Bard is a strange, yet funny character in League of Legends. This champion has flown under the radar for a long while. Even when enchanters and catchers were meta, Bard was seen few and far between. It is a champion that you only see piloted by One Trick Ponies in high elo. These players excel at building the champion and getting value out of his kit.
AD Bard is a very strong cheese pick that can win trades using Hail of Blades early game. As soon as Level 3 and Level 6 are hit, Bard unlocks skirmishing tools that help him snowball the map. Crit bard spikes at Infinity Edge while On-Hit bard requires Guinsoo’s to function.
You will generally see bard played in the support position, with support items to go along with his role. While this usually works well, there are definitely a few fun ways of playing Bard that truly show the monster that this champion can become. One of them is the AD Bard build.
Why Build AD?
If you have played League of Legends for long enough, you are probably aware that Bard is called an Ultimate Bravery champion. This means that you can build ANYTHING you want on this champion and still get great value out of him. If you are autofilled into another role (Especially top lane or ADC), then AD Bard might be the pick for you.
Bard gains a lot of damage and utility through his Passive. As he collects chimes and becomes more robust, his damage also becomes more impactful. Building AD allows Bard to utilize his oppressive passive to the fullest, and steer him away from his abilities that don’t directly provide combat benefit through damage.
There are two common rune pages for AD Bard. We will take a look at both of these pages and which situations they should be taken in.
- Lethal Tempo
- Legend: Alacrity
- Coup de Grace
- Magical Footwear
- Approach Velocity
As you can tell, this rune page is well optimized for a Full Crit Build. The new Lethal Tempo provides you not only a great attack speed buff with every auto attack, but at maximum stacks also provides you with an extended auto attack range.
The reason we take Triumph over Presence of Mind is that AD Bard does not depend on Mana nearly as much as AP/Support Bard would. This allows you to get Triumph which is a really strong rune in general and helps when your champion can easily achieve takedowns.
- Hail of Blades
- Cheap Shot
- Eyeball Collection
- Treasure Hunter/Relentless Hunter
- Legend: Alacrity
Hail of Blades allows you to have very powerful trades in the lane. Once you gain enough on-hit items, Hail of Blades also acts as a burst rune because of your passive. Relentless Hunter is preferred because it allows you to run around the map and collect chimes but Treasure Hunter can be taken if you prefer the extra gold for snowballing.
Also read: Best Lethality Junglers
This is the best thing about Bard. There are SO many items that you can build on him and most of them are bound to provide you value because of your passive. We will go over builds that exclusively utilize AD items and refrain from mentioning good AP items such as Nashor’s Tooth and Lich Bane.
Starting Item: Doran’s Blade
This one is a no-brainer. Doran’s Blade offers you AD that helps you CS and trade better. The small amount of Omnivamp feels nice to have and the Health provided is equal to what Doran’s Shield offers. This item is very efficient for ADCs and suits Bard for the same reason.
If you plan to play support Bard with an AD build, then you should start the game with a Spectral Sickle, and skip the Doran’s Blade. Spectral Sickle will also provide you with AD and gold when you trade with the enemy.
First Item: Berserker’s Greaves
There are a variety of reasons Berserker’s Greaves should be your first item on Bard. Finishing your boots early unlocks your ability to move around the map. You can roam, collect chimes, or simply walk back to the lane faster after a recall. The Attack Speed offered by this item synergizes well with his Keystone choice and passive.
Kraken Slayer is your best mythic option in most situations. If you are unaware of which mythic would suit your build the most, then simply go for Kraken Slayer. The value provided by the passive does not require any knowledge and gives you a great deal of damage with your attack speed.
Galeforce is a pretty decent second option. It gives you mobility but at a fairly high cooldown. It can prove useful if you are against a team with a lot of skillshots. Galeforce also deals execute damage which means you can use it defensively to save your life OR aggressively to finish off a low HP target.
Bard has a massive variety of items that he can build to suit his needs. The most common way to play AD Bard is with the On-hit build, but the Crit build is almost equally as good. We have listed the items that best suit these builds but keep in mind that they are in no particular order. Rapid Firecannon appears in most of his builds and is a standard item for Bard in general, so you can simply build it second.
- Rapid Firecannon
- Blade of The Ruined King
- Guinsoo’s Rageblade
- Wit’s End
- Runaan’s Hurricane
Guinsoo’s Rageblade provides you with great strength because Rageknife will convert your crit change to on-hit damage. Wit’s End is a fantastic item that also offers defensive capabilities. Runaan’s Hurricane is a situational item that is mainly useful against multiple targets.
- Rapid Firecannon
- Infinity Edge
- Lord Dominik’s Regards
- Essence Reaver
- Phantom Dancer
- Mortal Reminder
This build starts off with Kraken Slayer>Rapid Firecannon>Infinity Edge for maximum crit efficiency.
- Rapid Firecannon
- Ravenous Hydra
- Chempunk Chainsword
- Maw of Malmortius
- Black Cleaver
In Patch 11.21, an undocumented change was made to Bard’s passive. This allowed secondary targets hit by Meeps to trigger Ravenous Hydra’sand Muramana’s effects. This made the two items very useful (and fun) to proc on Bard’s passive.
- Serpent’s Fang
- Edge of Night
- Umbral Glaive
- The Collector
Lethality is the least popular way of building AD Bard because, without attack speed, you can not fully utilize your passive.
Flash is a fairly standard summoner spell on most champions. It is very versatile and can be used aggressively or defensively.
Ignite is the best option if you are looking for kill pressure in the lane. It goes well with the Hail of Blades build as it allows you to surprise your opponent with the amount of burst you can offer.
Ghost is becoming more and more popular for champions that lack sticking power to their target. While having Approach Velocity combined with your passive and Q will help, Ghost almost guarantees that you never fall behind even when slowed.
Also read: Best Off Meta Top Laners
The best way to play AD Bard is to play it in the top lane or bot lane as an ADC. You can build AD items as support but because of your limited income, you simply won’t be able to get enough items to stay relevant in mid to late game.
During the Early Laning phase, Bard isn’t very strong. Having hail of blades and Cheap Shot can help you win trades if you stay at your maximum auto attack range and stay wary of an all-in. Lethal Tempo is not going to provide enough value for you to win all-ins because you lack Chimes at this point.
In the lane, you should look to slowly push the first two waves and then crash the built-up wave into the enemy tower when the third waves crash into each other. If you can get an early recall off at this point, buy boots and run back to lane. As soon as you unlock Level 3, you are free to farm for Berserker’s Greaves and leave the lane.
If you decide to stay in lane, you can continue winning ranged trades with Hail of Blades and Berserker’s Greaves. Make sure to set up your W where the enemy can’t step on it and use it frequently to keep yourself topped up in the lane. If you decide to leave the lane, read the next portion:
Roams And Skirmishes
One of Bard’s biggest strengths lies in his ability to roam around the map. His passive relies on his ability to collect Chimes around the map. So if you rush Tier 2 boots, and have E available, you are ready to make plays with your team. You should be the first one to move when your jungler needs you.
You should also be looking for roam timings because you can set up free kills for your team using your Q. Once you reach 5 chimes, you can also slow down enemies using your Meeps. Once Level 6 unlock, Bard unlocks a powerful tool to disable towers and even put enemies in stasis, buying enough time for your team to set up around them for an ambush.
The Mid to Late game depends on how many items and chimes you were able to gather in the first 15-20 minutes of the game. Crit Bard will spike hard at 3 items and 35 chimes. On-Hit bard distributes some of this strength for a stronger early game. Guinsoo’s Rageblade and Wit’s End will be your main source of damage at this point.
AD Bard does not excel at sidelaning, which makes him a worse option against champions that tend to split push and exert pressure on the map. Your best option is to either shadow sidelaning teammates or help your team set up 5v5s. Teamfighting allows you to utilize your ultimate to the maximum potential, all while dealing damage and kiting using your passive.
As you approach a full build scenario, other marksman champions tend to outperform Bard and this is where you must switch gears. Look to set up engages with your Q and burst squishy targets with the AA+Q+AA+AA combo.
While AD Bard has its weaknesses, the truth is that Bard can build a large variety of items and still perform very well. AD Bard is a good choice if you are autofilled to the top lane or bot lane. Just make sure you take advantage of your passive and do not try to stat-check the enemy champions.