Riven Build Guide by conundrummed
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.
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.
Welcome fellow LoLers...
Welcome folks. Conundrummed here. This is my very first guide. I recall buying Riven the moment she came out and instantly falling in love with her. I felt compelled to write this guide to help people see my perspective on this crazy wonderful lady champ and hopefully help some people see another way to build and play her. Like I said, this is my first build, so feel free to offer constructive criticism so I can improve. Also, I know I am lacking picture support. All good things to those that wait. I believe I covered most of the important points thus far, but I know there is much more to be added. I will get to it my friends.
If you are reading this build/guide, then you want to know more about the broken-bladed-biatch from HELL and how to play her. (: I have found Riven to be extraordinary in many ways, but also highly over- and even under-estimated by most users. I shall not waste much time introducing you to her. Why don't we move on to the more interesting material, hmm..? :]
The runes for Riven are quite easy to choose really. If you feel uncertain or incompetent in the ways of the broken sword, stick with hp seals, and even hp quints if you want. However, for the marks, I recomment either armor penetration, though you can go with pure attack damage (flat or per level), crit chance, or crit damage runes instead. The armor penetration really synergizes with Riven's pretty-much spammable abilities. This is why I would also recommend armor penetration quints if you have them. For the seals, as I wrote before, hp is fine, although I would recommend flat armor seals since Riven will be taking a lot of heat. The glyphs should most likely be cooldown reduction, either the flat CDR or per level. I recommend per level cooldown reduction runes since my build only involves one item's worth of cooldown reduction. However, some might opt for mag resist (by lvl or flat ones), for increased survivability. If you do not own any of the runes I listed, here is a general list of stats that benefit Riven when boosted:
- armor penetration
- attack damage
- critical chance
- max health
- health regeneration
- magic resistance
- attack speed
- movement speed
- critical damage
- gold income
- xp increase
I experimented with offensive and defensive masteries. I found the defensive ones to work better early game, and not hurt my end game performance by much in terms of damage output. The way I see it, slow and steady wins the race. While gameplay with Riven might be aggressive and very engaging, her rise to power is typically a slow one in an equal match. Besides, once she hops on the devastation wagon, people will hate her guts out just like any other intrusive, harrassing, obnoxiously hard to kill character. Consequently, Riven will almost always be a hot target for enemy teams. This is why I recommend the extra hp, armor, magic resist, minion and typical physical damage reduction, and 4% overall damage reduction for Riven. However, the choice is completely up to the user of course.
Riven can really benefit from the entry level masteries in all trees. Archaic Knowledge is obviously an exception since all of her damage is physical. If you are playing ranked, I would look at the kind of damage output you are expecting to see from the enemy team. However, in normal games, go with what you feel comfortable with. Honestly, the build I have provided (along with the optional items), Riven can be built plenty tanky, or plenty obnoxious in terms of damage. She can even do both exceptionally well at the same time.
Normally, I go with the increased damage in the offensive tree and throw the last 9 in the utility tree. The increased critical chance, lowered cooldowns, faster attack speed, armor penetration, additional attack damage, increased crit damage, and overall boost of 4% damage can really make a difference if you are building a strong offensive Riven. The 9 in utility can go in Good Hands (percentage reduction in time spent dead), increased experience, and the buff duration increase. Riven, like any champ that has to get in melee range to take care of their business, will likely experience her fair share of unavoidable deaths to keep her carry alive. Also, Riven may very well be capable of first blood with little effort, but if the summoner is not blessed with such a gift in a game, Riven will likely experience a slow early start. For example, if Riven is faced with champs that can easily zone her (which is not difficult to find) such as Sion, Brand, Malphite, Veigar, etc, she will need every advantage she can get to at least keep up or even slightly ahead in experience gain. Lastly, if you manage to squeeze a buff out of your jungle, the enemy jungle, or by killing an enemy with one, you will want to keep it on Riven as long as possible as she benefits from all buffs. Naturally, this includes the Baron buff.
If you are not yet comfortable with Riven though, as many people are uncertain how to adjust to her play style, the defensive masteries compliment her exceptionally well. If you decide to take a spell such as exhaust, ghost, flash, or whatever, feel free to get the upgraded spell if you are already deep enough into the given mastery tree to get it without wasting points to get there. I like to get upgraded exhaust since it will help you and any other teammates focusing the target deal more damage.
This portion, as item sections often are in these guides, is not a solid one way street. The items that Riven will need to succeed are almost ALWAYS situational. Even the boots that I find most useful may not always prove to be the absolute best. You have to know your role on the team to effectively determine how you are going to build your Riven. I find, in a lot of games, that other players do not exactly excel at pushing down towers. This is why I, at times, will opt for the boots of mobility for covering all that ground between my nexus and the towers still standing on the enemy team, which should be more and more each time you run back. -_^ Granted, this is for a game you are already taking a vast lead in and do not have to worry much about enemy crowd control.
Allow me to explain my main build. I feel that although one can build Riven quite tanky, I feel this is a role better filled by real tanks, like Amumu, Malphite, Cho, Singed, etc. Therefore, I see Riven as a nuisance to the enemy team. She deals tons of area of effect (AOE) damage, has a low cooldown stun, tons of mobility, and an ult and passive that allow her to hit pretty hard. Having said this, I feel Riven's true role on a team is pushing, dealing lots of damage to the whole enemy team (or most of it at least), and generally disrupting their organization. For this reason, Riven needs cooldown reduction, health, and damage enhancement. The boots I chose offer plenty of cooldown reduction (though some may desire more). The frozen mallet allows Riven to survive much longer and enables her to chase MUCH better. It even adds a little damage. A little damage goes a long ways for Riven. Each skill synergizes with physical damage enhancements. Her passive, Q, W, and ultimate deal more damage with bonus attack damage, and her E provides a larger shield with more attack damage. There is never a downside to providing Riven with attack damage. The Tiamat offers many beneficial stats, with the exception of mana regen. I believe the positives outweight the single negative in this case. Since Riven is already a pro at dealing tons of AOE damage, the tiamat makes her quite arguably one of the best AOE damage dealing champs and pushers in the game. Spam her skills while travelling and Riven can be an excellent split pusher. Just be aware of where the enemies are or should be before you go running off alone through any forest. The last three items make Riven an even better pusher (even if it did not seem like she could be any better than one of the VERY BEST). Your blood thirster can be filled exceptionally quick with Riven's farming capabilities. It also offers her a way to quickly regain health with life steal. The boost to her damage will definitely be noticed, whether the blood thirster is full or not. The infinity edge will allow her to deal TONS more damage with 80 bonus attack damage, 25% increased crit chance, and a unique passive that makes her critical strikes deal 250% of her base attack damage. This makes Riven a wrecking machine. The phantom dancer, like the infinity edge, is a late game item that will help considerably with pushing creep waves and towers.
The second build I provided is a way to make Riven considerably tanky while still allowing her to put out tons of AOE damage. This is arguably the better way to build Riven, as she tends to take a LOT of aggro from the enemy team. The mercury's treads allow Riven to stay highly mobile, so she can get to the enemy team's carries and stun them/throw them around with broken wings. The frozen mallet provides plenty of health, along with a nice slow to keep those carries from running away. The atma's impaler gives Riven armor, crit chance (suhweet), and a nice boost to her attack damage. No downside here. The hexdrinker gives Riven even more damage while boosting her low magic resistance AND provides her with a magic damage absorbing shield that comes up every minute. The Banshee's gives Riven all the rest of the magic resistance she could possibly need, adds to her health (which also gives her more damage due to the atma's), and gives her ANOTHER shield that persistantly reappears every 45 seconds after being taken away. Awesomeness. At this point, Riven is considerably tanky, so the DPS should be boosted. I still absolutely love the way tiamat synegizes with Riven, but feel free to toss in a stark's fervor, sunfire cape, bloodthirster, or whatever other item you feel situationally benefitial to Riven. If the team you are facing only has one type of damage that is really a threat (magic damage or physical damage), then tanky DPS Riven can neglect some of the items that offer resistance against the other type of damage and fill those slots with items that provide damage, health, cooldown reduction, or a combination of the three.
When I find myself doing exceptionally well early game (a few kills in the first 5-10 mins), I go for my BF sword and then my bloodthirster quickly afterwards. If the game continues to go well, I will either grab my infinity edge or phantom dancer. If the other team is falling in disarray, the infinity edge or phantom will end it quite fast (both help deal plenty of damage and push towers). If you want to focus on pushing the lanes, then build the tiamat to capitalize on Riven's ability to deal lots of area of effect (AOE) damage. If they give you an inch, take a mile. Push those towers down their throats. Hell, if you start feeling a bit untouchable, it is never too late to start stacking a sword of the occult (SOTO). Riven is by far one of the best pushers I know of. With a single Tiamat, she can clear creep waves in no time flat. I do not understand why people claim she is much better off without a tiamat at all. Granted, she has little difficulty clearing creep waves to begin with since she already has tons of AOE damage. Having said that, why not play to her strengths? Tiamat will make EVERYTHING she does AOE, including her auto attacks. Consider this, when Riven uses an ability, her passive automatically adds an on-hit effect to her auto attack. This alone makes her auto attack a required piece of her combos. If you add a tiamat, then the auto attacks will become that much more useful in her combos. Naturally, this does not prove true for encounters with single targets. However, Riven rarely gets this chance, and should not be looking for such encounters in the first place. Teammates that run out solo a lot tend to cause problems unless they are a roamer and you know you have good map control (wards and whatnot). Riven is a champ that excels more than most at fighting against more than one opponent. Throw in a tiamat, and she becomes even more of a threat.
Do not forget that the longer the game goes on, the more susceptible Riven becomes to being focused and easily killed as she is naturally very squishy. So if you build very offensive early game and find you have not managed to push quite as well as you had hoped to, start building some defensive items quickly to keep Riven usefullness late game.
Let us not forget that most games do not always start so well (where you can afford an infinity edge or even the BF sword right away). I am sure you can all recall heading off to a lane with a partner, or all your teamies, only to watch them fail miserably lvl 1 fighting and begin feeding. When this happens, sometimes I find myself going straight for a wriggle's lantern. This will enable me to effectively farm minions, protect myself a little from physical damage, regain hp with lifesteal, add some damage to my skills, and put up a ward every three mins that might save my life multiple times. Depending on the frequency with which I will have to return to base to heal, I will either build boots first, then move on to my wriggle's, or get lvl 1 boots and get my wriggle's first before finishing my boots. Remember, her abilities do not cost her anything, so broken wings and valor should be spammed while travelling back to your lane to improve your movement speed. They increase it considerably. Your wriggle's can replace either the blood thirster, infinity edge, or phantom dancer. However, I would only exclude the phantom dancer if your team has a decent tower killer who is doing a good job already.
Naturally, there are a number of situational items that could certainly come in handy for Riven. For example, heavy caster teams might be unhappy with a Riven that possesses a banshee's viel (although I have never found a strong need for one). If the user really find his or her self under heavy suppression (stuns, slows, fears, etc), either a tenacity item is required, or the quicksilver sash. Keep in mind that a team that can suppress you consistently for a number of seconds will usually kill you anyways. Especially if that suppression involves silences, as Riven was never intended to take large quantities of damage. So employing tenacity for shortening the duration of 6-7 seconds of suppression by 35% will only save you 2.1 - 2.45 seconds, which isn't usually enough to save your life. Especially once the other team begins to get close to full builds. Curse Riven and her squishiness! Fortunately, there are other items that work well with Riven's inherent ability to attract murderous intent. For example, a sunfire cape will boost Riven's hp considerably, while adding armor, and a passive that will damage closeby enemies while Riven is otherwise temporarily indisposed.
Depending on the amount of magic damage and modes through which that magic will be received, there are a number of situational items that could benefit Riven in this area. The first, and possibly the most important magic resist item I wish to mention is mercury's treads. These offer both 25 magic resistance and 35 tenacity, which is exceptional in reducing crowd control effects on Riven. As previously stated, a banshee's will offer a lot of magic resistance and the occasional spell shield that could deter enemies from trying to lay their crowd control on you. It might save you from a karthus ult or something like that. Also, if used with a build that implements an atma's impaler, it will provide a little boost to her attack damage. Another situational item that synergizes well with Riven is the hexdrinker. This offers some attack damge (awesome), magic resist (order of business we are currently addressing), and a magic damage sheild that prevents up to 300 magic damage past the 30% hp mark every 60 seconds. Other notable items that accomplish a reduction in magic damage that benefit Riven in some way are a quicksilver sash, which is purely situational (perfect for Malzahar's ult or possibly other sticky situations). A force of nature could be useful if you are building Riven tanky and are facing a lot of magic damage (like 3+ enemies with strong magic damage). It also provides hp regen and movement speed. There's no downside except for lack of offensive stats. A guardian angel could be extremely useful on a Riven, whether built offensively or defensively, as it should keep enemies from wanting to waste the time killing her in a team fight, just to have her come right back. This is one of those items I wouldn't recommend getting right away though as it usually provides little usefulness early game. One item that I am sure most would consider a waste on Riven is an Aegis of the Legion. The reason I feel the need to mention this item is that I believe a tanky Riven is a perfectly acceptable (and generally beneficial to your team) build. Since most of your fights should be team fights, this item adds highly valuable stats to you and your whole team. You receive magic resistance, armor, and maximum health. Furthermore, your team gains additional magic resistance, armor, and attack damage (this includes you). This is a perfect mid game item that can really make team fights much easier on your whole team (since Riven will always be right in the fray when attempting to benefit her team in a team fight).
While we're on the topic of defensiveness, Riven may often find a dire need for armor. There are a number of items that fit Riven quite well and fulfill the role of giving her that extra armor she may need. If you want a quick guide to this stat, look at the runes section to see what other stats benefit Riven and see if the item you are looking at has these stats and either only has one or less stats not on that list. However, to be thurough, I will discuss some of these items in detail. If you want the most armor and have an extremely strong attack damage carry that is destroying your hp while gaining his back at extreme rates, get a thornmail of course. This deals damage to the enemy champs that auto attack Riven while greatly reducing the amount of physical damage Riven is receiving. Granted, without this exact situation, I never find good use for this item in Riven's build. Since armor and magic resistance only help significantly if the champion has enough health to sustain any number of hits (or tons of armor/magic resistance), make sure you get a healthy balance of both stats. One item that does this well is a sunfire cape. Since you will have to be next to your target(s) to do your work, the passive will go to good use, and the armor and health will definitly help keep Riven alive (especially when tower diving). Atma's impaler is one of the very best armor items on tanky Riven since it is both defensive with armor and very offensive when Riven has built on any amount of health and adds noticable critical chance. I know I already covered the importance of atma's impaler, but I cannot stress enough how useful it is in building a tanky DPS champion. Some other armor items have already been discussed, such as guardian angel and wriggle's lantern. Randuin's omen is discussed in the CDR section below. Lasly, a situational item (that is usually better suited on an attack speed based DPS champ) is a madred's bloodrazor. It can be used, but I do not typically recommend it.
This is what I love most about Riven. She's very adaptable. The items one can build on her are many, and the combinations are quite vast. However, there are a number of items that were just not made for Riven. Quite naturally, a hero that does not use ability power at all should not buy any. Riven does not have need of ability power or mana/energy. Having said that, many people think trinity force is a wonderful weapon for Riven. I find there is much to be desired when using a trinity force on Riven. The lack of real stats in any one area from trinity force leaves me wanting another attack speed item, health item, attack damage item, and what not. It is much easier to buid those items in the first place and focus on building a couple stats high instead of rounding them down with a trinity force. Yes... I know. I haven't even mentioned the sheen. This item would certainly help Riven out tremendously; however, as I stated before the trinity force does not really fulfill Riven's needs very well. It can work, do not get me wrong, but I do not recommend it. I mean, if you incorporated a sheen regardless, and the rest of you build is paid for, and you want to get a trinity force, who is going to stop you? I just think that a trinity force build is not aggressive enough for Riven, nor cost effective enough either.
The last stat, but certainly not the least, people might find a dire need for when building Riven is cooldown reduction. I feel you all on this one. This is why I opt for the CDR glyphs; however, this is not nearly enough for some people. Even more unfortuate is the difficulty Riven experiences in obtaining CDR from items. A lot of the CDR items do not fully benefit Riven, which makes it harder for them to be cost effective. The ionian boots of lucidity boost Riven's CDR considerably, though many times one might find greater need for mercury's treads. One great item for Riven that offers CDR is youmuu's ghostblade. It also provides attack damage, crit chance, and an active that serve's much like a Master Yi's ult every 60 seconds (I see no down side). Other notable items that offer CDR are shurelya's reverie (the mana regen is wasted, but the active is wonderful and your teammates will love you for it), randuin's omen (works exceptionally well for a tanky riven, thought the CDR is very little), soul shroud (not the best, though mana hungry teammates will love you if you stand near them with this), and spirit visage (not the best item as it offers little and much better items can be bought). I typically find that ionian boots of lucidity and either the blue buff (if you can snag one by killing en enemy or if you can farm one in the jungle without pissing off one of your teammates) and/or a blue potion are sufficient to keep Riven perfectly capable of spamming her skills often enough.
I feel the need to get broken wings first as it gives her the most mobility, damage potential, and harrassment early game. However, Ki Burst should come next to provide Riven with some supplemental damage and a low cooldown stun (even if it's only a half a second, that should be more than enough for you and your teammates). I choose Valor third to give Riven full mobility and a small shield to help prevent harrassment Riven is sure to encounter. I quickly max Ki Burst since it lowers the CD and it provides the most damage and harrassment capabilites. Valor comes slight before Broken Wings since you will want this on a low CD (every level lowers the CD) for mobility and absorbing some damage. Naturally, you will want to put a point in her ult whenever allowed (levels 6, 11, and 16).
Riven has a very unique play style that many people do not completely understand. For one, she may have spammable skills, but simply mashing these skills is typically a bad idea. Secondly, Riven may be exceptional at disrupting the enemy's play style, but she is also very squishy, which calls for special tactics that will allow her to disrupt while also not suiciding frequently. Lastly, Riven is an exceptional pusher, and must be built/used properly so she can lead her team to victory.
Riven, when chosen with the intention to deal the most damage (offensive masteries and runes), can easily land first blood. Coordinate with your laning partner so you can land your full combo. I choose broken wings first for maximum damage potential. If you go with exhaust and flash first, then getting first blood should be easy. Toss exhaust on the enemy, then use your Q once. Then auto attack. This is important because every time you use an ability, your auto attack becomes empowered with extra damage. Capitalizing on this is vital to dealing the most damage all throughout the game. Use broken wings a second time, then auto attack again. The third time you use broken wings, try to land it in front of your opponent if you can to toss them back slightly. If your opponent flashes away, simply flash to them. Auto attack again and you should have dealth lethal damage by this time in conjunction with your partner's damage. If you are facing ranged champs early game that can harrass you, then stay back and make use of your mobility to keep them from landing and hits on you. Try to last hit as much as possible and AVOID pushing your minions forward. This is very important. You want to keep the fight close to your tower, but not so close that your tower is being damaged. This will allow your jungle room to gank and chase the opponents in your lane when the time comes. Pop one of your health potions whenever you lose 1/4 of your hp or more. Make sure you do not stick around if you are too low on your hp as your escape mechanisms will not help much if an opponent cuts off your escape behind your turrent. If you are facing a low harrass ranged opponent and another melee champ, feel free to harrass with your broken wings and ki burst. Broken wings can get you in range, stun with ki burst, then dash out with valor to avoid counter harrass and minion damage that will likely come your way. Riven's capabilities can take a lot of getting used to at first, but after a few games, her damage capabilities become quite easy to gauge. General knowledge of other champs' defensive capabilities is a big factor in your competence with Riven.
By now, you likely have farmed up a great deal and should be dealing enough damage to annoy your enemies. If you are building offensively, try to kite with your skills as much as possible since you will be quite squishy. If you are building tanky DPS, then feel free to annoy your opponents as much as possible so they will focus you while your teammates shove damage down the enemy's throat. Just make sure your teammates know what you intend to accomplish with your actions. Communication is key. If you intend to finish an opponent, always begin your combos with your ult when available, as this boosts your overall damage significantly. Dash in with either valor or broken wings, auto attack, stun, auto attack, skill, auto attack, etc. Remember, you ultimate deals more damage based on the percentage of health your opponent is missing. So try to gauge it so you use it to finish them rather than leave them dangling with just a few hit points left. It does have a nice range (shaped like a cone), so learn how far you can hit them from in case they try to escape.
Also, by mid game, you should have some decent damage on you. Consequently, you should be pushing your lanes quite hard and towers if the chance is provided. Always, ALWAYS participate in team fights when they appear to be on the way or happen to take place suddenly. If you are busy pushing a tower and your whole team falls because you were not there, they will flame you to no end. Granted, if you can get that tower destroyed and prevent the other team from substantially damaging or taking down one of your own towers, it might not be a complete loss. Just remember, if you can help ace the other team, then you will likely have teammates left alive to help you push towers much faster. Plus, you will be able to use your ult to push a tower down faster without fear of being caught without it.
By late game, Riven should be beefy enough with both health and damage to take on most opponents 2v1. However, if one of those opponents has massive life steal, do your best to keep them stunned and being thrown back a lot, or avoid confrontation. Remember, your greatest strength is in team fighting, since you can deal lots of damage without taking too much. Try to find the right balance between harrassment and staying out of attack range. As with most champs, you want to avoid taking damage as much as possible while dealing the most you can at the same time. Keep pushing the lanes like a pro and taking those towers down. If you need towers bad enough, feel free to toss on your ult when you are taking one down to speed it's fall drastically. Your passive does not affect turrents, so do not waste your time spamming your abilities while thrashing a tower.
This portion of your Riven gameplay should be tailored to fit your playstyle as you grow to know and understand our dear Riven. Even built tanky dps, she can still be focused down hard and killed rather quickly if she gets caught in the wrong situation. If you are playing right, this will almost never happen. So you should not be looking for ways to get out of sticky situations once you get comfortable with Riven, though you should not take away your escape options either since you cannot always predict how a teamfight will go. This is why I recommend flash as the number one summoner spell. I use this on almost all of my champs (excluding people like shaco who already have a blink in their skills). Flash gives you great chasing and escaping capabilities and allows you to acquire proper placement to land your skills in the most effective manner. Let's say someone blinks away just before you deal your finishing blow with the active portion of your ult. You can blink to them and fire away. Or if you slash your way across the enemies while your tank has them distracted and an enemy recovers and stuns you and the whole enemy team begins to focus fire on you. Flash over a wall or behind your tank to safety. I know they are planning to nuke flash's range and cd, so take advantage of it while you can.
As for the second spell, this can be situational or purely based on personal preference. Quite honestly, two of the best seconds spells for Riven are exhaust and ignite. Ignite will give you that almost guaranteed first blood, though you can get it just as easily with exhaust (if not easier) and exhaust typically scales better, damage-wise, into late game. Both can work equally well on an enemy that has massive spell vamp or life steal. With the exhaust they will be dealing less damage, taking more, and healing less as a result. With ignite, they will take initial damage, heal less, but still deal maximum damage. That is why I typically prefer exhaust over ignite, unless you want to take both for an almost sure kill. (:
Riven can use ghost (though she's already plenty fast with skills). She can use teleport quite effectively, though, once again, she shouldn't be having too much trouble covering the map area. It will make her seem like she's everywhere at once though. Lastly, she can jungle with smite (she does well enough at jungling), and she can use heal. However, smite is only for jungling, and heal is only if you are not very competitive, inexperienced, and/or find yourself unable to sustain life. (If this is the case, please play custom games and vs AI games since people will not appreciate carrying dead weight in a normal or ranked game).