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[12.4] Challenger Bard Guide

Rank 1 Bard NA - Beefyy



Spells

Skill Priority

Q

W

E

Best Overall Build


Intro

Hello! My name is Beefy and I am a Bard one trick on the NA server. I reached Challenger in Season 12 playing Bard and I want to spread my knowledge and help other Bard mains reach their ranked goals!





If this guide helped you at all please consider giving it a like, it really helps me out. You can also catch my streams at https://www.twitch.tv/beefyy and ask me any questions or tell me if I missed something in this guide. You can also flame me whenever I miss my skillshots. Thanks! .

Runes



Fleet Footwork
 makes your trading patterns in lane much better thanks to the healing and movement speed it provides.



Triumph
 can make you deceptively tanking if you get a few stacks in a fight. Plus the extra gold on takedowns help to make up for your lack of income as a support.



Legend: Tenacity
 has become extremely efficient because of the abundance of CC in the game currently. It is also especially effective in the support role because of the CC heavy engage supports such as 
Leona
 and 
Nautilus
.



Last Stand
 is the best of 3 not great rune choices. This can be swapped out for 
Coup de Grace
if you want, but do not take 
Cut Down
 as you will be purchasing a lot of HP.



Conditioning
 is one of the best runes in the game. It is an absolutely insane power spike at 12 minutes and makes every armor and magic resistance buy that much better.



Unflinching
 gives more tenacity, so every thing I said about  
Legend: Tenacity
applies here as well. The slow resistance is also nice for dodging skillshots, especially if you are low.

  • Runes


Summoner Spells

I take

Ignite
in the majority of games. These days your ADC will take exhaust most of the time so ignite is the best option. It is also useful against the abundance of healing that is in the game currently.

If your ADC takes heal/cleanse and the enemy has lots of burst/assassins,

Exhaust
is still extremely good. Pairing exhaust with your item build will make you extremely hard to kill.

Take

Flash
every game.

  • Summs

Skill Path

Passive - Traveler's Call

Chimes will spawn periodically around the map for you to collect. They give a small amount of experience and mana, so make sure to use some mana in lane before you pick one up. This is the main reason that Bard's roaming is so strong. The experience you miss from lane minions is made up by the experience gained from chimes.

One mistake I see many Bard players make is roaming JUST to get chimes. You should be picking up chimes on the way to go do something else (roam mid, go to herald, etc.). Most of the time giving up pressure and making your ADC 1v2 just to get chimes is not worth it.

The second aspect of Bard's passive are his meeps. Meeps will follow you around and empower your auto attacks. As you collect more chimes your meeps will become stronger, gaining damage, a slow, and an AOE cone behind your inital target.

Meeps are what give Bard his ability to trade in lane. You want to make sure you have at least 1 meep before you go in for any trade because without meeps your auto attacks are pretty much useless.

Q - Cosmic Binding

Bard's Q is a line skillshot that does damage and slows enemies. It will also travel through the first target, hitting a maximum of 2 targets. If you hit multiple enemies or one enemy and then a wall, your Q will stun its targets instead.

This skillshot takes a lot of practice, but once you master it can become an extremely impactful ability in any fight if you can stun multiple targets. I would recommend going into the practice tool just to get used to this ability's range and projectile speed.

Something to keep in mind when using this ability is that it will always travel a fixed distance after the first target. This means that if you hit a champion at the very edge of the ability's indicator, it will travel beyond that threshold after and can hit another target. This is extremely useful when ganking a lane and you can easily surprise your enemies with how far this ability can travel.

W - Caretaker's Shrine

Bard places a health pack on the ground that grows in strength over time, reaching it's maximum potency after 10 seconds. Allies can step on this shrine to gain health and a burst of movement speed. Enemies can also step on the shrine, destroying it. You can have a maximum of 3 shrines at a time.

Place these shrines bot lane for your ADC before you go to roam. While they don't heal for much, that small amount of health and movement speed can be the difference in them living or dying. They do cost quite a bit of mana, however, so be smart early to make sure you aren't wasting mana on shrines that you don't need.

Keep in mind that this ability can also be used directly on an ally for a quick heal and move speed buff. This is still possible if you have 3 shrines on the ground already; using another one directly on an ally will not get rid of any of the 3 on the ground.

E - Magical Journey

Bard creates a tunnel on any wall that both allies and enemies can take to travel through the wall. Allies travel faster through the portal than enemies do.

Use this ability to peel for your allies, escape when you're caught, and chase after low health enemies. If you time it right this ability can also be used to pull champions such as Master Yi and Maokai into unfavorable positions. You can also use this ability in your own fountain to get out on the map a little bit quicker.

This ability synergizes extremely well with your Q,

Cosmic Binding
as you will be able to stun enemies against the wall when they reach the end of the portal. It is always important to use this ability wisely, as this is your only form of escape and if you get caught without it you will have no way out.

R - Tempered Fate

A long range skill shot that will place everything in its zone into a statis, making them unable to move, attack, or take damage for 2.5 seconds. This is one of the most versatile abilities in the game and has a plethora of different uses.

You can use it to catch enemies out, forcing them to burn their flash, give an ally a free

Zhonya's Hourglass
, or stall the enemy team on an objective. Another common use that is extremely good is to ult your own tower when the enemy is using Rift Herald to deny the turret damage and plate gold if it is before 14 minutes.

My best advice for this ability is to practice (a LOT), and to not be afraid to use it. You will throw amazing ults that win a teamfight, you will throw terrible ults that lose a teamfight. I have played Bard for years now and I still throw bad ults all the time. Don't be timid; learn what you can and cannot do with this ability and don't be hesitant to pull the trigger.

  • Skill Path

Bard

1
1
1
1
2
2
2
2
3
3
3
3
4
4
4
4
5
5
5
5
6
6
6
6
7
7
7
7
8
8
8
8
9
9
9
9
10
10
10
10
11
11
11
11
12
12
12
12
13
13
13
13
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14
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15
15
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18



Items

Sorry guys, no AP Bard! Tank stats are the way to go. Your base stats are so good and the only real damage scaling you get is through collecting chimes. When you build AP on Bard, you end up actually doing less damage because you die so much faster. But, by becoming tanky you are able to survive for much longer and you will end up doing more damage with your meep empowered auto attacks and multiple Q's.

Starting Items I start  

Spellthief's Edge
over 
Relic Shield
100 games out of 100. While the stats for  
Relic Shield
are better, you can stack 
Spellthief's Edge
so much faster. Completing the first quest and unlocking your wards as soon as possible is necessary so that you roams are much more effective and you can set up vision in the river for your team. Keep in mind that a meep empowered auto attack will proc 
Spellthief's Edge
twice, making your meep trades that much better. Remember to grab health potions as well for that early sustain.

Boots On Bard, you want to complete your tier 2 boots as soon as possible, so you can roam around the map faster with the increased movement speed. 

Plated Steelcaps
are currently the best boot choice for Bard, as most of the time the enemy team will have at least 2 AD threats and they make you extremely tanky. If the enemy has only one AD threat, 
Ionian Boots of Lucidity
are also a good choice for the extra ability haste. They are also cheaper than 
Plated Steelcaps
which is good for supports as your income is much lower than other roles. There are some scenarios where the enemy has 2-3 AD threats but on my first base I have around 1000 gold. In that case, I will buy 
Ionian Boots of Lucidity
just to have my tier 2 boots, even though 
Plated Steelcaps
would give more value. However, if you can afford them, 
Plated Steelcaps
are the best choice 9 times out of 10. I never buy 
Mercury's Treads
 because with those boots you are mostly paying for the tenacity. Since you are already taking 
Legend: Tenacity
and 
Unflinching
 in your runes, this tenacity from 
Mercury's Treads
will be useless due to tenacity's diminishing returns.

Mythic Item After the nerfs to 

Evenshroud
, I believe that 
Locket of the Iron Solari
is the best mythic item for Bard in a majority of games. The stats that it gives you are exactly what you want: armor, magic resist, health, and ability haste. In addition, the aura it gives your allies is extremely good, blocking a few thousand damage by itself most games. But the real benefit of 
Locket of the Iron Solari
is the AOE shield for your allies. If you use it correctly, it can block nearly 1,000 damage in a single teamfight alone. It's drawback of course is it's fairly long cooldown, as opposed to 
Evenshroud
 which has no cooldown and is available in every fight. There are certain games where I build 
Evenshroud
. If the enemy team comp has virtually no dive and I have teammates that can easily follow up my CC with damage, I opt for 
Evenshroud
. In addition, 
Evenshroud
 has a much better mythic passive, granting you extra armor and magic resistance, making you extremely tanky. Allies that synergize well with 
Evenshroud
 include but are not limited to  
Caitlyn
Orianna
,
Miss Fortune
, and
Rumble
.

Legendary Items In most games, I will choose between the same 4 legendary items, but the order that I build them in changes. These 4 legendary items are 

Frozen Heart
,  
Force of Nature

Anathema's Chains
, and 
Knight's Vow
.
Frozen Heart
is the best armor item in the game currently, as it gives an insane amount of stats (armor and ability haste) in addition to its insanely good aura effect. While it is not optimal to purchase mana on Bard, the value of the other stats far outweighs the burden of spending gold on mana. I will build this item after 
Locket of the Iron Solari
if the enemy has at least 2 AD threats, which is most games. If they enemy is magic damage heavy, I will instead build 
Force of Nature
.
Force of Nature
, like  
Frozen Heart
, has both extremely good stats and a great passive. While it is rather expensive at 2900 gold, it is most definitely worth the purchase, especially if the enemy team has a damage over time ability that can stack it quickly, such as 
Brand
 or 
Malzahar
. Once you complete it, the item passive will make you both very fast and virtually unkillable versus magic damage when combined with  
Conditioning
.
Anathema's Chains
is a very unique item. If there is one player on the enemy team that is extremely fed it can be essential to help shut them down. But, the main factor that makes this item amazing is this: you can use this item to make it so you don't have to build a certain resistance. For example, if the enemy team has an AD top, jungle, and ADC with an AP mid laner, you can attach 
Anathema's Chains
to the enemy mid laner, completely eliminating the need to buy magic resistance. This item also gives you a ton of HP, which makes all the resistances you stacked in your other items and 
Conditioning
 even more valuable. Finally, the item that I typically build the least is  
Knight's Vow
. It was recently buffed so it is good again, but it does not fit my playstyle as much as the other 3 legendary items. I would rather be frontlining with my team and trying to land stuns on the enemy backline than sit back and protect my ADC. But, if your ADC is extremely fed and they are the one that needs to carry,  
Knight's Vow
 is a good item to help protect them. Just like the other items, its stats are very good as well, giving you the HP and ability haste that are so good on Bard. The order in which I build these legendary items varies greatly from game to game. You can build 
Anathema's Chains
 first if an enemy is extremely fed early or can just stick to the more versatile options with 
Frozen Heart
and 
Force of Nature
. While you should be building the same items every game on Bard, you should still be actively thinking about your purchases and have good reasoning as to why you are spending your gold. Because support's income is much lower than other roles, it is important to make sure you are using that money as efficiently as possible.

Control Wards If you watch my games, you'll notice that I purchase far fewer 

Control Ward
s than other supports at my elo. As stated in the previous section, your income on support is very low. Spending 75 gold on a 
Control Ward
 may not seem like much in the moment, but over the course of the game buying a lot will really add up. Obviously if a major objective is spawning,  
Control Ward
s are necessary sometimes, but for the most part I believe that it is possible to get effective vision control without breaking the bank on 
Control Ward
s.

  • Items

Laning

Bard does best in short, bursty trades. If trades last too long, you will most likely come out more hurt than the enemy. This obviously differs based on the matchup and there are some lanes where you will be able to press for those extra couple auto attacks without getting punished. However, you are by no means invincible so a stray 

Nautilus
 hook or 
Nami
 bubble could mean you end up back in fountain. As a reminder, if you collect your first 3 chimes before laning starts, you will hit level 2 1 minion early and can use this level advantage to press up and harass the enemy. A good rule of thumb for trading is to only walk up when you have 
Fleet Footwork
, a meep, and at least 2 
Spellthief's Edge
 stacks. You should be walking up with your meep auto attack, using the meep slow to help land your Q 
Cosmic Binding
. Versus most enchanters you will actually slightly lose this trade, but it is worth it because you got gold from your 
Spellthief's Edge
, getting you closer to your question completion, and you can sustain back up with 
Caretaker's Shrine
. Versus most engage supports, you will have to avoid their counter engage. Most of the time this entails dodging an important skillshot like 
Leona
 E or 
Blitzcrank
 hook. For others this just means spacing properly so you don't get combo'd by champions like 
Alistar
or 
Rell
. Remember to place down 
Caretaker's Shrine
periodically, incase you take a bad trade and need to heal. You should also be looking for chimes that spawn close enough to lane that you can grab without having to commit a significant amount of time. It is important to get bush control as a ranged support. If you have a positioning advantage on your opponent, it is much easier to zone them off the wave or take a favorable trade than if your opponent has a position advantage on you. Finally, you can use your 
Magical Journey
 in the alcove to escape to your turret if you are at risk of dying 2v2 or getting ganked. This takes some practice so I recommend you load up the practice tool to make sure you have this crucial portal on lock.

Roaming

Roaming is the bread and butter of Bard's kit. If you want to climb with this champion you need to love roaming and you need to be really good at it. You need to learn when you can roam, when you can't, where to go, and most importantly of all, WHY! So let's start with the most basic mistake I see most Bards (and support players in general) making: walking from fountain to bot lane. I know that minion wave experience looks tempting and your ADC might spam ping you, but you need to get into the habit of walking to bot river nearly every time you leave base. Getting vision in river is the most important job for the support in the early game. Having vision control in river means that your laners will see every gank attempt, your junglers can take crabs, and you can have the fastest route to and from the different lanes. As soon as you complete your first support quest and get 

Oracle Lens
, it should be your goal to have vision control of as much of the river as you can (without dying for it of course). This is extra important on Bard because it will allow you to collect more chimes as well, increasing your combat power in the process. Once you have successfully cleared and planted wards, you can head back bot lane if you need to. Roam timings are dependent on two things: wave management and matchups. A wave in a good spot means you can roam without consequence, a wave in a bad spot means if you roam your ADC will die and you will get flamed. If the wave is slow pushing or is frozen on the enemy's side of the lane, then you cannot leave. You have to push the wave into tower so it will reset or if you need to call your jungler down to help break the freeze. If you roam on a frozen wave your ADC will get permanently zoned from gold and experience, or, in some cases, they will greed for the wave and die 1v2. But, if the wave is frozen on your side or is pushing towards you, you have a window to roam while your ADC can sit back and wait for the wave to come to them. In these scenarios, the other thing that effects roam timings comes into play, matchups. There are certain matchups where you cannot leave your ADC to 1v2 even under their own tower as they will get zoned off the wave or just straight up dove. An example of this would be if your ADC is playing 
Vayne
 versus 
Caitlyn
 and 
Karma
. They will be able to poke 
Vayne
 under the tower without taking damage, and 
Vayne
 will eventually have to reset, making her lose out on the wave. Another example could be your ADC is 
Twitch
 laning versus 
Lucian
 
Leona
. If the wave crashes under your tower and you are not there to protect 
Twitch
, the enemy bot lane will simply walk up and kill your ADC. This is not always the case, though. Say your ADC is 
Ezreal
 and the enemy locked in 
Jinx
 
Yuumi
. In this scenario, you can stay out on the map even as the wave crashes, because 
Jinx
 
Yuumi
 poses no threat to dive an 
Ezreal
. With all that being said, it is important that you identify the win cons in your team comp and play towards that. Just because you can roam as Bard, doesn't mean you always should. There are some games where the best play is to stay bot and play more of an enchanter role because your ADC is the one most likely to carry. You should be thinking about these things even before the game starts, in champ select and the loading screen. Play towards your team's strengths and negate any weaknesses, and you will carry with Bard in the support role.

Teamfighting

Teamfighting, if done well, can be one of Bard's greatest strengths; double stuns and 3 man ults can win a teamfight singlehandedly. I often like to engage the teamfights with 

Tempered Fate
if my team has damage or CC that I know they can follow up with, or if an enemy is out of position. Alternatively, if you have a fed backliner on your team that you want to protect, you can use your ultimate to give them a free 
Zhonya's Hourglass
. Deciding what to use your ult on in a teamfight requires lots of practice and split second decision making. For example, if 
Zac
 is jumping onto your backline, you can use your ult on the enemy backline to prevent them from following up, making it much easier to deal with the enemies on top of your carries. Using your ultimate correctly in this way means that a fight can be 3v5 or 4v5 for 2.5 seconds. While that might not sound like long, 2.5 seconds is an eternity in teamfights. When it comes to your other abilities, you want to use your 
Cosmic Binding
to look for as many stuns as possible and weave meep empowered auto attacks in to get that massive cone slow. Your 
Caretaker's Shrine
is not the most useful ability in teamfights, but it never hurts to top off an ally with a little bit of missing HP. Finally, you can use you 
Magical Journey
to reposition you or your allies in a fight, or use it to escape after you made a pick. Never stop looking for angles where you can hit multiple enemies with your
Cosmic Binding
or stun them against a wall. When it comes to your Q, 1 good stun in a fight is better than 3 slows. Finally, the last thing I want to emphasize is to use your health bar as a resource. With the recommended build, you will be extremely tanky and you should be putting that to good use. It doesn't matter if you have 200 armor if you are sitting behind your carries, waiting for them to get hit first. You should be an annoying pest in the enemies face, distracting them so that your carries can free hit while you tank the enemies' abilities. In these scenarious the combination of 
Fleet Footwork
 and 
Triumph
 has come up so clutch so many times, allowing me to walk away with a sliver of HP after tanking the enemies for as long as I needed to. Also, remember to use 
Locket of the Iron Solari
active. It's really good.

Matchups and Synergies

  • Support Matchups
  • ADC Synergies

Closing

I really hope you learned something from reading this guide. I had a lot of fun making it and I will try to keep it updated as new patches come out. I love Bard; he is by far my favorite champion and I hope this guide helps anyone who reads it to have fun playing Bard as well. If you did enjoy it, a like here is greatly appreciated as it helps me spread the Bard love even more. Finally, if you have any questions you want to ask I am more than happy to answer. I stream most days on Twitch, but if I'm not live you can shoot me a whisper on Twitch or a message on Discord and I will try to get back to you ASAP.

Thanks for reading and good luck in your chime collecting adventures!

Links

Links

Twitch - https://www.twitch.tv/beefyy YouTube - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzxncHWQR3xVR31s6TF5vXQ/ Twitter - https://twitter.com/beefyylol Discord - https://discord.gg/nN96bjbzuX

SupportBardLeague-Of-Legends

ABOUT

S12 Challenger Bard Main


1 Comments

Share your thoughs, feedback, comments...

Bluluke 3 months ago

Hi! I am a support player from LAN server (Platinum 1), i am playing Bard these days and i've played him with Electrocute, Guardian an Fleet. The best performance i have had is with Guardian, but i'll start watching your streamings in order to learn to play Fleet Bard. I've played Bard 64 times this season, and i realise i can learn something new every game and every new guide, so i really liked your guide and hope i can see you on twitch playing with this amazing champion! :3