Riven Build Guide by maokinz

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.

League of Legends Build Guide Author maokinz

First Riven Build | Multiple Runes | In-Depth

maokinz Last updated on November 20, 2011
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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.



Offense: 21

Honor Guard

Defense: 9

Strength of Spirit

Utility: 0

Chapter 1

Hi. This is my first ever guide so be nice.

First thing. You are going to look at my runes. You are going to look at my skill order. You are going to look at my items. You are going to think "WTF is wrong with this noob I'm going to down vote this guide without ever trying it or even hearing this guys explanations as to why he chose those skills, items, and runes"

Now, I hope that you are going to not immediately down vote this guide, that you are going to try it out, and leave a comment after trying it to telling me what you think.

Some people seem to be having trouble with trying a build before down voting it, and as a guide maker advocating a different way of building, that can be REALLY annoying. So before you go and downvote me for getting a Tiamat, actually try the build and watch as it totally works.

Pros / Cons of Riven


Very good DPS
Low Cooldown AOE stun
Good farm
Very fun to play as


Requires good timing
Vulnerable to Crowd Control
Stun lasts .5 seconds

Runes: Kinda Standard Riven

The Seals Greater Seal of Resilience, Glyphs Greater Glyph of Warding, and Quintessences Greater Quintessence of Strength are all designed to give you a good first couple levels.

The Marks Greater Mark of Desolation help you throughout the whole game.

An option for Riven is to get Greater Quintessence of Desolations, but I find that the bonus AD from Greater Quintessence of Strength helps much more.

Another option is to get Greater Glyph of Celeritys or Greater Glyph of Focuss because Riven is so ability reliant. But I find that with this build you have enough CDR that the only time you are stuck autoattacking is if you are silenced.

Skills: What do They do?

First thing that I have to stress. DO NOT SPAM YOUR ABILITIES!!. Even if you think that you will kill your target faster, it won't. In a fight, do not spam your abilities.

The Passive

This is what makes Riven so powerful. Successfully using your passive is the difference between a good Riven and a bad one. Lee Sin player will get the hang of this pretty fast. Always auto attack between abilities. Not only does auto attack proccing your passive GREATLY augment your damage, it also spaces out your abilities so they aren't all on CD.

The Q

This is your first ability. It is not that great for actually doing damage, but makes up for that by proccing your passive, and also being 1 of your 2 escapes. DO NOT SPAM THIS IN A FIGHT! You will put out much more burst/DPS if you auto-attack in-between Q strikes.

Fun fact: The knock-back from your Q barely knocks people back at all, but takes up time so if an enemy is running away, then your Q's knock back will actually slow them down a little.

Broken Wings can also be used for escaping. Each Q moves Riven forward a little, so you can move away from the enemy quickly. Escaping is the only time where you are allowed to spam Q like no tomorrow.

The only other time you may ever spam Broken Wings is if an enemy Fiddlesticks is using Drain on someone or if an enemy Katarina is using Death Lotus and your Ki Burst is on cooldown. Then you are allowed to spam Broken Wings until you get the third hit which knocks the enemy out of their channeling.

Fun Fact: Using Broken Wings resets your attack timer so try to time your Qs instantly after you hit ( Vayne, Nasus, and Jax players should get the hang of this really fast)

The W

This is your AOE stun-nuke. The stun is only .5 seconds, so it is better used as an interrupt than an actual stun. But Ki Burst scales off of 1.0 bonus Attack Damage. And it hits everyone within 300 range of you. This, along with Broken Wings makes farming minions waves at higher levels a breeze.

The E

This is a small shield-dash. It can't go over any permanent walls, but it can go through Jarvan IV's Cataclysm, Anivia's Crystallize, and minions. This is best use to close in on someone, or to escape. The shield scales off of 1.0 bonus AD which means that the more damage you do, the more you can shield yourself for. This also means that activating Blade of the Exile means that you will shield yourself for even more.

The R

The word ultimate does well to describe what this mother of an ability is. First, it takes 20% of your total damage, and adds it to you as bonus attack damage. This means that not only do your auto-attacks hit harder, but all your abilities hit harder, and even your passive will get more additional damage with your ult on. And then to put a cherry on top, this ability increases the range of your autoattacks to 200 (which is longer than even Xin Zhao's attack range!)

But wait, there's more! At level 16 this ability has a base 45 second CD. For an ability that lasts 15 seconds, that CD is tiny. You can use this Blade of the Exile to push towers, baron, kill dragon, and still have it up again by the next fight. And as if that isn't enough, you get a great long-ranged AOE finisher nuke as an ability that you can use once during your ult.

Fun Fact: Riven's Ultimate can easily get to 1000 damage with enough AD, meaning that it is an awesome ability for stealing Baron Buffs (and totally turning the game around).

Stay tuned for how to chain all your abilities together/ how to place them.


No I am not trolling with my item sequence.

As with all champions, getting the right items for a certain champion is key to your success.
Here are the items that I get for Riven.
Here are your core items. AKA, what, 90% of the time when I play Riven, I will follow word for word and always get.

Core Items:

This is your first item. Riven has one huge weakness in the early game. And that weakness is not having any way to sustain herself in lane. For a champion that snowballs so well into mid-late game, that can turn into quite the problem. That is why you need a Regrowth Pendant as your first item. For those of you wondering why I am not getting a Vampiric Scepter first, I direct you to this LOL wiki blog that I made.,_Lifesteal_in_the_Early-Mid_Game

This item is the next item you get. +25 AD early on makes a load of a difference on Riven. You will notice that suddenly all your abilities really hurt the enemy now. This item is a #1 priority to get early on.

This item is just awesome in every way. While the +18 HP/5 isn't much of an upgrade from your Regrowth Pendant, the +5 GP/10 is a HUGE bonus. Hold this item long enough, and it will pay for itself, meaning that for a long period of time, you just got free +18 hp/5.

Yes, Tiamat. No, I am not trolling. Riven is one of the few champions who can effectively use Tiamat. Mouse over the item and look at its stats. For some reason beyond my comprehension, people only seem to see the "Attacks now do splash damage" part. What they fail so see is that it gives you +50 AD and +15 Hp/5 while only costing 2k. And then there is the AOE damage which doesn't help you much in a fight, but does make farming a lot easier.

There is no real point in time when you should get these. Get them eventually, but don't stress about getting them too much. Pretty much if you go back and happen to have 350 gold that you aren't about to spend on a Pickaxe or a Philosopher's Stone, then get boots of speed. These are not a priority item. I once completed my Tiamat before I finally got my Boots of Speed

These, in most situations, are the best boots for Riven. This is because Riven is very cooldown reliant. More CDR = More using abilities = more proccing your passive = much more damage. That said, these aren't top priority either. If you can save up 2k, then go buy Aegis of the Legion, but if you have to go back with less that 1925, then get these stylish pieces of footwear and settle for few components of Aegis of the Legion. Speaking of Aegis of the Legion

Now this is where you say
"OK WTF is this guy thinking. Aegis? On a DPS?"
Well, I say
"Who wants 30 armor, 39 magic resist, 270 health, and 8 damage?"
"Me. But whats the catch?"
"Simple. It is all in 1 item that costs less than 2k"
"Wait wait wait wait wait.. are you telling me that I can get all that survivability, for only 1925"
"Yes I am. But wait, there's more! This item also has an aura that gives nearby allied champions 12 armor, 15 magic resist, and 8 damage! And to top it all off, if an ally has this item, the aura stacks for both him and you!"

Honestly, Aegis of the Legion is the most overpowered tanky item for its price. I believe that you should forget Hexdrinker and forget Wriggle's Lantern. Get Aegis of the Legion and solve all your squishy problems right there.

Note about the aura: If an ally has Aegis of the Legion and you have it too, then
you get the benefit from the base stats on the item, bonus from your aura, and a bonus from the allied aura. However, nearby allies who don't have Aegis of the Legion do not get a double bonus. Also, a third ally with Aegis of the Legion doesn't give you a third aura stack.

Now that you are tanky and have your sustain set up, it is time to start getting pure, raw damage. And what better item to get pure, raw, damage than to get The Bloodthirster The item has a base +60 AD, and +15% lifesteal. That is already a strong item. But to made this god of an item even better, you can kill minions to increase how much damage you do, up to an additional +40 damage. That brings this item to a whopping +100 AD. For something that only costs 3000, that is very good. And considering that you have a Tiamat, getting that 40 minion kills is a piece of cake.

Then, the item also has tons of lifesteal, which lets you heal up quickly after a huge fight on an enemy minion wave or on some poor, unsuspecting jungle monsters. And it is about mid-late game by the time you get this and your +32 HP/5 isn't healing you up quite as much anymore.

Fun fact: Riven's Passive Runic Blade counts towards lifesteal.

Now you can finally finish that Philosopher's Stone into something useful. Shurelya's Reverie has tons of nice stats for Riven. It has Health to make you a bit tankier, it has CDR so you can use abilities more now (your super high base attack speed at level 18 is making you proc your passive and go through your abilities a bit too fast now). And it has an awesome AOE move speed buff. Perfect for team chases or team escapes.

To be honest, this isn't the most necessary item on Riven, and you will see me replace it a few times in the alternate items, but Philosopher's Stone is necessary on Riven so mide as well just finish it into Shurelya's Reverie.

At this point in the game, everyone is really doing massive damage. The AP carry has 600 AP now. The Ranged AD carry has 250 damage with 1.5 attack speed and a 60% crit chance. What about you?
You have ~280 damage. You have 100 armor/MR. But you still have 2.3k HP. You can take some hits, but you are still a bit too squishy. So what better item to get than Frozen Mallet? +700 HP brings you to good tankiness while the +20 AD helps your damage. And then it makes it so your autoattacks slow the enemies. Now I'll admit that at this point in the game the slow from the autoattacks isn't as advantageous as it would be earlier in the game, but it is a nice thing to have.

And there you have it. Build complete. Now you buy the 3 elixirs and start smashing people on the battlefield. This build is very VERY cheap so you should be able to complete it 30-40 minutes into the game.

Alternative Items: Get These Under Special Circumstances

Sometime's something happens and you have to modify your build a little because of it. I have outlined all the most likely problems you will encounter through a list of alternative items.

Get this if the enemy team is REALLY crowd control heavy. You want the CDR from lucidity boots, but if there is a Leona, Annie, and Amumu on the enemy team, then you should think about getting some tenacity. I prefer to get Mercury's Treads instead of Eleisa's Miracle because Shurelya's Reverie and Mercury's Treads gives everything Ionian Boots of Lucidity and Eleisa's Miracle gives & more.

Let's say your team composition is You, Ashe, Garen, Urgot, and Tryndamere. You all get mad at eachother for being pure AD, but now you have to compensate for the enemy team all stacking armor. That's where items like Last Whisper and The Black Cleaver come in and save the day!
I prefer to get Last Whisper instead of The Black Cleaver, but the choice is yours. Replace Shurelya's Reverie with one of these, and just sell the Philosopher's Stone when you need to make room in your inventory.

If, for some reason, the enemy team is entirely AD or entirely AP, then go ahead and get one of these two items instead. Replace Frozen Mallet with Randuin's Omen if the enemy team is all AD, or replace Frozen Mallet with Banshee's Veil if the enemy is all AP. I prefer to get Banshee's Veil over Force of Nature because while Banshee's Veil doesn't give as much MR, it does give +375 HP and blocks a single enemy attack. Riven is mobile enough to not need +8% movespeed and the HP regen on Force of Nature isn't as helpful this far into the game.

In lane the biggest problem you will have is Akali. After 6 this woman will give you tons of problems. So thats why if you are in lane against Akali, you should buy this item right after you buy your Philosopher's Stone and Pickaxe. Get a Hexdrinker and you can then proceed to not lose so hard to Akali in lane. You should also get this if you are having a hard time against an AP in lane, though I have never had trouble with anyone other than Akali. When the time comes, either sell this item and get Shurelya's Reverie or sell the Philosopher's Stone and continue on to Frozen Mallet.

Early-Mid Game Laning: How to do it.

You will either want to be solo top or duo bot with an aggressive support who has disables. So if you have no ranged AD for some reason, and there is a Leona, Taric, or Alistar on your team, then you can go dominate the bottom lane. Otherwise, you should be solo top.

How to harass:

Even though Riven is a melee champion, she still has some very good harass capabilities. Pretty much what you do to harass the enemy is Valor up into their face Ki Burst on them, autoattack them once. While they are just becoming un-stunned, run away.

If you have the upper hand and they start running away. Then start comboing them with Broken Wings and Runic Blade.

When you want to kill them, do the same thing but activate Blade of the Exile right after you land your first autoattack (If you activate it too early the enemy will know that you are going for the kill rather than some little harassment) after Ki Burst. Then as they start to run, use Exhaust on them and when they get to ~20% health, use Wind Slash to finish them off.

Now I will go into how to fight some champions that will really give you trouble.

Fighting Specific Champions:

This section will expand with time, but so far here are the champions that I have had the most trouble with, and the strategies I used to fight against them in later games.

The infamous Yorick. He is well known for his power in the lane. He can hit you from far away, he can heal from a range. But you have some advantages over him that you can exploit. First, he has mana. You don't. That means if you want to counter Yorick, harass him hard and force him to summon his ghouls on you.

At level 3, start harassing him hard. You make him use his lifesteal ghoul Omen of Famine on your minions, pushing the lane and using up mana. Then you just Valor and kite his ghoul, turning around to finish it off when it is low enough. Then go ahead and do this again. By the time he finally gets his Manamune you should have a good advantage in CS and kills over him.

A good Garen is a problem because he is so strong in a fight, and can regenerate so quickly after. Just try to outfarm him as best you can until you can get your Tiamat. When you can, try to use Valor and Ki Burst to last hit at the same time as harass Garen. Because Garen is melee and has to stand in the middle of your minions to last hit, you can pull this off fairly well. When you do manage to get Tiamat, you can start harassing him harder because your shield is stronger than before and you can out-regen him now. When it looks like you can win, go ahead and engage for real.

As I said in the Alternative Items: Get These Under Special Circumstances chapter, Akali is going to be some real trouble for you. As I said, get Hexdrinker, but just getting Hexdrinker isn't all.

First, Akali is VERY weak pre-level 6. Levels 1-5 you can make her your ***** easily. Just harass a LOT and engage whenever you can. Also, make sure to not push the lane with Ki Burst. Just last hit. Don't fight her in her Twilight Shroud. She can stealth while in there and has bonus resistances in case you ever do land some damage.

Another thing to keep in mind. Twilight Shroud has a flat 20 second cooldown. That means that for 12 second after her Twilight Shroud disappears, you can harass her for free. You could easily fit two Valor + Ki Burst combos into that timeframe.

Here you will have some real problems. The thing is, Irelia, along with Akali, is one of the worst opponents to fight. But unlike Akali, there is no item you can get to help you win against her. But, unlike Akali, Irelia doesn't have as much killing power unless you give it to her what I mean is Irelia's awesome ability Equilibrium Strike.

So, if you are fighting Irelia, do not harass her. Because if you bring her down to lower health than you, then she can stun you and burst you down easily. So, all you can do is farm (try to avoid using any AOE to farm. Just last hit). Don't push the wave if you can avoid it. Just farm.

Now we get to where we can actually beat her. Once you get your Tiamat, Irelia should be almost finished with Sheen. What this means is that right now you have a huge damage advantage on her. Engage her straight away (while you are both at full health) and watch as you manage to kill her. From there, just engage her whenever you can and enjoy your lane.

While I never really had much trouble with Tryndamere, I'll still post up my strategy to beating him. Pretty much you passively harass until you are both level 5, and almost level 6. What you do when you get to this point yis ou start hitting the minions REALLY REALLY hard and get to 6 ASAP. The instant you hit 6 ( Tryndamere should still be level 5) engage him and try to kill him as fast as you can. With Blade of the Exile activated you should be able to burst him down pretty fast before he manages to hit 6 and use Undying Rage on you. And from there you can proceed to dominate the lane.

I'll update this section as I have trouble with other champs and have to come up with strategies for them, or if someone comments that they have trouble with one specific champion and want me to give them help.

Neutral Buffs

You do not really need neutral minion buffs that much. The Red buff would be better spent on your ranged AD carry while the Blue buff would benefit the AP carry more. But If you kill an enemy and they happen to have some buffs, then all is good.

Not much else to say here.

Mid-Late Game Fights: How to win them.

You are a Melee Tanky DPS. That means that you run up to the enemy ranged AD carry, enemy AP carry, or enemy support and start smashing their faces in. Unless they all are perfectly in position where you going after them would result in you getting focused down instantly. In that case, just go after the enemy tanky DPS until an opportunity to kill the squishier people comes along.

First thing to pay attention to. Is there a Katarina on the enemy team? If the answer is yes, then do not ever use your Ki Burst unless Katarina is not in the fight or you/an ally has already interrupted her Death Lotus. Otherwise just combo normally without Ki Burst,

But if there isn't a Katarina use your normal combos.

In theory, the best combo you can unleash (with autoattacks after each ability usage) is:
Blade of the Exile - Broken Wings - Ki Burst - Valor - Broken Wings - Broken Wings

Because Broken Wings's cooldown starts after the first use of it, and not after the last one, you should use Broken Wings first so when you do finish your combo, Broken Wings only has to wait 1 second before it's back up.

Now, in practice, that doesn't work so well. Against neutral monsters the combo works great, but in a teamfight, it doesn't work quite as well. The problem with the theoretical combo is that the if you wait too long between Broken Wings hits, the ability cancels early and you can't use the second or third hits until it comes back off cooldown. The theoretical combo cuts it very close on the ability canceling. So that if you get stunned or if the enemy runs away from you, you will only end up using the ability once instead of using it to its full 3 hit potential.

So the true best combo with her is a simple
Blade of the Exile - Valor - Ki Burst - Broken Wings - Broken Wings - Broken Wings

One thing to note whenever you use Broken Wings: If the enemy is running away from you, it is actually better to take your mouse off the enemy and have you jump forward the full amount, letting you get closer to them than if you held your mouse over the enemy.
However, this is pretty difficult to do, and it doesn't make a huge difference, but it is still a good thing to try doing.


Thanks to JhoiJhoi! Her epic guide can be found here!

Thanks to Phreak for the champion spotlight that got me interested in a champ that I otherwise would not have bought.

Thank You! For reading this!

If you like this then please vote it up, if there is something that I can improve then tell me in the comments please. I have require comment to vote on so the first 20 voters have to leave a comment (I want to hear what you have to say.)