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Riven Build Guide by Khazem

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Khazem

Khazem's Guide to Riven, The Exile

Khazem Last updated on November 28, 2013
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Ability Sequence

1
4
5
7
9
Ability Key Q
2
8
10
12
13
Ability Key W
3
14
15
17
18
Ability Key E
6
11
16
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.



Masteries

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
1/
Havoc
 
 

Offense: 21

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Legendary Guardian
 
 

Defense: 9

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Bandit
Intelligence
 
 
 
 
 
 
Wanderer
 
 

Utility: 0




Table of Contents

1Introduction



2Getting Ready



3Abilities

4Itemization



5Gameplay



Commonly Used Abbreviations in this Guide




Hi! I'm Khazem, a diamond rated League of Legends player. I've been playing this game since early season 1, playing mainly top lane in all that time.

I started playing Riven on her release day in season 2 and loved her from the very first game. I never really took her very seriously though as I wasn't very good at her. Though in season 3 I started playing her more often and eventually became a Riven main and made it to Diamond.

In this guide I will try and explain my method of being succesful with Riven and how to overcome some of her weaknesses.






Pros

+ High Damage
+ Two Steroids
+ Good Burst
+ Global Ultimate
+ Very Consistent
+ Disruptive E
+ Is Draven

Riven's Strengths

Draven's overall strength is the massive damage he can deal with little items. Spinning Axe provides a high percentual increase of his standard attacks based on his total AD which means that it scales perfectly to late-game. Blood Rush is an AS and movement speed steroid that can be kept up constantly. Additionally, he holds high base damage values on both his Stand Aside and Whirling Death which creates good burst at all stages of the game.



Riven's Shortcomings

Draven's main strength is also his main weakness. Spinning Axe causes Draven to have predictable movement which is pretty much a bad thing. Crowd control is even more of an enemy to Draven as any other AD carry because it can cause him to drop his Spinning Axe which lowers his damage output dramatically. Additionally, he has no real escape moves which makes him easier to lock down.

Cons

- No Real Escape
- Tricky Playstyle
- Allergic to CC
- Situational Innate
- Predictable Movement
- Hard to Play
- Is Draven





FLASH
The best possible summoner spell for Riven. Often needed to enable aggressive plays in teamfights. Other than that it's very useful for chasing, dodging skillshots that would otherwise kill/CC you or escaping bad situations.

IGNITE
Used to finish people off/adding on to your all-in damage. Because Riven's main objective is to do damage and kill, this is the most suitable other summoner spell to choose next to Flash.





RUNES
The most standard runepage. The extra AD helps you last hit and deal more damage with your abilities/auto attacks. Armor and MR are defensive runes you'll need to have a stronger laning phase. Do not take armor penetration because Riven will still deal more damage to champions with AD runes as opposed to ARP runes for most of the game. Additionally, Valor scales with your AD.

.
ALTERNATIVE - LIFE STEAL
The more I use these, the more I like them. It just makes a Doran's Blade start a little more viable, having some more sustain to fall back on.

ALTERNATIVE - COOLDOWN REDUCTION
Cooldown reduction is one of the best stats for Riven because her entire kit revolves around using them as much as possible. If you're not too worried about magic damage you can use these.





OFFENSE: 21
In the first tier you want to get the CDR over the attack speed because your damage (and defense) comes mainly from using your abilities more. Double-Edged Sword is a good filler needed to get past tier 2.
In the third tier I opt for Spell Weaving because all Riven's abilities count as spells. Executioner works great with her ultimate and helps you secure kills.
Follow up with Blade Weaving to empower your abilities even more and put the remainder of your points into Warlord , Devastating Strikes and Havoc - all for more damage output.





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DEFENSE: 9
The other 9 points should go in defense to give you a few nice stats to increase your laning power. Both Block and Unyielding are very good masteries to make you stronger in damage trades. I choose Recovery over Enchanted Armor because Riven generally doesn't get a whole lot of defensive stats so adding 5% to that won't make a very big difference. Then again, 5% is never all that great.









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RUNIC BLADE
Riven's abilities charge her blade, causing her to do a bonus 20 / 25 / 30 / 35 / 40 / 45 / 50 % of her total attack damage on her next autoattack.
details


USEFUL TIPS
  • Runic Blade stacks will expire in 5 seconds if none of the charges are expended/added.
  • Runic Blade charges are not expended when attacking structures and do no bonus damage.
  • The bonus damage from Runic Blade does not apply to Riven's critical strikes.
  • The bonus damage from Runic Blade benefits from life steal.
  • When going for a trade/kill, always make sure to proc your charges in between abilities for maximum damage output.


BROKEN WINGS
Riven steps forward and lashes out in a series of powerful sword slashes that will damage all enemies nearby for 30 / 55 / 80 / 105 / 130 (+0.7 per bonus attack damage) physical damage and a total of 90 / 165 / 240 / 315 / 390 (+2.1 per bonus attack damage) physical damage. This ability can be activated a second time within 4 seconds, and a third time within 4 seconds of that. On the third activation she will also knock up nearby enemies and have a larger radius of damage. All three strikes will deal the same amount of damage.
details


USEFUL TIPS
  • Broken Wings does not proc on-hit effects.
  • Broken Wings will not damage Black Shield but the knockup from the third hit is negated.
  • Broken Wings' dash speed is roughly equivalent to 475 movement speed. At 550 movement speed, however, simply moving is faster than using Broken Wings as a method of faster travel.
  • Broken Wings has a 0.5 second cooldown between each activation.
  • Unlike most abilities that consist of multiple casted components, Broken Wings' cooldown will start upon the first activation instead of after the last activation.


KI BURST
Riven deals 50 / 80 / 110 / 140 / 170 (+1.0 per bonus attack damage) physical damage and stuns nearby enemies for 0.75 seconds.
details


USEFUL TIPS
  • Ki Burst does not proc on-hit effects.
  • Ki Burst will not damage Black Shield and the stun is negated.
  • Ki Burst cancels/ignores the animation of Blade of the Exile


VALOR
Riven dashes towards the cursor and gains a 60 / 90 / 120 / 150 / 180 (+1.0 per bonus attack damage) shield for up to 2.5 seconds.
details


USEFUL TIPS
  • Valor cannot be used while Riven is snared. This prevents Riven from shielding herself when disabled.
  • Valor can be used to ignore the casting animation of other abilities. (more on this later)
  • Valor cannot be used to dash through impassible terrain or walls, but does go through temporary terrain such as Anivia's Crystallize, Jarvan IV's Cataclysm, or Trundle's Pillar of Ice.


BLADE OF THE EXILE
Riven's sword reforms, gaining 20% bonus attack damage, extended range on her damaging abilities and autoattacks for 15 seconds. She is also granted the ability to use Wind Slash once for the duration.

Riven can activate the ability to emit a shockwave in a long cone in front of her that deals a minimum of 80 / 120 / 160 (+0.6 per bonus attack damage) and a maximum of 240 / 360 / 480 (+1.8 per bonus attack damage) physical damage to all units hit based on their missing health.

details


USEFUL TIPS
  • The range on Valor is not increased by Blade of the Exile.
  • Wind Slash has a one second delay after Blade of the Exile is activated before it can be cast.
  • Wind Slash has a 0.25 second casting time.






Broken Wings
Ki Burst
Valor
Blade of the Exile
1




Q
2




W
3




E
4




Q
5




Q
6




R
7




Q
8




W
9




Q
10




W
11




R
12




W
13




W
14




E
15




E
16




R
17




E
18




E



This is the general ability sequence for Riven. Q > W > E, R whenever possible. Regardless of what abilities you take at levels 1, 2 and 3, always make sure you have all 3 of your abilities when you hit level 3.

In hard matchups or when you're generally having trouble in lane, max Valor second.

In certain matchups that require you to survive untill level 3, you can get a point in Valor at level 2 or even level 1.



Before I make a list of what items are good to get, let me start of by explaining what stats to prioritize when building on Riven and why.
ATTACK DAMAGE
All of Riven's abilities scale with AD, therefore it is the most important stat by far. Not only does it increase your damage, it also increases your defense through giving you a much stronger shield. Always look to build damage on Riven, even when behind.

COOLDOWN REDUCTION
Compliments all of Riven's strong points very nicely. If your cooldowns are lower, you can use your abilities more -> you do more damage, your mobility goes up and you get more shields.

ARMOR PENETRATION
People will usually build armor whenever a Riven starts to get fed. Getting armor penetration will help you bypass that armor so that you can still do a lot of damage.


LIFE STEAL
Because Riven doesn't have any innate sustain, she needs lifesteal to keep her health up so that she can keep putting pressure on her lane or even sustain a little in teamfights.





WARDING TOTEM
The trinket of choice for the early laning phase. You're not going to be able to buy a ward at the start so this will at least give you some vision when you really need it.

+


OR

OR

OR

Pretty common starting build. Usually paired with lifesteal quints, this start gives you a good mix of damage, survivability and sustain.







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The ideal starting build if you're looking for early kills. A red elixir gives you more kill potential than a Doran's Blade does. However, you really need to make it count as it's a 350 gold investment that doesn't otherwise build into anything else.

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My preferred starting build when laning against a safe ranged opponent. It gives you all the lane sustain you need to get the levels you need to go aggressive. As mentioned before, the alternative is a Doran's Shield, but having only 1 Health Potion makes this risky in some scenarios.
Good start in an easy lane matchup. Allows you to get a very quick brutalizer and snowball the lane.









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THE CORE BUILD
These are the 3 main items you want to make your build around. Gives you a good mix of all the important stats you need to kill stuff.


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THE BLOODTHIRSTER
VS.

RAVENOUS HYDRA
+ Has more AD and Lifesteal than a Hydra when stacked.
+ Is 100 gold cheaper.
+ Earlier power spike when buying B. F. Sword over Pickaxe and Long Sword.
- Lose stacks on death.
- B. F. Sword is a 1550 gold investment.
+ Stronger waveclear without having to use abilities.
+ Gives you an extra damage proc every 10 seconds.
+ Doesn't require stacking.
- Less overall damage.
- Requires more item slots to build up unless you have a lot of gold.
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THE BLOODTHIRSTER

THE BRUTALIZER
Alternative to the Ravenous Hydra as main AD item. While it has the potential to do more damage than a hydra, you need to be at max stats for it to really be worth getting over one. Only get this if you're very far ahead.













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THE BLACK CLEAVER

YOUMUU'S GHOSTBLADE
One of two possible upgrades from your brutalizer. Get this for reliable damage and for the useful little health boost.








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I personally am a huge fan of this item on Riven. While it might seem strange, it gives both AD and ARP which are very useful, on top of some crit chance that combined with your passive can REALLY hurt. Though the best feature of this item is the little move/attack speed boost that adds to your already really high moblity.






ARMOR

MAGIC RESISTANCE





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RANDUIN'S OMEN
Makes it harder for AD carries to kite you and gives you some nice defense against them and other auto attackers in general. The on use slow is also very nice for catching up to people or even for peeling if needed.






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BANSHEE'S VEIL
Grants you some good defenses against an AP heavy team with the added bonus of a shield that can block a key ability.


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GUARDIAN ANGEL
If you're just getting blown up in teamfights you can get one of these. Strong item to get if you're ahead, the only melee threat or if you know you're about to go for an important teamfight.
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MAW OF MALMORTIUS
One of the more powerful defensive items for Riven as it also grants her some AD which adds to her shield strength. If magic damage bothers you, this item and its magic shield will help you a ton.








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SPIRIT VISAGE
Grants you some good defenses against an AP heavy team with the added bonus of some extra healing from your lifesteal items and some CDR if you aren't already capped. Recommended over Banshee's Veil in most scenarios.




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MERCURIAL SCIMITAR
Gets rid of stuns, slows and also that pesky Exhaust. Recommended defensive item if you're facing strong crowd control.






IONIAN BOOTS OF LUCIDITY
In most games, these will be the boots you want to get. They're a very cheap source of a good chunk towards your CDR cap and grant you a LOT of extra moblity.
ENCHANTMENT: DISTORTION
By far the best enchantment for Riven just because it reduces the cooldown of your best friend Flash. More flashes = more plays.
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MERCURY'S TREADS
Probably the only viable source of tenacity for top lane Riven. If you're having a lot of trouble getting onto your desired targets because of CC, get these.
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ENCHANTMENT: HOMEGUARD
If you're recalling and you're in a rush to get somewhere you can buy this enchantment. It really doesn't have many uses beyond that for Riven so avoid this if you can, but buy them if you must.





So now I've listed all the items that are good to buy, you still need to be able to make a good build using those items. Knowing what items to get comes with experience but here's a couple of standard guidelines.

STARTING
Start with any of the above listed starting items, depending on what your lane opponent is. For example: If you're against a Lee Sin you're probably going to have a lot of early fights -> buy an Elixir of Fortitude.

GETTING THE CORE
Next up is your core build. The Brutalizer is a very strong early game item, but it doesn't do well versus an opponent who's ahead and stacking armor. In fact, it doesn't work very well as a first item when you're behind at all. You'll also usually want to purchase your boots somewhere in here.
When not ahead: Rush Ravenous Hydra followed by Last Whisper
Even or slightly ahead: The Brutalizer -> Ravenous Hydra -> Boots -> Last Whisper
Snowballing out of control: The Brutalizer -> The Bloodthirster -> Last Whisper -> Ravenous Hydra -> Boots

FINISHING THE BUILD
So at this point you should have 4 completed items. Boots, a main AD item ( Ravenous Hydra or The Bloodthirster), The Brutalizer and Last Whisper. Now it's time to determine wether or not you need/want a defensive item. If yes, choose a defensive item accordingly. If no, get more offense! Good items to get at this point are either of the 2 The Brutalizer upgrades or another strong AD item (BT if you have hydra, hydra if you have BT)
Don't forget to upgrade your boots and your trinket.





The laning phase is probably the most important phase in the game for Riven. She's a very lane dominant champion that when given a finger takes an arm and will snowball out of control. If you play your laning phase well and win it, you will always have a big impact on the game.

In most lanes you'll want to just start with your Broken Wings and try to hit level 2 before your laning opponent without pushing your lane too hard. This is done by comparing your creeps' health with their creeps' health. If your opponent started Cloth Armor or Doran's Shield, avoid trading with them before you hit level 2.

When you hit level 2, you can try and pull off the ol' level 2 cheese, where if your opponent is near you as the creep you need to hit level 2 dies, you pop your red pot as the creep is dying, level your W while you're hitting him with your first Q and AA, hit him with the W + ignite and go for the kill.
Do note: This isn't a very reliable first blood method anymore because it's been played out pretty hard and people will see it coming from a mile away, but that shouldn't stop you from trying anyway!

So now you've got your lane pushing. If you were able to chunk your opponent, just continue to slow push the lane. If not, you can go ahead and shove it into the tower in order to reset it. After you've pushed it all the way, go and place your Trinket Ward.
The idea behind these ward spots is that junglers will usually cross these paths when ganking your lane. While these aren't 100% consistent, they are the most reliable early warding spots.

Once you've gained an advantage and you reset your lane by pushing it under the turret, it should now be pushing and you should be looking to freeze. Freezing the lane is done by keeping the amount of enemy minions higher than yours while making sure they don't get too close to your turret. The sweet spot for freezing a lane shown below.
As you can clearly see, there are more enemy minions than there are allied minions. This ensures that my minions always die first and so the lane will stay around that area for as long as I want it to be. This allows me to zone my lane opponent if I am far enough ahead to do so.



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Teamfighting on Riven can be pretty difficult to pull off. People recognize her as a pretty big threat and will act really careful around you if you're fed, as well as focusing you with a lot of crowd control. Being a good Riven means playing around that and getting to the targets you want to be getting to.

Riven's main role in teamfights will always be doing damage. It's not your job to protect your AD carry from their front line and it's not your job to CC key targets. Your job is to get in their backline and kill their carries.

The most reliable way of doing this is with Flash. Try and sneak around the battlefield and get into a good position where you can approach their backline as the teamfight erupts. Use the chaos of it all to Flash onto your target, stun and kill em.

If their backline is strong and well-protected, always wait for them to be occupied with someone else. Riven needs the element of suprise to be able to really get in there and do some serious damage. If they know you're there, they're just going to CC and kill you instantly.
If getting onto their backline really isn't an option, you can stay with your team and help them kill whoever jumps in. See hero kill hero.






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ELISE


x2 x4

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NASUS


x3/4

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RENGAR


x3/4

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TRYNDAMERE


x4

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LEE SIN


x4

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RENEKTON


x4

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THE WALL JUMP
Let's start off with the most commonly used and probably also the most useful trick, the wall jump. Ever since patch 3.8, Riven has the ability to jump over certain walls and objects using the third activation of Broken Wings.
While this does require some practice to master, it's not a very hard trick to actually do.

Here's a video properly displaying this technique.

USING VALOR TO CANCEL ANIMATIONS
You can cancel the animation of Riven's Broken Wings (all 3 activations) and Blade of the Exile by using them during the animation of Valor. Simply tap your E and the desired ability in rapid succession to cancel the animation of the second ability. This is mostly used to remove the long cast time on Blade of the Exile.
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CANCELLING THE ANIMATION ON
TIAMAT/HYDRA

If you've built these items before I'm sure you'll have noticed these too have an annoying little cast animation. But once again, we can cancel that animation using Riven's abilities.
This is also a fairly easy trick to do. The best way to do this is to use a Ki Burst at the same time you're using your Hydra/Tiamat. This will display the Ki Burst animation while showing the AoE particles of the Hydra/Tiamat.

USING TIAMAT/HYDRA TO
REMOVE KI BURST'S CAST TIME

This is more of a damage combo but also a form of animation cancelling. This is used to gapclose and stun without having to stop moving.
This is done by activating your Hydra/Tiamat during the animation of Valor, after which you instantly press Ki Burst and Broken Wings

Note: If you're doing the same thing but going for a kill, you can use your Blade of the Exile at the same time you're using Ki Burst in previous combo.
CANCELLING THE ANIMATION ON
WIND SLASH

Another useful trick if you're chasing and can't afford to lose seconds. Cancel the casting animation of Wind Slash by casting it at the same time as a Broken Wings activation.






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Here's a good video displaying
all these techniques.

Click To View On Youtube
THE QUICK COMBO
Mainly used for clearing jungle or fighting stationary targets, this trick allows you to attack faster than you usually could by interrupting the casting animation of your Broken Wings activations. This is a bit trickier to do than Riven's other tricks.

You attack something with Broken Wings. While Riven is performing her animation, you give her a movement command away from the target and then quickly auto attack that target and you repeat this 3 times. You have to be really quick about the movement and auto attack commands or it won't be worth it.
Here's another video explaining the technique more clearly.

Click To View On Youtube