Riven Build Guide by Eclipseop
This build has been archived and is for historical display only.
PLEASE NOTE: This build has been archived by the author. They are no longer supporting nor updating this build and it may have become outdated. As such, voting and commenting have been disabled and it no longer appears in regular search results.
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.
Pros & Cons
Strong Early, Mid, And Early Late Game
Safe blind pick, no direct counters
Extremely fun to play
Can be played Top, Mid, or Jungle
Not Very Tanky
Not as strong end game
Can be kited by certain enemy comps.
Against Melee/Killable Lanes
Laners- Jax, Cho' Gath, Poppy, Wukong, etc.
Junglers- Warwick, Amumu, Udyr, etc.
The 21/8/1 setup provides the most damage and trading power versus lanes where you want to get an early kill.
Against Harass Oriented Laners
Laners- Kennen, Gangplank, Nidalee, etc.
Junglers- Warwick, Amumu, Udyr, etc.
I used to recommend taking 24/5/1 but since I have realized 21/8/1 is still better in these situations as the Hp/Regen is more reliable than the 3% lifesteal for sustain.
Against Burst/Dangerous Lane+Jungle combos
Laners- Renekton, Garen
Junglers- Lee Sin, Shaco, Rammus, Alistar
Renekton and Garen are more about killing you rather than harassing you out and the junglers I listed are difficult to escape from so I run 9 in defense for the extra hp to survive those early engagements and ganks better.
Note: Switch the points in the Mr/Armor masteries depending on who you are laning against. If you don't feel like doing that every time you play her (like me) then just leave it on armor resistances.
Pick these two summoners. Don't be a hipster and pick the heal ignite you see some people using or god forbid pick ghost.
I can't say enough about how important flash is on Riven. Offensive use of Flash is about 75% of my kills in lane in my high Elo games.
Flash Kill Combos
R + Flash on top + Auto + W + Auto + Q + Auto + Q + Auto + Q + Auto + Ignite+ R - The ultimate dueling combo. If done correctly will kill at 55% or less hp, depending on who your playing against.
R + Flash on top + Auto + W + Auto + R + Ignite - The ultimate tower diving combo. Can be performed extremely fast.
R + Flash + R + Ignite - The ultimate picking off backing enemy combo. Can't even say how many people I've killed by roaming mid and flashing to their turret when they're backing at low hp. Best part is can kill from a large distance away. Abuse fog of war for this combo.
Q + Q + Flash close + Third Q + W - The ultimate chasing combo. Q to catch up and save last q until you flash so you can get the knockup landed.
There are many other possible variations but flash is core to how she is played as a champion. It is rare that I even use flash defensively but flash provides so much utility that it should never be forgone for heal.
I played 10 games in a row as Riven once in Ranked at the 2k Elo range. In every single one of those 10 games, I killed my lane opponent 1v1 at least once and won my lane. Ignite was necessary in each and every one of those kills for me. Ignite helps her perform her anti carry role late game better as well.
Maxing is always: Blade of the Exite > Ki Burst > Valor > Broken Wings
Why max W over Q?
This is the big question that seems to be at the same time my biggest criticism. There are several reasons for this:
Pros of maxing W first:
Shorter cooldown so greater chance of being able to be used twice during an engagement.
Outputs damage in a shorter time frame than Q. This is far more important than it may sound, many of my kills come from the flash ult stun combo as is evident in both my montage and commentary. Being able to output as much damage as possible before the enemy can react is core to how Riven is played.
Little reliance on Q for damage which means Q can be used as a gap closer with minimal power loss.
Pros of maxing Q first:
More damage in a sustained fight.
Hopefully this illustrates well my reasoning of maxing W over Q. A similar statement may be made about choosing E over Q as my second spell to max. The survivability and added chasing potential of a lower cooldown on E far outweighs the damage increase of Q. Maxing shield second also allows for more efficient lane harassment.
Beginning Skill order?
A general guide to skill order would be as follows:
Against early harassing lanes such as Pantheon and Gangplank or even Kennen, go E-Q-W-W-W-...
Against most other matchups where they can't effectively harass you at lvl1, go Q-W-E-W-W-...
However I go into significantly more detail about each each lane matchup skill choice in the laning section of this guide so please refer there for more accurate and detailed reasoning.
Side Note: Riven is the strongest champion in the game at lvl1 with a doran's blade and Q.
Important Skill Combos - Maximizing DPS
The Level 1 First Blood Combo
Works best with Dorans Blade start. Wait for them to go for a CS.
AA + Q + AA + Q + AA + Q + AA + AA + Flash AA Ignite
Notes: Position the third Q so it knocks them away from their turret and positions you in behind them. If you keep running ahead of them you will be able to land extra Auto Attacks. The flash is there for when they flash to their turret, flash with them for one extra auto attack and ignite if it means kill. I have made pro players flash away and/or die at level 1 to me using this combo. This is important to master.
The Maximum Damage Combo
This will do the maximum possible damage to a target. This combo maximizes damage and minimizes cooldowns.
R + Ignite + AA + Q + AA + W + AA + Q + AA + E + AA + Q + AA + R
Notes: Using the ignite early maximizes the damage your second cast of your ultimate will do. It may look complicated but just remember to alternate your skill usage. The reason for this is because your Q starts its cooldown on its first cast rather than third. The reason I don't go W - E which would truly minimize cooldowns and instead go W - Q - E is because you will lose your third cast of Q because Q will go on cooldown unless timed perfectly.
The End Game/Team Fight Combo
This isn't the most optimal combo but this lets her perform her anti carry role even in a team fight scenario. Also has maximum surprise factor and massive burst.
R + E + Flash + W + AA + Q + R + ...
Notes: This is an instant stun and you can do it from a large distance by gap closing with your E and flashing the moment after. Ult as many of the enemy team as you can, and flash on top as many of the enemy squishies you can. You save your Q casts for chasing their squishies after they flash/run away in most scenarios. Not the optimal dps, but the ultimate team fight combo.
Chasing low HP Enemy Combo
This is for catching that guy trying to run away.
Q + Q + E + Flash + Q + AA + W + AA + ...
You save the third Q knockback and flash on top of them so you can land it. You will then have time to land an auto attack and your stun, its a great combo that comes in handy.
The Catching Low HP Enemy as Backing Combo
R + Flash + R + Ignite
Notes: Not much explanation needed but I never see people do it enough so I decided to mention it. You can flash over wall and cast your ultimate and an ignite if needed and easily catch low hp backers. I perform this most often when roaming mid lane.
...Is Riven Overpowered?
Assuming two opponents of equal skill.
In lower level play, no.
In average play, borderline.
In the highest level of play, yes.
In tournament play, no.
These are my observations after a massive amount of games with Riven and from fellow posts/streams/friends. This may seem very contradictory; why would her relative power scale so strangely?
In lower level of play she is strong... But people haven't mastered her. She can be countered by traditional techniques and nontraditional, and mistakes made by each player define the way the lane will play out moreso than any other factor. In this level of play she is countered by ranged champions as people traditionally have weak or no understanding of lane control at this level.
In middle level play she becomes noticeably stronger as people begin to understand lane control and start using techniques such as roaming and split pushing correctly and effectively. Usually the player will have a good grasp of her strengths and limits but will still make mistakes leading to unnecessary deaths and missed opportunities. I say she is borderline overpowered at this stage of play because people usually don't know how to deal with her once she is fed and this is where she gets the term hyper carry which is tossed around incorrectly to describe her.
In the top levels of play, Riven becomes more of an issue due to her kit. I love her to death but her skill ceiling is high enough that as you keep improving with her you become more powerful in comparison to other champions with a significantly smaller skill ceiling. At this level of play people will have mastery over lane control and a complete understanding of other champions which actually makes it so Riven cannot be feasibly countered in lane. Although people know how to deal with her better once she gets fed, masters of playing her will manage to just snowball the game from that point on so that being able to deal with her later game doesn't matter when there is no late game. Jungle ganks are performed better at this elo as well so she can still be stopped, but even so it is extremely difficult to shut her down due to her mobility.
In competitive play she is not overpowered because teams can be built around stopping her. Team comp dedicated to kite and poke and etc can go a long way to shutting her early and mid game strength down which leaves her easy to deal with come late game. Also there are certain ways to make sure that she is shut down, some of which I have detailed already. But even so, Riven is still a strong pick in competitive play if people truly take the time to really master her rather than become a jack of all trades at their role.
Remember, Riven is only as good as the person playing her!