Mar 122015
 
Bard, the Wandering Caretaker
Bard, the Wandering Caretaker

From far away comes a wanderer surrounded by spirits with powers never before seen. He reveals places that no one knew were there and opens doors to areas that once where inaccessible. Battles are stopped and fighters held at bay with fantastic magic. Who could be this mystic being? Unravel the mystery of his appearance with Bard’s skins’ review.

Elderwood Bard
 Splash Art Elderwood Bard Model
Category: Regular
Price: 975 RP
Concept: Bard as a spirit of the forest.
Model: New model for Bard and chimes, moderate model changes for meeps. New glow for his flute and chimes.
Particles: New particles for his abilities, meeps, auto-attack, taunt, joke, dance and death.
Animations: New recall animation.
Sounds: No new sounds.
Splash Art: In an ethereal forest, a wise treant watches. The idea of the piece is nice but the setting, albeit interesting, is also fuzzy. On the one hand it gives the piece a dreamy air, in conjunction with the blue hues, but it also suggests more than show and it doesn’t suggests much to start with. Conversely, Bard can be clearly appreciated as well as the branch he stands on. Both display an exquisite attention to detail with complex bark textures, sharp shading and eye-catching use of light. The low points are his somewhat sketchy leaves that pose as beard and some blurry chimes despite not all being in obvious movement. Nevertheless, the presence of both meeps and chimes surrounding him add to the depiction as the empty background makes the piece desolate.
All things considered, this is a splash art that may offer one of the best portrayals in the League but complemented by a disappointingly lacking background.
Rating: Star clip art used in skin reviews at StrategyZeroStar clip art used in skin reviews at StrategyZeroStar clip art used in skin reviews at StrategyZero
Conclusion: Replacing the celestial nature with a bucolic aesthetic Elderwood Bard essentially transforms the Wandering Caretaker into a mystic of the forest. The model that displays Bard out of bark and leaves conveys the idea of a wise tree-sage that appears rustic but also simplistic. Except from his peculiar cap and prominent beard his body is just a fat anthropomorphic plant covered in barely distinguishable clothing. His reduced and monocular face appears cramped between the beard and cap; both elements that steal the attention.
The meeps that constantly follow him share his style but are more appealing due to the glowing design of their heads and bluish tone; the body is only re-coloured. The new chimes follow the same trend with glow and colour taking the most credit.
The particles for his auto-attack appear to be just re-coloured but that’s not what happens with his abilities. The abilities’ new particles have new designs, especially the shrines and portals, that further develop the new forest identity of Bard. The new colours take prominence but the designs cement the idea.
All in all, Elderwood Bard is a skin with some glowing features but that also, despite the interesting concept, can appear simple and plain. In some aspects it feels like a re-colour while in others it effectively transforms the feel of Bard. In the end, it’s a skin with an attractive visual style based on an attractive theme that isn’t as cohesively implemented as it could. For fans of the Wandering Caretaker it’s not a bad option but the issues are noticeable.

Snow Day Bard
Snow Day Bard Splash Art Snow Day Bard Model
Category: Regular
Price: 1350 RP
Concept: Bearded Bard in winter clothes and aided by penguin meeps.
Model: New model for Bard, chimes and meeps. New glow for his flute, meeps and chimes.
Particles: New particles for his abilities, meeps, auto-attack, taunt, joke, dance and death.
Animations: New walking and recall animations. New animations for his meeps.
Sounds: New sounds for his meeps, abilities, auto-attack and recall.
Splash Art: Blue sky, blue clouds, even the ice fortress looks blue. Without a doubt, blue is the main colour and few things contend with it. Some trees defy its domain with dark leaves and clear snow as well as some more of said element nearby. However, sans some penguins in and out of ice, there’re only champions to see. As a setting, the background is largely filler to give the snow day a place.
The depictions vary greatly in quality. Not only that but the champions stay independent of each other and there’s no integration or interaction between them or with the setting. They could each be on their own anywhere else and their generic pose wouldn’t pose any problem. There’re some exceptions but, at large, that’s the feeling the piece gives.
Going into specifics, Gnar is depicted with bright colours that get diffuse as easily as looking away from his hand and left glove. The dull colours make little sense but the chased penguin adds a nice setup for his appearance.
Bard sits with a hot cocoa cup in one hand and a penguin in another. The idea is simple but works though not much of his look can be seen. On top of that, the colours are a bit dull and so his portrayal isn’t as striking as it could be.
Syndra is in a league of her own: her portrayal looks like a sketch. It’s not just that the colours lack any vibrancy but it’s also that the proportions seem slightly amiss and the look strikes as flat and devoid of life. The idea that she may be readying to respond to a snowball attack does little for the lifeless depiction.
All in all, this is merely a functional splash art. It shows the three champions against a sensible backdrop and that’s it. There’s little that makes the spotlight exciting or that shows something different about the champions or shared theme. By and large, it’s a disappointment.
Rating: Star clip art used in skin reviews at StrategyZeroStar clip art used in skin reviews at StrategyZeroStar clip art used in skin reviews at StrategyZero
Conclusion: Demonstrating a great adaptability to the winter season Snow Day Bard is a charming skin that appeals in every aspect. The bearded Bard in winter clothes isn’t revolutionary but works and the ice shards for chimes don’t impress either. However, the fantastic penguin meeps and the delicious cocoa shrines make for quite an appealing presentation. The penguin travellers through the Magical Journey corridors are another example of what the skin can achieve. The rest of the particles rely on snowflake patterns and chilly sounds and while suitable they seem to lack the ingenious approach of the meeps and shrines. The recall is an exception as it shows the friendly relationship between Bard and his meeps and that is palpable in their personality.
The general feel of the skin is attractive and fills the Snowodown bill well. However, it does feel uneven. In areas, it’s the usual suspects: winter clothes and snow particles. In others, it’s imagination and charm as the cocoa shrines, penguin meeps and Magical Journey demonstrate. It’s not that the snow looks bad, on the contrary, but it pales in comparison with the inventiveness showed elsewhere. Even the new ice skating animation seems subtle in comparison. Additionally, the inspiring magical feel of Classic Bard seems toned down and only resurfaces in specific touches.
Ultimately, Snow Day Bard is a good skin but it can feel uneven. It has some wonderful additions and others that despite being good fail to make an impression. The problem is that while the skin adapts Bard in full to a Snow Day the price seems to be set because of the champion’s complexity more than the extra steps that the skin takes. At 1350 RP a skin needs to do more not do what can be done and justify the expense in how vast the landscape was. Therefore, Snow Day Bard is a charming skin but also expensive so a sale is recommended.

Bard Bard
Bard Bard Splash Art Bard Bard Model
Category: Regular
Price: 750 RP
Concept: Bard as an itinerant musician and story-teller.
Model: New model for Bard, chimes and meeps.
Particles: No new particles.
Animations: No new animations.
Sounds: No new sounds.
Splash Art: Some decorated walls to the left may indicate that an important building is around. However, whether inside or outside it is not possible to assert. The background mostly consists of a few suggestions and an excess of light. A couple meeps flank Bard but they seem to dissolve on the intense glare all around. A bit of their appearance is visible but not all despite how small they are.
Bard suffers from the same problem with the light concealing details of his clothing with the help of a diffuse layer on top. To be fair, the effect of intense light is effective and even interesting at its best. Sadly, it asks for sacrifices that may not be worthwhile. Specifically, the outline of Bard’s depiction sinks in light and doesn’t reveal many details. The central area is clearer though still hardly sharp. The colours end up saturated and waxy so that cloth appears oily. The oversized trumpet is a deviation from the in-game reality as well as the large lute on the back. Neither is fully shown but the trumpet, at least, is nicely coloured. Regardless, the daring pose and musical evocation rescue the portrayal by adding meaning to Bard’s presence.
Overall, it’s a striking portrayal of Bard but not always because of good aspects. The musical effort catches the eye but a closer look reveals a dissonance with the actual, more sober, in-game reality. Besides, the absence of a proper setting leaves the action in a void. It’s obvious that much is missing and that as a part of a bigger whole the piece, individually, lacks enough elements to stand alone.
Rating: Star clip art used in skin reviews at StrategyZeroStar clip art used in skin reviews at StrategyZeroStar clip art used in skin reviews at StrategyZero
Conclusion: Capturing a Renaissance look that evokes the Venetian Carnival with its stylish flamboyance Bard Bard is a skin that surely pleases the eye. Bright colours and elegant clothes are presented in a cartoony style. There’re large spaces of simple colour that contrast the complexity of other areas: for instance the jacket versus the elaborate, lace jabot. The striped arms and pleated cuffs contrast the gloves and the hat with colourful feathers while the simple empty head is only covered by a mysterious golden mask.
This emptiness of body makes Bard look strange as if a set of clothes were inhabited by a ghost which isn’t a bad idea at all. The belt contains some items of use for the prospective bard though the tiny lyre and lute are a bit ridiculous; they still fit the cartoon feel of the skin. The meeps are simpler versions wearing a golden mask, a Tyrolean hat and a ruff which complement the swirl on the head. The chimes become quavers so that the bard chases his notes around the map; a nice touch that helps further develops the musical theme.
When all is added together, Bard Bard is a simple yet clever skin that makes an effort to develop its musical concept. The result isn’t revolutionary but it’s certainly appealing so fans of the Wandering Caretaker will find it a pleasing option.

Conclusion

With few options available the Wandering Caretaker has to rely on his release skin. Elderwood Bard is a good skin but with visible problems. The design is uneven because it captures the theme quite well in some areas but it can also appear as a plain re-colour at times. Fans of Bard will find the theme attractive with some interesting additions but won’t always be able to ignore how simplistic the execution sometimes is.

Those with a liking for winter will find in Snow Day Bard a charming skin. In many aspects it’s a snow-based theme that downplays the rich classic personality in favour of a conventional concept. Fortunately, there are instances where the classic appeal reappears thanks to the presence of cocoa and penguins. In the end, it feels uneven but it’s still a fine choice that should be acquired while on sale.

The idea behind Bard Bard is simple but the execution employs some clever changes to make the look more than a change of clothes. On top of an elegant yet cartoony suit there’s the mystery of Bard’s body and the collection of musical notes; the meeps also join in on the elegance. Therefore, even if there’s nothing remarkable Bard Bard is a satisfactory skin.

  42 Responses to “League of Legends: Bard Skins’ Review”

  1. A lot of people have talked about a Santa Bard skin being a good concept, I agree and was wondering what your thoughts are . Nice review I hope to see the April fools skins being reveiwed, and thank you in advance.

    • Glad that you like the review and we’ll certainly be reviewing the new April Fool’s skins.

      Santa Bard seems like a somewhat option based on his physique and his supportive nature. The shrines could be presents to start with and the portals could take poeple in a sled trip. Even the chimes and meeps could become presents and elves. Truth be told, it looks like the adaptation wouldn’t take much effort.

  2. hi zero. I think his base skin is more attractive what ur opinion ?

    • Completely agreed. His base skin has a celestial, mystic air that is lost in Elderwood. The idea behind Elderwood is good actually but the implementation doesn’t manage to capture the best aspects from the forest theme.

  3. I wonder whether I should buy this skin. Obviously I’ll wait for a sale if I decide to purchase it but I am in two minds about it. On one hand the classic is quite nice (though a bit too bright at times) and I like all of Studio Ghibli’s movies so I like the classic as well. But Elderwood Bard’s aesthetic is more appealing to me. The cool tones and vibrant ethereal blue (especially the W flowers) are really nice AND I really like flowery aesthetics and floral motives. As you said though the skin has some issues. I don’t know what to do. I have a year to decide but still. I hate not being able to make a decision.

    • You could perfectly enjoy Classic Bard for the time being. When Elderwood goes on sale you can catch it then. Elderwood doesn’t capture the forest theme well, it has its moments but there are evident problems.

      Classic Bard doesn’t suffers from such issues and it’s a rather well implemented skin. Elderwood does have its appeal but a new skin for Bard could do a better job. As it stands, we can’t recommend a purchase unless you really like Elderwood and are sure that you’ll enjoy it.

      If you have doubts, we understand because the skin has problems, so it’s better to accept that it’s not as good as it can be. Perhaps later, when the price is lower. It’s not a bad skin but not worth going out of one’s way if it’s not a personal favourite.

  4. Am i the only one who likes the elderwood skin? I think its a rlly nice skin which captures bards mystical air albeit in a different way. Thr neon colours are really goood btw.

    Yes. I bought the skin.

    • We don’t think that the skin is bad, in fact the concept is actually rather attractive. The problem is the implementation that appears simplistic in comparison to the visual spectacle of the classic one. Such display is part of the style of Bard so Elderwood appears simple in comparison. Besides, some elements are clearly not very well developed.

      The main problem is that Elderwood is an uneven skin so it can shine in some areas and feel plain on others. That doesn’t mean that it’s bad especially if you can excuse or don’t mind the issues; they don’t actually ruin the skin. However, there are problems and are noticeable so while the idea is good the result isn’t he best it could be.

      Nevertheless, hope you enjoy the skin.

  5. Hey Zero
    I bought Elderwood Bard a few weeks back, but lately ive found myself using his Classic Skin more often. I just find the golden abilities and bright colors a lot more fun to play with, rather than Elderwood’s choice of 2 or 3 dull body colors.
    What do you think?

    • Completely agreed, Elderwood has an interesting concept but it’s developed in a somewhat plain way. It loses all the vibrancy of Classic Bard and doesn’t capture the Ghibli aesthetic that is so characteristic of him.

      It’s a pity as the skin does have some good touches but it doesn’t come together as a satisfying skin. In fact, it seems less that the sum of its part.

  6. Hi Zero,
    First, I love your site and come to it all the time for advice on skins.

    I was wondering if you thought Bard would get a skin soon and what could possibly be expected? Thanks a lot. :3

    • Glad that you like the site.

      A new skin for Bard is a possibility but also a matter of speculation. There are champions that have been released at around the same time and some have lots of skins and others just a few. It probably depends a lot on how popular the champion is because there are usually good ideas for skins floating around.

      Support isn’t the most popular choice of champion and, in general, have less skins than other more action oriented champions; like carries. There’s no telling when a new Bard skin will be released but there should be one. Considering that there’s ample room to impress let’s hope that it’s sooner rather than later.

  7. As much as I despise the design of this champion, I suppose I should point out there are also new particles for his death in the Elderwood skin.

    • Indeed, thanks for the notice. We think the Ghibli aesthetic of Classic is a good choice but Elderwood doesn’t take advantage of that. Of course all that is a matter of opinion if you don’t like the style. It does give the champion a clear identity though.

  8. Hey Zero,
    This year Snowdown skins are out on pbe. I like how they execute Snow Day Bard. The new hot cocoa health pack is genius, it really bring out the Christmas atmosphere. The replacement of Meeps to penguins and penguin in Magical Journey make it cuteness overload. Lastly the pretty icy magic circle for Cosmic Binding and the whole ice block particle stun are awesome. How about Snow Day Gnar and Snow Day Syndra? All I see are ice throwing husky and ice throwing Syndra with more cover ups?

    • We haven’t checked all the Snowdown skins yet but it seems like there’s some good particle work and sounds. The problem seems to be that while the visuals are nice the aren’t always enough additions to each champion to make the skins really fit their price. We agree, the snow is quite well done but if that’s all there is then it can’t ask for such a high price.

  9. Hey can i ask a question. What do you think about the upcoming snowday bard? Cus i main bard and bought his elderwood skin. And also the poppy rework. She looks insanly good now

    • Poppy has really improved with her new cartoon-based style. Hopefully she’ll remain a fearful sight in the battlefield. We haven’t seen much of Snow Day Bard but it seems like it offers quite a lot. We’ll have to check if it’s enough to justify the high price. At 1350 RP it’s a skin that has to go the extra league to stand out.

  10. Hey Zero since the Snow Day skins are almost completed, just wanna ask about Snow Day Bard, so far it offers the most compare to Gnar’s and Syndra’s. So, what do you think? I think it’s cuteness overload. btw, love your work, appreciate your effort

    • We think it’s a good skin but perhaps it doesn’t do enough for the high price. After all, Elderwood modifies everything about Bard as well; not to the same extent but does. The point being that if you’re going to change the whole look you can’t avoid changing every aspect: shrines, meeps, chimes. It’s a nice skin but at that price it needs an extra dose of work to really impress.

  11. Hello Zero,
    I was wondering how long it takes you to put out a new review on a skin after it’s been released. Same day, within the week or whatever the day, just curious since the Snowdown Bard comes out tomorrow and I really love reading your reviews on skins before I make my purchases.

    • Glad that you find the reviews useful.

      How long we take to review depends on how many skins have been released, how much time we can devote to the reviews and the complexity of the skins. Usually, we can get a review out the following day at most; sometimes earlier but sometimes a bit later. We are aware of the impending Snowdown and are working on having the skins reviews soon.

  12. I don’t think you mentioned Snow Day Bard’s new walk animation, where he’s skating.

  13. I think you guys should start reviewing chroma packs

    • Indeed, it’s one of the things in our To-Do list. We’ll try to get to it but we have to define how they exactly stack against regular skins.

  14. You said that you wouldn’t recommend buying Elderwood Bard unless you really liked it. Would you recommend buying Elderwood Bard if it was on 50% sale?

    • We would recommend Elderwood Bard, on sale or not, only if you really like it. The problem is that the price isn’t the biggest issue the skin suffers from. The lost of the vibrant charm displayed by the classic incarnation is. It’s a characteristic that disappears and nothing steps in to fill the void. As such Elderwood has its moments but can feel simple in comparison to Classic.

  15. What do you guys think of the Bard Bard skin coming out?

    • It’s an interesting re-model but more conceptually than in practice. It does have some clever touches but overall it hardly breaks new ground. It seems like a good skin that fulfills what it intends to without exerting itself.

  16. At Elderwood Bard’s new animations it states: “new recall animations”. Does he actually have multiple animations or is this just an error? 🙂

    • From what we can gather it was a mistake. We can’t find any reference to a second animation. We’ll correct the review, thanks for the headsup.

  17. what are your opinions about the bard bard skin that’s coming out

    • It’s a straigthforward execution of an interesting concept. The model changes have some clever features like that fact that chimes become musical notes. Therefore, Bard chases after his music. Sadly, additions like that weren’t emphasised so the skin ends up more acceptable than great despite its potential.

  18. Hi Zero, isn’t Bard Bard skin have a small change in the ult that it have some musical notes flying around?

    • We checked the ultimate with attention and couldn’t notice any musical notes. There are some runes flying around but they don’t resemble anything musical; unless it’s supposed to reference some specific runic music in the lore of League.

  19. Classic Bard will always be superior

    • So far, he’s proven a tough competitor to beat. Theoretically, a skin could very well reinterpret or adapt Bard in a clever and interesting way. The skin we currently have are good but nothing groundbreaking. We can only hope for future skins to do something more appealing than what has been done until now.

  20. First:

    Snow Day Bard needs to have higher rating because literally everything was changed for it from the meep models to the chimes to all his attacks. Literally everything except his voiceover because well, he really doesn’t have a voice lol.

    And the best bard skin to come out would be a Pikmin bard skin kinda thing because come on, he’s already got the pikmin!

    • Actually, because Snow Day Bard changes most things it covers the basic of what a skin at its price tier is expected to offer. We also take into account how each change affects the realisation of the concept. In our view, Snow Day Bard is a good skin but not great.

      Pikmin Bard sounds like a good idea. Let’s hope it receives a worthwhile implementation that gets the most out of the concept.

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