
Core build: When it comes to the core build, there is flexibility in it. When you want to choose boots, think about what purpose you serve for this game. If you roam a lot as support, Boots of Swiftness will be good, but if you want to be tanky for the team, consider picking either Ninja Tabi or Mercury’s Treads.
If you want to build as an Enchanter you be squishy, but this will give you more mana, CDR, and healing power. This path will typically start with Athene’s Unholy Grail. If the enemy botlane has a mage/enchanter as well, the MR received from it will be helpful and the amount of poke you do with your Passive and Q, Cosmic Binding, will be easy when it comes to stacking it. Buying this will help your W, Caretaker’s Shrine, heal more.
Following up you would typically want Redemption to further increase the healing power and you can use it from afar just like your ultimate. A good combo would be timing it for your teammates if they are caught in it. After you can consider Shurelya’s Reverie, or similar items. Locket of the Iron Solari is also an option if you wish to get some resistances and contribute with shielding.
There are players who prefer a different more tanky type of Bard. The build will then most commonly consist of items such as Dead Man’s Plate, which can give your passive a more impact and make you faster. Other times, some players choose to go Rapid Firecannon which will give you more range and it can boost the magic damage from the Meeps on your basic attack. This build focuses on going items to tank and peel for the team rather than healing and providing utility. Items like Knight’s Vow and Gargoyle Stoneplate are also somethings you can consider when building this path.
Tips and Important Things!
Traveler’s Call: It spawns chimes around the map, when you pick them up you get some movement speed, mana, and experience points. The second thing to note is that the Meeps are very important to contributing as Bard. It helps you with roaming and you get sustain. The bonuses you gain from the Meeps will do a lot of different things such as slowing, extra damage, and so on. It is also important that you don’t only focus on picking the chimes up because there are times when you shouldn’t leave your ADC alone to roam around. Keep in mind that they are important but pick the right times because they will help you and the team.
Caretaker's Shrine: To use this to the fullest, keep in mind that it has to charge up for 10 seconds. It won’t be as powerful as an Enchanter’s healing, therefore place them effectively, and don’t completely rely on them. You can also use this to help engaging or save your teammates by giving them a slight heal and some movement speed. Play around the map and try to find out areas it is the most effective to use it on.
Magical Journey: Remember that enemies can also travel through this, except that they are slower. There are so many ways to use this, such as engage, disengage, or escaping, getting to lane faster, and more.
Tempered Fate: This ability is used for a variety of things, and it can be used on almost everything in the game except for Inhibitors. It can be used for engages, disengages,
Good luck with the magical journey!