Riven Build Guide by Nubbiestn00b
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.
Introduction to my Guide and Riven (Work in Progress)
Before you start playing a match with Riven with my build/guide,
Do NOT build her ITEM-FOR-ITEM on how I describe her in my builds above.
Purchase the bare minimum boots, The Bloodthirster, and Giant's Belt, then start building the rest based on the situation. Read my item purchase and skill order guides below for more information. Riven needs a balance of health, damage, and resistances, and only YOU can make the decision, not some strict guide on Mobafire.
Hello. This is my first guide on Mobafire. I will probably update this guide later, because I have to read JhoiJhoi's amazing guide on how to make a guide. Anyway, here is my guide to Riven! This guide is about the top lane, since I'm not that great at Riven jungle. I find jungle to be a bit slow early game and the ganks aren't quite as good as some of my other favorite junglers, like Lee Sin or Udyr.
Riven is my favorite top champion. She's countered by Champions such as Olaf, Jax, or Yorick, but you still have a chance of still winning or competing if you are more skillful than the enemy laner or have more ganks. That's what I love about Riven: it's never a "free win" or "gg we lose" situation in top lane, regardless if Riven gets countered or counters someone else, unlike static champs like Udyr or Malphite. It's up to the player of Riven to determine whether or not Riven will be successful in top lane. However, she does NOT have any form of sustain whatsoever, so be careful of heavy sustain laners.
The best part about Riven is that she will usually beat up any top laner out there if you have good judgement on when to use your abilities -- and your abilities don't even use a resource! You NEED to beat up your laner, because you have no sustain. Be aggressive, negate your enemy's sustain, and snowball your way to victory.
She's also an incredibly snowbally champion. If you get first blood or a kill within the early minutes of the game, it's smooth sailing from there. The problem with Riven is that she requires really expensive items to start off with, like a 1100 gold Giant's Belt or a 1650 gold B.F. sword. You either need to farm a bunch or get some kills, since buying smaller items are usually not worth it.
Unfortunately, I looked at the other Riven guides on Mobafire and found that they are really similar. Riven is a hard champion to build differently, since she benefits the most from a few select items. Damage items, and tanky items. She can't buy most of the items from the shop without wasting stats, too. We will talk about this later in the guide.
Thanks for clicking my guide! Hope you learn something, and don't be afraid to comment. I am open to suggestions and tips to be a better Riven player.
Pros and Cons
- Free ability casts, only cooldowns
- Relatively low cooldowns even without CDR
- Only has to worry about managing health
- Massive executioner AOE ulti with huge damage boost
- Built-in AD "Lich Bane" passive that stacks three times
- Two mobility spells
- Two interrupts/CC's to interrupt things like Nunu ult, Katarina ult, or Shen ult
- Exceptional poke that is cost-free and every couple seconds
- Counters or outplays most conventional tops
- Can clear waves extremely fast while still getting all last hits
- If need be, can swap with jungle
- Shield that scales with damage
- Massive AD ratios
- Snowballs easily
- Late game better than a lot of tops ( Renekton, Lee Sin, Olaf)
- Easily countered by very few champions
- No innate sustain abilities
- If cooldowns are down early game, you do no damage or are dead meat if ganked
- If shut down early, you become useless top unless your jungler helps with ganks
- Requires expensive items to start with
- Cannot scale with AP at all, so some items are wasteful, same with mana
I only use one set of masteries as of now.
That being said, that doesn't mean that you are limited to only using the traditional 21/9/0 masteries. I have used 9/21/0 on Riven before and it is still good because she benefits from the extra tankiness when dealing against damage-dealing tops.
Why do I use these masteries?
She should put twenty one into Offense, which makes since since she scales well with attack damage and needs as much armor penetration as she can get. The armor penetration and attack damage masteries are self-explanatory.
The Sorcery is mainly because of the fact that her abilities are cost-free: this means that CDR is key to dealing out tons of damage.
The Vampirism mastery is a little bit controversial, since I see a lot of people opting to skip that one. I like it because it provides a bit of sustain in your early game, since Riven has no innate sustains or anything, and she only has health potions to start with. I just like it.
The Executioner is key to Riven's awesomeness. Her ultimate does massive damage already when the enemy is low, so the extra percentage of damage will help you kill-secure even cleaner.
The 9 in defense is also self-explanatory. You already have a lot of armor and magic resist from your runes, but it's good to have some more. I take health masteries over more armor and magic resist because you will get lots of resistances from your build, and health is more beneficial early game in the event of true-damage spells like Olaf's Reckless Swing or an Ignite.
You can take the health regen mastery if you want, but I like going balls-deep as Riven and I rarely take damage from poking, so I take flat health. Plus, I have potions. If you find yourself getting beat up, switch up the masteries to health regeneration.
You can roll with two different rune builds.
Greater Mark of Attack Damage
Greater Seal of Armor
Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist
Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage
This one is the one that I recommend. Riven scales incredibly well with AD, so even an extra fifteen attack damage is great on her early game damage output, through her amazing passive, abilities, and auto-attacks. You will win most trades against top-laners (barring Olaf and Lee Sin, and Jax if you are not careful) with these runes.
An alternate rune set-up is the same, except with the flat attack damage Marks swapped with Greater Mark of Desolation for armor penetration. It works against heavy armor tops, such as Malphite, and is very beneficial since you get no armor penetration until you build a The Brutalizer or a Last Whisper sometime later on.
Hey, the small amount of armor penetration doesn't seem much, but it adds up. ~30% of your damage taken away as opposed to ~20% is a big deal early and mid game, despite its appearance.
Flash is simply a must-have for Riven. She uses it to position her knock-up Q, her W, get into teamfights, escape ganks, get double kills when ganked at tower, or get a clutch ulti in. Basically, don't play top without it. Also, remember this: lanes without Flash are free kills for the jungler. Flash is broken, so don't gimp yourself by not using it.
Ignite is also a great summoner spell. It helps you finish off your enemy laner, reduces healing effects if you decide to go in balls-deep, and gives you 5 extra AD from your masteries when it is on cooldown. The 5 AD doesn't seem much, but it adds up in a fight.
I suggest popping this bad boy first if you are thinking of going in for the kill. It's better than igniting them last, because you never know if they get out of ignite range later, and if you pop it first you get both the bonus AD and reduce their healing. Top it off with the fact that Riven does more damage on her ult when the enemy has less health, it is undeniable that you should ignite first.
Many people tend to ignite last, but I suggest doing it first if you are on a 1 v 1 against your enemy lane. Common sense though, do not ignite if you aren't expecting a kill. Contrary to some level 8 summoners' opinions, Ignite is not used for a poke.
Exhaust is a great spell in itself, but I don't feel that it fits well with Riven as solo top. It is still viable though, no doubt about that. It's great in teamfights when you want to exhaust an escaping enemy, or when a Hecarim is zooming towards your AD carry. However, it does not have as much of a 1 v 1 presence when laning.
It's still useful for when your jungler ganks, but Ignite has tons of true damage while exhaust only guarantees a slow and damage reduction. Exhaust does not do much damage at all.
However, if you are expecting to be pounded on top lane, you can take Exhaust to make sure that you won't die early game, like against Olaf or somebody, since it reduces damage and slows them. I don't do this, but it's viable.
Meh So-so Spells
I suppose you can use Teleport to split push similar to how Shen does and roam around the map while still being able to protect her tower at will. However, it's not as strong as Shen combined with his Stand United and Teleport, but it is still ok to use for split pushing late game or something, where Riven can easily destroy a whole creep wave with a Q W combo, or for roaming early game without suffering the consequences of losing tower health.
Ghost is alright, since it's not a complete waste like some spells like Clarity or Revive for Riven. However, the one quip that I have with this is that it is slightly gimped by Riven's ability mobility. What I mean is that Broken Wings and Valor, her two abilities that mark Riven as an exceptional mobility champion, don't scale with her movement speed. It's only an animation.
That means that regardless of how fast Ghost makes her, those two abilities actually slow her down, or at least has the same speed of her normally walking. That's why I don't roll Ghost on Riven: she doesn't need it.
Heal is not a bad spell, persay. It's great for those 2 v 1 scenarios where they tank several towers to get to you (I will explain this in-depth later, Riven excels at this), only to realize that you healed for a good chunk of our health.
However, it doesn't have a very good use on Riven top, since she relies on being aggressive rather than baiting. You can use Heal aggressively when you 1 v 1, but in my opinion Ignite does a better job since it does true damage to your enemy. Also, Ignite does more damage to your enemy than Heal heals you for, and also slows the enemy's healing. Take Ignite instead if possible.
There are more spells, but they are not as good as the ones above. I will add more when I have time to, but I don't think you guys really need an in-depth review of Clarity on Riven.
What Are Riven's Abilities?
Riven is a very flexible champion when it comes to adapting to her situation, with her items and her ability leveling. Here, I'll explain the abilities real quick for those of you starting to play Riven. Scroll over the thumbnails of the abilities to see the exact base damage values and AD ratios.
Passive - Runic Blade
This is Riven's passive. Every time Riven uses one of her abilities, she gains a stack that increases the damage of her next attack. This stacks up to three times, so using any abilities after three stacks will waste stacks. It's awesome because it's a mini- Lich Bane except it scales +0.5 per bonus attack damage and has decent 5 base damage.
Late game, the damage becomes more insignificant, but it still packs a punch. Early game, it really sucks to be smacked by a stack of Runic Blade. When comboing your abilities, try to maintain a maximum of 3 stacks, while auto-attacking in between to consume stacks to do maximum damage. Always do a pattern of ability -> aa -> ability -> aa constantly, occasionally doing more than one ability in a row depending on the situation. A good Riven rarely wastes stacks, especially in fights, unless you need to escape or gank quickly.
Q - Broken Wings
This is my favorite ability of Riven's! It's really versatile, and you can easily make pro plays with it. Press Q, and Riven will hop forwards to wherever she is facing. If you hover your mouse over an enemy, she will hop towards the enemy instead. Yeah, that's confusing, I do not know why they don't just make her hop in the direction of her mouse like Valor does, but you will get used to it.
On the third hop, she will do a flippy thing in the air, and upon impact she will knock all enemies in the blast radius slightly in the air. It counts as an interrupt, and works like a small Alistar Pulverize.
Take note of the fact that it launches them in the direction opposite of where you landed your Broken Wings. You can easily Q ahead of them, displacing them behind you, which is useful for ganks and when you are going in for the kill to ensure that your victim does not escape.
Broken Wings does not do very much damage by itself early game. It hits pretty hard late game when Riven acquires more attack damage, but in the early to mid game, Broken Wings is more of an ability to proc her passive (with Q, aa, Q, aa), to move somewhere quickly, or to use the small knockup during ganks or pokes. Don't make the mistake most newbies do, where they use Q alone to harass and they max Q first. What nonsense!
Also, as a final note, Broken Wings allows you to ignore unit collision. Use this to your advantage when chasing or escaping a gank, as regular champions will have to weave through the whole mess while you zip through effortlessly. It also helps for when junglers like Lee Sin gank you, because then he won't be able to hit you with his skillshot, Resonating Strike, if you are bouncing around inside of a creep wave.
W - Ki Burst
When you press W, Riven will stop moving and raise her sword in the air, stunning nearby enemies for 0.75 seconds, and doing damage. Always level this ability whenever you can! It's Riven's main source of burst damage, and is amazing in lane. It costs nothing to use, and does massive aoe damage. The radius is fairly tiny (250), so you will need to literally be on top of your enemy to hurt them. You will get used to it, but you will miss the enemy when starting to play Riven. Don't be ashamed.
I like to chain this ability in with my Q's and E's when going in for a teamfight or for pokes in lane. It offers a mini-stun for 0.75 seconds. Although it seems insignificant, it is extremely annoying to be stunned every 6 seconds in a teamfight or in a 1 v 1 late game, in addition to her Broken Wings knockup procs.
Most importantly, it does tons of damage. A standard poke technique for Riven is to Valor into her lane enemy, Ki Burst, autoattack, then Broken Wings out to safety without getting hit at all. It works really well since most top laners are melee and cannot catch up to Riven.
Watch out though! It does snare you for a bit while it plays the animation for putting the sword up in the air, so you have to continue right clicking your way to attack or move after popping the move.
E - Valor
When you press E, Riven will perform a small dash towards the cursor. It is a really small dash, and you can't cross any type of terrain with it, unlike Graves's Quickdraw. The most important part of Valor is that it creates a temporary shield that scales with AD at an impressive 1.0 per bonus attack damage, and has a decent 60 shield base health.
It is good for exchanging trades and surviving teamfights, and is necessary to survive a tough top lane if you are getting pounded and poked constantly.
Valor's mobility boost is also great for juking, escaping, and catching up to enemies, and is a reason why you don't need Ghost on Riven.
Be careful though: if you are new to Riven you won't be used to the fact that Valor interrupts your movement and action after pressing E. There will be times where you Valor, and stand there for a few seconds because you didn't click after that. If you are new, it is easy to hold down right click after pressing E to fluidly continue moving, but you will get the hang of it sooner or later. It does feel very jolty and laggy at first, as if you are constantly getting stuck on invisible terrain, when you are not used to Riven.
R - Blade of the Exile / Wind Slash
When you press R, Riven's sword will become whole again, granting her a huge 20% extra attack damage boost for fifteen seconds and increasing the range and damage on all of her damaging abilities.
The rule of thumb for this ability is to use this at the beginning of a teamfight, a gank, or when you are being towerdived and have no choice but to stay. Don't be afraid to use this ultimate often; it has an incredibly low cooldown for such power! Also, it lasts for 15 seconds, so make sure you use up all the time by activating it in the beginning.
Again, be careful if you are new to Riven! This ability will also snare you for a tiny fraction of a second, so prepare yourself to use this ultimate and expect a small snare. Also, I don't know if it's just me, but I have trouble activating the Blade of the Exile if I am spamming my right click button and moving constantly, so if you are having trouble activating your ultimate, stop moving before you activate your ultimate.
The second part of the ultimate, Wind Slash, is an execution ability. While the 15 seconds of the Blade of the Exile is still active, clicking R and left clicking will allow Riven to fire a cone skillshot nuke that completely decimates enemies that are low. So, it does more damage the less health an enemy has. There is no damage mitigation for penetrating several enemies, so feel free to rack up some multikills.
It does incredible damage for any enemy under 1/4 of their health. Basically, don't be afraid to Wind Slash any enemy under 1/4, as it is basically a free kill for you.
This ability, as a whole, is great for 1 v 1 situations in the top lane, and will make you survive even the toughest towerdive from the jungler. I have never been successfully towerdove as Riven ever. I always take at least one, if not all, towerdivers with a combination of my ultimate, ignite, flash, and moving and stunning with my abilities.
Order of Leveling Abilities
As Riven, you must learn to adapt to your situation at all times. She is not some sort of mindless champion like Graves where you always follow the same ability order, but a flexible little bunny that reacts to her surroundings.
Keep this information in mind: Valor and Ki Burst's cooldowns get better as they are leveled, but Broken Wings stays the same no matter how many points you put into it. That's why I don't suggest leveling up Q until the end, since it doesn't do much damage anyway. Cooldowns for the win!
Here, I suggest taking your Q, Broken Wings, first since it is all you need anyway, and it gives you unparalleled mobility and utility. It lets you escape, chase, put down some minor CC, does AOE damage, and procs your passive three times. All of this with only one point in it.
Next, you take your E, Valor, next. Some people suggest taking Ki Burst second instead, but if you are against an evenly matched top lane, or are unsure about the situation, it's always safer to take Valor next to prevent taking too much damage during trades and having another mobility ability to get out of a sticky situation.
Also, don't forget to press Tab and take a look at who the enemy jungler is. If it's someone like Lee Sin who will utterly destroy you at level 2, take Valor for the extra damage soaking and mobility to get out if he does come for you. On the other hand, if it's Malphite or some other ridiculously bad early ganker, feel free to take Ki Burst instead if you want.
Finally, at level 3, you take your W, Ki Burst. It does the most damage of your abilities, provides a mini-stun, and its cooldown improves at a great rate, so level it up whenever you can at this point.
From here, it's a simple formula of leveling R first, W second, E third, and Q last.
You are completely dominating or know you will do well against the enemy top laner
Here, it's basically the same, but level up your W second instead of your E. This way, you can do a quick Q - Q - aa - W - aa - Q in front of them - aa for an insane poke at level 2, which will take at least half the health of most top laners. It is a bit risky because if you do not do enough damage, take too much minion aggro, or the enemy laner doesn't even flinch (like Malphite), then you will be at a disadvantage.
You are getting destroyed or are afraid of a tough lane
It rarely happens to Riven, but it does happen.
Here, it is also similar, except you prioritize leveling up E instead of your W. Use Valor at all times to soak any forms of poke or damage possible. If you are losing your lane, chances are that you probably can't defeat your enemy top laner in a straight up 1 v 1, so it's best to stay defensive, don't die anymore, and farm up. It's going to be boring and tough, but it is necessary to ensure that you don't feed your enemy any more and gimp your whole team as a result.
Contrary to popular belief, you shouldn't rush in and try to kill your enemy top laner after you died to him in a fair 1 v 1, because that means he has an even bigger chance of beating you again. Just stay defensive and get kills if you see the opportunity, like from your jungler.
Core Items that you MUST HAVE
I will explain the reasoning for each item:
Giant's Belt is required because Riven is not exceptionally tanky until she gets this item. Before she gets it, she is actually really squishy, both in lane and in teamfights. She needs at least one health item, and Giant's Belt fits the description perfectly. Rush this if you are taking a beating. You can build this into a Frozen's Mallet if you are winning, since it offers more damage and a perma-slow, but for less health than Warmog's Armor.
You can build either the B.F. Sword or the Giant's Belt first. If you are taking lots of damage in pokes, build a Giant's Belt. If you're not taking damage but not dealing damage, get a B.F. Sword. I like to get Giant's Belt first sometimes because the health really helps you survive pokes and trades, and is a great item to get if you have 1200 gold but you already went B.
If you are getting destroyed, purchase a Warmog's Armor, coupled with an Atma's Impaler. Clutch critical strikes and extra tankiness will go a long way with your survival, which is necessary to come back from a losing game. When losing the lane or the game, the best offense is a good defense as Riven, as to prevent feeding more or getting focused quickly.
The Bloodthirster is required because Riven scales incredibly well with attack damage, and The Bloodthirster has the largest and most reliable amount of attack damage. When farmed up with 40 creep kills, it has a total of 100 bonus attack damage, which is amazing for Riven's abilities.
You can get a Sword of the Occult early game, as I put in the "Winning Top Lane" guide above if you are certain that you will not die, as it gives a whopping 110 attack damage for half the price of a The Bloodthirster when fully farmed, and also gives a pretty huge movement speed increase. I do not recommend doing this often, but it yields the best results in terms of gold efficiency and damage for Riven as long as you can survive. You can replace this with a second The Bloodthirster or a Maw of Malmortius instead if you feel like being a boring person.
Mercury's Treads is a good buy for Riven because it gives her Tenacity, which is an amazing trait since it reduces all CC effects on her and lets her move around more often, and it also gives some great magic resist for early-mid game. I like playing Riven as a secondary tank who jumps in the battle second after the tank or first if I feel like I can survive.
You can also roll with Ninja Tabi instead as well, because it gives an amazing 10% reduction on auto-attack damage that cannot be mitigated or reverted with anything, is extremely cheap, and offers some great armor. It's an excellent buy if you are a bit behind in your lane, as most top lane champions require auto-attacks and do physical damage. In addition, it is cheap so you can usually rush this early to prevent from getting pounded by a snowballing enemy laner. You can also just buy this item if someone on the other team like Tryndamere or an AD champion is very fed.
Boots of Speed and 3 Health Potions if you expect an even or pushover lane. It helps you catch up to your laner, deal some poke damage, and run away fast.
Cloth Armor and 5 Health Potions if you expect to be destroyed or take a ton of damage. Good for lanes where you know that damage is unavoidable, like Pantheon, Malphite, or Olaf.
That's about it for starting items. Pretty simple, huh?
Always buy a ward, unless you have barely enough for a large item such as Giant's Belt or B.F. Sword. The rule of thumb is to save up for either Giant's Belt or B.F. Sword, but if you are having an even match-up, it may be good to purchase an early Doran's Blade if you are an aggressive Riven that is confident that you will get a kill.
If you are taking a beating, purchase an early Giant's Belt instead of a B.F. Sword or Doran's Blade, since it really helps your survival. It is an amazing item. If you are so denied of creeps and are poor, purchase Phage instead, or even a Regrowth Pendant if you need to buckle down and cs till midgame.
Situational Items other than Core
Haha, I forgot to add this item to the list initially. Thanks to NeshkeBGD for reminding me! Here is my opinion of Wriggle's Lantern in my reply to him:
Thanks for leaving a comment! About the Wriggle's thing, I had that on the "Losing" build, since I found through playing Riven that she doesn't really need to have Wriggle's as a must-have core item. It does give great armor and lifesteal, and a free ward, but if you are dominating or on-par, you don't need the extra crutch that it gives. I also don't build it normally because you can't build it into anything, you have to sell it for the max 6 items.
However, I do agree that it is a viable item. I included it in the losing build because I like it since it is relatively cheap, gives a free ward to let me CS especially if I'm behind because of jungle ganks, and gives lifesteal to sustain and CS longer in lane. But, I would prefer something awesome like a Giant's Belt or B.F. Sword early if I am dominating or doing well, instead of a Wriggle's, which I would sell later anyway.
Buy this item if you are doing fairly well or the game looks like an even match. It gives you extra AD, a slow on every auto-attack, and a huge chunk of health. It doesn't offer as much health as Warmog's Armor, but I like it better because of the utility and damage.
Buy this item if you are getting destroyed. Instead of building damage, your priority is now to play defensive until you can rack up some cs and slowly catch up in mid-late game instead of feeding your enemy more. It is also a good item in itself, and offers the most health in the game. Some other guides even have this as a core item, too, so it's not like it's a bad item.
Maw of Malmortius
This is a great item for magic resist and damage at the same time, if you are doing relatively well but you are getting nuked by the enemy AP caster or AP damage at the same time. It helps you survive bursts with a small shield at the end of your health bar for clutch gameplay, gives decent magic resist, and also gives you a lot of attack damage. Build the Hexdrinker first. However, this does not do as much damage as a second The Bloodthirster, so build a The Bloodthirster instead if you prefer more damage over defense.
I love this item on Riven. It's already a great buy for AD carries and whatnot, but this is amazing on her simply because of how much damage Riven deals and how it synergizes with the fact that she needs to be up close and personal in teamfights, therefore attracting a lot of unwanted attention. It's a good backup plan in case everyone decides to focus you. It's just a great item, especially late game when a death can mean a loss. It is also great for her because you can always Valor and Broken Wings, coupled maybe with a Flash to escape after reviving if need be.
You have to be a good judge of yourself when deciding when to purchase this item. It cuts down 40% armor, so it's a great anti-armor item that also increases your attack damage. If you got armor penetration runes, you may skip this item till after your Guardian Angel or even until late game if you want. You have to gauge this yourself.
Ask yourself constantly: Am I doing enough damage? Does the damage promised in my tooltips not match up very well with the actual damage that comes out as red text? If so, look into buying this item quickly to not waste your damage potential, or look into purchasing a The Brutalizer at least.
Brutalizer (into Youmuu's Ghostblade or selling it late game)
I hate this item. I have to be frank with you guys, I hate it so much. I find it useless, and it upgrades into another item I hate. Riven doesn't even need attack speed! However, it offers armor penetration and cooldown reduction, two things that Riven needs early-mid game, since you don't build any armor penetration until you get your Last Whisper. Anyway, build this if you aren't planning to get Last Whisper anytime soon because you are too poor, or if you want more CDR. I hate Youmuu's Ghostblade too, by the way.
Sword of the Occult
This is a fun item that gains stacks per assist or kill. Get this if you feel like gambling, since it gives you 110 attack damage and movement speed upon 20 stacks. It is the best item for Riven, but not many people make it to 20 stacks by the end of the game, so it is up to you to decide whether or not to buy it. You lose a third of the stacks upon death, so be careful and get a Guardian Angel in combination with this if you are actually serious about the game.
Force of Nature
This is a great item against heavy AP teams, and it even gives Riven some extra movement speed to abuse her mobility even more! I don't usually incorporate this in my build because I like to go for a more damage-centric Riven, but if you team is not tanking very well against AP damage, I would get this item.
If you're up against a heavy AD team or are losing hard, go for this. It offers great defense, while still giving you damage and synergizes with Warmog's Armor. Unfortunately, they nerfed the 2% of your health to damage to 1.5% to damage, but it still gives Riven a good ~40 attack damage, which is good enough.
This is a good item in itself since it gives you some great magic resist and lets you block an ability, but I do not like building this very much because it wastes the mana that comes with it. It comes with a huge chunk of mana, so I feel terrible for wasting it. You can call it my problem, but I don't suggest building this unless you really need to avoid Blitzcrank grabs or Alistar's Pulverize or some other initiate skill that shreds you.
This is also a good item against a heavy AD team if your team does not have any tanks at all. It has a great active that acts like Malphite's E and Lee Sin's E. However, it is a disappointing item for Riven in my opinion because she has such good AD ratios, but it is necessary if your team melts from their AD champs.
It's an ok item because it gives you that slow from Phage that you need, and also synergizes pretty will with your passive, Runic Blade. It also gives some attack damage, attack speed, movement, and health which is all good on Riven.
However, I don't really like building this because I feel that the mana and ability power is wasted on Riven, and I feel like her passive doesn't really do as much damage late game so Trinity Force procs don't hurt as much late game. Build this if you want to have fun though!
I would like to make a note that you can swap Maw of Malmortius for a The Bloodthirster in any of my builds if you feel like you would benefit from more damage instead of protection from magic damage.
More items and stuff coming soon!
Quick Explanation for 3 Builds
Regular: It is a safe build of defense and offense. Build Giant's Belt first if you are getting beaten up or want to make more trades, build B.F. Sword if you think you can quickly burst your opponent down quickly or want to do more damage. Trade things out for resistance items I listed before if it's an AD or AP heavy team, or if someone AD or AP is fed.
Aggressive: The basis behind this is to build as much AD as you much. If you are snowballing, build more and more AD to keep your advantage, with a Giant's Belt into Frozen Mallet for damage and survivability.
Losing: Wriggle's Lantern for survivability, damage, and a ward to CS better. More defense than offense, because the worst thing you can do after dying to your opponent is to die over and over, unless you are sure you can defeat them with more damage.
Laning Phase Tips
Laning as Riven is quite simple. Get as many last hits as possible (since 15 or so creeps is about equivalent to a champion kill, it's important to get last hits and deny the enemy of them), poke the enemy with no cost, and make sure you don't get ganked.
I found this video of a pro player, Dyrus, playing Riven against Kennen.
My Favorite Poke Combos
The Wombo Combo Shclombo Yombo
Valor in, Broken Wings twice to get in front of your enemy laner, auto-attack him once, Ki Burst, autoattack, Broken Wings in front of him for the final knockback proc, autoattack, and either escape or commit with Valor when it comes back. If done correctly, it will chunk your enemy.
The Sucker Punch
Valor in, Ki Burst, auto-attack, and then quickly Broken Wings out.
The Sneaky Rabbit
Charge up two hops of Broken Wings in the bush or somewhere unseen. Then, Valor in, auto-attack, immediately Broken Wings in front of him, auto-attack, Ki-Burst, auto-attack, and run away. He never expected you to have a knock-up so fast, now did he? Hahahahahahaha!
Quick and Messy Warding (work in progress)
I still need to put together a map, but I will do my best to explain in words for now where to ward.
The rule of thumb is to purchase at least one sight ward every time you go back, especially early game. Don't be afraid to spend 75 gold for a ward. It is worth it.
The way my warding goes is that after the initial Boots of Speed and 3 Health Potions and I go back for the first time from my lane, I purchase at least one ward, sometimes even two if I am doing well or if I am on the right side of the map.
Proceed to go back to lane and at the very least ward the bush near the top lane, at the river. I hear pros do tri-bush and baron wards, but I only suggest that if you can spare two wards. If not, that one ward is sufficient enough to prevent most ganks.
If you are on the right side, then put it at tri-bush instead of the bush at river. In the best scenario, you put a ward at the river near Baron and a ward in tri-bush, so you are covering the maximum area and even getting vision of the jungler path.
I have not really bought Vision Wards, but it is still viable, if you are willing to spend the extra gold and must destroy your enemy's ward since you need a gank from your jungler.
Specific Champion Matchups
People you will dominate or at least do well against:
Ahh, Irelia... every time I see an Irelia on the opposite team I am excited. You will beat her up so badly by level 2, and by level 4 you will completely dominate the lane. Of course, this is not a guaranteed win if you mess up, but most often times you will completely dominate.
Irelia is more of a late game champion, so she will be defenseless against your cost-free pokes and your constant CCs within those pokes. Her passive, Ionian Fervor seems like it would counter you, but Broken Wings cannot be reduced by Tenacity, and the 10% does not affect your Ki Burst very much at all.
The only things you really have to worry about in this lane are Hiten Style because she may lifesteal a lot of poking back if you are too passive, and her Equilibrium Strike ability, as it will slow you if she has more health, and stun you if she has less health. She might bait you to attack her, and stun you when you have popped all your Q, W, and Es, leaving you vulnerable to a jungler gank. Be careful if you see her playing too much of a bait or if she changes playstyles all of a sudden. The jungler may be near, which brings me to this point about Irelia:
The only way you can "lose" to an Irelia in lane is if you make mistakes, your jungler screws up a gank horribly, or if the enemy jungler is camping your lane non-stop 24/7 (but this is good too since that means your other lanes can play more aggressively without fear of being ganked).
By mistakes I mean overextending and getting ganked, falling for baits, not poking enough, and not csing. Basic human errors. If you are new to top lane, watch some Dyrus streams or something. I will also put up some YouTube videos later.
Final Pro-Tip: If you see Irelia spamming her ulti, most of the time that usually means that she is going somewhere, leaving lane, or playing passively. That is also a good sign that the jungler is not near, because most Irelias save the ultimate for ganks.
Little 'ol Cho Cho is also one of my favorite top laners to lane against. He is vulnerable to pokes and can't fight back against you if you are experienced with Riven. He looks tough and tanky on the outside, but if you poke him three times with one of my bigger poke combos I listed earlier, unless he pops some potions, his health goes low enough for an Ignite to kill him.
Just keep poking him. His only source of sustain only procs when he last hits creeps, so deny him as much as possible after your pokes to keep him low for jungle ganks and for diving him when you get to level 6, or whenever your abilities area all off cooldown. His Vorpal Spikes will also push his lane if he doesn't toggle it off, so it's easier to make the wave stay on your side.
They buffed the speed on his Q, Rupture, but I still have never lost lane against a Cho before with Riven. I usually get fed off him and roam the map for late game ownage. Just make sure you make an active attempt to prevent Cho from gaining too many stacks by killing him regularly or denying creeps, because even though he may be shut down by you, he can still gain a bunch of health from feasting on creeps and still be a threat to your teammates.
Most Cho'Gaths are baddies because they follow the rigid combo they read on Mobafire: Rupture then Feral Scream, which is supposed to knock you up in the air then get silenced. However, because of Riven's mobility, you can just dodge his initial Q knock-up with either Valor or Broken Wings since you have boots as well, then go in to beat him up since he has no knockup anymore. His knockup is his main source of burst damage and his get-out-of-jail card if he wants to escape.
When you see him pop his knock-up, immediately dash in and perform one of your poke combos and then retreat. You shouldn't be afraid of Cho when he has his Q off cooldown, he is relatively harmless. The most he can do is silence you, and when gets to level 6, do some true damage which will be wasted since he won't get a Feast stack by hurting you.
To those baddie Chos out there: if you are going up against a Riven in lane, make sure you use your W, Feral Scream, and then your Rupture, so that Riven won't escape with her abilities or, heck, even Flash. I still don't know Cho'Gaths start with Q then W afterwards if his enemy has good mobility.
One note though: If he he is going tank Cho'Gath, you will have some trouble mid-late game, so you have to take advantage of his early squishiness with a good early game kill, preferably with help from your jungler. He doesn't do as much damage, but he will still be a threat since he's so unkillable. Good Cho'Gaths will switch their early game build to be more tanky if they see a Riven on the other team, so keep this in mind at all times.
Final Pro-Tip: Don't be caught off-guard by Cho'Gath's Flash Feast combo. If you are ever hovering around 300-500 health and you know that he has not used his ultimate yet, play safe, ready your Valor, chug some Health Potions, or even better, go take a blue pill and go B. The worst thing is a fed Cho, because he literally gets fed and gets bigger and your dum dum teammates will target him first in teamfights because he gets so huge.
Nasus is not an early game champion at all. He's more of a late game champion that can only reach his true potential with massive amounts of farm. It is your job as the top laner to prevent him from ever reaching that stage where his
Siphoning Strike will reach humongous damage. If you don't know about Nasus, he is a melee champion that relies on his Siphoning Strike to last hit creeps, which will increase his damage on that ability for every kill with it. The more creeps, the more damage, similar to Veigar.
Let's face it. Nasus is a pushover when pitted against Riven. He can't do anything about Riven's annoying poke combos, he doesn't do much damage early game, and he goes out of mana quite frequently as a result of his Siphoning Strike farm. He is a disaster to lane against Riven.
As Riven, take advantage of the fact that he needs to farm up creeps with his Q. If you see him running towards a creep with his Siphoning Strike ready, dash in there with your Valor and perform one of your nasty poke combos. Repeat over and over every time he tries to get a creep, but be sure not to push your own lane with your aoe damage. You want the wave to be towards your side so you don't get ganked and so you can effectively deny Nasus. Don't forget to keep denying him throughout the whole game though: I made the mistake of roaming after killing Nasus several times in a row, resulting in free farm for Nasus. He then posed a threat to my teammates since he almost caught up to me in farm and his Siphoning Strike hurt a lot to my AD and AP carry.
The rule of thumb of laning against him is to just Valor in, absorb his Siphoning Strike, pop any of your combos, and repeat until you kill him. It should be fairly easy since Riven does so much damage and he is so defenseless.
Try to bait out his ultimate, Fury of the Sands, so that you won't have a problem with bursting him down, since it gives him extra health and aoe damage. Always back off when he has his ultimate off and you feel like you can't kill him easily, since it's always good to burn an enemy's ultimate.
Final Pro-Tip: His Wither does not affect your Valor and Broken Wings hops, so don't be afraid of the movement speed debuff. It is especially useful when he uses it in conjunction with a jungle gank, because you can easily escape him. Also, take advantage of the fact that Broken Wings gives you zero unit collision, so make a beeline straight through the creep wave to lose your pursuers.
Renekton is a beast. A beast that can be easily tamed by Riven, that is! Many people say on the forums that Renekton beats Riven top, but I don't see how. I have yet to lose against a good Renekton, and I have played some Renekton to know how he works.
First off, you won't see that many Renektons because the forums seem to have scared a lot of people off from playing him by spouting nonsense such as "blah blah bad late game blah no damage useless", so you won't have to have this particular match-up any time soon.
In the event that someone does pick Renekton, your best bet is to abuse your poke combos as much as possible. Similar to Riven, Renekton does not use any form of resource, only cooldowns. However, he does have a rage mechanic, where he has a red bar underneath his health bar that fills up for every autoattack he performs.
The key to beating Renekton is to constantly poke him. His only source of sustain is his Cull of the Meek, and it is on a fairly large cooldown compared to your poke combo cooldown, so abuse it often. Also, do not engage Renekton on a balls-deep 1 v 1 if you see his rage meter is high. After 50%, his next ability will do a special effect and do more damage, so avoid picking a fight until it goes down to give yourself an edge.
Also, try to dodge his E, Slice and Dice, because then he cannot use it again. Another pro tip from me is that if you see him use his Slice and Dice at all, go in and beat him up. He has no escapes from you so he'll have to take the walk of shame back to a safe spot while you beat on him, or he will have to face you and possibly die since he loses an essential ability to his DPS.
This sounds confusing, but if you face a real Renekton in-game, it's really simple. Poke, cs, poke, cs, poke, Renekton dies. Repeat over and over, buy wards, win top lane.
Final Pro-Tip: Like Nasus, do not let Renekton free farm top. He is really good at clearing waves and getting every little cs if you leave him alone for a couple minutes. One time, I lost a game just because our top refused to go to his lane because he got so cocky from killing Renekton over and over, and we ended up losing due to free-farm Renekton. Actually, don't let ANYONE free farm top. Know when to roam, and when to stay in your own lane. Chances are, if you are letting your top laner free farm for more than five minutes, you are doing something wrong.
People you will have some trouble with:
The forums claim Pantheon is a counter to Riven, but I don't really think so. I think that he's just an annoying lane to play against. His passive, Aegis Protection, is extremely annoying for Riven since she incorporates her autoattack in her poke combos, and blocking one autoattack early game is cutting a lot of her damage potential.
To lane against him, take advantage of the fact that he goes out of mana fairly quickly if he throws the Spear Shots at you. Level up Valor a couple levels to negate the damage from his spear spam, and when he is out of mana you go in and poke him a bunch until he goes back or dies. Once this happens, push lane hard and then B to buy items. Continue building normally and make him out of mana.
Also, a large portion of his early game damage comes from his Aegis of Zeonia and Heartseeker Strike combo, so make sure you always Valor the moment you see him leap, and try to Broken Wings out of his cone nuke as fast as possible after recovering. If you didn't go very low, poke him back with a combo to punish him and then retreat.
It is important to punish when an enemy top laner pokes you, so that you won't be at a win/loss in the favor of your important, instead it is a loss/loss for both of you.
Final Pro-Tip: Do not feed Pantheon early game, or else it is over for you.
Jax is a pretty hard counter to Riven, but only if played well. There's not much to say, except to avoid feeding him at all or else he will steamroll you then your teammates. He counters Riven's Runic Blade passive since his E, Counter Strike, dodges all your auto-attacks and then stuns you, preventing you from successfully poking him at all without getting mauled. It also reduces her AOE Q and W damage. He can also leap to you and hit you hard, punishing you for poking.
Play safe, level up Valor, and focus on last hitting if you are falling behind. If you see him use his Counter Strike or Empower, go in and poke him real quick since he is vulnerable and won't do as much damage. I have beaten many Jax's through careful timing.
Final Pro-Tip: You can beat Jax if you are careful and if you get good jungler ganks. Other than that, it's a hard lane since he punishes you pretty hard for poking him with his full combo up.
Oh boy. This lane is just another one of them skill lanes. You have to dodge those Kennen shurikens (they are skillshots so it shouldn't be too hard) by either hiding behind creeps or moving around erratically. Be careful of Kennen's stun: if you have two stacks of electric balls on you, get the hell out of there. It will be the end of you, or it will make you extremely low.
It can go either way. Just do not take excessive damage, dodge his shuriken, and try not to stand in his ultimate. Good luck. The Dyrus video up there had one, and I think Westrice has a video as well somewhere on YouTube. I do not follow LoL celebrities, so I am unsure.
I have to say, Olaf is a pretty hard lane. He does massive true damage with his Reckless Swing, so it's dangerous to poke him if you don't get out by the time he casts it. I suggest to level Valor first, so it negates most of the true damage from Reckless Swing. You must be careful with Olaf. If you want to poke him, you have to Valor in, Ki Burst real fast, then Broken Wings out. Hopefully, he didn't react fast enough to Reckless Swing you in the face.
You can mix up the combo to use the knockup from the Broken Wings and whatnot to knock him then stun him to make sure he can't react and E you in the face, but it's generally a hard lane. He also gets massive lifesteal from his W and builds fairly tanky, so he is just a nightmare to lane against unless you get a good gank from your jungler or if you make a good play with successful pokes. It's a skill lane.
Final Pro-tip: Olaf without Reckless Swing is not as scary. If you see him ever use it for any reason, run in there and poke the **** out of him. Also, make sure to dodge his axe. It slows you drastically, opening you up for a Reckless Swing to the face or even a jungle gank on your face, so save your Broken Wings and Valor in case of this to escape.
Also, most Olafs have an OCD condition where they have to pick up their axes after they throw them, so if you meet one that does, take advantage of that and poke him when he goes to pick it up, similar to denying creep last hits.
He isn't that bad, but it's just really annoying since he can spin away, reduce your damage and slow you, and has an ultimate that lets him survive for 6 seconds without health. You will not lose this lane, but you probably will not get a kill.
Poke him randomly, then when he comes back, take advantage of the fact that his spin is down and poke him, hopefully scoring a kill after a couple of these.
Final Pro-Tip: Ignite him after a second or two of his ultimate and it will probably kill him if his Q is down and he has no health potions. If not, just smack him once.
He's not bad, but his Remove Scurvy is very annoying, since it can free him from your Ki Burst stun and regain some of his health. He can also bait you to use your ultimate with them oranges, too, so be careful of that.
The real danger with Gangplank is his stupid crit scaling with his autoattacks and Parrrley. It does ridiculous damage if it happens to crit, and it only increases when he gets Sheen and more AD. So, do not feed him or else your lane is over.
Just level up your Valor and use it whenever he shoots it at you. He will most likely use it for farming though, so survive until he runs out of mana or when it is off cooldown, and poke him to hell. Good luck, it is another skill lane.
Final Pro-Tip: If you feed him at all, you will not be able to come back. His early Phage and assorted defense items will make him hard to kill, but he still deals tons of damage. Even jungle ganks will not go well since he may score a kill with his ultimate and his crazy crits from you feeding him. Good luck bro.
Until she gets nerfed, you have to build tanky and level your Valor. Sorry. Ask for jungler ganks.
You can beat her if you don't die to her, because she snowballs. She can't clear the creep wave early as much as you, so if you pick a fight where there are creeps around, you can take advantage of this fact to make your creeps damage her more. Play safe my friends.
I have to break it to ya. Malphite is an incredibly good counter to Riven. No joke. Everything about him counters Riven. He saps her movement speed while doing tons of damage, he slams the ground which scales off of extra armor, and has a great ultimate that will fling me in the air for his jungler to eat.
However, he is not unkillable, and he is not unbeatable. I have beaten several Malphites in ranked and in normals. You have to level Valor if you take too much damage, but I like leveling Ki Burst because I find leveling Valor second is just enough to negate his Seismic Shard poke, which is good enough for me.
The moment Malphite pops his moves on creeps or on me: BAM! I run in there and pop a full combo. You always want to autoattack and at least deal damage going through his shield. You don't want to allow him to have free pokes on you, you have to punish him. Be careful of minion aggro though. He is pretty harmless without his E and Q, but the minions do tons of damage at low levels.
Final Pro-Tip: Use your jungler. Let Malphite think he is winning the lane, and let him push near tri-bush or river push, then KAPOW! Your jungler comes out of nowhere and you two beat the **** out of him. This wil win you the lane. You only need one kill to start snowballing and beating even Malphite.
Also, if you guys are in a premade 5s instead of ranked solo queue or something, it is good to have an AP champion be the jungler, such as Diana or Amumu, so that Malphite's armor stacking does no good when the AP jungler strikes from the darkness.
Trundle seems scary, with his incredible passive that gives him health back for every time something dies around him, and his amazing skillset that saps your attack damage and gives him more, but he is really not that scary.
He is easy to beat. Make sure you poke him, but only when you have more creeps, and it's really easy especially if you get jungle ganks. Just leave when he activates his AD sap and leave the area of his contaminated soil.
I will update this when I have time, to further elaborate and add pictures/videos of each encounter, and for other tops like Vladimir, Ezreal, Mordekaiser, Nidalee, and such. But basically you won't have any trouble with any tops except for Olaf and Jax.
Never trust your teammates to do anything. Assume that every single lane, including the jungler, will feed. I went from 1000 ish elo to 1300 elo in two days by playing Riven and one or two support games (don't forget that in Ranked you have to play support some games), by assuming that everyone sucks.
After you snowball from a kill up top, buy wards and go back to your lane and see if you can score another easy kill. If not, push the lane super fast then run down to mid to gank. Hopefully you can score a kill.
Go back to top lane before you lose any cs, making sure not to give your enemy free cs. Try to kill him again, if not then push, keep repeating except change your pattern of objective from ganking mid, to counterjungling, or even going bot. Just keep in mind not to give top free farm: you must have a presence there occasionally. Make sure you ward tribush and river while you do this, or else you will probably die to the enemy jungler when caught unaware.
If you are uncomfortable doing this, you can do the traditional "own top until you destroy the tower then roam" tactic, which is more stable but relies on your teammates to at least survive until you take down your tower. Both are fine, I prefer a mixture of both. All I have to tell you is this:
Don't solotop farm the whole game and expect to win. It doesn't work that way. This is a team game.
Finally, I have a controversial tip for you about Riven in ranked: Unless you're in a pre-made ranked 5s or 3s team, I suggest you NOT to play Riven top near the 1200-1400 elo or if you are really struggling with gaining elo, because Riven top does not have the map control power such as mid or jungle.
You won't be able to carry as many games as if you are jungle or mid, but you will be able to carry many games, simply because you are restricted to top until you destroy your tower. Even then, you have to keep camping top because without it, your enemy top laner will take advantage and destroy your tower and end the game with his free farm.
However, if you have mastered balancing roaming and csing, feel free to play Riven top 24/7. Most people don't have that skill though.
Lots of Riven players like to hang around in the back and killsteal everything after the enemy team is softened up with fast Q's and W's. I don't like those Rivens very much.
I like to play her as a secondary tank type champion. I do a lot of damage, but I am also very tanky. I wait for our main tank, someone like Shen, Amumu, or Leona, to initiate the fight, hopefully using some type of CC to immobilize the enemy team.
Make sure you use activate your ultimate at the beginning of the fight for maximum damage. Then, quickly press Broken Wings three times to proc the knock-up, further CC'ing the enemy team. I follow it up with an auto-attack on a prime target and then a Ki Burst. Continue auto-attacking the prime target and use Valor throughout the fight to minimize damage, and use your abilities whenever they are off cooldown.
Remember what I said about wasting stacks on her passive, Runic Blade earlier? Don't be afraid to waste them in a teamfight. You want to push out those knockups and stuns as fast as possible, as it may be the difference between life or death to your AD carry.
Keep track of your ultimate's Wind Slash second use. If you see anybody below 1/4 health, use it on them. Try not to save it only for KS'ing. If you near 15 seconds and you don't see anything below 1/4, use it anyway since it would be a waste to not use it. It still does some damage, just not maximum damage.
Prime targets would be a displaced AD carry or an anti-carry attacking your carries. For protecting carries, use your Ki Burst and Broken Wings constantly to CC any enemies of your carries. You need to protect your carries because without them, there is no constant stream of DPS. Also take note that you don't always have to dive in the middle of their team to get to their AD carry. Only do so when you know it is safe and you won't get instagibbed.
Finally, an "AD Carry" or a "Carry" does not always have to be someone like Graves or Ashe. It can be someone who deals tons of damage but is incredibly squishy, like a Hecarim who builds attack speed and AD only, or an AP Shen. Good luck.
Credits and Thanks and Stuff
Thank you for reading this guide! It's my first one, so I don't know what I'm supposed to put in it, and don't know if my items are actually viable. Please comment and tell me what I should change.
I haven't looked at Mobafire guides really so I don't know the format, and the one guide I have been using since the beginning was a super bad one I found on some website. I realized that it had 0/21/9 masteries after months of playing Riven, and it was just plain terrible even though I did well as Riven. I felt it was lacking and didn't show the true potential, so I decided to brainstorm a good build and guide.
Special thanks to biggoidog for making his Karthus guide, I must be Pro - A Karthus Guide. Without him, I would not be inspired to make a guide of my own.
Thanks to NeshkeBGD for reminding me about Wriggle's and the Sword of the Occult change in my item explanations section, and to DarkVoidShadow for suggesting Trinity Force.
Also thanks to jhoijhoi for an awesome guide on how to make a guide!
List of things to do:
- Add pictures and screenshots of in-game gameplay and match histories using this build
- More summoner spells
- Read jhoijhoi's guide on how to make a better looking guide
- Map of where to ward
- More explanations and info!
- Videos and pictures EVERYWHEEREEEEE!!! Right now it is all a block of text.
8/18/2012 Changed Jax matchup
8/11/2012 Added a bit more info to Diana and Cho'Gath matchup information, and Ranked tips.
8/9/2012 Added a changelog. Lol!
8/9/2012 Added Malphite champion matchup after playing a successful game against him
8/9/2012 Added stuff about Wriggle's Lantern at NeshkeBGD's suggestion
8/9/2012 RELEASED! YEEHAW