League of Legends Patch 8.17 is right around the corner, and the patch’s would-be balance changes are being loaded onto the PBE. In the latest update of the test client, Bard got a new buff for his ultimate ability, Tempered Fate, but we’re not so sure he actually needs it.
For starters, Bard’s doing just fine, statistically speaking. He has a top-10 winrate in Korea at 51.5 percent, according to League stats site OP.gg, and a slightly worse 50.7 percent in North America on Champion.gg. He’s also fairly popular, boasting a middle-of-the-pack playrate of between two and four percent in each region.
This means, at worst, he’s average, which in our opinion is a pretty healthy spot to be in for any champion. On most days, though, he’s somewhere between slightly above average and just plain great, and nowhere in that realm do we think old Bard needs a buff.
The buff on the PBE lowers the rank one cooldown of his ultimate ability by 20 whole seconds, which is significant. At max rank, the reduction is less, but definitely not small, at 10 seconds lower. This means his huge, AoE, game-changing ultimate will be available a fair amount more, and that’s nothing to scoff at. We don’t think this will make him extremely more powerful, but that doesn’t mean he needs the buff by any stretch of the imagination.
Bard’s performing well as a bit of a hybrid support champion, and that explains why he works so well in the current meta. He can heal his marksman in a pinch, he has excellent lane harass, and he can roam and make plays better than most other supports. In fact, the only supports that perform that job better thanks to their kits would be Pyke and maybe Rakan, which is a very short list. And neither of those champions can poke like Bard can in-lane. It can be argued that Bard is a bit more difficult than both those champions, but even in lower MMRs of Silver and Bronze, Bard is holding up just fine, too.
This buff seems like it’s just a change for the sake of change, with the intent being to increase Bard’s power just enough so that he has more priority, probably in pro play, as a high skill level champion. We’re hoping that doesn’t end up being the case, because Bard seems to be perfectly happy doing what he’s doing now.