Riven Build Guide by Xenasis
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Riven is currently one of the strongest junglers (and in my opinion, champions) in the game. She's substantially better in the jungle than she is in the lane, by FAR. She excels at an incredible early game, but falls off a bit later on in the game. She shouldn't be underestimated at all - she can destroy any lane or jungle she wishes if the Riven player is good.
Riven is comparable to Lee Sin, really. She has an incredible early game, can gank at any time she wants with great ease, scales well, and can "carry" if played properly, though she's not the type of champion that deals tonnes of damage, to use Phreak's phrase.
Hopefully, this guide gives you a general idea of how to build and play Riven the way that I feel is best for her. The standard "Fatmas"/"Atmogs" works wonders on Riven due to her spectacularly high ratios. Once she finishes her Atma's Impaler she hits like a truck and is relatively tanky, too!
Riven IS Unique.
I can't stress enough that Riven is ALL about early game aggression. She is probably the most unique jungler in the game.
Forget everything you know about other junglers when you start with Riven. She can't properly do standard routes. She's all about ganking early, or counter jungling early, then snowballing from after there. Think like LeBlanc, she has an incredible early game but falls off late game, Riven doesn't fall off to the extent of LeBlanc, but it's a good comparison.
As Riven you DEFINITELY need to gank at level 2 if there's somewhere to gank, her skills are too good at ganking to ignore. This build tries to maximise that, by taking no Wriggle's Lantern and instead going for Doran's Blades, aiming to gank as well as she can by utilising her crazily good AD ratios.
She's such a good jungler at the moment if you choose to use her properly. She fits pretty well into the current metagame too, dominating lanes or jungles to get an advantage, though people fall into the trap of playing her like any other jungler.
Here's the thing. Riven shouldn't really have a jungling route due to the way she plays so aggressively. She should be in and out of her jungle for the majority of the game, and should be in her opponent's jungle or ganking a large majority of the time.
Here's a video by Stonewall008 explaining Riven's role in the jungle PERFECTLY. All credit goes to him, naturally.
I would make my own, but I feel it would be wasted when there's a perfectly good one already out there. Stonewall did an awesome job at explaining her, she isn't a good jungler to start off with - but if played right, she destroys.
However, there are always some sort of guidelines for what to do! I would do some screenshots but honestly, it's hard to screenshot a gank without it affecting your gank, unfortunately - and since they're in her "route", as it were, I can't do anything else with them. Remember, a true jungler never has a fixed route, anyway, and shouldn't conform completely to what I've put here.
Basic "Route" Guidelines -
Since the jungle change, Riven has had to adapt far more than other champions have. She must be one of the more noticeable jumps.
Now, Riven should start at Wraiths or Golems, depending on how ambitious you want to be, making sure to NOT use Smite.
Next, you go to red. Make sure you get a pull, just like normal junglers do for blue buff! Red hits really hard!
Here it's really, really subjective to the situation at hand. For the most part, you'll be ganking a lane, though.
Hopefully it went well, if it did, great! From here, you'll want to dip back into your jungle, killing Wolves, Wraiths, or any other leftover small camps that you have.
Here, look for a gank or counter jungle. Anything you can do to mess with the opposing players is amazing, and is what Riven does best.
After this, I can't really give you any more directions. You should be ganking a LOT and counter jungling a LOT too. You shouldn't have a fixed path on Riven! One thing I would note though, is to not really ever clear the jungle like a normal jungler. You should never really have the same route every game apart from the first two camps.
Ganking as Riven isn't as easy as on other champions. On Lee Sin, for example, it's a matter of using Sonic Wave / Resonating Strike followed by Tempest / Cripple. With Riven, you have to take into account your passive, if you want to charge to the enemy or save your Broken Wings for damage, and when to use your Ki Shout.
Broken Wings does do quite a bit of damage, though when ganking early on, one doesn't simply walk up to the enemy champion and stun them, and as such, can be used for a potent catch up too, just when ganking, make sure you save the third activation for the small stun it gives to the enemy.
After you've danced up to them using Broken Wings, hit them ONCE, so you don't waste your Runic Blade, then activate Ki Shout. After that you just use whatever abilities are off cooldown, really.
If you have your Valor by the time you're ganking, I'd recommend using that to dash towards the enemy rather than trying to block things, since when ganking, you outnumber them anyway, so you will more than likely not need your shield. If you have your Blade of the Exile, use that near the start of the fight, and save your Wind Slash for the finishing blow.
Remember to utilise Riven's ganking power, and prowess as one of the best gankers and junglers in the game by ganking hard and often. She hits especially hard early on in the game, and she can usually 1v1 people that early on, having someone else there in the lane you're ganking is almost an assured kill!
Unfortunately there isn't much debating these on Riven or most junglers.
Smite is necessary because you're jungling. No questions asked. If you don't have this summoner spell, you're not jungling.
Flash is necessary because it's pretty much the best summoner spell in the game at the moment - and should be taken 95% of times on most champions. Riven also has no escape (or good initiation, for that matter) other than her Broken Wings unless you count her Valor, which is usually used as a dash anyway.
I'd love to list some alternatives but unfortunately there isn't any. For junglers, there never normally are, as much as there is for AP carries or top laners. Wish I could add more to the section but it would be pointless and needlessly verbose.
There isn't that much to say in this section unfortunately. Riven just fits into the current Atma's Impaler tanky DPS meta SO well because of her high AD ratios. I'll assume you can all understand why either Frozen Mallet + Atma's Impaler or Warmog's Armor + Atma's Impaler is a stellar choice on Riven. You should go with Frozen Mallet in a soloqueue game or if your team is lacking CC, and go Warmog's Armor in a game with high CC or an arranged team, as a rule of thumb. Permanent slows are awesome, there's no questioning that!
On to the more debated items. I don't get a Wriggle's Lantern. Why don't I get one? Because the benefits from multiple Doran's Blades keep you as sustained, even more bulky, and dealing a lot more damage because of the (surprisingly high) +10 damage. Though you can get it in certain situations, it's a lot better if you take the Doran's Blades, because of Riven's insanely high AD ratios, as I'll say a lot throughout this section. If you, for some reason, do want to get a Wriggle's Lantern, I'd recommend starting with a Vampiric Scepter and going the same route I depicted in the route section.
After those I go the standard Atmogs/Fatma's, then build some Magic Resistance since Atma's Impaler gives us some armour, and at that point we have a lot of it, so we need some magic resistance so mages don't tear us to shreds. After we've built a Hexdrinker (which has an incredible synergy with Riven, due to her crazy ratios) for the magic resistance, we get a little more armour (in this case, in the form of a Randuin's Omen, then we move onto the luxury items, in this case I got a Force of Nature, but honestly, you just build to what damage type you think is doing well. If AD's doing well on their team, armour is key, mages are doing well results in a Force of Nature or something similar, or if you're destroying them you could just go with more AD or something.
The boots I choose are Mercury's Treads. Ionian Boots of Lucidity are notable alternatives, however, in 90% of situations, Mercury's Treads are better. The Tenacity is AWESOME, and it's the only real way of getting Tenacity for Riven, since the other items are almost pointless on her. Tenacity should be obtained on every champion, pretty much, and these boots are the only non-stupid way Riven can obtain it. You also get a little bit of Magic Resistance which is really quite cool, and lets you survive a little more of a beating, which is vital considering you'll be in the middle of a fight most of the time, since you're a melee. Almost every other Riven guide on the site has Ionian Boots of Lucidity, but honestly, Mercury's Treads are a LOT better for Riven. That CC reduction really helps, there's no questioning that.
The runes I have on Riven capitalize on early game damage, and jungle prowess. There are many other runesets that work just as well, though Riven is all about early game, and attack damage, and since these runes would give her the fastest jungle speeds anyway, I feel these runes are best.
Some alternate runes -
Greater Mark of Desolationx9 x9 x9 Greater Quintessence of Desolationx3
These give you a better late game but don't capitalise on where Riven is best, early game.
Greater Mark of Desolationx9 x9 x9 Greater Quintessence of Desolationx3
The same as above but with MR/level blues.
x9 x9 x9 x3
These are for the best possible early game you can get damage wise. I'd recommend some form of early Armour Penetration (like an early The Brutalizer or something) if you do opt for these runes.
General Tips and Tricks
- Riven shouldn't always be leading the charge early-mid game, try and flank them from behind until you get some sort of bulk.
- When jungling, time your Q just after every auto attack for maximum speeds, since it resets your auto attack timer. Q > Auto Attack > Q > Auto Attack > Q > Auto Attack is faster than Q > Q > Q > Auto Attack > Auto Attack > Auto Attack!
- Needless to say, saving your Wind Slash until you can snipe some people at low health is the best way to use it; however, using your ultimate at the start of the fight is a lot more beneficial for the bonus attack range and attack damage!
- You should gank as many times as you can early on in the game. You destroy any lane you go near, abuse that!
- When building offensive items on Riven, remember than any sort of AD should be prioritised over anything else. Her ratios are through the roof, and you can get some seriously high damage just by getting a little AD.
- Your Broken Wings is the trickiest skill to use when playing Riven. You can use it to try and get to the enemy quicker, to do more damage, or to flee a battle. I'd advise that when ganking, you should use (in most cases, this is by far law) two uses to get to them then the third to stun them a bit - and hit them with that one!
- Early game, you can take on almost any champion 1v1 in the jungle. Use this to your advantage, and counter jungle as much as you ******** like. They can't really stop you due to your obvious advantage of being able to kill them.
- The key to playing Riven is being "balls to the wall" aggressive. Don't be afraid to steal that extra jungle camp, or gank that lane again after you've just ganked it. Riven is a bad jungler to start off with because she's pretty complex. Just master that aggression and you'll be a pro Riven in no time!
- You can and should give blue buff to your AP carry every time it's up. You have no use for mana, so naturally, they benefit it a LOT more than you do. An AP carry with a blue buff will destroy one without.
9/10/11 - Published the guide.
9/10/11 - Fixed the masteries to include Offensive Mastery . Thanks to JhoiJhoi for pointing this out.
9/10/11 - Swapped Force of Nature and Hexdrinker in the build order. Thanks for Wrath for that suggestion.
9/10/11 - Guide title now 20% cooler.
10/10/11 - Added a new paragraph in the Jungling section linking to Stonewall's video.
19/11/11 - Changed guide to suit new masteries.
21/12/11 - Updated for new jungle.