Riven Build Guide by MRN.ecco
Not Updated For Current Season
This guide has not yet been updated for the current season. Please keep this in mind while reading. You can see the most recently updated guides on the browse guides page.
mid riven :3
Hello, I'm Tyler "ecco" Spesick and I am the former mid player for the former LCS teams "Team MRN" and "Team Velocity eSports!"
After seeing Faker originally play Riven mid and then see it be played during the Korea WCG qualifier it really struck my interest so I started practicing it myself! It is a ton of fun and has a lot of great match-ups so it has become one of my favorite things to play right now! She is so versatile with soooo much burst potential. This guide should be used to refine your Riven mid play!
- Fun ^3^
- Has many favorable match-ups.
- Snowballs extremely hard.
- Strong split-pusher.
- Fairly weak teamfight when team isn't already ahead.
- Overall doesn't contribute a lot when team is behind.
Riven works best in team compositions that focus on split-pushing. This is because her team-fight is very inconsistent and is very vulnerable to getting cc'ed, bursted and kited while in them. She is also a god-tier duelist which is why our focus is on having her on her own for the majority of the game.
An example comp would be Shen, Nocturne, Riven, Caitlyn, Nami. Overall the goal when making a team comp around Riven is to have other very strong individual champions who can split-push (such as Nocturne and Shen) and then here I've added in a safe bot-lane who siege extremely well. That way if shen/nocturne ult was down they could group with the bot-lane at mid-tower to siege it while Riven as well as the other could be splitting. This puts pressure all over the map and if they ever send more than one person to deal with a split-pusher, then that means one of the other lanes has an advantage that they should be able to abuse.
Ignite and flash are my summoners of choice on Riven because it gives her the strongest dueling power possible. Ignite also gives a lot of kill potential early which is great because of how hard Riven snowballs! I have experimented a little bit with Barrier because of how hard you can bait with it and Valor to create a monstrous shield for a turnaround but overall I feel Ignite is just much more consistent and better.
Greater Mark of Attack Damage
Greater Seal of Armor
Greater Glyph of Magic Resist
Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage
Greater Quintessence of Life Steal
The emphasis with these runes is strength in laning. Stacking 11 flat ad for optimum trading as well as last hitting, 4% life-steal for a little extra chunk of sustain, and then taking a lot of defense with flat armor and magic resist. This page only ever changes if I am laning against an ad champion (such as Zed) which I will then change my glyphs to flat cool-down reduction. The reasoning is that Riven scales extremely well with CDR so a little bit more is always helpful!
The masteries are fairly standard for AD assassins in mid. You are taking the 21 points in offense for optimal damage and then you put the remaining 9 points into defense for optimal laning (since you'll be taking a lot of auto-attack harass or forcing a lot of trades) as well as giving you a nice bit of scaling health.
The skill sequence that I use on Riven never changes. Ever since the nerfs done to Ki Burst an extremely long time ago it has always been best to max Broken Wings first. It gives you the most wave-clear and most damage so there is really no other reason. Valor is maxed second because it greatly lowers the cool-down on it and is overall just a better scaling spell with points in it than Ki Burst.
Runic Blade (Passive)
Runic Blade is probably one of the best passives in the game and is arguably the strongest ability of Riven's. Even starting from very early on it gives a fantastic boost to your auto-attack damage and scales to a whopping 50% at lvl 18. That's insane! The only advice there really is to be said about this spell is that the buff does only stack to 3 so it is optimal to not use an ability to put you over that threshold but sometimes (definitely while fighting another champion) you're going to have to so don't worry /too/ much about it.
Broken Wings is arguably Riven's most defining ability. It does 2 short dashes and another one that knocks the ground around her that causes a small interrupt and displacement. It does a very large amount of damage as well as being the easiest way to earn stacks for Runic Blade. Riot also implemented a change recently to where her 3rd jump can actually clear a lot of walls consistently now. The thickest wall you can jump is the wraith wall leading out of mid so you can use this for very quick n' easy ricing in lane. I suggest going into a custom game to practice it and test your limits before trying some of the harder ones on the rift!
This ability is mainly used as your gap-closer, filler, and to wave-clear. It is a phenomenal ability that gets to a fairly low cool-down later in the game. Something to note about the cool-down is that it does start counting down immediately when you use it the first time. So if you waited until the very last moment before using your 2nd and 3rd dashes it will be almost off of cool-down already!
The small interrupt and displacement on the 3rd jump can be used to stop champion's jumps and abilities (Such as Lee Sin's Safeguard and even someone riding on Thresh's Dark Passage) so keep that tidbit of information in the back of your mind! It can secure you kills you otherwise couldn't get.
Ki Burst is a very standard move. It is a very small (pretty much auto-attack range) AoE stun. It does decent damage once you start getting into the mid-game but is still a very strong move regardless of the low damage early. It helps your trading a lot in lane because it buys you time to get off an empowered auto-attack as well. Mostly you're going to be using this ability to help lock down your target while you wail on them with your sword.
Valor is an /extremely/ strong spell that gets down to insanely low cool-down at max level and also scales 1.0 with bonus AD! Just incredibly strong all around it is also what makes her laning so amazing. It eats a ton of damage for you while going against ranged match-ups early on while you last hit and also helps you trade efficiently against melee champions. There isn't really much more to say about this ability except that it's a dash with an amazingly strong scaling shield so use it to absorb damage and to move yourself quickly!
Blade of the Exile
Blade of the Exile is a fantastic move. It lasts an entire 15 seconds as well as improves her range on everything while giving her a bonus 20% ad /and/ gives an AoE execute spell. What more could you ask for? This is what makes your dueling power so insanely strong. It makes your auto-attacks hit like a truck in conjunction with Runic Blade while also making it easier to hit your spells then you can just finish them off with the activation when they get low enough!
It also becomes very low cool-down at max rank so don't be afraid to use it to kill towers/inhibitors faster while split-pushing if you know that no one will be trying to stop you anytime soon (such as them forcing a 5 man push down mid while your team is defending as 4).
I actually get a little bit of flak for my starting items because I always start for the more defensive and consistent route of taking Doran's Shield and a Health Potion. I personally have never been a fan of red-pot because I don't like feeling forced to try and make some kind of play early to get first-blood. If it back-fires and I die the lane is one-million times over and even if I do manage to kill them I have to justify it by gaining a large cs lead as well because even if I get first-blood I am only +50g. Obviously you'll be way ahead in experience which is huge but it's in this scenario where you really get ahead. If you use your red-pot, fail to get the kill and are only 10 cs up by the time it runs out, then you are down roughly 200g. That's a lot.
On my first back I will pick up a Doran's Blade first and foremost because it gives everything Riven needs in lane for very cheap. If I am against an AP champion (such as Gragas, Ahri, Orianna, etc) then I will then build towards a Hexdrinker to give me the strongest dueling power possible as well as lowering any harass they will be putting onto me. If it is an ad mid (like Zed or Kha'Zix) then I skip it and build straight into a The Brutalizer for a good chunk of ad, armor-penetration as well as CDR. If I do get a Hexdrinker, Brutalizer is still my next item.
After I complete my Brutalizer, I build towards a The Bloodthirster and pick up Boots of Speed. At first I greatly preferred Ravenous Hydra but as time progressed I don't like it as much because I am losing out on scaling with my abilities by 25 ad (that's an extra 25 points to my shield on Valor) so I go with bloodthirster instead.
After completing Bloodthirster, I'll then upgrade my Brutalizer into The Black Cleaver. Once again you get a lot of armor-penetration (which is easily stacked with Broken Wings), a decent amount of health and a little bit more than a BF Sword's worth of damage. Overall a great mid-game item that also scales very well due to the percentage armor-pen.
First thing I do after completing Black Cleaver is finish my boots. Typically I will get Ionian Boots of Lucidity because of the amazing synergy Riven has with CDR but if they have a lot of hard CC (such as Fiddlesticks) then I'll pick up Mercury's Treads instead.
The next item that I get depends on how the game is going. Are team-fights happening where I'm getting focused and/or do I need more defense stats? Do I need more damage and armor penetration? If I answered yes to the first question I build a Guardian Angel. If I answered yes to the second I get a Last Whisper. Whichever I don't get first I get after the other.
Lastly, if I built a Hexdrinker early on I will upgrade it to Maw of Malmortius. This increases the magic shield to 400 damage as well as giving scaling ad depending on missing health which works fantastically well on Riven because of Valor. If I didn't get a Hexdrinker, I'll usually just pick up another The Bloodthirster to get as much damage as possible. If they do have a lot of hard cc, multiple champions having Fiddlesticks level of cc, then picking up a Mercurial Scimitar would be strong as well.
As previously stated, Riven has a lot of good match-ups in the current meta of mid. She is extremely strong against this squishy, AP assassins because of her durability with Hexdrinker as well as Valor and her ability to burst just as hard as they do.
There are some match-ups that are pretty annoying though and I'll discuss them below.
Orianna: It seems that she is always in this section now. Her auto-attacks hurt badly, she has good wave-clear and insanely strong kiting with Command: Dissonance which makes it hard to stick on her or even get to her in the first place. Then she has a decent disengage with her ult Command: Shockwave so it can be difficult to burst her. If you are able to stick on her though she isn't /super/ tanky so there is a chance you can kill her. Coupled with an aggressive jungler like Lee Sin or Jarvan would be the best way to deal with her.
Ziggs: Ohhhhhhhhhh, Ziggs. He is such an obnoxious laner because of how incredibly strong he is early with his passive and his spammable bombs. You will lose this match-up in cs by a lot until you're able to catch him out of position and burst him. Do your best to dodge his bombs with Broken Wings and Valor while also using Valor to tank auto-attack and unavoidable spells while csing as well as you can. Call for help if they can provide it!
Syndra: Pretty much the same reason as Ziggs for being annoying. Super strong early-game with pushing and it has hard to get on her because of her Scatter the Weak. If you're able to be a god and flash Scatter The Weak then you can one-shot her but otherwise this match-up is a pain.
Riven's laning is incredibly strong where only a few match-ups (like the ones listed in the above section) can be a little bit difficult. Any match-up is recoverable with Riven because of her high movement and burst given the right situation. Mostly early-game you are going to be feeling out the match-up last hitting, shielding yourself with Valor, and looking for opportunities to use Broken Wings to get nice and close on them to inflict a bit of damage. Don't play too aggressive level 1 against a strong ranged champion (such as Orianna) or you will take too much damage and be at a deficit all of laning until you back. It is best to play it safe against champions like her until you reach level 2 and have Valor so you can eat a fair amount of harass when you get to last hit/harass.
If you have a lot of control over your lane and have the comfort of roaming, look for over-extended targets and those who are weak under tower. Riven is phenomenal at diving low-healthed targets because of her high-movement, strong shield, and AoE execute. Opportunities like these should be taken and help you snowball greatly!
Once laning phase starts to come to a close, you're going to want to pop yourself in a side-lane and start splitting. Make sure to have a couple of wards with you to place to protect yourself from getting ganked and dying while splitting. It also greatly helps to have the knowledge of if you are getting roamed on because you can tell your other lanes to play more aggressively because they are sending multiple champions after only you! Mostly you are going to be pushing out waves and seeing who is going to be the person who is splitting against you. If you are going up against something squishy like an adc, you have a ton of kill potential on them if you can burst them.
You can be sneaky and hide in bushes to try and catch them unexpectedly. Make sure to pop Blade of the Exile in the very beginning of your all-ins. It lasts 15 seconds so you don't have to worry about it running out during the fight. If you're splitting against someone with a dodge like Vayne's Tumble then if it is possible to hide in a bush next to where she'll be farming, wait until she tumbles to farm and then make your jump. You can even open the fight by activating your ult, valoring out the bush, then flashing on top of her and stunning her with Ki Burst. You'd really be surprised how quickly you can murder squishy targets like a Vayne.
If you do get swarmed by multiple champions, do your best to trade kills if possible or at least stall your death for as long as you can. The longer you stay alive, the longer that your team will have an advantage elsewhere on the map. You can also use your splitting power to help set your team up for a baron instead of only other towers!
If you are splitting and able to roam towards mid-lane you can easily force a dive on the champions that are protecting that tower. Denying vision with pinks to make this unexpected will increase the chances of it working and going as smoothly as it can possibly go.
Late-game is pretty much the as mid-game. Split-pushing, looking for dives in other lanes, and just creating plays for the rest of your team through your incredible dueling strength.