The Bard is one of two support classes in Lost Ark, and one of the most wanted classes in any raid. The harder the content, the more important Bards are. You need to understand the abilities of your teammates and coordinate with them to bring out their best. It’s easy to play a Bard at a basic level, but the difference between a highly skilled Bard and a beginner is tremendous.
While other classes might have 1-2 builds depending on their class engraving, Bards have a very flexible toolkit that should be changed based on the needs of the raid.
Bards have an Identity Gauge called Serenade Meter (a set of three bars in the center of your action bar) that charges upon hitting bosses with your skills. Generally, Bards use their skills to provide various buffs and effects to the party while building their Serenade Meter. When it's filled up, you can spend them to play one of two songs, Serenade of Courage for a large damage buff, or Serenade of Salvation to heal the party.
Additionally, with Bard's Class Engraving Desperate Salvation, they can provide extra healing to teammates. When Serenade of Salvation ends, Desperate Salvation provides an extra burst of healing equal to a certain percentage of the Bard's overall health total. Because of this, it's efficient to use Serenade of Salvation when your Serenade Meter is at 1 bar.
Check out the Guardian Raids and Abyssal Dungeons guides for an introduction to their content.
This build guide assumes you have a Character at Level 50 before transitioning to it. Check out the Bard Leveling and 1-50 Leveling guides to reach Level 50.
Raid Skill Build
- Sound Shock is your main debuff skill. Sacred Shock applies a debuff on the boss, Note Brand, that increases damage done to the boss by 10%.
- Harp of Rhythm is a good beginner spell that applies a more consistent debuff than Sound Shock, assuming you place it within the range of the boss. You will use this spell until the endgame when you have enough practice hitting the boss consistently with Sound Shock and have enough Swiftness.
- Rhythm Buckshot is a really good spell to take at level 1. It saves skill points so we can max our other support skills. This is our counter ability, which works perfectly fine even without additional skill points invested. It's more accurate and casts faster than Prelude of Storm. In addition, Prelude of Storm is our main method of generating identity so we want to be casting that spell on cooldown, not saving it for a counter.
- Wind of Music is our main shielding skill for your party members. It also generates a fair amount of Serenade Meter when hitting the boss. Stay close to your allies while hitting the boss to get max value out of the skill.
- Guardian Tune is a consistent buff that grants damage reduction to all party members. With the Tripod Endless Protection, it also provides a shield once this buff expires. This is a great ability to cast frequently to reduce incoming damage to your party.
- Heavenly Tune is your most iconic buff that grants 15% of your personal Attack Power to your allies, plus an additional 6% overall Attack Power buff on top of that, +16% Attack Speed and +40% MP Regen Speed. Cast this as much as possible.
- Sonic Vibration is your second attack buff. It provides the same amount of AP as Heavenly Tune, but without the Attack Speed and MP Regen Speed. This is a ground targeted AoE, so place it where most of your party members can stand in it.
- Prelude of Storm is great for generating Serenade Meter. Get close to the boss and use this as often as possible. It can also act as your Counter skill.
- Soundholic is our one and only DPS skill. It is very important for certain Stagger checks during boss encounters. When the boss channels a powerful move and a yellow bar comes up (like in Rohendel Abyssal Dungeons), make sure to cast Soundholic!
- damage reduction buff from Shining Protection. Rhapsody is extremely powerful in Legion Raids like Valtan, allowing you to survive damaging patterns or use the Push Immunity to not get knocked off the arena.
- Sound Shock, Wind of Music, Prelude of Storm, Guardian Tune, Sonic Vibration, and Heavenly Tune are your main 6 skills and should generally not be removed at any point. That means that you have 2 slots free to bring any of the following: Rhythm Buckshot, Soundholic, or Rhapsody of Light.
- If the raid is not counter-heavy, you can omit Rhythm Buckshot.
- If the raid is not stagger-heavy, you can omit Soundholic.
- Rhapsody of Light is almost a must-have endgame, as it can save both you and your teammates from a variety of situations, including high-damage attacks or dangerous patterns that can knock you off an arena.
- Sonatina another brand option skill.
- Try to be near the boss since many of your abilities (Wind of Music, Prelude of Storm) have small AoEs that require near-melee range. You also need to hit your allies to give them the buff, which means you can’t stand too far away.
- In general, prioritize your Note Brand debuff (Sound Shock or Harp of Rhythm), making sure they don’t overlap. Use one, then when it expires and is on cooldown, use the other.
- Next, use your attack buffs. Your two attack buffs (Heavenly Tune and Sonic Vibration) don’t stack, so make sure you don’t cast them simultaneously. The exception is when your allies move out of the AoE of your Sonic Vibration.
- Following the priority listed above, try to cast Guardian Tune as often as possible, along with Prelude of Storm and Wind of Music to generate Serenade Meter.
- You generally want to save 2+ bars before playing Serenade of Courage. This is because the damage buff (5/10/15% AP) and duration scale per bar.
- With Desperate Salvation, your heal Serenade of Salvation is best cast at 1 bar for efficiency. Check below for the math behind the efficiency.
Serenade of Salvation Efficiency
In general, being an effective Bard is all about timing. You may be able to get by with using everything on cooldown, but really advanced play requires you to have an in-depth understanding of the fight for when to use certain abilities.
For example, using Serenade of Courage during a period where the boss is transitioning or taking reduced damage is a waste. You want to use these powerful attack buffs during periods where everyone can land damage on the boss. This can be after a successful Counter, or after Staggering the boss. Many bosses also have certain periods of “free DPS”, usually after succeeding a mechanic. Keep an eye out for these and buff your party members with Serenade of Courage at that moment!
Your Awakening skill Symphonia grants a powerful shield equal to 100% of max HP. This is an absolutely massive shield and protects your party from all but the most devastating attacks or instant-kill mechanics. For example, in the Hildebrandt Palace Abyssal Dungeon, there is a portion where the entire party needs to avoid falling meteors which deal considerable damage. A single well-timed Symphonia here can make a huge difference! Look out for pre-determined boss patterns where your party sustains big damage, then cast your Awakening skill. In addition, since it gives one Serenade Bar immediately, you can use it to do things like:
- Play a 3-bar Serenade of Courage, cast Symphonia, then cast a 1-bar heal Serenade of Salvation immediately.
- With 2 bars, fill the last bar to play a 3-bar Serenade of Courage.
If you desperately need Serenade Meter, consider using Awakening Potion. Awakening Potion will fill your Serenade Meter to full, allowing you to cast Serenade of Courage for an instant Damage buff for crucial moments in the raid or dungeon.
As an advanced note, three of your abilities (Sonic Vibration, Rhapsody of Light and Guardian Tune) have Push Immunity with the right tripod setup. That means when casting these abilities, your character is immune to all forms of knockback and knockdown mechanics. If you time it right, you can use the casting animation of these spells to ignore certain attacks that would have sent you flying. Note that it does not prevent damage or hard CC abilities like Stun and Freeze, so you’ll need a good amount of game knowledge to use your Push Immunity skills efficiently.
In general, Bards have the option for going high Specialization or high Swiftness, with hybrid builds in between. For most, a max Swiftness Bard build is recommended because Swiftness does many things that are extremely beneficial for supports. It increases your Movement Speed, which helps with positioning and increases your Cast Speed, which helps to get buffs out faster. Most importantly, it lowers the Cooldown of all your abilities, yielding a higher uptime on their support spells.
Warning: High Specialization is a niche build variant that sacrifices overall party DPS (due to lower uptime on attack buffs) for a much stronger burst DPS window. While viable, this build requires an extremely well-organized endgame party to take full advantage of, is highly affected by specific raid mechanics, and is not recommended to beginners.
- High Swiftness Build: Aim for as much Swiftness as possible, with only your necklace giving Swiftness + Specialization.
- High Specialization Build: Aim for as much Specialization as possible, with only your necklace giving Specialization + Swiftness.
Bracelets provide beneficial effects to yourself or to your party members depending on the rolls.
Note: Bracelets should not be your top priority to optimize since it'll be much more efficient to optimize your other gear first. Bracelets are costly! So slowly build towards a Main Stat and a Sub Stat. Anything else is extra!
Check out the Bracelet Guide for more details.
Possible Special Effects to Roll:
Main Stat Increase
Sub Stat Increase
Class Engravings provide powerful benefits that dictate the playstyle of a class. Battle Engravings are generally used to increase damage. Below are the recommended Engravings for this build.
Check out the Engraving Guide for more details.
The following Engravings have the highest priority for this class. Try to get these Engravings to Level 3 as soon as possible.
- Awakening is the most important Engraving for a Bard. It reduces the Cooldown of your Awakening Skill, Symphonia, letting you cast it more often per fight. Symphonia not only grants a massive shield to all of your allies, but also gives you 1 bar of Serenade Meter, making it a critical ability. You should prioritize getting level 3 for this Engraving.
- Desperate Salvation is Bard's Class Engraving. This Engraving is the sole reason why Bards can heal for as much as they do, giving you a 24% Max HP recovery effect at the end tick of Serenade of Salvation. You want to get level 3 in this as soon as possible, after Awakening.
- Heavy Armor offers a lot of defense for Bards, which are one of the squishiest classes in the game. It is a very powerful Engraving that Bards commonly take as their third Engraving.
Add-On Endgame Engravings
- Expert is an incredible engraving that boosts the effectiveness of shields and healing by 25%. If an ally is under half health, this bonus is doubled. Big heals! This is generally recommended as a fourth engravings.
- Spirit Absorption is great for hybrid or Specialization Bards who need the extra speed to make up for their lack of Swiftness. Since there is a speed cap, this Engraving is generally not recommended for Swiftness Bards.
- Max MP Increase is useful for Swiftness Bards, as their reduced Cooldowns can lead them to quickly run out of mana. Those who forgo this Engraving may find themselves running low on mana without consuming MP Regen Speed food buffs.
- Vital Point Hit is a viable fifth engraving option if you want to do more Stagger damage. This can be really powerful in later Legion Raids with difficult Stagger checks, like Kaykul-Saydon and Brelshaza.
- Drops of Ether is another viable last engraving option. It is one of the only support engravings that directly boosts party damage output, through the use of Strength Ethers and Flash Orbs - these give 10% Attack Power and 15% Crit Rate respectively to any player who picks them up.
Engravings are listed in order of priority from left to right.
These are the specific gear sets for each tier.
Check out the Gear Set Guide for more details.
- If speedrunning your alts, you can skip Abyss Dungeon Gear up to 1370 gearscore by just honing Chaos Dungeon Gear.
- If you're close to 1445 gearscore and were already doing Valtan/Vykas Normal Mode, you can skip crafting the Legendary Legion Raid Gears.
- If you have already crafted Relic Gears, hold onto them because once you unlock the Gear Set Conversion feature, you will be able to freely swap between Relic Legion Raid Sets.
"Play at your own pace" Route
Seraphic Oath Set
Seraphic Oath 2 pcs
Boisterous Elemental 2 pcs
Enraged Nature 2 pcs
Marvelous Earth Set
Marvelous Earth 2 pcs
Unyielding Will 2 pcs
Mute Guardian 2 pcs
Early Tier 3
1302 - 1370 gearscore
Twisted Dimensional Set
Mid Tier 3
1370 - 1444 gearscore
Harsh Oath Set
Tier 3 Legion Raid Set
You can craft Dominion Fang Chestpiece and Dominion Fang Pants if you have enough Demonic Beast's Bones while for enough materials for Swamp of Yearning Set. You can use the Gear Set Conversion function to swap later on.
Swamp of Yearning Set
The name of your set will change with every higher tier gearset you acquire, but the set effect will remain the same. Look for the keyword of your set when recrafting it so you don't easily get lost.(e.g Entropy, Hallucination etc)
Runes enhance Skills with extra bonuses. All Rune drops are account bound and have limited availability, so placement of Runes on the correct Skills is important. Below are the recommended parings.
Check the Rune Guide for more details.
|Wind of Music||Wealth|
|Prelude of Storm||Wealth|
|Rhapsody of Light||Protection|
|Harp of Rhythm||Bleed|
- Sonic Vibration > Sound Shock is our combo to set off the Conviction + Judgment Runes. This lets us get 15% Cooldown Reduction and 100% MP Regen Speed buff, which are really important in keeping our rotation going. If possible, you want to cast your other abilities after proccing this buff to take advantage of the cooldown reduction.
- Wealth is used on Wind of Music and Prelude of Storm, our two biggest Serenade Meter generators. You want to put your biggest Wealth Rune on Prelude of Storm, as it generates more meter than Wind of Music.
- Focus is used to lower the mana cost of the skills we want to use on Cooldown, Guardian Tune and Heavenly Tune. If you do not have mana problems, use Galewind.
- Many Runes like Galewind, Overwhelm or Quick Recharge can be used in place of the other Runes if you haven’t unlocked them yet.
Gear Skill Tree and Tripods
While Gems add benefits to skills, you can also increase the effects of tripods themselves. Tripod levels go up to 5 and each level can increase the damage, cooldown reduction or buff that they provide.
For more information on how to add equipment tripods and how to get them, please visit our Tripod System Guide.
|Heavenly Tune||Quick Preparation|
|Wind of Music||Quick Preparation|
Wind of Protection
|Prelude of Storm||Quick Preparation|
|Rhapsody of Light||Quick Preparation|
|Guardian Tune||Endless Protection|
|Harp of Rhythm||Summoning Will|
*Tripods for these skills are the lowest priority ones. They're nice to have, but not necessary. Try to prioritize the tripods on the left-hand side first.
Gems grant bonus damage and cooldown reduction to specific skills. You can only equip 11 of these Gems at a time, so it is recommended that you prioritize the Gems for your most important skills.
Prioritize equipping Cooldown Gems over Attack Gems.
Please visit our Gem System Guide for more information like how to create higher tier Gems.
Wind of Music
Rhapsody of Light
Prelude of Storm
Cards are an endgame system for maximizing your character. Below are the recommended sets for this class.
Check the Card Guide for more details on how to obtain them.
Recommended Card Set
Bard heals work off of their own total HP, and thus you want cards that increase your HP pool. These two Recommended Card Sets do just that; every 2 set pieces increases your total HP by 4%. Because these set bonuses are activated every 2 pieces, you can mix and match the two sets below without worry.
Optional Card Set
The effectiveness of the 'Recommended' HP card sets shouldn't be understated, and is preferred for their support utility over this set even until late endgame. However, for those who want higher personal survivability or are not using the Heavy Armor Engraving, the following set can be viable if you have enough set pieces to activate them both.
Synergy with Light of Salvation Deck
Budget Support Option
- Bards build Serenade Meter by using their abilities. They can spend this meter to provide either a powerful damage buff Serenade of Courage or a strong healing AoESerenade of Salvation.
- Always keep your Note Brand on the monster, rotating between your debuff applying skills (Sound Shock and Harp of Rhythm).
- Cycle through your attack buffs but don’t overlap them as they don't stack (Heavenly Tune and Sonic Vibration).
- Keep your party alive by casting Guardian Tune and Wind of Music as much as possible.
- Build your meter using Wind of Music and Prelude of Storm.
- Cast Serenade of Courage if you have 2+ Serenade Bars, and Serenade of Salvation if you have 1 bar.
- High Swiftness is the recommended stat.
Written by Aiyulol
Incorporated by Perciculum
Edited by Yaen
Reviewed by Raxxanterax
- 9 April 2023
Updated engravings, new skill, bracelet.
- 16 October 2022
Updated skill build, tripods, engravings, and gems.
- 28 June 2022
Updated Gear Set section for complete relic set build.
- 18 May 2022
Updated Gear Set section to include Valtan sets
- 11 March 2022
Updated Gear Set section to include Argos sets and added "Optimal Setups" in Engraving section.
- 5 February 2022
Article published for Tier 3 content.
- 19 January 2022
Article published for Tier 1 content.