Riven Build Guide by Leaf4Prez
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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.
Riven, Shatter the Field
Hey Guys, Leaf here with my first guide here on MOBAFire. Became a fan of Riven almost immediately, and loved the play style so much I had to let the League know. I don't want to take too much of your time, so lets get to it.
Riven, is a 100% Attack Damage(AD) champion, and one of only a handful of champions which have no cost on spells(i.e, Mana or Energy). She is completely cooldown(CD) based, which makes her a very effective and underestimated foe on the Fields of Justice. However, this can also lead to sticky situations and over-extensions which can lead you away from the goal of winning.
I have two builds here, and the first is build is more of a risky, decisive, and advanced build for normal games with Riven. The second being the safest and beefiest build for ranked or beginners with Riven.
A Video Defining Riven
It shows how effective, versatile, and agile Riven can be.
Pros and Cons
Effective Peels: With her ability to stun, knockback, and scare enemies away late game she can be a extremely effective at getting enemies off your team.
Strong and Sustainable Damage: Although her early game is by far her greatest weakness she makes up for it mid-to-end game. With Cooldown Reduction(CDR) and top end weapons her damage is paralleled by only top-tier champions ( Tryndamere, Kog'Maw, and Nocturne to name a few).
Amazing Escape Tactics: With her Q and E being able to give her a decent gap closing attribute she can also use them to get away from many situations.
Extremely Fun: She is hard to stop playing, and sometimes can cause over excitement! Her fast paced attacks and mobility keep you wanting more!
Tough Early Game: Due to her squishy early game stats, and low damage it is hard to find a balance that can easily make up for it. Her lane presence is usually nullified by snares, heals, and stuns. Masteries, Runes, Items, and great lane awareness can fix this.
Quicksand Champion: She is a very rhythmic champion. When the hammer hits the sword wrong everything can fall apart. Try to play passive with her until you are positive your sword can slash them all.
Control: This champion relies on positioning like Veigar, or a Fiddle waiting to caw. If you cannot get her into a specific position, or move her into it during the heat of the moment things will definitely not go your way. However, this can be forgiving with a quick escape or a clutch Crowd Control(CC) on an aggressive enemy from a teammate.
Rebuilding the Sword - The Basics
A typical offensive build 22/6/2, and depending on which lane you take will decide the build, but most of the time it will remain a 22/6/2.
22 points in the offensive tree to get that early game damage up there, there really is no reason to grab any other mastery in this tree. I skip out on Archaic Knowledge because she has no magical damage. I almost always grab Cripple, because her jungling is often shadowed by better junglers; therefore, Plentiful Bounty isn't considered.
6 points in the defensive tree for early game survivability and to counter some of the squish, extra armor and magic resist from Resistance and Hardiness will help more than you think.
2 points in utility, 1 in Haste for a much needed ghost, and the other is a floater because there is not much else to grab. I often just put it into Good Hands . I have seen others go more deep into this tree, but I feel they lose survivability and damage in the early game.
This rune build I feel will be the most beneficial to this champion.
Greater Seal of Armorx9 for the extra armor early on.
Greater Glyph of Magic Resistx9 for the extra magic resistance.
Greater Mark of Desolationx9
and Greater Quintessence of Desolationx3
These are a must for this champion to survive early game harass, and will help shred enemies armor in the beginning giving enough damage to fight back.
Other possible runes can include:
Greater Mark of Attack Damage: They're great early game, because they offer a few extra damage more than the armor penetration marks. The downside is armor penetration becomes priceless beyond the point of a small 9 damage increase at higher levels.
Greater Mark of Scaling Attack Damage: I pretty much advise against all per level runes with this champion. Specifically, because late game with this champion is top-tier. Runes for Riven should help her early game.
Greater Seal of Evasion: I have tinkered with a dodge build with this champion for more early game survivability against heavy AD teams in ranked, if you find yourself in a situation with a lot of physical damage enemies I suggest runing for dodge, and going down to Evasion and Nimbleness in the defense tree. ((Situational Rune))
Greater Seal of Health: No. Simply put there is no reason to get extra health for this champion. Unless you are going an Atmog build (Atma's Impaler and Warmogs), and even then you should grab health per level runes I strongly advise against any tinkering or experimenting. I have spent dozens of games tinkering with health runes and find it diminishes her early game aggression too much.
Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction: A great substitute for lanes when you are with a good partner like Taric, Tryndamere, and Galio. Where aggressiveness and utility can counter most damage done to you.
Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed: As far as quintessences go this is a great substitute to Armor Penetration or Attack damage. I only suggest you use this with roaming teammates or superior jungles like Amumu, Nocturne, and Gangplank. Specifically because of their snares can allow you to chase and dish out enough damage for a kill.
To be completely honest, Exhaust is the single most required spell for Riven. Ghost is a close second and is flexible, but I find it much superior to others since you can talent into it. Overall sometimes team fights happen when you least expect and ghost allows that grace period to get you there. It's a great spell for chasing down kills in team fights, getting to lanes faster, or assisting an ally, etc.
Flash: Is a more situational summoner spell, and I only recommend using it against a very tough and tanky enemy composition. I feel relying on Flash can lead to situations that Riven shouldn't be involved in or possible over extending.
Ignite: Exhaust is too great of a spell to replace, and running ignite/exhaust can lead to very frustrating conflicts. However, Exhaust/Ignite is my second recommended combo.
Teleport: Riven is an extremely good backdoor champion. Her ultimate, passive and trinity force are unbelievably good. This is a great spell to take against teams with slow moving champions, enemy compositions which need to stay together, or even other backdoor champions like Nasus or Master Yi. The amount of farm you can get from this spell will also add up very nicely especially against Riven's terrible lane sustainability against champions like Mordekaiser, Kennen, and Talon.
Leveling Your Abilities
I start with my Q first for faster movement and more damage output in early game. I will often keep W scaling with it as well for damage and easier farming. I often level E last, because by the time it matters your attack damage will be high enough for the shield to be significant. However it can and often does change depending on your opposite lane, sometimes an extra 30 damage shield can save your life. Sometimes maxing E before W is worth it especially if they tower dive a lot, have an aggressive jungle or are extremely bursty.
The items on this champion can vary EXTREMELY on your enemies composition. However, if you're looking for normal stomps, and low ELO ranked games the build provided will prove effective. The build above is the most effective build for her playstyle and mobility, however this can change depending on game situation and so forth. Described in more detail.
Rebuilding the Sword - Early Game
Items and Basics
Start with Doran's Blade for the health, life-steal and that little extra damage. This is probably the best item for duo-lane, and I do not suggest stacking these if you're losing your lane.
Often I will grab Boots of Speed and 3x Health Potion (instead of Doran's Blade)against enemies like Lee Sin, Ezreal, or Karthus. The longer you're in the lane, the faster you can level up and get that advantage over your lane. This is also the best way to win back your lane.
In the second build, I will grab Doran's Shield for extra survivability over Boots of Speed and health potions. Often times, depending on your opposing lane you will be waiting to strike to snag a few minion kills, which allows lots of health regen. It also helps against harassment after grabbing minion kills, because you spend a lot of time idling. Consider this only if you're fighting against Kryptonite champions, building safely, or just starting to play Riven.
On your First return to base, make sure you can grab either Boots of Speed or Ruby Crystal. This will depend completely on the AGGRESSIVENESS of your enemies and their jungle. Boots give you that chasing power if your lane is being over-aggressive and over-extending. Ruby crystal will allow you to hold off their harass, and smarter/aggressive pokes with well set-up jungle ganks. If you can, grab a few Health Potion as well. And if you managed to get an early kill, always grab a Sight Ward.
On your Second return to home, finish off your Ionian Boots of Lucidity if you managed to grab enough gold, and if you did not grab enough gold buy a Long Sword, refresh your Health Potion(3) and purchase another Sight Ward.
During this time you should be doing slight aggression with your Q and W. Using your E and Q to get away from potential counter harass or death by over-extension. Never do early aggression without using your W on your way out.
On your Third recall finish your Phage or boots if you did not earlier. Phage will give you enough survivability against most lane harass and fights. Use this to your advantage in lane and attack as often as possible, but never allow yourself to have no abilities ready when you're retreating.
If you were doing well thus far, you should have enough for your first B. F. Sword; however, you SHOULD NOT finish any high end damage weapon before getting your Trinity Force. Trinity Force for Riven is god send, like Lich Bane for Kass. Trinity Force's passive should be up almost every time you attack a target.
After your Trinity Force is complete your next item will be The Bloodthirster.
If you're facing a high AP team feel free to grab Force of Nature instead and go for The Bloodthirster afterwards.
If you're facing a high AD team grab Frozen Heart instead and grab The Bloodthirster afterwards.
I sometimes prefer to grab them both, giving me a more tanky feel and more team utility with AoE attack slow and mobility.
Rebuilding the Sword - Mid/End Game
Items and Tactics
Most often games are lost or won at this point. And often you will never reach your full inventory of items. However, in this case assumptions will be made.
I tend to grab a Banshee's Veil so I can avoid that one snare that can stop me.
I will sometimes grab Cloak and Dagger against teams with heavy crowd control. Stuns, snares, and silences specifically. However, you can drop this and go for Infinity Edge instead in the second build.
Phantom Dancer is another nice addition, especially when you are the only AD on your team other than a tank. It allows swifter attacks against low armor champions defending and building against your high AP team. The boost in mobility is sometimes unparalleled in certain games especially against Warwick, Zilean, and Vayne who have high mobility and can escape your grasps.
I have gone Frozen Mallet before but that can be extremely expensive. I recommend only grabbing this item as early as possible and against assassins like Talon, Akali, or Nocturne.
There are some defensive items I suggest as well specifically against other AD champions. Thornmail, Warmog's Armor, Atma's Impaler, Quicksilver Sash, and Frozen Heart. These are all very situation. The only time I recommend Quicksilver Sash is against high enemy suppression or crowd control teams that include Mordekaiser, Warwick, Skarner, or devastating CC champions like Fiddlesticks or Ryze. Thornmail is self-explanatory, and Atmog's should be used in a more tanky build. Frozen Heart is probably one of the best items for a Riven against any AD heavy team, even more so than Thornmail.
I urge most players to stray away from a Warmog's Armor and Atma's Impaler build. Granted Riven is a fighter and borderline bruiser, because the dimishing returns on Atma's hinders Riven more in the long run.
Using the Sword - Abilities
Basic Abilities and How to Use Them
Broken Wings (Q) is your bread and butter, use this as often as possible in harassing, farming, chasing, or retreating. Deciding on how you use it and which direction you go will depend completely on knowledge of the game and predictions of enemy movement.
Ki Burst(W) is your most versatile spell, because more often than not you WILL require this several times in a fight, need it to get away, keep an enemy close enough to deal damage, and even peel. It can vary depending on the champion you're playing against or your team comp. Use it to interrupt other champions like Katarina's Ultimate, Nunu's Ultimate, and even Lazy Karth's who use their ult in the worst positions.
Valor(E) is your "SKILL SHOT". It is hard to use this ability correctly and is probably the most important, it is like timing Leona's Eclipse, and hitting Ezreal's Mystic Shot at the same time. You want to get to your enemy, and you want use your shield in dire times and before large attacks are hit on you. Preferably to engage. Use this skill first.
Blade of the Exile(R), has been argued quite a bit. And is often extremely frustrating. Open with your R after your initial charge into battle. It lasts for 15 seconds, and when you need to use its Wind Slash most enemies will be low enough where it will affect them the most. Always aim this at low targets even if you're attacking someone else with higher HP.
Runic Blade(Passive) is best buddies with your Q and Trinity Force, keep that in mind.
How To Use Your Abilities
Riven's passive Runic Blade in my opinion is one of the best Melee AD boost passives in the game with Nocturne being a close second. The one thing you need to watch for is the stacks. In most fights it is impossible to keep a close eye on every champion while making sure you attack after every ability activated. Keep your stacks down, but don't worry if you lose a stack or two.
Always attack once after each activation of Broken Wings, unless you are trying to close the gap with an enemy or need the knock back to survive.
Your Ki Burst should be used for damage, allow you to get that extra hit, and that brief second for a teammate to catch up and crowd control them for a longer time. Keep that in mind when using this ability. I recommend using this as a harass, engaging attack, or peel.
Valor is pretty self explanatory. Use it to engage, and take the first few big attacks from enemies. Use it to check bushes, or to tank Baron/Dragon. I recommend using this as often as possible, and at the beginning of fight. Either before or after the first activation of Broken Wings.
Blade of the Exile should be activated before a fight starts or as one starts, because of the massive attack damage boost, and the ability to execute at range it can be very paramount. I do not recommend using it before face-checking a bush or before a fight is engaged. Use it before you join a fight, or before you engage a guaranteed harass. The low cooldown will also allow you to use this to take down towers. Do not be afraid to use it.
Riven, Don't Even Think About It.
Solo Lane is something I highly, HIGHLY, discourage. This is more of a last resort champion for solo, and works better with others like Tryndamere or Taric. Who would of thought? I also stress that you need to have a deep grasp on this champion before even trying solo.
Jungling is out of the question, because of her movement speed even with her quick dashes, and lack of early game damage because of jungle setups(Runes and Masteries) her ganks often fail and lead to bad situations for other teammates because of over-extensions on ganks, extra damage taken from chasing kills, or vulnerability to enemy ganks. The only reason I feel she should jungle is to allow a second solo lane, her quick dashes allow easy jungle clearing.
Enemy Champions To Avoid:
Aside from obvious champions you should not engage like a fed Annie, low health Tryndamere or an Ashe with her arrow ready there are some champions you should avoid laning against, engaging on even footing, or chasing.
Mordekaiser: Avoid laning against this champion at all costs. Mordekaiser's harass can easily wither you down, scrounging for creep kills, and often lead to him tower diving you for a quick pick-up kill.
Talon: Although you may score an early kill on him, because Riven has an advantage over Talon before level 3 via Mobility, Damage, Ulility, and Burst. He will began to take advantage over the lane regardless of and kills scored prior because of his high harass and burst at later levels.
Garen: Most Garen's will rush The Brutalizer and that can lead to early deaths on your part when his silence is used correctly. Avoid engaging Garen until his silence is down, and his spin was just used.
Pantheon: Because of his long range harass with Spear Shot, he can and will harass you until you are in a suitable position to kill. Even with your dashes he will find away to kill you. Stay away from Pantheon until you have bought Phage.
Kog'Maw: Recently added because of Dominion, and late game health pools. The only extremely effective defense against Kog'Maw is Frozen Heart; however, Exhaust does wonders. Most of the time the range and harass will take shards of health out of Riven over time. Eventually when you are capable of gap closing you have either already taken too much damage, or have no abilities for damage output. I recommending attacking Kog'maw with another teammate, or with a careful and tactical ambush.
Be careful of most harass champions, and any champion with a taunt like Rammus or a suppress like Skarner.
The Fields Have Been Shattered
ENJOY THIS CHAMPION!
Now that you have a decent grasp on this champion, feel free to leave comments, vote, and leave any critiques on my first build on MOBAFire. I take everything into consideration, and always looking for ways to better my build.
Thank you for reading, and I wish you luck on the Fields of Justice with Riven, the Exile.
If you want to play with me, let me know!