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Bard, the Wandering Caretaker: In-Depth Ability Analysis

A quick breakdown of Bard, the Wandering Caretaker's abilities, how they will be used, and if he will become a success in League of Legends.

Riot has just revealed League of Legend's next champion which totally wasn't designed by Hayao Miyazaki. Bard, the Wandering Caretaker, a new support with a new style of roam-focused play.

This style of support being one that allows you to leave your AD carry and roam the jungle. However, are his abilities really capable of being able to change the meta of supports always being glued to the hips of AD carry? Let's break down each of Bard's new abilities and decide.

Passive: Traveler's Call

Bard's passive comes is a special two-parter.

Ancient Chimes

Bard's presence causes sacred chimes to appear on the Fields of Justice. Collecting a chime grants Bard a brief burst of movement speed, experience, and mana.

This ability is what gives Bard his ability to roam. Without this nothing would be possible and he would be stuck in lane or quickly fall behind. However, the video posted by Riot leaves out some vital information as to whether or not you will constantly be able to see the location of the chimes. If so, this ability will be easy to strategize as to when you can leave lane to collect some chimes. It will be possible to leave your partner to collect chimes and gain some movement speed all while not missing out on lane experience as you will have your own source from the chimes.

Meeps

Bard's presence attracts small spirits known as meeps to his side. Whenever Bard attacks, a meep throws itself at his target, dealing extra damage before disappearing back to the spirit world. As Bard collects more chimes, the meeps that follow him grow in both number and power.

This ability looks to gives Bard a little more burst damage, without being too outlandish for having two passives. Also when a Meep is launched to a character it is then able to arc out and hit multiple targets on the other side of the target. This probably won't come into play until late game lane pushing, but it is nice to have regardless.

Q: Cosmic Binding

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 Bards crowd control ability, every support needs one. Your positioning will differentiate how this spell interacts with your opponents. This skill shot ability will always provide a slow on a target, but if you are able to line up two enemies it will give you the opportunity to stun them both. Also, if there is only one enemy and you shoot through that enemy champion towards a wall, it will stun that champion. I don't see Riot giving this ability too short of a cooldown, but I would expect to be able to use this ability two to three times during a team engagement.

I don't see Riot giving this ability too short of a cooldown, but I would expect to be able to use this ability two to three times during a team engagement.

W: Caretaker's Shrine

Bard conjures a health pack that gains power for a few seconds. Allied champions who walk over the pack gain health and a brief burst of movement speed, while enemies can stand on the pack for a moment to destroy it.

This ability gives Bard the ability to help his teammates without actually being in the same lane. After placed on the ground, the shrine takes 10 seconds to become active and you can have two out at a time. From the video, it appears at level 18 the shrines will heal as soon as touched for about 300 health (depending on items, which is unknown in the video). If a champion is able to hit two shrines back to back, that is a very sizable chunk of healing that you can setup in case you are about to be attacked under your own turret. The one drawback with this ability is that it cannot be used reactively to give a teammate a boost of health and speed as it takes time for the shrine to become active, and if an enemy champion walks over it, it's gone.

The one drawback with this ability is that it cannot be used reactively to give a teammate a boost of health and speed as it takes time for the shrine to become active, and if an enemy champion walks over it, it's gone.

E: Magical Journey

Bard conjures a portal on a target wall. The portal tunnels through to the far end of the wall, granting one-way passage to all champions, friend and foe, who enter it.

This is the playmaker of Bard's toolset. When this ability is released you will see YouTube montages of it. It basically makes a one-way trip through most walls for you, your allies, and any enemies who decide to follow. This ability can be a great way to get your teammates out of a bad fight, or possibly used to set up traps. If you cast it in a decent spot, while being followed it isn't out of the realm of possibilities to convince a low health enemy into following you through your portal right into a turret. Another way this ability could be used would be to bait an enemy team into a trap. You could have multiple members of the enemy team follow you through a wall directly into the rest of your team that is waiting for them. I look forward to

Another way this ability could be used would be to bait an enemy team into a trap. You could have multiple members of the enemy team follow you through a wall directly into the rest of your team that is waiting for them. I look forward to seeing the creative uses that people find to utilize this new mechanic.

R: Tempered Fate

After a brief delay, Bard places all units in a targeted area - friend or foe, including champions, minions, monsters and turrets - in stasis. Frozen units are immune to all damage until the effect wears off.

This ability works almost identically to Zhonya's Hourglass, but instead of only affecting yourself, you cast a ring, which turns everything in the ring into a frozen stasis that is immune to all damage for a short period. This ability isn't only able to be cast on champions, but will also work on monsters such as the Dragon and even Towers.

This ability will have a plethora of opportunities to shine. You can use this as an ability to escape from a fight, save a fragile AP or AD carry, or freeze a tower in order to continue the pressure on the enemy team.

Final Thoughts

After looking at each new ability Bard, the Wandering Caretaker has I have to conclude that this support will have a very high probability of being a top-tier support. Cooldowns, speed buffs, and healing numbers can be changed, but it will be the mechanics that will make this support shine (think about how many times Thresh has had his numbers adjusted but still remained incredibly strong because of his mechanics).

Bard will bring the ability to have huge presence in both middle and bottom lane due to his roaming passive. If middle or bottom lane is struggling, he can periodically give them healing shrines to support them, while staying in another lane. Then when team fights begin, Bard can move his entire team great distances by guiding his friends through walls instead of having to walk around them. In the end, I can only see Bard as being a champion that is always banned in ranked games or will control the flow of battle. They have this champion set up to be nothing less than a success.

Published Feb. 25th 2015

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