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Best Lost Ark Bard build: recommended skill levelling, engravings, and awakening skills for PvE and PvP

How to make friends and influence people by becoming a Bard in Lost Ark

What is the best Bard build in Lost Ark? When it comes to finding teammates to enjoy the MMO part of MMORPG Lost Ark, the Bard is the uncontested belle of the ball. The best support character in the game by quite a margin, the Bard's healing powers and shields are second to none, and she's the most-requested class by players seeking to match with new party members. Choosing to play as the Bard is a smart move, therefore, if you're looking to quickly hop into team activities; and if you enjoy playing support characters, she's an interesting one to master.

On this page we'll give an overview of the Bard's skills, levelling guide, and which bonus class and engravings to choose when you reach the endgame.

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Best Lost Ark Bard build: Overview

The Bard plays music, as you might expect, and this is how she delivers the powerful buffs that support her team. Her identity skill is Serenade, and using it, she has a couple of go-to songs she can play for the party to grant special buffs:

  • Serenade of Courage boosts the whole party's attack damage against all enemies.
  • Serenade of Salvation heals the rest of the party.

Like most Lost Ark characters with a single identity skill, the Bard can stack up to three charges for her skill, and once depleted her Serenade metre is refilled by performing attacks against enemies. Each Serenade uses up one charge, so you can perform a little musical montage of up to three tunes before running out of energy, if that's what the situation calls for.

As a general rule, Serenade of Salvation is the most useful part of the Bard's kit — especially as you get towards the endgame and during PvP encounters, where you'll often struggle to progress unless you have some hefty healing support in your party. However, other than keeping her Serenade mana charged, there's nothing you really need to do to build up either aspects of her identity skill; so other than trying to keep at least one charge in reserve for healing at all times, there's not much more for you to worry about.

Of course, no class is completely without downsides, and the Bard's shortcomings are rather obvious. She has low HP and defence compared to sturdier characters, meaning that teammates will need to take care of her to allow her to look after them. She's also, as you might expect, not much for fighting except for the hits she needs to land to recharge her mana, so you do risk missing out on some of Lost Ark's best combat mechanics when you play as her.

Best Lost Ark Bard build: Skills and levelling

Normally I'd divide this section up into specialised PvE and PvP skill tables, but due to the Bard's unique situation as a completely support-oriented class, there's really not any call to change up her build depending on the type of combatant you plan to encounter. What follows are a solid combination of normal skills, primarily focussed around healing, that work equally well for most situations the Bard finds herself in.

By the time you reach Level 50 you should have accumulated about 250 skill points, which is enough to put together a balanced normal skill build to take your Bard into the endgame:

Best PvE and PvP skills for the Bard

Skill Tripod 1 Tripod 2 Tripod 3
Harp of Rhythm: Summons a harp that acts as an independent ally. The harp shoots targeted musical notes at enemies within a 14 metre radius. Summoning Will: The harp's duration is increased by up to 4.5 seconds. Melody Increase: The Bard's Serenade mana increases for every second that the harp is on the field. Note Brand: Enemies hit by the harp's notes receive a debuff that renders them more vulnerable to all party members' attacks, for +10% damage for 2 seconds.
Heavenly Tune: Inflicts damage on nearby foes. Buffs party members within a 24 metre radius for enhanced attack speed and mana recovery speed for 8 seconds. Quick Preparation: Cooldown speed reduced by up to 6 seconds. Forte: Skill's AoE is increased by 25%. Intense Tune: Buff effects from the skill are doubled, and outgoing damage is increased by up to 265%.
Prelude of Storm: The Bard's tune summons a storm that inflicts damage and stuns foes for 3 seconds. Quick Preparation: Cooldown is reduced by up to 3 seconds. Melody Increase: Serenade mana gain from striking enemies is increased by up to 225%. Powerful Prelude: Stun duration is reduced by 1 second in PvE or 0.5 seconds in PvP. An electrical field engulfs enemies in radius for 2 seconds and inflicts up to 145% total damage.
Sonic Vibration: Foes at a targeted location are lifted off of the ground and slammed back down. The melody lingers for 3 seconds, inflicting lingering damage 4 additional times. Protective Vibration: When the skill hits an enemy the Bard receives a shield that lasts for 3 seconds. Every subsequent foe hit increases damage by 9% up to a total of 54% in PvE, or by 4.5% up to 27% in PvP. Brilliant Wave: The skill's attack element is changed to Holy. Party members entering the lingering aftermath AoE get a 2 second attack power buff for 15% of the Bard's attack power, and the total attack power is raised by 6% for the same duration. Wide-Angle Attack: Lingering aftermath AoE is increased by 40%.
Soundholic: Channel a blinding ray of light with a duration of 3 seconds, attacking foes for 10 hits. (You can change the beam's direction in this time, but channelling ends early if the Bard moves.) Sound Concentration: Damage per hit increases by a maximum of 12%, up to a maximum of 72%. Sustain Enhancement: The skill's duration is increased by up to 1.5 seconds, allowing for 5 extra hits. At lower levels, the cooldown time is slightly increased. Focus Fire: Disallows changing direction, reduces skill duration by -50%, and reduces total hits to 7 (5 if you didn't choose Sustain Enhancement at Tripod 2). However, damaged inflicted increases by up to 876%.
Wind of Music: Summons a fierce wind that inflicts damage and pushes foes. Its radius then widens by an additional 1 metre and inflicts more damage in its AoE. Quick Preparation: Cooldown is reduced by 4 seconds. Melody Increase: Serenade mana gain from striking enemies is increased by up to 225%. Wind of Protection: Creates a 4-second shield for all party members in AoE, absorbing damage up to 30% of the Bard's max HP in PvE, or 15% of the Bard's max HP in PvP.
Sound Shock: Use your harp like a bow to fire arrows (well, orbs) of light that explode on impact, inflicting damage on both the target and other nearby enemies. Quick Preparation: Cooldown is reduced by 2 seconds. Sacred Shock: Changes the skill's attack element to Holy. Foes hit by the skill get the Note Brand debuff for 2 seconds, increasing the damage they receive from all party members by +10%. n/a

Lost Ark characters start out with a decent suite of early-game abilities, and new skills unlock fairly frequently as you progress through the first 20 or so character levels. Gaining XP and levelling up gives you skill points that you can spend on improving skill levels and unlocking "tripods". Tripods are enhancements to skills that become available at skill levels 4, 7, and 10; applying one gives that skill a new secondary function. Every tripod has three options for you to choose from.

There's a limit to how much you can customise any Lost Ark character's build until they reach Level 50 and you gain access to endgame Engravings and Awakening skills (see below). Until that point, the path each class takes will be relatively linear; so throughout the early game, selecting your normal skills and their enhancements is the key to setting up a build that's to your liking.

Best Lost Ark Bard build: Engravings

Once a Lost Ark character reaches Level 50, you can apply Engravings to them. Engravings are part of Lost Ark's endgame content, and allow you to apply a variety of buffs and boosts to customise your character's kit a little more. As well as generic engravings available to all characters, every class has two "class bonus" engravings unique to them. Effectively, these let you pick a subclass for them to specialise in.

The Engravings for the Bard are Desperate Salvation and True Courage:

  • Desperate Salvation activates when the Serenade of Salvation buff ends. It's an additional buff which recovers another 24% of your max HP.
  • True Courage increases the outgoing damage of Serenade of Courage by 20%, and increases its crit rate by 10%.

Since the Bard is commonly built around healing, Desperate Salvation ought to be your go-to choice of class engraving for her. However, the Bard is fundamentally a team player, so it's worth considering switching out for True Courage if the rest of your party have a specific need for it.

The number of engravings you can equip is variable, and depends on the engraving slots you have available. Class-specific bonus engravings require Learned Engraving slots, which you unlock by reading books you accumulate throughout your adventures in Arkesia. The two "generic" engraving types that can be equipped by all classes (damage boosts and utility buffs) are equipped according to how many engraving points you have available through a combination of your character's equipped accessories (such as necklaces, earrings, rings, etc.) and their Ability stones, all of which can be picked up as loot or from merchants throughout the game. Shuffle your loadout until you've maxed out your engravings points to 35 and you should be able to equip about three generic engravings in addition to your class bonus.

Since the Bard is one of the few characters in Lost Ark who you won't be building for damage potential, the usual go-to engravings aren't necessarily the best in her case. For this area of her build, focus on mana regeneration and improving her defences with a selection of the following:

  • Heavy Armor increases the Bard's defence by up to 150%. There aren't many other opportunities to improve this stat for her, so it's an invaluable choice if you're feeling vulnerable and squishy.
  • Spirit Absorption increases the Bard's attack and movement speeds by 15% each. This is much more important than it might initially sound, since quick movements while dodging and kiting are important for ensuring the Bard's safety, especially in boss fights.
  • Increased Max MP adds an extra 30% to the Bard's mana pool, which is useful for ensuring that her normal skills don't run out of juice.
  • Awakening reduces the cooldown time on the Bard's awakening skill by 50%, and adds three more uses before triggering cooldown.

Best Lost Ark Bard build: Combat Stats and accessories

In addition to Engravings, accessory items in Lost Ark (necklaces, earrings, and rings) are your source for Combat Stats. These substats can have a major effect on your character, and it is important to target gear with the right stats for your build. Bards should focus on Crit while leveling, which will increase your critical strike rate and damage for a nice clear speed boost. Use Specialization as a secondary stat to build Serenade Meter faster.

Once you hit level 50 and start running group content like Abyssal Dungeons, you will want to drop the Crit in favor of Swiftness. This will decrease your cooldowns and help you cast support skills more often. Whether you prioritize Swiftness or Specialization first is up to you. Both are perfectly viable options.

Best Lost Ark Bard build: Awakening skills

Like Engravings, Awakening Skills become available once a Lost Ark character has reached Level 50. Again, there are two options to choose from, and unlike with Engravings it's not an either/or proposition: you can unlock both Awakening Skills if you'd like, although you can only equip one at a time.

The Awakening skills for the Bard are:

  • Oratorio: The Bard plays a giant harp and sings with the angels to inflict Holy damage. The attack ends with an explosion which deals on final blast of Holy, and debuffs afflicted foes' Crit resistance against your whole party by -12% for 6 seconds.
  • Symphonia: The Bard rises into the air and plays music with an angelic choir, granting every ally within 12 metres a shield which absorbs damage equal to 100% of the Bard's max HP. Meanwhile, enemies in range receive a small dose of damage, alongside a -30% reduction to their attack power, a -20% reduction to their attack speed, and a -40% reduction to their movement speed for 10 seconds.

Symphonia is the more popular choice with the majority of Bard players, due to its defensive capabilities nicely rounding out the Bard's build with a strong shield, along with its impressive suite of enemy debuffs. Oratorio has some undeniably attractive features but it's hard to make a case for it when Symphonia has so much going for it.

Since you need to be at Level 50 to take advantage of most of Lost Ark's character build materials, be sure to check out our guide to levelling up fast in Lost Ark to help you get there as quickly as possible. If you're interested in shopping around for other support characters before committing to the Bard, check out our guides to the best builds for Lost Ark's Paladin and Artillerist classes before you go, or have a look at our Lost Ark classes tier list for a full run-down of your options.

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