Bard Guide by Evol

My name is Ruben / Evol and I’m the support for Sector One’s League of Legends team called “Arrow”. I’m high diamond atm and I reached this by exclusively playing support. I prefer aggressive and tanky supports and my favorite support is Bard. I had a lot of success with him both in Solo Queue and Team Ranked. I hope this guide can help you all out becoming a better Bard so let’s jump right into this magical journey together !

Summoner Spells

Flash

Flash: Just a great summoner, gives you the opportunity to make “flashy” plays like Flash -> Q overall gives your champion a bigger reach in both offensive and defensive positions.

Exhaust

Exhaust: I personally think ignite is better than exhaust but they both have their strengths and weaknesses. When you’re a new player to Bard I suggest you pick exhaust because it can save you or your adc in bad situations while getting ganked or just 2v2. Exhaust can also help a lot vs enemy champions like Yasuo and Riven in teamfights later into the game.

Ignite

Ignite: I always play Bard with ignite because I prefer being really aggressive in lane and feel like you can put a lot of pressure on the enemy by picking ignite. Every Marksman these days plays with heal, and ignite counters this really well. A lot of people also play greedy “Because they still have heal” but most of the time a well timed Flash->Ignite->Q->Auto Attack can surprise even really good players and kill them.

Runes & Masteries

Marks: 9x Flat Attack Damage (+0.95 AD)

Seals: 9x Flat Health (+8 Health)

Glyphs: 3x Flat Magic Resist (+1.34 MR) & 6 Mana Regen / Per 5 sec (+0.33MReg / 5sec)

Quintessences : 3x Flat Armor (+4.26 Armor)
Total: +72 Health, +4.0 Magic Resist, +8.5 Physical Dmg, +13 Armor and +2.0 Mana Regen/5

I prefer these runes because they give you both offensive and defensive stats. The AD marks give you a lot more pressure in lane because your Auto Attacks hurt a lot more and this in combination with your passive is amazing. The MReg/ 5sec gives you the mana you need to keep pressuring with Q’s and healing with W without running out of mana. The rest of the runes are for defense against harass from the enemy support or just AA’s from their marksman.

There have been a lot of changes with the masteries in the preseason. I experimented a lot with them and came to the conclusion that Thunderlord’s Decree is by far the best keystone. It increases the amount of poke quite a lot and helps winning trades. Important note though: Thunderlord’s Decree has a 20 second cooldown!

Bard Guide Mastery Page 1

Spells Breakdown

Bard_Passive

Traveler’s Call (Passive): Bard’s presence causes magical chimes to appear, which grant Bard experience, mana, and a burst of speed. Additionally, lesser spirits follow Bard and aid in his attacks – collecting chimes causes these Meeps to gain power over the course of the game.”

Bard’s Passive is really strong for several reasons. It gives you a lot of harass in lane and a slow which needs no mana at all. This is what makes his early laning phase really strong. Most enemy supports won’t be able to keep up with the amount of damage you deal with just your AA’s.

It is really important to collect chimes whenever you’re out of mana or close to an upgrade.

When to go collect chimes:

  • The enemy went to their base
  • Your marksman is not in a position he can die when you leave
  • The lane is pushed and you have no kill potential
  • Somehow your marksman died or just went base
  • An upgrade is really close and chimes are not far away

The most important upgrades:

  • 15 chimes: +1 Additional Meep
  • 25 chimes: Thrown meeps will now strike through the initial target in a cone
  • 55 chimes: +1 Addition Meep
  • 65 chimes: Increased cone width (Doesn’t sound that important but it is!)
Bard_Q

Cosmic Binding (Q): Bard fires out a burst of spirit energy in a line, damaging and slowing the first enemy struck. After Cosmic Binding hits an enemy, the burst of energy continues through, searching for secondary targets. If it hits a wall, it stuns the initial target; if it hits a second enemy, it stuns both targets.

This is the ability that makes or breaks any Bard player. Being able to stun an enemy for almost 2 seconds when this ability is maxed out is crazy. It’s tricky to get used to though so I’ll give you a really helpful tip :

Cosmic Binding’s range is not that big but it can be and here’s how. In lane try hitting an enemy caster minion first at max range of the ability. This will slow the caster minion but the ability will travel further than it normally would searching for a wall or enemy in that line. So what you’re trying to do in lane is hitting a minion at max range and make it hit the enemy champions after. This will make the “Q” not slow but stun both targets.

This picture shows what you will be trying to do as much as possible in the laning phase:

Bard Guide Tooltip 1
Bard_W

Caretaker’s Shrine (W): Reveals a healing shrine which powers up over a short time, disappearing after healing the first ally that touches it.

Bard’s “W” gives him and his Marksman a lot of sustain in lane but be careful how you use it. This ability costs a lot of mana so I rarely use my heal directly on my allies. The only time I do is in situations where they need the heal instantly or because they can benefit from the movement speed boost it gives. So in laning phase put Shrines under your turret or at least safe from the enemy so they can’t destroy them by running over them. Don’t put them too far back though nobody wants to die right before they can reach them. And keep in mind letting the Shrine stack for 10 seconds gives almost double the heal it would do when you instantly take it.

This image shows where you should place your Shrines when the lane is in the middle.

Bard Guide Tooltip 2

This gives both you and your marksman an escape for when the enemy jungle or mid laner ganks you.
Never put your Shrines next to a wall ! This makes it impossible to dodge abilities while taking the heal. Always leave at least a Teemo between the wall and your shrine.

Bard_E

Magical Journey (E): Bard opens a portal in nearby terrain. Allies and enemies alike can take a one-way trip through that terrain by moving into the portal.

This is one of the most underrated abilities Bard has and often people get really surprised by it. For example just acting like you’re going to ward and using your E through wall together with your jungler will often lead into flashes being blown or easy kills. (Pink ward the bush to make sure they don’t see your jungler standing there)

These are the 2 best spots to use E when your jungler is here :

Purple Side:

Bard Guide Tooltip 3

Blue Side:

Bard Guide Tooltip 4

Most important Magical Journey’s :

Orange: Bottom lane ganks or escapes. Use these as much as possible even if your jungler isn’t there just to scare the enemy.

Red: Middle lane roams or escapes. Midlaners can get really surprised by this but be careful because they can still hit their skillshots on you while you’re travelling so don’t use these when you’re low Health.

Pink: Longest possible Journey’s (saves a lot of them when your E is at max level) you can save a lot of time with the ones straight out of base but don’t waste too much time placing them.

Yellow: For toplane ganks. You won’t need these as much but if you do it’s just a mirror from botlane so you should get used to them after a while.

Bard Guide Tooltip 5

Important Notes:

 

  • You can get damaged and cc’d while inside your Magical Journey !

 

For example: Thresh can hook and flay you out of the journey and enemy champions can still AA you or even throw abilities at you while travelling.

  • You and your allies travel faster than the enemy through the portal.

At level 1 this is 10% but at level 5 this is 50% !

  • If an enemy also takes the journey make sure to throw a Q at them right when they leave the portal to have a guaranteed stun against the wall.
Bard_R

Tempered Fate (R): Bard sends spirit energy arcing to a location, putting all champions, minions, monsters, and turrets hit into stasis for a brief time.
I’m going to start of by saying this ability is ridiculously strong but so easy to mess up, it even makes me sad sometimes how this ability can ruin an entire teamfight. But no worries after you’ve read these tips it’ll all be fine and nobody will get a Tear of the Goddess because of your ultimates. (Bard without his R is Bad so make sure you read them!)

  • First and most important rule: You don’t always have to ult ! If the teamfight is going well and you’re winning most of the time ulting will be more annoying than helping.
  • Bard’s Ultimate is a great engage tool: Hitting it onto an enemy champion means you and your team have 2.5 sec to move towards them. For you this means easy Q’s and Auto Attack slows.
  • The projectile speed from bards ultimate is relatively slow. So most of the time hitting your R at max range won’t work.
  • Trial and Error ! Practice this ability, because it will take some time to get used to it. Don’t feel bad if you miss it the first few times.
  • Always remember Tempered Fate also makes Baron Nashor and Dragon invulnerable for the duration. Using it on the Baron when the enemy team is doing it can really mess up their clearspeed and make it easier for your jungler to steal it or make an engage.
  • Bard’s Ultimate is not only a great engage tool but also an amazing disengage tool. When the enemy tries to engage just throw your R at their frontline tanks when they are coming too close.
  • When you’re already getting engaged by the enemy it’s most of the time better to ult their carries since they are the ones dealing the damage. Being able to focus their frontline without a lot of return damage from their team is really helpfull.
  • If you are diving the enemy under their tower, don’t be afraid to ult only the tower. It will stop your allies from taking damage and the turret will switch aggro after the duration of the Ultimate.

Skillorder

If you’re still learning bard I suggest you max Q first since it’s just really strong and scales really well. After that your W since it’s helpful to have stronger heals when making a bad trade. And E last since you’ll only need the lower cooldown and increased travel speed later into the game. Level your R whenever you can !

Bard Guide Skill Order 1

For people who are more experienced with Bard or feel like they don’t need the heal, definitely make the switch to maxing E second. As I explained in the Important Notes section on his Magical Journey this gives you a lot more travel speed and can be really handy.

Bard Guide Skill Order 2

Itemization

Starting Items

Spellthief's_EdgeHealth_PotionHealth_PotionHealth_PotionWarding_Totem

Explanation: Your starting items will always be the same because Spellthief’s Edge gives you the best gold income and damage. The 3 health potions are for sustain, for example when you take harass and can’t keep up with putting Shrine’s down.

Must have:

Sightstone_itemSweeping_Lens_itemIonian_Boots_of_Lucidity_item

Explanation: Sightstone provides you the vision you need to be safe from enemy ganks early and will be used to control objectives later into the game. From the moment you complete Sightstone swap your Warding Totem to a Sweeping Lens. Ionian Boots of Lucidity help a lot with getting 40% CDR and helps with getting your Flash back up faster.

Core items:

Aegis_of_the_Legion_itemFrost_Queen's_Claim_itemZeke's_Harbinger_item

Explanation: Aegis of the Legion despite the recent nerfs to it is still a really strong item. I buy it almost every game. With the recent buffs to Frost Queen’s Claim it became an awesome item. It helps with catching people and disengaging. Definitely pick this one up after aegis ! Zeke’s Harbinger is almost a must buy these days for supports. It gives your adc a lot more damage in teamfights. The ability power and armor on the item help a lot for both survivability and damage and cooldown reduction is always useful.

Situational Items:

Banner_of_Command_itemLocket_of_the_Iron_Solari_itemMikael's_Crucible_itemFrozen_Heart_itemThornmail_itemBanshee's_Veil_item

Explanation: Just watch how the game goes and adapt your lategame items to it. If your team could use an AOE shield go for Locket, is your marksman having trouble with the enemy’s CC go for Mikael’s, etc.

Matchups

Good match-ups:

Nami_Square_0Lulu_Square_0Sona_Square_0Soraka_Square_0Janna_Square_0

Explanation: Most of these champions have a lot of sustain so make sure you pick ignite in these matchup. It’s all about being able to land your Q against them. From the moment you do put as much damage on to them as you can and next time you can slow or stun them go all in with ignite. Another way to play these matchups is by just letting them go out of mana. This is quite simple just abuse your passive as much as you can and throw Q’s at them untill they are forced to heal or shield. Proceed to spam laugh while you collect chimes to gain back mana and they have to Recall.

Medium match-ups:

TahmKench_Square_0Alistar_Square_0Taric_Square_0Braum_Square_0

Explanation: All 4 of these champions are listed medium because they’re a lot harder to kill. The way you should play this time is by ignoring the enemy support and going for their marksman whenever possible. In these games the chance of you actually killing the enemy in laning phase is pretty low. So make sure you roam whenever facing one of them.

Hard match-ups:

Thresh_Square_0Blitzcrank_Square_0Morgana_Square_0Leona_Square_0

Explanation: These champions are the most difficult to play against. What separates them from medium matchups is that they have a lot of kill-potential on you. They all have a lot of CC and damage. The way you win these matchups is by fighting them at level 1, try to AA them and Q them as much as possible. Also really important in these games is dodging their abilities,or just stand behind your minions. That brings me to the next point, try to keep them low health. So if you are unlucky and get hit by CC you can actually fight them because of the damage you did already.

If you made it this far, thanks a lot for reading the whole guide. I hope it’ll help you become a better Bard player and prove everyone he’s actually a great champion. If you have any suggestions or questions feel free to comment below !

7 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks for the guide.

    Although i am not an aggressive Bard, i can see your points. Bard Q, E and R does make him very suitable for an aggressive play style.

    My question is on your view of his W. While it is quite mana consuming, aren’t your chime more than compensate for that? At least from my experience, you can easily out mana-sustain against most supports, while still keeping your AD healthy.

    • @Nguyen You’re definatly right about being able to out-mana-sustain you’re oppent with the shrines. The only problem is when you’re being pushed under tower you can’t really go for shrines. (You have to pre-hit for your adc). But if you’re not spamming abilities most of the time the mana reg is not needed indeed.

  2. Nice guide, Bardbro!
    But personally i recommend going Boots of Mobility instead of Ionian Boots of Lucidity. I don’t see any problem on reaching the maximum CDR without them: Frostqueens -> Frozen Heart/Zekes -> Locket/Banner of Command -> Mikaels/Ohmwrecker/…
    The Mobiboots are very nice while collecting your Chimes and for roams across the map especially when you are ahead.
    If you have some problems in early laning phase I would also recommend placing a second point in W before 6 because it doubles the flatheal which can be very usefull in trades. When not playing against any poke combo, for example Alistar, Thresh, Vayne, … I like to pick Precision instead of Intelligence for the higher damage output and killpotential in lane which helps Bard a lot (more roams, more chimes).
    All in all very nice guide.
    Greeting, Time 2 Chime

  3. Hey, I’d just like to drop something that helped me learning Bard. In the beginning, I wasn’t that good at calculating how much I could trade as Bard, which often resulted in me being too aggressive and even dying. A nice way to be helpful as Bard while taking less emphasis in being a front-liner is going 0/12/18 with bond of stone and the tenacity mastery. That way, you can get the hang of Bard while being more safe and still helping your team. (even though thunderlords is superior, these masteries are good for getting started on playing Bard without feeding)

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