Riven Build Guide by DwaynetherockRiven

League of Legends Build Guide Author DwaynetherockRiven

[6.10] In depth Riven guide with matchups

DwaynetherockRiven Last updated on May 23, 2016
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Team 1

Ability Sequence

Ability Key Q
Ability Key W
Ability Key E
Ability Key R

Not Updated For Current Season

The masteries shown here are not yet updated for the current season, the guide author needs to set up the new masteries. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.


Natural Talent
Bounty Hunter
Battering Blows
Piercing Thoughts

Ferocity: 0

Dangerous Game

Cunning: 18

Tough Skin
Runic Armor
Veteran's Scars
Legendary Guardian

Resolve: 12

Threats to Riven with this build

Show all
Threat Champion Notes
Fizz You barely ever see him in the top lane, but if you do, bait out his E, dodge the damage with a shield and go all in, you're likely to snowball if you get a kill.
Yasuo Hahahahaha easiest lane of your life. He is so reliant on your minions to dash through, but when he tries to do that, just stun him and do a Q auto combo on him. When you're both level 3, just fight him and he will try to run away but you're way faster and he doesn't have any minions to dash through so you can win trades easily! You have way more raw damage. After level 6, if you use your ultimate he will try to block your Wind Slash with his wall, so dont use it when he's at 10-20% HP, because that's what he expects. Use it at ~30% HP and he will probably not block it.
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Hello there Riven players, welcome to my Riven guide. This is my first guide, I'm totally new to making these, so I'd really appreciate some feedback!
I will show you how I like to build Riven and how you can win the lane with her. Riven is a really fun champion to play because she has a lot of outplay potential and high burst damage. This is why I started to main Riven about a year ago on my Gold smurf (currently Gold V). My main account is Platinum II. I've played over 200 games on Riven and I have a lot of experience with most of the matchups. I hope that I can teach you something about Riven in this guide, so sit back and enjoy!

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Pros / Cons


  • TONS of damage
  • High burst
  • Strong laning phase
  • Fun to play
  • No resource (mana/energy)
  • AoE stun and knockup
  • Good throughout the whole game


  • Relatively weak against tanks
  • Usually rather squishy
  • Not very useful when behind in lane
  • Weak against heavy CC
  • Hard to play effectively
  • Reliant on snowballing

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P: Runic Blade

Riven's passive is Runic Blade. Basically, whenever you cast an ability, your next auto attack will do extra damage. This extra damage is very noticeable so we want to use it as effectively as we can. The way to do this is to try to auto attack everytime you cast an ability. For example: Q-auto-Q-auto-W-auto-Q-auto. By doing this, you maximize your combo damage.

Q: Broken Wings

This is your bread and butter ability. Every combo you do revolves around this ability. You slash the ground, doing physical damage. Click it again, and you do the same thing. The third time you activate the ability, you slam the ground and knock up everything in your radius. The third activation can also be used for wallhopping and general mobility. You can catch up to enemies or run away from them very fast with these 3 dashes. This is what makes Riven Riven, and we max this ability first.

W: Ki Burst

Riven's W is Ki Burst, an area of effect stun ability. There isn't much to say about this ability, it's a stun, it's nice and useful in fights.One thing to note is that in teamfights you might wanna try to stun multiple people. Also you can cancel active with it if you time it just right. The stun duration does not incrase if you level up this skill, so we max this ability last.

E: Valor

This skill is pretty amazing. It's a shield and a dash in one ability, which is unique in the whole game. That's not the amazing part yet though. What's really cool is that it scales off of AD, which means the more attack damage you build (which is what you're going to do) the better this shield gets! Very useful in fights and yet another dash adding to Riven's mobility, which is why we max it second. If you are in a very poke heavy lane or you're feeling lucky, you can also max this ability first for insane shields early game.

R: Blade of the Exile

Riven's ultimate is Blade of the Exile. Activate this when you're going for an all in. It gives you more range and a lot of attack damage. Using it again will trigger Wind Slash, which does more damage to lower health champions, so try to use it as an execute. It's generally best to use it when the target is at ~25%-20% hp, depending on how tanky they are.

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Summoner Spells

Flash is the strongest summoner spell in the game, because it can be used offensively and defensively. On Riven, you generally want to try to use it offensively, especially in the later stages of the game. Stack up your Q twice, flash into the enemy team and a good knockup will win you the teamfight. Be careful though, only do this when you're ahead and when you're sure no other CC is going to hit you, because getting CC'd is Riven's worst nightmare.

Teleport is the standard summoner spell for top lane, but you generally don't want to use it to go back to lane. Ask bottom lane to put down a deep ward and look for a good opportunity to teleport in. This way you don't only help out yourself, but also your teammates, and usually you can get a dragon or a turret after a good teleport.

Ignite is a really good option on Riven since the teleport nerf. Even though you won't be able to make super good plays in botlane anymore, you have a much better chance in a 1v1 and it's easier to snowball your lane and get ahead which is really important on Riven. Late game ignite isn't as good as teleport, because everybody has gotten a lot tankier by then and 400 damage isn't really gonna be the edge of many fights anymore. Still a very good option which I use a lot myself as well.

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I will talk about why I take certain items in my build, and why they are useful for Riven. I won't talk about every item that you can possibly buy on her, some items are very situational. I'll focus on the offensive items because it's the most important to make the right choice in those items.

VS Which is better, Long Sword or Doran's Blade? Let's look at the differences. Long sword gives you just 10 attack damage, but you can buy 3 health potions with it. Doran's blade gives you 8 attack damage, 80 health and 3% life steal. Obviously Doran's blade gives a little better stats, but you can only buy one health potion with it. The reason I think long sword is nearly always better is that you will get your first item, probably Caulfield's Warhammer or Serrated Dirk faster than with a Doran's blade. 350 gold may not seem a lot, but you often back with ~800 gold and without your long sword, you wouldn't be able to buy a proper item so you'd just end up with 2 long swords. 10 raw attack damage to start with is not bad at all! All of Riven's abilites scale off of AD, so 10 attack damage is more than enough to secure you a nice laning phase.

With the recent changes to Youmuu's Ghostblade, I think it has become a better item to build for Riven. It gives more AD than before and no more critical strike chance. It's a bit of a shame that they removed the critical strike chance, but more AD is better for Riven than 10% crit chance, because we're not really going to focus on critical strikes in our build. The active adds even more mobility to your kit and 20 armor penetration is not to be underestimated. Sure, if they have a super tanky team, it may be worth to go for The Black Cleaver but personally, I like the new Youmuu's better. For comparison: Infinity Edge gives as much AD (65) as Youmuu's Ghostblade right now!

Obviously, this item is a beast on Riven, nearly a must-have in any build in my opinion. It gives you TONS of damage, some lifesteal and you can use the active for some more burst damage. Your waveclear gets much better after this item as well which is nice for splitpushing if you have TP. I don't have much to say about this one, just buy it.

But Sir, why not

No, no, no and no. This item isn't what Riven needs. Yes it gives a lot of health and yes that does make you harder to kill. But ask yourself: What do I want to achieve on Riven? Do I want to survive longer so I can get CC'd longer or do I want to make epic plays oneshotting the enemy ADcarry? Seriously, this item hasn't proven me to be very useful on Riven, but of course it gives OK stats so it's not a complete waste to buy it. Another reason why you build Ravenous Hydra: You can't cancel animations with the Titanic Hydra active. You can cancel auto attacks with it if you time it right, but that's not what we're going to do on Riven. We cancel our auto-attacks through our Q, so we don't really need the active and you will find yourself barely ever using it in fights.

Now you're going to think: WTF man, this is not Ezreal, this is not Corki, this is not Irelia! I'm playing Riven, what am I supposed to do with a Trinity Force? I understand your amazement, and I will explain myself carefully. A few patches ago, Trinity Force was changed (some say it was a nerf). The big thing is, it doesn't give AP anymore! If there's one thing we don't need on Riven, it's gonna be AP. But, you say, but sir, it gives mana! We don't have mana! Yes, that's true and it's the only downside of this item right now, but if you look at all the other stats, they're really good on Riven! It may be a waste because of the mana, but that's only a very small part of the item. The most important thing in my opinion is spellblade ( Sheen passive). It gives you bonus damage on your next autoattack after using a spell. Since you're always using abilities and auto attack after them for your passive ( Runic Blade), this is just a buff to your passive! Now every 2 seconds your next auto attack after an ability deals a lot of damage, because of your passive and Trinity Force combined. Build a Phage first, it's the best component out of the 3 for Riven. If you still don't believe me, you can build your Phage into The Black Cleaver, but if you also bought Youmuu's and CDR boots, don't buy anymore CDR stats because you're at the max.

This new item works really well on Riven, and I've begun to prefer it over The Bloodthirster recently. So this item gives you some attack damage and CDR, but also lifesteal in a very unique way. It basically heals you for all physical damage dealt, including your abilities, and on Riven, a lot of your damage comes from abilities and it's only physical damage, so for every bit of damage you deal, no matter how, you will get healed (only the heal for your AoE spells is a bit weaker). As mentioned, it also gives 10% CDR and The Bloodthirster doesn't give anything but AD and lifesteal.

The Bloodthirster is also a really good item on Riven, and the shield you get is quite nice as well. In my build however, we have Death's Dance instead, because we want to achive 45% CDR and I like Death's Dance just a little bit better at the moment. Still this item works really well on Riven, and gives you a lot of damage: It's the only item in the game right now to give you 75 AD, so feel free to build it, it's very strong, but just doesn't fit in my build right now.

VS If you feel the need to buy a Last Whisper, which upgrade do you choose? I usually take Lord Dominik's Regards because there are probably quite some champions that have more health than you, but if they have a Dr. Mundo or Zac for example, who depends highly on regeneration, you can take Mortal Reminder as well for the grievous wounds. 90% of the games you wanna go for Lord Dominik though, it shreds those tanks just a little bit better in most cases.

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Combo's and teamfighting

Riven has a very clear win condition: Snowballing. You need to win your lane or otherwise roam to get gold. You need to get an advantage over the opponent. In order to do that, doing good combo's and cancelling your animations is very important. At level 3, you are very strong and you can do some very good combo's. Here are some combo's you can do from level 3 onwards:

Level 3-6

Q-aa-Q-aa-W-aa-Q-E to safety
This is your basic combo, maximizing your damage by putting autoattacks between every spell you cast. Alternatively, you can start your combo with E or put it somewhere in the middle, just try to block as much damage with it as possible.

E-Q-aa-W-Q to safety
This is a very effective combo if the enemy keeps quite some distance. E-Q to close the gap, auto attack and stun them to do an extra auto attack. Cast Q again before the enemy has time to strike back, and you still have a 3rd Q if necessary.

Level 6+

At level 6, your 1v1 potential will increase by a lot. Your ultimate gives you much attack damage and an execute. If you go for an all in, these are some combo's you can use:

This combo is pretty standard. At the start, you wanna do E and then immediately R to stop the delay you get from casting R. Go in with your Q (if you can, auto attack after Q), then stun the target and do your aa-Q-aa-Q-aa combo, finishing it off with the execute from Wind Slash. If you're both even in HP, this combo should get you a kill in most matchups if you can get it off completely. Alternatively you can do this order:

Only the end part is changed here. You cast your Wind Slash earlier than they might expect and immediately follow it up with a Q. This way you can cancel the R animation with your 3rd Q and you will do a lot of burst damage which can surprise your enemies. This is generally more effective in later stages of the game.


In teamfights, you wanna make sure your flash is up. We have 25% CDR on flash because of Insight and Ionian Boots of Lucidity - Distortion so that will help you a lot. Why do we want flash? Because Riven doesn't have a super instant gap closer like Irelia or something. Riven only has many small dashes but you will get CC'd if you try to dash to them. Being CC'd before fights start is your worst nightmare, don't ever let that happen. You are a priority target for the enemy team, so they will burn you down if you get CC'd. What you usually want to try to do, is stack up your Q twice, find a good opportunity where the enemies are clumped together and do something like this combo:

E-R-Flash-3rd Q-Hydra active+W-R
If you can, get some auto attacks in after that, and just hope your team follows for some more CC so you don't get instakilled after your combo. There are some variations to this combo like cancelling your ult delay with flash or W after flashing instead of 3rd Q. Try to catch at least 3 champions with this and at least 1 carry.

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Animation cancelling

To be as effective as possible with Riven, you should try to apply animation cancelling. It's not very hard to learn, but to actually apply it in laning phase is a bit harder. Here are some animation cancelling methods:

Auto Attack Cancelling

To cancel your auto attacks with Q, follow these steps carefully:

Auto attack - Q immediately when the damage connects - While pressing Q, press right mouse button NOT on your target (behind you on the ground or something) - Auto attack - Q again very fast and click right mouse on the ground behind you - Auto attack - Q

This may seem a bit odd, but try it out a few times on jungle camps or on bots, it requires a bit of mechanical skill and fast clicking, but it will increase your DPS in lane.

Ravenous Hydra active Cancelling

You can also cancel the Ravenous Hydra active with Q and with W. Just press the active and W or Q really fast after that. So: Ravenous Hydra active - Q or: Ravenous Hydra active - W. This way you make your abilities do just a little more damage.

Ultimate Cancelling

If you stand still and cast R, there will be a small delay before you actually cast it. You can cancel this delay very easily by pressing E-R in quick succession. I nearly always try to do this, because you also dash forward which might surprise your opponent. Finally, you can cancel your Wind Slash by quickly pressing Q after R. This cancel is not very necessary to do, but it looks really cool if you do Wind Slash - 3rd Q :D

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That's it for my Riven guide right now, I hope I taught you something about Riven, and make sure to try out my build, I think it's really good right now! :D