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Riven Build Guide by Khazem

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.


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League of Legends Build Guide Author Khazem

Khazem's Top Lane Riven

Khazem Last updated on March 8, 2015
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Ability Sequence

1
4
5
7
9
Ability Key Q
2
14
15
17
18
Ability Key W
3
8
10
12
13
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



Threats to Riven with this build

Threat
Low
High
Show all
Threat Champion Notes
1
Dr. Mundo Pretty free. He poses little threat to you early on. Zone him from the wave, use your shield to block his cleavers if he's trying to last hit that way. Make a difference early on or he'll become too tank to deal with.



Table of Contents

1Introduction



2Getting Ready



3Abilities

4Itemization



5Gameplay



Commonly Used Abbreviations in this Guide


Changelog




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 successful with Riven and how to overcome some of her weaknesses.






Pros

+ High Damage
+ High Mobility
+ Snowballs very hard
+ Strong Laner
+ No costs on any ability

Riven's Strengths

Riven is a very high damage, high moblity champion that is a very strong and safe top laner. If she starts getting ahead she can snowball games really hard and force entire teams to come try and deal with her. If she is left to do her thing in a teamfight, she can wipe out entire enemy backlines in mere seconds.



Riven's Shortcomings

While Riven is a strong and safe laner, she doesn't have any built in sustain she can fall back on like many bruisers do. If she starts falling behind she can become quite useless. Her great scaling also cause some issues. Even when behind she cannot afford to build defensively as she'll simply do no damage and won't be able to do her job.

Cons

- No Sustain
- Tricky Playstyle
- Can be shut down by CC
- Predictable Movement
- Difficult to Master





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. I get this in lower level games or in matchups where it's very important you get that early lead. Although keep in mind that if you fail to get it, you'll be at a disadvantage not having Teleport

TELEPORT
Can be used in difficult lanes or just to get an experience lead/item advantage in lane. When using this to teleport back to lane make sure to use it on your turret to decrease the cooldown.





RUNES
My current Riven runepage. Both in marks and quints I always run flat AD for the trading power and to make last hitting a little easier. Armor seals are pretty obvious too. Reduce incoming harass and minion damage. As for glyphs I like to run a combination of scaling CDR and MR. Using 6 scaling CDR glyphs, you'll reach exactly 40% CDR combined with a brutalizer item, CDR boots and the 5% from your masteries.

.
ALTERNATIVE - FLAT COOLDOWN REDUCTION
In some matchups, running flat CDR over scaling can be better due to the need of that CDR early on, for example to use your shield more often, or to be able to go in for trades more often (thinking of most ranged matchups with an escape - you want your engage to have a lower cooldown than their escape).

ALTERNATIVE - HEALTH
In most matchups against champions that deal primarily magic damage, you can replace some or all of your armor seals by health. I like to still run 2-3 armor seals just to reduce the incoming minion damage by a bit.


Now if you're just starting out and can't really afford too many runes yet, you can just go with a very standard AD page, which looks like this.



This runepage will serve you just fine untill you can afford to buy extra runepages at which point you can start thinking about buying runes like CDR and health.





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. Butcher to get down to Feast which is useful for some extra sustain in the early game because Riven's sustain is pretty horrible.
I drop Warlord to get the Spell Weaving and Blade Weaving combo because you just get more out of those 2. The extra point I would otherwise put into Warlord is spent in Dangerous Game , a mastery point that can be incredibly clutch in close teamfights.
I grab Devastating Strikes and Havoc to complete the offense tree.





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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 10 / 30 / 50 / 70 / 90 (+40/45/50/55/60% total 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 90 / 120 / 150 / 180 / 210 (+1.0 per bonus attack damage) shield for up to 1.5 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




E
9




Q
10




E
11




R
12




E
13




E
14




W
15




W
16




R
17




W
18




W



This is the general ability sequence for Riven. Q > E > W, 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 easier matchups, you can max Ki Burst second for extra damage.

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. (you generally start with Valor against most ranged opponents)



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

Used for a standard level 1. You want to start with some extra attack damage to have some more early laning presence and 3 health potions, considering Riven's low base health regen is a bare minimum.







|
Good for the auto attack damage reduction for when you're facing a ranged opponent or certain melee champions and want to play it safe early on. Since the nerf it's usually outclassed in usefulness by Doran's Blade so would only recommend it if you think you really need it.



|
Start with this item if you want to start with a jungle camp and teleport to lane after. This will give you 5 potions and a small exp lead, as well as more combat stats than a long sword will give you.







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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.






THE BLOODTHIRSTER

THE BRUTALIZER
Used as a second strong AD item, after your core if you're looking for more damage. I like building this against tanky teams where I'm not really looking to go for the back line and instead am looking to peel. The extra sustain and shield will make you incredibly hard to kill in teamfights.


INFINITY EDGE
I get this instead of The Bloodthirster if I want more damage against a squishy team, where I'm looking to assassinate the backline. The extremely high crits you get with this item leave your squishy opponents with very little time to react and very little ability to counter play. Would always recommend finishing a Youmuu's before getting this for the extra crit chance.


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.

ZEPHYR
Very situational, but useful item. All of the stats on this item are really good on Riven, but it's a bit of a luxury item. I like getting this if I want to cap out my CDR but still need the tenacity. Note: DO NOT replace your boots with this. Having the Distortion boot enchantment is far too valuable to replace.







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 want some good combat stats to go toe to toe with him in trades -> buy a Doran's Blade.

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 -> Ravenous Hydra -> Last Whisper -> The Black Cleaver -> Boots

FINISHING THE BUILD
So at this point you should have 4 completed items. Boots, Ravenous Hydra, 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 an Infinity Edge/ The Bloodthirster or either of the 2 The Brutalizer upgrades. Finish your build with either a defensive item ( Guardian Angel / Banshee's Veil) or if you still don't feel like you need one, just get another offensive item.
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.

First, you need to choose what item to start with, as well as what ability you want at level 1. Currently, I believe the best way to start is to buy Doran's Blade and 1 Health Potion and set up for taking the wolf camp at level 1. If you go for a standard lane start, you'll have to look at who you're laning against. In most cases you're going to want to buy a Long Sword and 3 Health Potion. If you're against a dangerous ranged opponent, Doran's Shield might be a better option. Wait before you choose the ability you want to start with in case of invades or other scenarios that you can't really forsee. When you get to lane, choose your first ability accordingly (in most cases you'll want to grab Broken Wings, but you might sometimes find it's better to start more defensively with Valor - more information in the matchups section)

So as mentioned earlier, ideally, the way you want to start out the laning phase is by taking the wolf camp when it spawns. Make sure the enemy team has no knowledge of this or they might try to stop you. Grab your Broken Wings and focus down the big wolf. Make sure to auto attack between every use of Broken Wings. Once you wolves are dead, immediately recall, buy 5 Health Potion and teleport back to the lane. This will allow you to start with a Doran's Blade rather than a Long Sword for more combat stats AND will give you 5 Health Potion for sustain, as well as a small experience lead.

If you go for a standard lane you'll most often 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.

Always keep in mind, that in a standard lane scenario, you will hit level 2 after exactly one whole wave + 1 melee minion, so try and use that knowledge to get an early lead in the lane. Whoever hits level 2 first will have a pretty big advantage for the duration of that lead. If the enemy is outpushing you, play it safe and stay out of his range and let the wave push to your tower.

If you did hit level 2 first, your lane will likely now be pushing towards the enemy. 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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video displaying the level 1 wolf start





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, but her main focus is always different depending on the situation and also depending on what kind of team you're playing against/with.

First we'll go over the easiest scenario.


Teamfighting when very far ahead



When you're really fed and far ahead of the enemy team, you are very hard to deal with and what they have on their team in terms of CC becomes less relevant. You can pretty much try to catch out anyone that is out of position and blow them up. If you're by far the strongest champion on the map, you want to focus the enemy that is the biggest threat to your team. Don't get too cocky though, cause even though you're ahead, you're gonna be a big point of focus for the enemy team.


Teamfighting against a team with low CC



Kind of the same as above, just have to be a little more careful. They have little to no CC to stop you from flashing onto their backline and destroying them, so that's what you want to look to do.



Teamfighting against a team with high CC



When teamfighting against a lot of CC, it can be very risky to straight up get onto their backline, because they're very likely to just turn on you, CC you and kill you before you're able to get any sort of damage off. You either want to be very patient, and wait for them to commit to other targets and use their CC, or simply stay with your team and peel. The first method is risky and has a big chance of still going wrong, as they can wipe your team in their initial engage if you're not immediately present in the teamfight, so in most cases I would recommend staying with your team, peeling and waiting for an opportunity to jump on any priority target.








NOTE: these matchups are taking into account a STANDARD lane start. Doing wolves at level 1 changes how most matchups are played, and I haven't really had enough experience with it yet to write about the matchups in that case.

- FAVORABLE MATCHUPS -


DR. MUNDO

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VLADIMIR

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- SKILL MATCHUPS -


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TRYNDAMERE



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NIDALEE

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- COMMON COUNTER PICKS -


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RENEKTON


x3

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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