Riven Build Guide by Brosephiine
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.
Welcome to my first guide! Riven is a champion I've struggled to grasp in the past, but I've come to find that she can be well worth the effort. Originally, when I first picked her up, I followed a guide here on Mobafire, but I struggled to survive most games. Through some hit and miss testing in normal games, I've discovered a great way to give Riven some early game survivability and amazing mid-to-late game damage. I decided to throw this guide out there in case others have had the same problems and haven't found their own way around it yet. Think of it as a Beginner's Guide to Riven. Bear with me as this is my first guide. >_> There won't be any fancy youtube videos or pictures, just my general build and why I've chosen it.
If you would like me to add anything to this guide, or have any input on how to better the guide (or any qualms with the information given), please feel free to leave a comment. Just don't be a jerk, I will ignore you.
Riven can be a very versatile champion if handled correctly. Generally in team fights you'll want to rush in, unload all your damage, and rush out until your cooldowns reset. She's definitely a "hit it n' quit it" kind of champion. Obviously this isn't going to work every time. A perfectly timed Valor+ Ki Burst+ Flash can save a teammate and yourself. Always remember that there are multiple uses for Riven's abilities. Valor and Broken Wings can both help you get away from enemies as well as CC an entire group.
Pros and Cons
+Great mid to late game farm.
+Abilities give you great mobility.
+Can turn team fights and games.
+You only need to worry about cooldowns.
-Can be pretty squishy early game.
-Early level farming is generally slow.
-Item dependency is annoying if you're not doing well right away.
-Requires a lot of farm if you aren't getting any kills.
I've listed the runes I myself use on my Riven build in game. I pushed as much AD into her as I possibly could because early game I'm not focused on building AD items. These runes, while some may say are a bit overboard on AD, allow me to output some good damage early while focusing on building for survivability first.
Be sure not to use AD per level runes as they don't give you as much AD at first. Believe me, having as much as possible right off the bat helps a lot.
Flash is still a useful spell, even after Riot's changes to it. It can close a gap to ensure a kill, or get you out of a sticky spot before an enemy champion can take you out. This can also be interchangeable with Exhaust, this is entirely up to preference.
Ignite is useful if you're solo laning as you'll normally have two enemies to worry about. Ignite can take out the last few points of health while you turn your attention to your second opponent, or ensure a kill if you happen to be minion blocked or your Valor ability is on cooldown.
It's definitely viable to pick up Exhaust and Flash together, though I've had better luck with Flash and Ignite than anything else.
Ghost is frequently argued to be more useful than Flash. In my opinion, this is entirely up to preference. There are some champions I will always pick up Ghost on, and others I prefer Flash. I have not tested how this spell works with Riven, but the run speed boost does cover more ground than Flash and may help you get away if you're being chased by a champion with their own run speed boost.
Teleport is handy if you're solo laning. It makes going back to your base a lot easier. Recalling and using Teleport on cooldown can keep you always at the ready. It's also useful mid to late game for teleporting in to team fights, or to save a turret. I don't recommend picking this up unless you know you're solo laning though.
Broken Wings [Q] is a great spell to start out with for multiple reasons. It does a decent amount of damage, can be unloaded on minions, enemy champions, or used to get away from enemies. Or all three combined if you're lucky. This is the main reason I choose this ability first.
Ki Burst [W] is great to pick up second, as it offers a stun. If you can get close enough to your target, unleash Ki Burst and follow up with Broken Wings. This is stun is highly useful, which is why I level it up first.
Valor [E] is an ability I've seen a lot of people max out first. I don't recommend doing this unless you're planning on building tanky for your entire game as you miss out on a lot of damage from one of your other abilities. Valor is a wonderful ability either for chasing, retreating, or initiating. If you're solo lane, you may want to pick this up second if you're having trouble with taking damage or getting caught overextended. However, if you're laning with another champion you won't need to worry about snagging this ability first.
Blade of the Exile [R] is Riven's ultimate. When activated, Riven gains 20% bonus attack damage and extended range on her damaging abilities and autoattacks for 15 seconds. Once her ultimate is activated, she gains another ability, Wind Slash. Riven can activate the ability to emit a shockwave in a long cone in front of her that deals physical damage to all units hit based on their missing health. This is a great ability to use if an enemy is low on health and trying to retreat.
Regrowth Pendant is a great item to pick up if you have trouble staying alive early game. The regen is very nice and you should be able to hold out for a while without needing to go back to base, provided you get the necessary help from your teammates (Jungle ganks, or laning partner kills/assists).
** As a side note, you can still get some good sustainability from Boots of Speed and some health potions. If you feel this is more to your liking and benefits you more, by all means go for it. I choose to pick up Regrowth Pendant instead because I find it works well for my play style.
Ionian Boots of Lucidity is absolutely wonderful. The faster your cooldowns, the more damage you can do, the quicker you can attack a target for more than just auto-attack damage. I see most people pick up Mercury's Treads even when it's not needed. DO NOT BUILD BLINDLY.
Wriggle's Lantern is amazing. Do not underestimate the amazingness.The ability to throw down a ward on cooldown is delicious and enables you to be more aware of your surroundings. Use it wisely, and abuse it. Abuse it like a drunken stepfather. That being said, I strongly urge you to buy wards if no one else is. Wriggle's can also be sold later in the game to make room for another item.
As pointed out in comments, Warmog's Armor and Frozen Mallet may be a little overkill. Riven IS designed to be an assassin, so once you're comfortable with Riven, try disregarding Warmog's Armor.
Atma's Impaler is a good item to pick up with Frozen Mallet or Warmog's Armor because the extra damage scales with your max health. If you're a little tanky, you should be outputting some great damage from this item alone.
If you know you will be solo laning, picking up Regrowth Pendant and a Health Potion will help keep you alive. I generally like to build my boots before anything else, though you don't necessarily need to. You should at least pick up Boots of Speed as soon as you can, but feel free to rush a Giant's Belt and build your Warmog's Armor before finishing Ionian Boots of Lucidity. If you're having trouble with staying alive still, pick up Phage and build into Frozen Mallet. At this point, you should be starting team fights and can start building more AD items.
If you're laning with a tank or a support, you can actually completely throw Regrowth Pendant out the window and snag a Doran's Blade instead. I don't recommend doing this unless you know the person you are laning with. From there you can build Wriggle's Lantern and The Brutalizer. To make sure you're not too squishy, build a Phage and work up to Frozen Mallet before finishing your Youmuu's Ghostblade.
Double Damage Lane
For this, I do recommend picking up Regrowth Pendant. If you're laning with a ranged champion ( Vayne or Caitlyn are nice accompaniments) you'll find yourself sitting back a lot and simply soaking up experience. This isn't a bad thing. Look for chances to unload damage and run out again before you take too many hits. This is where Regrowth Pendant comes in handy, allowing you to stay in your lane and resume soaking up experience while you regenerate health. If you're laning AGAINST ranged, you'd best be sitting in the bushes a lot and hanging back. Let your ranged laning partner harass the enemy champions until they're low/close enough for you to attack and take them down. If you're laning with a melee champion against melee champions, it's a free for all. If the enemy team is eating through your health, pick up a Giant's Belt and finish off your Warmog's Armor. Again, I prefer to build Ionian Boots of Lucidity foremost, but if you feel it'll hinder you, feel free to change it up to suit your needs. If you're dominating your lane, start building Wriggle's Lantern and snag Phage and The Brutalizer as quickly as you can, building Frozen Mallet first before finishing out Youmuu's Ghostblade.
This section is for the second Riven cheat sheet listed up top and the items chosen. This build is for solo laning and playing a more tanky Riven. Solo lane build was covered in the previous section (Itemization), but I will cover it here as well and try to be a bit more in depth. A lot of these builds are situational and I find myself having to change them frequently in game, hence why there's so much to cover and so many items I've listed to choose from.
Regrowth Pendant is still what I recommend picking up first if you're solo laning, particularly against ranged. You'll probably end up turret hugging for the first few levels, but once your opponent(s) get a little more comfortable and cocky, you should be able to dominate them under your turret and proceed to control the lane. This will be particularly easy to do if you have a jungler that's great at ganks. Be nice to your jungler so they won't have any qualms with helping you when you need it.
** As a side note, you can still get some good sustainability from Boots of Speed and some health potions. If you feel this is more to your liking and benefits you more, by all means go for it. I choose to pick up Regrowth Pendant instead because I find it works well for my play style. (Posted twice in case people skip directly here)
**Insert Ionian Boots of Lucidity right about here**
Wriggle's Lantern is a must have for Riven while solo laning. The ward on cooldown is particularly useful here, especially if you're going against another solo lane. You'll be able to watch for any incoming ganks from their jungler.
Phage should be your next item purchase. The passive is fairly nice and most importantly, it builds into Frozen Mallet which is your next item. It'll give you a nice chunk of health and help to slow down your opponents as they try to retreat.
The Brutalizer as I've mentioned before is a great item. The cooldown reduction is delicious and will help you unload damage on your opponent(s) quicker, allowing you to in turn dominate your lane. If your laning phase ends quickly, this item is still great to pick up for the same reasons, as well as the fact that it builds into your Youmuu's Ghostblade later.
If you're planning on building more tanky, now is the time to finish out your Warmog's Armor. So far I've walked through this build under the best circumstances. However that's not always the case. If you're having trouble controlling your lane, rushing a Warmog's can help, though you'll want to immediately buy your Wriggle's afterward.
Youmuu's Ghostblade is your next item. This item is particular useful because:
A) It's passive grants you 15% cooldown reduction and +20 armor penetration
B) It's active ability grants you 20% movement speed and +50% attack speed for 4 seconds. This may not seem like a lot, but with your lifesteal, this could be delicious, especially since melee attacks increase the duration by 2 seconds for a total of 8 seconds. And then you have a few extra seconds to dash on out and get away too.
Atma's Impaler is a good item to take for it's passive. Since you're building tanky, the extra damage scaled off your total health is absolutely delicious. And don't say no to armor, especially against champions like Vayne or Caitlyn.
I know, I said no pictures or youtube videos. But my current match history is filled up with Riven wins, so I took a screen shot. There are a few losses as well, it's to be expected when you're not a full premade. Also, I know my scores aren't necessarily good when you look at them right away, but please keep in mind that most of my games tend to last 20-35 minutes. The increased number of deaths/assists generally means I built tanky. (Also if I'm really low on kills, I blame the two friends I do queue with. We killsteal a lot and the top game I played I laned with my friend on Vayne.)
Good Music To Play To
I don't have any in game videos or anything, but here's some good music to listen to while playing Riven. This is generally my background music.
Keep an Eye Out!
Not literally please.
But if you check back in the next few days, you may just see the following:
+Completed mastery section
+Youtube videos of Riven gameplay
+Tips on laning strategies
+Screenshots of Riven gameplay
Credits & Luff <3
A lot of work is being put into this guide and a lot of said work couldn't be done without some help!
+Crystalize helped me out a lot by listening to me rant and rave and being the first to vote up my guide. <3 And as a side note, if you've ever wanted to try Akali, take a gander at his Akali guide.
+Making a Guide posted by jhoijhoi is a great resource for coding. I've worked with BBCoding for years, but a lot of stuff on this site is different than others, so this is an invaluable resource.
+lexiphanic spent time down in the comments section giving me plenty of advice, so thank you for that. :)