Bard is certainly a weirdly designed champion in League of Legends. His playstyle often defies logic, and his abilities can either seem broken or completely useless.

But with the right AP build, Bard can become a hard carry and one-shot enemies around the map.

So in this post, I’ll talk about how you should build and play Bard AP. I’ll explain all his abilities and ratios so you’ll know how his damage works.

In the end, I’ll also give you an AD Bard build that’s also fun to play.

That said, let’s jump into the guide!

Is Bard AP or AD?

Is Bard AP or AD?

Bard is a full AP champion, which means that he only does magic damage. All of Bard’s abilities scale with Ability Power, aside from his E and R, which don’t need AP or AD but only level ranks.

And the more AP Bard has, the more damage he deals.

Like all champions in League, Bard has a base attack damage that grows with levels. He starts the game with 52 AD and ends it with 102 AD.

This damage is added to his basic attacks on top of the AP scaling. So, auto-attacks are the only way Bard deals Physical Damage!

Does Bard deal more AP or AD damage?

Bard deals more AP than AD damage. And although his traditional build in LoL is supportive and defensive, you can play full AD or full AP Bard as well.

AP Bard does more burst damage, and AD Bard does more consistent damage overall.

Bard’s playstyle doesn’t change too much when he’s a support, full AP, or full AD. You’ll still need to collect your chimes and use your abilities in the same way.

However, while full AP Bard usually hits once and one-shots the enemy, full AD Bard auto-attacks multiple times in a short duration.

Read Also: Full AP Alistar Build Guide

How Does Bard Deal Magic Damage?

Bard basic attacks
Bard’s auto-attacks also deal AoE damage.

Bard has two ways of dealing damage – Q and basic attacks. His W is a healing effect that scales with AP, but it doesn’t do damage. His E allows him to open a portal through terrain and therefore doesn’t deal damage either.

And Bard’s ultimate can deal damage in League of Legends, but only under special circumstances.

Take a look at how Bard’s damaging abilities scale in LoL:

Passive – Meeps: Bard’s presence attracts small spirits known as Meeps to his side. On-attack he consumes a Meep, dealing 30 (+ 12 per 5 chimes collected) (+ 30% AP) bonus magic damage.

Q – Cosmic Binding: Bard fires an energy bolt in the target direction, dealing magic damage to the first enemy hit and Slow icon.png slowing them by 60% for a duration. Magic damage: 80 / 125 / 170 / 215 / 260 (+ 65% AP). Disable duration: 1 / 1.2 / 1.4 / 1.6 / 1.8.

You can check the exact numbers of all of Bard’s abilities on the official Bard League fandom page.

Despite Bard’s Q – Cosmic Binding having a higher AP ratio, he does more damage with his passive. That’s because his basic attacks don’t have a cooldown, so you can spam them all the time. 

Bard’s auto-attacks do more damage the more Meeps he has. That’s why collecting chimes is a must if you want to do as much damage as possible with your basics. More stacks also mean that you’ll apply slow to the targets you auto-attack, which is always helpful too.

AP Bard vs. AD Bard – Which One is Better?

Generally, AP Bard is better than AD Bard. This is because AD Bard is reliant solely on his auto-attacks to deal damage and his abilities to kite enemies.

But AP Bard can one-shot an enemy simply with one basic attack and his Q – Cosmic Binding. 

This is why I recommend playing with the full AP Bard build. It’s much easier to deal damage, and you also increase the amount of healing from your W – Caretaker’s Shrine.

If Bard had only one ability that scaled with attack damage, his AD playstyle would be in a much better place.

Read Also: AD Leona Bruiser Build Guide

Full AP Bard Build

Bard damage against minions
Bard’s AoE damage

My recommended runes for playing AP Bard:

  • Electrocute – is a bursty keystone that procs quickly on Bard because of his Meeps, and it helps you burst down a target. 
  • Cheap Shot – allows you to deal more damage to targets you stun with your Q.
  • Eyeball Collector – slightly increases your AP in the early game while you slay minions or monsters.
  • Relentless Hunter – increases your Movement Speed for a significant amount, allowing you to quickly move around the map and collect your chimes or gank other lanes.
  • Transcendence – grants you 10 Ability Haste for free while also resetting 20% of your abilities’ cooldown upon a champion takedown.
  • Scorch – burns your enemy for a bit of damage, and it’s more useful in the early game than in the late game.

And this is my recommended item build for AP Bard:

  • Luden’s Tempest – is the hardest-hitting AP mythic item in LoL. You can also go with Night Harvester, but Luden’s Tempest also provides mana and mana regeneration. 
  • Rapid Firecannon – increases the range of your auto-attacks, allowing you to slow your enemies from afar and then land your Q.
  • Lich Bane – boosts the damage of your basic attacks, and it scales with Ability Power.
  • Rabadon’s Deathcap – is the best AP item in the game simply because it doubles your damage output.
  • Void Staff – gives you enough Magic Penetration and is especially useful against tanks.
  • Sorcerer’s Shoes – is your additional source of Magic Penetration, but you can also go for Ionian Boots of Lucidity too.

Read Also: Lulu AP Or AD – Complete Guide

Full AD Bard Build

Bard's magic damage in the bot lane
Bard’s stunning his opponents

If you want to try AD Bard, pick these runes:

  • Press the Attack – damages your enemy after you’ve hit them with 3 consecutive auto-attacks. The difference between this and Electrocute is that Press the Attack doesn’t count abilities but only basic attacks.
  • Triumph – restores a small portion of your lost Health when you slay an enemy, so it’s good for surviving in team fights.
  • Legend: Alacrity – increases your Attack Speed for every champion takedown, so the more KDA you have, the faster you’ll be attacking.
  • Coup de Grace – allows you to deal 8% more damage to targets below 40% HP, which is good for securing champion takedowns.
  • Transcendence – 10 bonus Ability Haste is always good to have, especially on Bard.
  • Gathering Storm – passively increases your AD as the game progresses, so you’ll be lethal in the late game.

And this is the best item build for full AD Bard:

  • Galeforce – is the best AD mythic item for Bard because you can easily execute enemies by using its active to dash and then auto-attacking the enemy. The burst is amazing. You can also go for Kraken Slayer, but Galeforce is generally better.
  • Rapid Firecannon – increases the range of your auto-attacks which you need even more as AD Bard.
  • Infinity Edge – gives you more Critical Stike chance and increases the damage of your Critical Strikes too. 
  • Bloodthirster – grants both damage and Lifesteal, allowing you to heal through your basic attacks.
  • Mortal Reminder – applies the Grevious Wounds effect, which reduces the healing of your opponents.
  • Berserker’s Greaves – give you more Attack Speed, so you’ll deal more damage overall. If the enemy team is full of CC, I recommend going for Mercury’s Treads.

Read Also: Full AP Nautilus Build Guide


In League of Legends, every champion can be played in multiple roles and with multiple builds. We usually pick the most efficient playstyle and stick with it until Riot Games changes things.

However, experimenting with different builds on Bard is always good because the champion isn’t limited.

I also hope that I helped you understand how Bard deals his damage so you know how to build him for carrying and for having fun.

Good luck!

Read Also: The Best Synergy ADCs for Bard in League of Legends

Last Update: March 2, 2024