Riven Build Guide by lexiphanic

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League of Legends Build Guide Author lexiphanic

Riven the Exile (Complete Lane and Jungle Guide)

lexiphanic Last updated on January 11, 2012
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Solo Top Riven


Jungle Riven

Ability Sequence

Ability Key Q
Ability Key W
Ability Key E
Ability Key R

Not Updated For Current Season

The masteries shown here are not yet updated for the current season, the guide author needs to set up the new masteries. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.



Offense: 21

Honor Guard

Defense: 9

Strength of Spirit

Utility: 0

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So, you want to play Riven?

Riven is a melee AD champion that has excellent mobility and a very powerful passive that make her unstoppable. Riven can be played as either a solo top, or a jungler, and she excels at both. (Although you can dual bot, it's not really suggested.)

A lot of people suggest using Riven as an off-tank bursty DPS, but her ratios are just too good and it's definitely a waste to get too tanky. This build provides a perfect ratio of survivability and damage.

Shall we get started?

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Summoner Spells

Viable Summoner Spells

SPACE Flash adds even more mobility to Riven and even with its recent nerf, it still manages to perform well. Combo this with your Ki Burst and your enemies won't even know what hit 'em. SPACE
SPACE Exhaust is very useful as a solo top, since you will primarily be going against other melee AD champions. The slow, the damage reduction, and the armor reduction all make this an obvious choice. Great for chasing, and even escaping. SPACE
SPACE As a solo top it can be important to get back into lane as quick as possible. In situations where you're going to be out of lane a lot, I suggest Teleport. I usually fare well enough against my opponents to take Flash that I don't typically need to rush back to lane. The map control it provides is also nice. SPACE
SPACE Only use Smite if you're a jungler. If you're not using Smite, you're either insane or silly. SPACE

Not as Viable Summoner Spells

SPACE Ignite is really useful as a solo-top to erase off those last two little health bars to ensure that kill. Also is great for ridding that Dr. Mundo of his heal and of being capable of finishing off Tryndamere after his ult. Overall, a good spell, but others are typically better. SPACE
SPACE Ghost is another one of those spells that works really well with Riven's mobility, but unfortunately, it just loses out to Flash. It does offer a better sustained chase though, but Riven's skills make up for it. A personal preference here. SPACE
SPACE Cleanse is a godsend if your enemy team is pure CC. As Riven, you'll find yourself being focused, a lot. Take Cleanse if you're feeling like there's going to be a lot of hate on you. SPACE

NOPE! Summoner Spells

SPACE Heal isn't a very good choice at all for Riven. It has the benefit of maybe increasing your sustain, but overall, effectively useless. SPACE
SPACE Revive has its purposes, but none of those really fit Riven. The only champion who benefits majorly from Revive right now is Karthus. This is the same as before, other spells take Revive's place. SPACE
SPACE Surge is only really useful for AP carries, and those who need the attack speed. As Riven you don't really need either, so this falls out. SPACE
SPACE C'mon now, Riven doesn't even have mana! Obviously, Clarity is no good for her. SPACE
SPACE Promote is kind of okay in lane, if you really want to push a lot, but typically pushing doesn't happen until late game where you'll want some other Summoner Spells. SPACE
SPACE Clairvoyance is definitely useful, but let the support take it, no need for you to have it. SPACE

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Runes for Riven are pretty simple and straightforward.


Greater Mark of Armor Penetration

Greater Mark of Attack Damage

Greater Seal of Armor

Greater Quintessence of Armor Penetration

Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction
Greater Mark of Desolationx3
ArP is great for AD in general, and especially so on Riven.

Riven's beginning game damage struggles a little bit, and since all her skills have great ratios from AD, these give Riven the extra little boost she needs beginning game.

Just a basic beginning game defensive tool to help stay alive a bit longer. Helps boost both beginning game and end-game as well.

Since Riven focuses entirely on cooldowns, and no mana use, CDR is king. With a full build and these runes, you'll have a total of 35.9% CDR.

Greater Quintessence of Desolationx3
Again, ArP is so great on AD champions.

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- Makes your Exhaust that much more potent.

- Again, her AD ratios are superb, so AD is a must.

- Helps the tiniest amount.

- AS is always useful.

- Since Riven relies entirely on CDs and not mana, CDR is crazy good.

- ArP is King with AD champions.

- As an AD champion, your goal is to deal damage. This helps. :)

- ArP is great, etc etc. I'm sure you've heard enough by now.

- This talent provides synergy with your ultimate very well.

- Extra survivability.

- Helps with dueling that solo top bruiser.

- Again, survivability.

- More noticeable in the beginning game, but very useful.

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Skill Breakdown

SPACE Passive: Runic Blade is Riven's passive and it is probably one of the greatest in the game. Essentially, what this skill does, is that after every ability use, your auto-attacks deal extra damage. Now, what this means, is that since you can use Broken Wings 3 times, you want to auto-attack between each. This stacks out at 3, and anything beyond that is wasted. ALWAYS use this passive after every skill. SPACE

SPACE Q: Although I feel like the phrase "bread and butter" is way overused, Broken Wings is just that. Riven's trademark skill is a 3-part AOE skill. While pressing Q, she will hop to the cursor if it's hovering over someone, if not, she will hop towards the cursor in the direction she's facing. Pressing Q once, she hops forward a little bit, dealing small AOE damage. Pressing Q again, she repeats the little hop, and again does small AOE damage. Pressing Q the third time makes her hop higher, and when she lands she again does small AOE damage with the caveat that she also knocks her target back slightly. This is absolutely great for chasing. As a rule, you almost always want to use auto-attacks in-between each press of Q, but we'll cover more of that later. SPACE

SPACE W: Ki Burst is Riven's stun. Nothing too marvelous except that it deals large amounts of damage with a stun. What more could you ask for? Be warned though, it has a pretty small range, that can be hard to see. See Fiddlesticks ready to ult? Stun 'em. Seeing Katarina spin to win? Stun 'em. Just don't like the way Wukong laughs at you? Stun 'em. SPACE

SPACE E: Valor is another of Riven's tricks to be completely uncatchable and to also chase super effectively. Beyond the mobility that this grants, it also provides a small shield that absorbs damage that scales with her AD. Be warned, this shield only lasts 2.5 seconds. SPACE

SPACE R: Riven's ultimate, Blade of the Exile, synergizes with her other spells in such an incredible manner it's almost unfair. It boosts her damage output by incredible amounts. The greatest part about it though? It comes with a built-in ranged execute. What this means is that as her enemies' health bars get lower, the more damage it does. It's best to use when they have <25% health. Don't forget to activate the ultimate again to get this execute. It is a wave, so aim carefully. SPACE

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Skill Sequence

Riven has two main ways of building her skills, depending on your need for that game.

For an offensive type game, I'd suggest:

Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

However, adefensive game where you're a little more behind, I'd go with:
Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

Personally, I play very aggressively, so I prefer using the offensive style and leveling Broken Wings over Valor. Either way, you want to max out Ki Burst first.

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Skill Combos

Riven has a few combos depending on the situation.

Let me start by saying that her passive, Runic Blade, requires her to auto-attack to activate it, and it maxes out at 3 stacks. Now, in a perfect world, we want to auto-attack in-between each use of Broken Wings, or any skill really.

As for combos, let's start with the simple harass.
Valor -> Ki Burst -> Auto-Attack -> Broken Wings away.

Just about any other time, follow this.
Valor -> Auto-attack -> Ki Burst -> Auto-attack -> Broken Wings -> Auto-attack - > Broken Wings -> Auto-attack -> Broken Wings -> Auto-attack

The only time you should ever just spam at Broken Wings is running away, chasing after someone (ideally hitting them with your third strike), and creep farming.

As a reminder, ALWAYS auto-attack between each skill for maximum damage output. This handling of Riven's passive is what separates good Riven players from bad.

Stonewall008 provides a good example of ganking and combos.

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Now, let's talk items. Typically, I follow a pretty narrow item path, but I will change out my 5th and 6th slot depending on their team composition.

Core Items

Ionian Boots of Lucidity - Now, these add CDR, and since Riven relies entirely on CDR, these are a must.

The Brutalizer - Overall, this item doesn't have a wasted stat on Riven. The mixture of CDR, damage, and Armor Penetration is too good to pass up. Save this for end-game and upgrade it to a Youmuu's Ghostblade.

The Bloodthirster - Of the two options for your main damage item, the other option being Infinity Edge, this item provides both the highest damage possible (fully farmed), and offers a nice bit of sustainability in the form of life steal.

My typical order to start out a game is Boots of Speed and Health Potionx3. From here, I'll grab The Brutalizer in full, and some more Health Potions. On my next trip back, I'll buy Ionian Boots of Lucidity, and Vampiric Scepter for the sustain. If you're having a really good game (kills and cs), you can always start buying The Bloodthirster before The Brutalizer. This is only really if you're winning your lane by a large portion.

If that doesn't suit you, I've also started with Doran's Blade before and it was moderately effective, but it doesn't offer much in the way of sustain unfortunately.

Mid/Late Game

When you reach this part of the game, you have two paths you can take. The safe route, and the pure damage, slice your face off route.
Pure Damage Route
Frozen Mallet and Atma's Impaler combine well together to give a large amount of health and survivability, as well as some good ol' pure damage. Mix that with an Infinity Edge and your crits will be embarrassingly big.

Safer Route
Again, the synergy of Warmog's Armor and Atma's Impaler is too good to pass up. Tack these together with a Banshee's Veil and you are just about unstoppable. With this set-up, your survivability in team fights goes up a large amount and makes the game a little more easy.

Other Options
Doran's Blade - This is a nice starter item as it gives us all the stats we want, but it doesn't give us quite the survivability that boots and health pots give.
Mercury's Treads - These boots can be a real life saver when you have a team with a lot of CC, as Riven is incredibly vulnerable. Pick these up if your enemies have a lot of Exhausts sitting around.
Guardian Angel - I've picked one up before when I was hurting a lot. The revive makes it very viable, and it provides a lot of survivability.
Randuin's Omen - Again, another really nice survivability option, although the price makes it less than perfect.
Thornmail - Oh what Tryndamere, you're dead all of a sudden? Must've been your 2.2 attack speed shredding away at your own health. Every AD carry hates this item, and for good cause. For only 2000 gold, on top of providing 100 armor, this item can't be beat when you're losing to that fed Tryndamere.
Hexdrinker - Damage, Magic Resist, and a passive that'll save your life? Sounds good! This item is really effective against AP heavy teams, with big nukers like Veigar. I've bought it once or twice before, and it's a very noticeable presence.
Wriggle's Lantern - Many Riven players buy this in lane, but I tend to steer away from it. It costs 1600 gold at the beginning of the game, when you can be getting easy CDR from Ionian Boots of Lucidity and The Brutalizer. It's absolutely magnificent on jungle Riven. Buy at your own risk in lane. I admit that it has its value, but it makes Riven's mid-game rather slow, and I simply prefer the ability to dominate early. Up to personal preference.
Last Whisper - Great item if your opponents are stacking armor. It'd be silly not to buy one when their Malphite has 350 armor. Also makes Riven more of a threat around the table. Very effective, and one of the best items for her.
Quicksilver Sash - Don't have Cleanse? Pick up Quicksilver Sash for some easy cleansing and watch your enemies rage in their seats.
Force of Nature - The health regen and built-in movement speed makes this an excellent item in general. As a MR item though, I definitely prefer Banshee's Veil.

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Jungling Items

Core Items

Riven's jungling item path is almost identical to that of her solo top item build order. The only difference between the two is picking up an extra Doran's Blade.

When starting with a Doran's Blade in the jungle, make sure you have teammates that will do some damage to wolves and leash blue. Without those two crucial steps, you'll have a very rough time in the jungle.

If you really prefer having Wriggle's Lantern, start out with a Cloth Armor and Health Potionx5. Some people suggest using Vampiric Scepter, but I much prefer the stability of the armor.

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Jungling Path

Jungle Route

#1 - Start out wolves. Be sure to attack the big wolf first. Here, you'll want to do Auto-attack -> Broken Wings -> Auto-attack -> Broken Wings -> Auto-attack -> Broken Wings to finish off the wolves. Try your best to hit all 3.

#2 - Move on to Blue Golem. Here, you'll want to smite the big blue one, and level up Ki Burst.

#3 - Head down to wraiths. Focus on the the big blue, then the 3 little red ones. Again, here is where you want to use the same combos as before, being sure to auto-attack between skill uses.

#4 - Head down to Double Golem. Again, use the same combos. Level up Valor.

#5 - Head to Red Lizard. Here, you'll want to Valor in, wait for the shield to come down, use Ki Burst and use your Broken Wings-auto-attack combo. When Valor comes back up, I dash out a little bit and keep attacking. Finish with Smite.

#6 - Again back to wraiths, do them in as well. At this point, you should be level 4, level up Ki Burst, and you should go back here.

#7 - You can gank mid if they're low, but by this point, you're pretty low yourself. Go back and buy. Here, I typically buy another Doran's Blade, but if you like the comfort of Wriggle's Lantern go ahead and buy a Long Sword and some pots, or a Vampiric Scepter.

The way this current jungle works is that the respawn timers are rather quick. So either head to gank after buying, or go wolves, wraiths, and golems. From there you can gank as well. Either way, you want to either be jungling or ganking.

#8 - From here, you should gank. Best place to gank is typically mid, but try to look for any lane where your enemies are overextended. To do an effective gank, communicate with your teammates, and initiate. Valor in, then use Ki Burst to stun them in place, and Broken Wings -> Auto-Attack to finish them off. If you don't get the opportunity to kill them, at least make them waste their flash and come back for them. You can also attempt to counter jungle, or steal some of your opponent's jungle. This can be risky, but also rewarding.

Why this path?
  • By the time you're finished, you have the perfect amount of gold to buy Madred's Razors and a Health Potion
  • A safer, more sustained route that sets up a gank at level 4.
  • A solid path based entirely on timing.

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Welp, thank you all for reading! I'll have this updated with some videos in a few days when I get the chance to.

This is my first guide, so please be gentle. :)

If you have any recommendations, tips, reviews, etc, please comment below.

A thank you to jhoijhoi for her guide on guides, as it made this process a lot easier.

If you vote me down, please explain so in comments. Any criticism is appreciated!