Bard is a unique and challenging champion in League of Legends, but he can also be very rewarding if played well. One of the best Bard players in the world is T1’s support, Keria, who showcased his skills in the 2023 World Championship semifinals against JD Gaming. In this article, we will analyze how Keria builds, plays, and dominates with Bard, and how you can apply his strategy to your own ranked games.
Keria’s rune choices for Bard depend on the enemy team composition and the lane matchup. He usually opts for the Resolve tree as his primary, with Guardian as his keystone. Guardian provides Bard with a shield and a burst of movement speed when he or his ally is damaged, which can help him survive and peel for his carry. The other runes in the Resolve tree are:
- Font of Life: This rune allows Bard to heal his allies when he impairs an enemy’s movement with his Q or R. This can increase his utility and sustain in teamfights.
- Bone Plating: This rune reduces the damage Bard takes from the first three enemy attacks or abilities that hit him. This can help him survive burst damage and trade better in lane.
- Unflinching: This rune grants Bard more tenacity and slow resistance based on his missing health. This can help him escape from sticky situations and avoid being locked down by crowd control.
For his secondary tree, Keria chooses the Domination tree, with the following runes:
- Zombie Ward: This rune transforms Bard’s wards into Zombie Wards after they expire or are destroyed. This can increase his vision control and map awareness, which are crucial for Bard’s roaming playstyle.
- Relentless Hunter: This rune grants Bard more out-of-combat movement speed for each unique enemy champion takedown. This can help him roam faster and catch enemies off guard with his Q or R.
For his stat shards, Keria usually goes for Attack Speed, Adaptive Force, and Armor, to boost his damage, utility, and survivability.
The items that Keria builds for Bard
Keria’s item build for Bard is fairly standard, but he does make some adjustments depending on the game situation. He always starts with Spellthief’s Edge, which gives him more gold and ability power for harassing the enemy laners. He then upgrades it to Shard of True Ice, which grants him more mana regeneration, cooldown reduction, and health, as well as more wards to place around the map.
His first major item is usually Locket of the Iron Solari, which gives him more resistances and a powerful active shield for his team. This item can help him protect his allies from burst damage and AoE abilities, especially in the mid to late game. The only exception is when he faces a Blitzcrank, in which case he prefers Shurelya’s Battlesong, which gives him more mobility and a speed boost for his team. This item can help him dodge Blitzcrank’s hook and engage or disengage with his team.
His second major item is usually Knight’s Vow, which gives him more health, armor, and healing. This item allows him to link with his most fed ally, usually the ADC, and share damage and healing with them. This can increase his survivability and peel potential, as well as his bond with his partner.
His third major item is situational, but he often goes for Randuin’s Omen, which gives him more health, armor, and crowd control. This item can help him reduce the damage and crit chance of the enemy ADC, as well as slow them down with its active effect. Alternatively, he can opt for Bulwark of the Mountain, which gives him more health, ability power, and shielding. This item can help him shield his allies and himself, as well as deal more damage with his passive meeps.
For his boots, he usually chooses Ionian Boots of Lucidity, which give him more cooldown reduction and summoner spell haste. This can help him use his abilities and summoner spells more often, which are essential for his utility and impact.
The skills that Keria maxes for Bard
Keria’s skill order for Bard is fairly simple: he always maxes Q first, then E, then W, and puts a point in R whenever possible. His Q, Cosmic Binding, is his main source of damage and crowd control, as it can stun two enemies if they are near a wall or another enemy. His E, Magical Journey, is his main tool for roaming and escaping, as it creates a portal through terrain that he and his allies can use. His W, Caretaker’s Shrine, is his main source of healing and movement speed, as it places a shrine on the ground that can be consumed by him or his allies. His R, Tempered Fate, is his ultimate ability, which can put enemies or allies in stasis for a short duration, making them invulnerable and untargetable. This ability can be used to initiate, disengage, or isolate enemies, depending on the situation.
The tips and tricks that Keria uses for Bard
Keria’s playstyle for Bard is aggressive, roaming, and impactful. He uses his Q to harass and stun the enemy laners, his W to heal and speed up his allies, his E to roam and gank other lanes, and his R to make big plays and turn fights around. Here are some tips and tricks that Keria uses for Bard:
- Collect chimes whenever possible, as they give Bard more experience, mana, and damage. Chimes spawn randomly around the map, and Bard can see them on his minimap. Try to collect them when you have pushed the lane, when you are roaming, or when you are returning to base.
- Use your Q creatively, as it can stun enemies in different ways. You can stun them against walls, minions, monsters, turrets, or even other enemies. You can also use your Q to check bushes, as it will reveal enemies if it hits them.
- Use your E wisely, as it can be a double-edged sword. You can use it to escape from ganks, to gank other lanes, to flank enemies, or to surprise them with your Q or R. However, be careful, as your enemies can also use your portal, and you can be interrupted while using it.
- Use your R carefully, as it can be a game-changer or a game-ruiner. You can use it to catch enemies out of position, to stop their channels or dashes, to save your allies from death, or to set up your Q or other abilities. However, be careful, as you can also mess up your team’s combos, save your enemies from death, or put your allies in danger.
By following these tips and tricks, and learning from Keria’s example, you can master Bard in LoL ranked games and have fun with the Wandering Caretaker.