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A Guide to Bard with DIG Isles

Be the Bard everyone hates to love and loves to hate with a little help from DIG Isles!

Bard's journey across Summoner’s Rift is anything but ordinary. From collecting Cosmic Chimes to harnessing the power of his Magical Journey, each of Bard’s abilities provides strategic depth and engaging gameplay. His passive, Traveler’s Call, not only enhances his movement but also empowers his meeps, little spirits that assist in his attacks, adding an extra layer of damage and utility.

So grab your chimes and prepare for a journey through the cosmos—this guide will ensure you wield the full power of Bard because we’ve got Dignitas Support, Jonah ‘Isles’ Rosario to fill us in on the little tricks to make sure we are frustrating our opponents with Bard, and not our own team!

Collecting Cosmic Chimes: Maximizing Bard's Passive

In the enchanting gameplay of League of Legends, Bard's passive, Traveler's Call, is a game-changer that provides him unique enhancements and strategic depth. This ability involves two key elements: Meeps and Chimes, each adding layers to Bard's role as a dynamic support on the battlefield.

Meeps are small spirits that accompany Bard, enhancing his basic attacks with additional magic damage. As Bard collects more Chimes scattered across the map, these Meeps evolve, dealing area damage and slowing enemies, which greatly amplifies his crowd control capabilities. This makes Bard not just a support, but a potent threat in skirmishes and team fights.

Chimes appear randomly around the map and persist for 10 minutes. Collecting Chimes not only empowers Bard's Meeps but also grants him experience, mana regeneration, and a significant boost in movement speed out of combat. This boost stacks, making Bard exceptionally swift as he moves around to collect more Chimes. The strategic collection of Chimes is crucial—it allows Bard to roam effectively, supporting multiple lanes and setting up plays or escapes with enhanced mobility.

The mana you get from collecting chimes can really help you in the early game. In the early game, people pick up the chimes at level 1 to get the extra experience. But sometimes you should just leave them to get around the map faster later in the laning phase. You definitely don’t want to just collect them for the sake of collecting them. You want to use them for the benefit they provide in the movement speed and mana as well.

- Isles

Mastering Cosmic Binding: Tips and Tricks

Bard's Q, Cosmic Binding, is a fundamental tool in his arsenal, crucial for both engaging enemies and disengaging from threats. Here’s how you can maximize its potential:

1. Aim for Collisions: Cosmic Binding can stun enemies if the energy bolt hits them after colliding with another enemy or a wall. This makes it incredibly effective in narrow jungle paths or when enemies are lined up. The key is to anticipate enemy movements and aim for areas with potential for collisions to maximize the stun effect.

Lining Up Double Stun

2. Double Trouble: Always look for opportunities to hit two targets. The bolt travels beyond the first enemy hit, allowing for creative angles that can potentially stun two opponents. This is especially useful during team fights or when trying to catch out an enemy during lane phases.

3. Skill Maximization: As a Bard player, you should typically prioritize maxing Cosmic Binding first due to its damage output and utility. This increases its effectiveness in crowd control and reduces cooldowns, making it available more frequently for both offensive plays and defensive maneuvers.

4. Utilize Terrain: Since the stun can also trigger when the bolt hits terrain, positioning is crucial. Use the lane’s geography to your advantage by positioning near walls or tight spots where you’re more likely to secure a stun with Cosmic Binding.

5. Timing and Practice: Good timing is essential to mastering Cosmic Binding. Practice in different scenarios to get a feel for its range, speed, and potential to bounce off terrain. Over time, you'll learn the best situations to unleash this ability for maximum impact.

I think really just understanding how to use his abilities effectively is what makes the niche of Bard work well. Perfecting using these in the simplest forms are what will make for a really powerful Bard player.

- Isles

The Healing Powers of Caretaker’s Shrine

Bard's W ability, Caretaker's Shrine, serves as a crucial component of his support toolkit in League of Legends, providing not only healing but also a strategic advantage through movement speed boosts. Here's how you can maximize its benefits:

  1. Healing and Speed: Each shrine Bard places starts healing immediately but grows in potency over 10 seconds, culminating in significant health restoration and a burst of speed for allies passing over it. This makes it perfect for setting up in anticipation of enemy engagements or retreating from a skirmish.
  2. Strategic Placement: Bard can deploy up to three shrines at a time, which remain active until triggered by an ally or destroyed by an enemy. Smart placement is key—near your turret for defense, in the jungle for quick health boosts during rotations, or in lane to sustain your ADC. Keep them out of enemy reach to avoid destruction.

Safe W Placement

Cooldown Management: With a base cooldown that can feel lengthy early on, timing your shrine placements can make a significant difference. Since the ability has two charges, you can manage them to ensure there’s almost always a shrine available when needed.

AP Scaling: The healing effect of the shrines scales with Bard’s ability power, so incorporating items that provide AP can enhance the effectiveness of the shrines significantly, turning them into potent tools for both healing and tactical retreats.

Magical Journey: More Than Just a Shortcut

Bard's E ability, Magical Journey, is a standout feature in his enchanting kit, offering far more than a simple passage through terrain. This unique ability transforms Bard into a master of mobility, capable of orchestrating unexpected plays and rapid escapes, making it a game-changer on the Rift.

Versatility in Use: Magical Journey creates a portal that both allies and enemies can use. This dual usage can turn the tides of battle by providing a swift escape route or a surprising attack path. Its potential to connect otherwise inaccessible areas allows Bard and his team to outmaneuver opponents, making it an excellent tool for engaging or disengaging.

Strategic Placement: The optimal use of Magical Journey requires foresight and awareness of the map's layout. Placing portals near key objectives or within jungle paths can significantly enhance your team's rotational speed and response time to threats or opportunities across the map.

Enhanced by Items and Runes: Items and runes that enhance movement speed or reduce cooldowns can amplify the effectiveness of Magical Journey. For instance, integrating items like Twin Shadows can facilitate quicker repositioning to capitalize on the paths created by the portals.

Impactful in Team Coordination: Communication is crucial when utilizing Magical Journey. Coordinating with your team to ensure they are ready to follow through on the plays you set up can lead to successful ganks and escapes, securing advantages and possibly turning the course of the game.

Alcove E with Indicator

I think you definitely want to have a hotkey to see the indicator. Unless you’re a one-trick, there are certain walls that are going to be hard to see where your portal will take you and it’s so powerful that you don’t want to waste it. A great example defensively is around the alcoves in the bot lane to retreat to your tower. Being able to do these quickly can easily be the difference between dying to a gank and living.

- Isles

When to Chime In: Utilizing Bard’s Ultimate Effectively

Bard's ultimate, Tempered Fate, is one of the most pivotal abilities in his arsenal, capable of altering the course of team fights and objective controls with its unique stasis effect. Knowing when and how to deploy this game-changing skill can drastically enhance Bard's impact in matches.

Strategic Initiations and Saves: Tempered Fate is excellent for initiating team fights or making dramatic saves. By freezing enemies in place, Bard can set the stage for allies to position themselves optimally or disengage safely. It's also a lifesaver in clutch moments, allowing allies to escape or regroup by momentarily taking threats out of the equation.

Objective Control: Use Tempered Fate to secure or contest major objectives like Baron or Dragon. Casting it can prevent the enemy team from finishing off an objective, giving your team time to arrive and contest, or to secure it themselves. It's also useful for disabling turrets during tower dives or protecting structures from enemy sieges.

Timing and Precision: The effectiveness of Tempered Fate hinges on impeccable timing and precision. Misplaced ultimates can inadvertently hinder your team as much as help it, freezing allies at inopportune times or missing key targets. Practice is key to mastering its trajectory and impact timing to optimize its use in various combat scenarios.

Bard Ultimate Range

Communication: Given its potential to affect both allies and enemies, clear communication is crucial when using Tempered Fate. Informing your team of your intentions ensures everyone is prepared to capitalize on the stasis effect, whether to engage, disengage, or secure objectives.

I think the most important thing when it comes to using Bard ult, is not feeling the pressure to use it unless you think it’s going to make a difference. When you load into a game you should already be thinking about how you should be using your ultimate. Against what champions, or in reaction to what abilities from certain champions. For example, against an immobile mage like an Orianna is a really easy champion to ultimate because it either lands or will force her Flash which is really impactful. On the other hand, when you’re against a champion like Vi who will want to dive your carry on the backline, you can use it to save your carry and stall a few seconds for your team to reposition and turn on the Vi.

- Isles

Building Bard: Optimal Items and Runes

When outfitting Bard in League of Legends, choosing the right items and runes can significantly impact his support capabilities and overall effectiveness in the game.

Core Items:

  • Boots of Swiftness are commonly chosen for Bard, enhancing his mobility which is crucial for his roaming playstyle.
  • Locket of the Iron Solari provides a defensive aura and a shield, making it perfect for protecting teammates during skirmishes.
  • Redemption is essential for its healing and damage in team fights, synergizing well with Bard's ability to control the battlefield.
  • Knight's Vow can be particularly useful to tether Bard to a key ally, protecting them and sharing life-stealing benefits.

Situational Items:

  • Frozen Heart and Celestial Opposition are excellent choices depending on the enemy composition, particularly against teams with high attack speed or critical strike capabilities.
  • Imperial Mandate or Shurelya's Battlesong can be considered to augment Bard's engagement or disengagement abilities.


  • The Guardian rune is most popular, offering additional shielding to Bard and nearby allies, crucial for his support role.
  • Font of Life and Revitalize augment his healing and shielding capabilities, enhancing his overall utility.
  • Bone Plating helps in reducing incoming damage, which is vital as Bard often finds himself in the thick of fights.

You can definitely play him in a way that is a bit more fun, like AP. But, the best way is to take Fleet Footwork or Guardian and build some semblance of tank items like Frozen Heart or Locket, Knight’s Vow, or Redemption for example. This is definitely a more effective way to play Bard, but they may not be as fun. I wouldn’t advise playing these AP or hybrid builds in solo queue, but there are definitely people that do it in Challenger. The other option is definitely going to get you more consistent results though.

- Isles

The Art of Roaming: Playing Bard Across the Map

Mastering the art of roaming as Bard in League of Legends transforms you into a pivotal playmaker across Summoner's Rift. Bard's unique skill set is perfectly suited for dynamic map-wide impact, turning the tide of games with well-timed movements and interventions.

Optimal Timing: Roaming effectively requires keen judgment about timing. The best moments to leave your lane are when your ADC is safe, and the enemy wave is pushed. This minimizes the risk to your lane while maximizing your potential to impact others.

Strategic Pathing: Utilize Bard's Magical Journey (E) to traverse the map quickly and unpredictably. This ability not only speeds up your movements but also opens unique paths for surprising ganks or escapes. Whether it’s through jungle corridors or across river walls, mastering these shortcuts allows Bard to exert influence far from his original position.

Vision Control: Roaming is not just about moving—it's about moving smartly. Bard’s journey should always include laying down wards to secure vision and safeguard both his path and his team. Advanced vision control enables safer roams and more effective ganks, as well as better decisions based on enemy movements.

Effective Communication: Alert your team when you roam. Effective communication ensures your teammates can capitalize on your plays or cover your lane in your absence. This is crucial for maintaining pressure and not losing ground in your own lane.

By perfecting these aspects of roaming, Bard players can significantly enhance their team's map control and overall game impact. The key is to roam with purpose and precision, ensuring every journey across the map is a step towards victory.

One thing that you will always be good at is killing enemies in the side lane with your teammates. Your movement speed and E can really help catch people off-guard in the side lanes and can make a difference in clawing back.

- Isles

Bard’s Matchups: Knowing Your Enemies and Allies

Navigating matchups with Bard in League of Legends involves understanding which champions can thwart his playstyle and which can amplify his strengths. Here's a strategic look at how Bard fares against various opponents and how he can synergize with teammates.

Challenging Opponents

  • Blitzcrank and Thresh: These champions pose a significant threat due to their ability to disrupt Bard's positioning with hooks. Their engage potential makes them dangerous adversaries in lane.
  • Janna and Sona: Both champions outshine Bard in disengage and sustain, respectively. Janna's superior disengage tools can neutralize Bard's initiations, while Sona's consistent poke and heal wear down Bard's less sustainable setup.

Favorable Allies

People have generally thought that the best champions to play with Bard are more supportive in nature and have some safety and utility to them. For example, Ezreal and Jhin. You can also play Bard with the intention to win lanes. Against weak laners you can definitely take advantage with champions like Kalista or Varus which has been going on more recently as those champions have gone up in popularity for a while.

- Isles

Advanced Bard Strategies: From Lane Phase to Late Game

Playing Bard effectively requires an understanding of his strengths and capabilities through different game phases. Here's how to maximize Bard's impact from early game to late game.

Lane Phase: Early in the game, Bard's focus should be on establishing lane control through aggressive use of his Q (Cosmic Binding) and passive collection. Positioning is crucial; staying behind minions can protect you from enemy skill shots while allowing you to harass opponents. Utilize bushes for surprise bindings and maintain vision with wards to prevent ganks. It's essential to balance roaming with lane responsibilities—leaving your ADC too often can lead to disadvantages in your lane.

In the laning phase, you pretty much just want to play the phase to neutralize like Rakan and use your health packs to keep your laner sustained. It’s more important to wait for your jungler before making any kinds of plays in your lane.

- Isles

Mid Game: As the game transitions, Bard's role shifts towards more active map participation. This is where your roaming should intensify, using Magical Journey to move quickly between lanes and assist in skirmishes or secure objectives. Your ultimate, Tempered Fate, can be a game-changer in team fights or when securing objectives like Dragon or Rift Herald. Look for opportunities where enemies are clustered to maximize its impact. Remember, the placement of your ultimate can either make or break a team fight, so communication with your team is key.

Bard has mobility that is not like other Supports. Bard can get caught in certain areas that other champions like Rakan or Pyke cannot. With Bard’s passive, he has so much movement speed, he can sort of just ‘cheat’ and appear in places that enemies will not expect you to be. Especially when you’re using Magical Journey. Bard’s priority is basically to just be annoying for the enemy team. Using your ultimate against immobile mages is also really strong.

- Isles

Late Game: In the late stages, Bard's utility in team fights becomes even more critical. His ability to initiate or disengage with Tempered Fate can determine the outcome of late-game clashes. Continue collecting chimes as they significantly boost your damage output and utility. Positioning remains vital—stay near enough to utilize your abilities effectively but safe enough to avoid getting picked off. In sieges, use your shrines strategically to sustain your team and control choke points with your Q and ultimate.

Throughout all phases, keep adapting to the needs of your team and the game situation. Bard's flexibility allows him to be a formidable ally or a frustrating foe, depending on how well you can leverage his unique abilities.

Conclusion: Mastering the Magical Caretaker

Navigating the enchanted pathways of Summoner's Rift as Bard, the Wandering Caretaker, offers a distinct and dynamic gameplay experience in League of Legends. From his whimsical roams to his pivotal cosmic interventions, mastering Bard is about much more than just handling a champion—it's about orchestrating the rhythm of the game.

Key Takeaways:

  • Master His Kit: Understand the depths of Bard's abilities—from the mystic stuns of his Cosmic Binding (Q) to the strategic stasis of his Tempered Fate (R). Each skill offers unique opportunities to sway fights and secure objectives.
  • Roaming Artistry: Bard's exceptional mobility through Magical Journey (E) allows for swift transitions across the map, making him an omnipresent threat and ally. Effective roaming involves not only moving but also ensuring your ADC can manage solo, leveraging deep vision to secure advantages.

Embrace the journey of learning and mastering Bard, and you'll find that his toolkit offers endless possibilities to enchant and engage in the magical world of League of Legends.

We’d like to thank Isles for taking the time to sit down with us for this interview! If you’ve still got any more burning questions about playing Bard in Season 14, check out Isles’ socials and ask him for more of his thoughts!


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