Riven Build Guide by Beeswarm17
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Welcome to my Riven guide!
Riven is a champion that I believe to be best played as a tanky dps. She has a good early game with decent harass from her skills and a strong shield, a good mid game with her excellent team play capabilities, and late game functionality as a survivable damage dealer or initiator.
I tend to play her as a skirmisher or initiator. She darts in and out of the fight, disrupting enemy champs and taking focus off the carry. Riven also initiates well, charging in with Valor and hitting the team with Ki Burst.
My playstyle allows her to usually live for about 4-10 seconds under heavy fire and do decent damage for the carry to run cleanup. Riven does need another tanky champ to help her hold focus, and she has a good chance of dying if she is under heavy CC focus. However, that's CC not directed at your carry.
This Riven build is not for the glory gamer. You play to allow others to deal damage while holding focus, living only by small CC bursts and shields. Under this playstyle, you have a decent chance of dying under focus fire, but if you have a team backing you up, your one death will mean four of theirs.
Her gameplay flexibility is what I've come to appreciate about her, and it will be the focus of this guide. I will update this guide as I come to learn of new combos and item strengths and weaknesses on her.
Later in the guide I will present a section on jungling with Riven. I will be as in-depth as possible, covering her route, counter jungling, ganks, etc. I like to be thorough.
I'LL SAY IT NOW AND SEVERAL MORE TIMES THIS GUIDE. DON'T JUST BLINDLY FOLLOW BUILDS. THE CHEAT SHEET AT THE TOP IS FOR A CURSORY GLANCE AT SOME ITEM SUGGESTIONS, NOT WHAT YOU SHOULD DO EVERY TIME. PLEASE DON'T ACT UNDER THE ASSUMPTION THAT THIS IS WHAT I ALWAYS DO. I BUILD DEPENDING ON THE SITUATION LIKE EVERYONE ELSE.
Pros / Cons
Greater Mark of Armor Penetration
Greater Seal of Armor
Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction
Greater Quintessence of Health
Greater Mark of Desolation - Good standard marks for anyone who does physical damage. It's what I most often use. Takes care of any defensive runes and masteries and provides the most balanced benefits over the course of a match.
Greater Seal of Armor - Standard runes, once again. These will help keep you alive early before your Valor shell really kicks in. Armor seals to give you the early game defense until you've leveled up Valor enough. Scaling armor seals or HP seals can both serve as suitable replacements, if you prefer.
Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction - CDR? CDR. Get them. Really. I feel it's very important to have as low a CD as possible on her skills. These are honestly too good for Riven to pass up.
Greater Quintessence of Health - These are my personally preferred quints. The early health lets you live easier early, and recover from the occasional botched harass attempt. If you're not worried about the health, get something else.
- Greater Mark of Attack Damage - These will give you an even greater early game boost. Not as good as ArPen marks because they fall off quickly, but you can mix them in with ArPen marks and Sunder to find what balance works best for you.
- Greater Seal of Health - Self-explanatory. I honestly don't use much else aside from armor seals, but these aren't bad either. If you still want a health buff without using quints, these are for you.
- greater seal of regeneration - More health regen. Riven's health regen is insanely high. This makes it better. Not a bad thing, for sure. Try them out and see if they work for you.
- Greater Glyph of Magic Resist - Flat MR to go with your armor. Standard stuff, self-explanatory. Get them if you don't have CDR glyphs.
- Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist - Scaling MR. Equal benefit at around level 6, I believe. These make an excellent substitute for your CDR glyphs. These are probably better than flat MR, unless you are laning against a magic dealer top. Even then, these are probably still better than flat. Your call.
- Greater Quintessence of Cooldown Reduction - Want some more CDR? Here it is. Self-explanatory. If you want them, then get them. Just pay attention to how much CDR you will have after runes, masteries, and items are all added together. Not the best, but CDR is pretty handy.
- Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage - These will give the most stable benefits over the course of the game when combined with ArPen marks. If you want more AD than HP, these are for you.
- Greater Quintessence of Desolation - You really don't like armor, do you? You'll be hitting for roughly true damage if you pair these up with ArPen marks. With the AD you'll be building, it's not bad. I guess you could use these and AD marks, but that's not going to give as much benefit as the reverse.
- greater quintessence of regeneration - Even more health regen. As I said earlier, Riven's HP regen is insanely high. These would put it so far into the ridiculous it would give Garen competition. Might be worth replacing the HP quints for this.
Quints can be a duplicate of any rune that's already been mentioned, but I like the bonus HP that fortitude quints will get you. It helps you survive through early harass. If you prefer, grab some quints of CDR, AD, or ArPen, whatever you feel could use the boost.
Deadliness for more critical strike. The other option is AP scaling, which is a no.
Cripple for the improved Exhaust. It's excellent. Besides, nothing else here really does much good, you know?
Sorcery for CDR.
Alacrity to hit faster. The little bit helps you early.
Sunder will give you a bit of a damage boost for your early game.
Offensive Mastery for more damage to minions. Helps to clear them out faster. Kinda useless, but there's nothing else to really put the points in.
Brute Force for more starting AD. I don't normally recommend it, but more damage is more damage. Works better here than in Lethality . Not much crit to work with here.
Havoc for more damage. Why else would you spec into offense?
3 points into Good Hands . It gives you more benefit than Perseverence . You'll die in games. Get over it.
A point in Perseverence for ladder advancement.
Greed for the last point. I like free money, and this means free wards. If you don't like it, get Utility Mastery instead.
Alternative Mastery Tree
Sunder for the ArPen. If you want this point somewhere else, that's fine, but there's really nowhere else I'd put it.
Perseverence because of rung advancement. 3 points have to go here to complete the tree without wasting them elsewhere. If you use Ghost or Teleport, put the points there instead.
Greed Money is wonderful. This will also give you about 3-6 free wards over the course of the game. Worth it.
Utility Mastery It's useful for the extension to Baron and red/blue buffs. Red buff is your friend. Blue buff is too, but it should generally be reserved for your casters and other people with mana. The CDR is nice, though.
Presence of the Master will reduce the CD on your summoner spells by lots. Do it because it's OP.
Quickness Movement speed. Will add about 12 movespeed with this build. That's half the difference between movespeed 2 and movespeed 3. I like having it. You'll be doing a lot of chasing with Riven, so it helps.
Note on Perseverence . It's bad. Really bad. 4% of your total HP regen on Riven with a Philosopher's Stone is 2 bonus HP/5. That's right, it goes up from 48 to 50. Her base is 30 HP/5 at level 18. 4% bonus for that is 1.2 HP/5. It does very little for you, and should not be used in general. However, for us to utilize the full extent of the Utility tree, there's nothing else that actually provides anything. Honestly, with my laziness I'd almost rather put the points into improved ghost and teleport just so I can swap summoner spells without redoing the whole mastery page, but that would draw community aggro.
Riven can make use of a variety of summoner spells, depending on how you like to play and your team composition.
Need a more extended duration chaser spell than flash? Ghost is your answer. Also, since you'll be in the thick of the fight more often than not, the collision removal this spell gives you can be very useful in tandem with Ki Burst and Valor. You will want the associated mastery point if you take this skill.
Useful for getting those early game kills or taking that Dr. Mundo and his healing down a peg. It also stops other champs like Swain and Warwick from healing all the damage your team does. I think that others can make better use of this, and the usability drops dramatically over time. Still, it has it's uses.
So much CC that your Mercury's Treads won't be enough? This is for you, then. Riven is fairly locked down by CC, and this will keep you darting around the fight, popping Valor and Ki Burst. It will not stop suppresses, so it won't help against Malzahar or Warwick. Keep that in mind when choosing this spell.
If you REALLY need to get around to play defense, gank, or just go back and forth from base to lane frequently, then you might want Teleport. It's very good for the purposes of map control, though I don't exactly recommend it for tanky dps characters. Riven is pretty good at defending towers, so if you like it, then try it. Use it more if you think it works.
This is my usual build, but also one that I recommend for anyone dealing with an opponent of high burst damage. Your damage will be less immediate, and if you aren't taking much damage, feel free to level up Ki Burst before Valor. But bursty champs are cooldown dependent and rely on autoattacks less. They will do more damage to you faster than you can do to them. Valor lets you soak that burst and unleash a full combo almost for free.
Burst Damage Build
Use this if you are against a low health champ or someone who relies on sustained damage. You want to hit them as hard as possible very quickly. Valor into range, Ki Burst them, and get out with Broken Wings. Valor lets you soak initial harass and leaves the option to use Broken Wings for more damage or as an escape.
This is her passive. It gives her an extra punch to her abilities, and it is one that takes good timing to fully utilize. Each activation of her abilities gives her a charge on her blade that deals bonus damage (in the form of attack damage) to the target. Each swing of Broken Wings, a Ki Burst, a Valor dash, or her Blade of the Exile activation will give her a charge, up to a maximum of three.
This is something that should not be ignored. Each charge can eventually mean over 100 (almost 200 late game) bonus damage per hit. Make sure that you use them as you chain your skills, or else you will end up wasting stacks. However, if you aren't close enough to hit with your blade as someone is running, keep up the chase and let the stacks be. If you can't hit, you can't hit.
Be aware that your passive is going to be your main source of early game damage (levels 1-6), and it will continue putting a large amount of hurt on your targets. Knowing when to hit with this will make all the difference in the world. Hit as much as you can with it, but you don't need to kill yourself to get a hit in.
This is your basic damage skill. However, it does much more than that for you. Depending on your timing, you can surprise an enemy by knocking him into your tower or push him away from an ally, disrupt a team's positioning, hack your way to an enemy support or carry, or chase down a fleeing enemy.
You will almost always want this first. This skill will keep you mobile, while being able to give you the most charges on your passive. However, if you are aiming for a level 1 team fight, then you might want to get Ki Burst first. This depends on your team comp. If you have an Alistar and you want to pick an early fight, get Broken Wings anyway.
This ability is leveled last because it has a static cooldown. No matter what rank the skill is, the cooldown does not reduce, and as I have stated before, CDR is critical to Riven. Leveling this reduces how often you can perform other abilities without increasing the number of times you use Broken Wings.
This skill is almost disgustingly useful. A half second of stun may not seem like much, but it is a fantastic interrupt on any champs that rely on combos or channeling. Katarina Shunpo'd to you and popped her Death Lotus? Nunu's Absolute Zero about to make a mess of your team? The enemy's tank is initiating? Ki Burst. Often it will be just enough of a stutter to throw things out of balance, and it cancels channeled spells outright.
This skill is learned at level 3 because it is much easier to use after learning Valor. If the enemy champ is constantly in your face, or you are laning with a hard hitting carry, Caitlyn or Miss Fortune for example, consider skilling this at level 2. Keep in mind it will put you at very close range without a way to soak damage, thus making it easier for your enemies to harass you.
I max this first. Why max this skill? It gives you more mobility for early game harass, as well as a shield that will keep you alive in lane and during ganks. Leveling Valor allows you to use it more often with greater shield strength. It lets you use her short dash very frequently, helping to chase down enemies or prevent damage. Riven does not have much early survivability, and this covers that nicely. Also, it lets you position yourself well for Ki Burst and Broken Wings, which is why I put a point in it at level 2 and wait until 3 to learn Ki Burst. The combination of Broken Wings and Valor gives you roughly the range of Flash at Ghost speed. I like being that mobile early.
Having the shield at a high strength with a lower cooldown will keep you alive through more than you thought possible. It's biggest impact is early game, when you can Valor into a tower, kill both champs, and then Valor away, with turret aggro and Ignite on you. Nothing is more annoying to me than knowing I would have lived if I had a .5 second lower CD on Valor.
Lastly, I feel that maxing out Valor early streamlines her transition into midgame. Being able to soak about 200-250 dmg (depending on items) will block a majority of the laning harass, especially on a 4-5 sec cooldown (with runes, masteries, and The Brutalizer). Being able to block this much damage, combined with building her fairly tanky, makes her so survivable it's not even funny. However, if you find yourself up against a very passive lane opponent, feel free to keep this at a low level until later.
Use it. Seriously. It is your edge in 1v1 fights, team fights, ganks, jungle, counter-initiations, tower-dives, and more.
This is essentially an AD steroid with some icing on top. Increased damage, increased range, and the ability to use the ranged Wind Slash. This skill will sizably buff all of your moves in some way. It increases the damage from your passive and gives you more range to hit with your autoattacks. It gives more damage and range to Broken Wings and Ki Burst. Valor will also get a shield boost.
Wind Slash is a difficult skill to use properly. It is mostly meant to be a ranged finishing blow. If you know how to use Garen's Demacian Justice, you will understand when to use this skill. The lower the target's health, the more damage it will do. Not only is the the base damage increased, but also the AD scaling. It is very damaging to targets at low health, but lackluster on full health targets.
Keep in mind that this skill is a very effective finisher, but that comes with some caveats to keep in mind. If your Ashe is hammering away on a target with frost arrows and can clearly get a kill, don't Wind Slash that target. If a low HP enemy is targeted by Caitlyn's Ace in the Hole, don't Wind Slash them. Kill them if your carry can't, but don't be abusive by grabbing kills that they will probably need more.
Tips and Tricks
- Note that when you are using any strike of Broken Wings, you ignore unit collision. If there are things getting in your way, use Broken Wings to get through them.
- Use minions to body-block chasers. It's what you might have seen a Janna player do to you. If a champ has a skill-shot that lands on the first target, you can hop through a minion to avoid it.
- Broken Wings can get you through thin walls as well, such as Anivia's Crystallize and Jarvan IV's Cataclysm.
- Don't ignore the knockback that the third hit gives you. It's just as much of an interrupt as Ki Burst with almost the same range and duration.
- The biggest thing that frustrates me about this move is that you cannot use it while snared. Keep that in mind if your opponent has a snaring move, like Maokai.
- It's fantastic for securing a kill. Low health enemy trying to escape? A quick stun allows your carry to get that last shot. A quick stun can hold them in place for another teammate to hit with a slower skill like an Ashe's Enchanted Crystal Arrow or a targeted skill like Annie's Summon: Tibbers stun.
- It also has uses when trying to initiate a fight. Someone's out of position? Valor into a Ki Burst to let the rest of your team catch up. Chasing a group down? Valor and Ki Burst the slowest member. Either they get abandoned and your team picks up a kill, or the rest of the team comes back to help.
- When harassing, you will usually want to start with Valor and lead into Ki Burst. Charging in with a Valor followed by Broken Wings isn't bad if you want to try for a very early kill, since that shield will stop a lot of the first hits, letting you get a clean Broken Wings combo without taking too much damage.
- Just like Broken Wings, Riven ignores unit collision while she dashes. You can charge through a minion wave, dash behind a champ, and can get you through thin walls as well, such as Anivia's Crystallize and Jarvan IV's Cataclysm.
- It's also incredibly useful for dodging skill-shots. A small dart to the side is usually enough. And even if it's not, you've gained a damage soaking shield.
- Valor should be your tool of choice when facechecking brush. If you really want to find out if anyone's in the bush, Valor right on in. Hell, I charge in when I know that a Shaco has been dropping boxes. It clears the boxes without you taking damage.
- This skill will also not work while snared. Snare will prevent you from gaining a very important Valor shield, so make sure you avoid it when possible. This is another reason why Mercury's Treads are so important to Riven.
- There is a short delay on actually firing Wind Slash. If your target is at the extreme range of the move, you most likely won't hit if they're running from you. You can kill that low health enemy trying to recall from the brush, or an Akali trying to hide in her Twilight Shroud. It will also hit over walls.
- If you've got a high-damage character on your team, don't hesitate to use this if a group of enemies is almost low enough to kill. Even if they don't die, it inflicts equal damage on a whole group. It can cut to the back-line carry or support, and it can deal a large amount of damage for an Akali or Talon to finish them off. Don't be afraid to use it when you can; sometimes it provides more benefits if you use it a little bit early.
My items were designed to try to balance tanky qualities while still being able to manage some significant damage. I will also try to give some suggestions on situational items that I feel will help give some flexibility against different teams.
These items give you all the tools you need to make it in mid game. Riven needs the tenacity of Mercury's Treads, and the MR doesn't hurt. Wriggle's Lantern gives you armor, damage, life steal, and a free ward. The Brutalizer has good damage, armor pen, and that all important CDR.
You can build these in any order that you want. If you need the boots, get the boots. If you need the damage, get The Brutalizer. The most balanced first item is Wriggle's Lantern, since it gives armor, damage, lifesteal, and a reusable ward.
I've found Doran's Shield to be a solid start; but a Doran's Blade, a Long Sword and a HP pot, Boots of Speed and three HP pots, or Cloth Armor and 5 HP pots will all work as well. It's up to you.
NOTE: If you are laning with a carry, and your carry is eating all of the minions so that you don't get any gold, and you don't get any kills/assists, get a Heart of Gold. It's cheap and pays for itself after about 15 min or so. Better than nothing, and it can build into Randuin's Omen later. However, unless you are the team's tank or support (not advisable), laning with the carry should not be your job. She can get the carry kills with her CC, however, as it's often enough to get the job done.
Here I'll cover various builds to give you an idea on some variations to the Riven builds above.
BALANCED TANKY DPS BUILD
This is the main build I focus on, with some variations depending on the opponents. I'll go over specific situational items in detail later. This will give you very good HP, decent Armor and MR, and utility, while still maintaining decent amounts of damage. It is a good build for balanced teams.
Why is Atma's Impaler after Banshee's Veil? It's so weird! Yeah, it's weird, and you don't have to do that at all. But the MR from your Merc Treads will start to be lackluster around here, and it's also the time that mages start to be a REAL problem.
Don't be afraid to sell your Wriggle's Lantern late game for another item. If you're using it, keep using it. But if you need to, this is okay to sell for something else.
Also, I didn't show it, but you can upgrade your The Brutalizer to a Youmuu's Ghostblade any time you feel it necessary. I find the other items to be more important, however, and YGB is not that fantastic for Riven.
AD HEAVY BUILD
This is mostly meant as an example, in case you come across a team mostly dealing AD. Not much change, to be honest. Randuin's Omen will really punish any AD autoattackers, so always keep this in mind if they are a problem. If there is VERY little CC to go around, you can consider buying Ninja Tabi or Ionian Boots of Lucidity. The Tabi will give you some early armor and dodge. CDR boots are CDR boots. Up to you.
AP HEAVY BUILD
I don't have Atma's Impaler because you will have low HP stacking, limiting it's usefulness. Higher HP regen will get you farther, and the added movement speed from Force of Nature doesn't hurt. The Bloodthirster will help to make up the damage from not using Atma's, and the lifesteal and HP regen will help you recover from burst fire. It will be very strange if you are fighting a bunch of mages and there's no CC. Merc treads are not optional. They also will give you some good early MR. This would also be a time to swap Wriggle's for Wit's End for the MR bonus on top of the added damage it will give you. I kinda hate how few MR items are actually any good for Riven.
This is another case of "don't follow the crazy man's build order". This is not an exact order. That's really up to you.
First off, your finished build when using Doran's Stacking will not look like this. You probably won't ever build this many. It's only meant to be an example on this subject. (Please don't ever stack this many Doran's items. Kittens will lose homes.)
The strategy behind stacking Doran's items is that since each item is INCREDIBLY cost effective, you can use it to recover from a bad early game or give yourself a severe early game advantage. They sell for very little and lose their cost effectiveness over a long game, but if you can get the money, you just sell each item one at a time until you get back on track with stronger items.
To see what I mean by cost effectiveness, here's what this build gives you: 620 HP, 50 AD, 10 Armor, 8 hp/5, and 15% lifesteal. It costs 2850 gold. That is about equal to a B.F. Sword(1650), a Vampiric Scepter(450), a Giant's Belt(1110), a Ruby Crystal(475), a Rejuvenation Bead(250), and Cloth Armor(300). This all costs 4235 gold. That means you are saving 1385 gold. That's about 4.6 champ kills. So yeah, it's good for those who are trying to recover from a bad lane. Just keep in mind that these items don't sell well AT ALL. It shouldn't be used as standard practice for Riven.
Always remember that these builds are meant to give you an IDEA of what you can build during a match. Never, ever blindly follow a build. These will work on a general scale, but as a tanky dps, remember to build as your team needs.
REMEMBER ALSO THAT ALL BUILDS ARE SITUATIONAL. THIS IS FOR THOSE WHO WANT SOME DIRECTION, NOT A PERFECT BUILD.
Probably the single most cost-effective item in the game. HP, armor, and magic resist, along with some lovely stats shared with the entire group. Usually a tank will get this. It isn't a bad idea for you to get it. It does up your damage slightly, too. If you're roaming a bit or getting into teamfights, this item might be fairly solid. It won't help you as much lategame, though. Get it fairly early if you're going to buy it.
What? Mana on Riven? *Gasp* As amusing as it is for Riven to have 375 mana, the HP and MR will keep you alive, and the bubble of safety is a godsend. It blocks a single enemy skill every 45 seconds. This ranges from Ashe's Volley to Morgana's Soul Shackles. A caster's nightmare. With this and your Valor bubble, you'll be amazed what you can live through.
This is the single highest magic resist item in the game. It gives insane HP regen, especially if you've got something like Warmog's Armor. Never ignore the movespeed buff this item gives you. It's a big deal. Few champs will be able to escape you.
Armor, magic resist, and revival upon death. I wish this had more magic resist, but the passive on this thing is really nice. My personal qualm with it is that you never seem to revive and live. If you've got a way to restore HP (lifesteal or support champ), this will probably be a significant benefit to you. It's got a lot of defensive stats at a fairly cheap price, though, so it can be helpful for that, as well.
Health, armor, HP regen, and slight CDR, with a nice slowing effect both in the passive and active. This item is very nice for when you need some more tankiness, or Thornmail isn't what you're looking for to stop the AD champs. It can slow the entire enemy team if you time it right, and that will really pay off.
It's really fun with Riven. Getting in the thick of things and hammering away while doing bonus magic damage. Stunning a few enemies with Ki Burst and doing damage just for them standing near you, never mind the hits of Broken Wings. The health and armor are nice benefits, but it really falls off late game. A decent midgame alternative if you're in more of a tanking role.
Lots of armor and a passive that shreds autoattackers. Almost every physical carry in the game hates this item. It's also absurdly cheap (2000 gold? Really?), so if you or the team needs it, get it. Unfortunately, you probably won't live long enough to really inflict self harm on others with this if you get focused. It will give you range damage on their back-line carry, though, so that's something to say. The passive happens even while you have Valor up, so you can still pull some hurt while blocking all damage.
I swear this item was DESIGNED to be used with Atma's Impaler. If you build this item with Atma's, your damage will skyrocket. Bonus points if you still have Frozen Mallet. This could be a good replacement for Wriggle's Lantern or Banshee's Veil. Beware Madred's Bloodrazor, however.
If you don't get Ignite, this item could potentially hold high value to you. If you're laning against a champ with high healing abilities, the active on this will help tremendously. The passive gives you just a little bit of an extra hit to all of your attacks. The total damage added is 32 each hit, so it will really start to hurt after a while.
Damage, MR, and a mini Blitzcrank passive. Zilean bombs making you rage? Karthus ult becoming a problem? Problem no more! It's a good damage item that's also relatively cheap. If Banshee's Veil is too expensive or you need damage more, then Hexdrinker is the way to go. It only triggers on magic damage, though.
Want to really take advantage of the crit chance on Atma's Impaler? This will do it nicely. Also, it's pretty hard to ignore the highest non-stacking damage item in the game. It's expensive, but can be worth it if you really want to pile some hurt late game.
This will help you if the other team is stacking a lot of armor. The Brutalizer/ Youmuu's Ghostblade will give you some armor pen, but if you really need more (and you often will), give this a shot. It will help you do the damage you need to stay as a tanky dps. Swap out your The Brutalizer for this item. Get the blue elixir to make up for the CDR.
This item gives the highest damage in the game at max stacks (100 damage!), and it grants significant lifesteal as well. It's a good item for Riven, but keep in mind that the damage goes back to 60 when you die. If you get focused in team fights, consider not getting this. It also stacks with itself, so if you want, get more than one. You won't lose any benefits for it.
Magic Resist and Attack Speed in one lovely, cheap package. This will give your autoattacks some extra punch to go along with your passive. Fairly nice if you're having some trouble with magic damage, and it also lets you hit harder. Keep in mind that Riven's AS never really gets too fast, however more AS lets you crank out your passive faster. It won't go to waste.
Cooldown boots. Usually you will want Merc Treads. However, for those times that you don't, I present to you a can of Diet Youmuu's Ghostblade. No filler, only flavor! Seriously, though, these things will go a LONG way towards getting you to that CDR cap. And who doesn't love Ki Burst every 4.5 seconds with %40? You can hammer out some spells pretty hard with this.
When you don't have Cleanse or it just isn't enough, there's QSS. This removes ALL debuffs, including suppresses, Ignite, Mordekaiser's Children of the Grave, and Vladimir's Hemoplague. If you find that you need it, get it. Don't forget it also has good magic resist at a fairly cheap price. This could just as easily go into survivability because of the high magic resist, but it's primary use is the awesome active. It's fairly cheap for what you get, too.
Health, regen, and CDR, with a nice active for chasing down enemies or getting your team the heck out of there. Yeah, it's usually a support item, but that doesn't mean Riven can't use it.
What AD champ doesn't like this item? It is a tremendous team item, and Riven can make good use out of it. This is another good Wriggle's Lantern replacement. Just make sure that you tell your team that you're building it (and make sure that no one else is) so that you don't have two of them on your team. The non-aura benefits are very minor.
NOTE: Remember to buy wards and elixirs as necessary. You have Wriggle's Lantern, but it's not always enough. Vision Wards should be purchased occasionally for warding Dragon and Baron. Sight Wards should be purchased occasionally over the course of the game. Generally, you will buy Elixir of Fortitude, but don't ignore Elixir of Brilliance (lots of CDR should let you hit the 40% CDR cap).
Riven can handle solo top or duo bottom lanes. Good survivability and mobility, combined with high damage, gives her an edge in top lane. However, her complete lack of range makes her susceptible to being zoned. Laning with a partner can help, and her CC can get secure some kills for you or your partner. Just keep in mind that your leveling and gold production will usually be slower in a duo lane.
Start with a Doran's Shield for some early game goodness that allows you to maintain in lane. On your first trip back, get Boots of Speed and a Sight Ward if they have a jungler. When you can, get any other components you feel necessary for your lane. Mage? Null-Magic Mantle. DPS or proficient jungler? Vampiric Scepter or Cloth Armor for Wriggle's for armor (or to get a reusable ward). Tanky champ? Long Sword(s). Always get what you can afford, of course. If you can afford the whole item you're looking for, get it. Also, don't neglect HP pots if you need them.
Wriggle's Lantern is my primary pick once you get your Boots of Speed. Armor, damage, and lifesteal are fantastic bonuses for Riven, and the ward it gives you will save your life so many times if you know how to use it. Why do I make such a big deal about the ward? If Riven gets in a position to be ganked without knowing about it, she's screwed. Her escape mechanisms are nowhere near perfect. In addition, the sustain that lantern gives you will help immensely in lane.
Harass with your Valor + Broken Wings combo or the safer Valor + Ki Burst combo. Use Broken Wings as an escape mechanism for the second combo. If you get the chance to do some real damage, such as when they've overextended or are just at low health, Valor into a Ki Burst, then unleash a full Broken Wings combo. Hit with your autoattacks between each part of the combo when you can.
Keep yourself alive. That's the main goal here. Early kills mean early levels and early ganks. Valor is your main tool for survival. Watch out for champs with absurd ranges or multiple CCs. Knockbacks, snares, and silences are Riven's biggest problems. It's hard to close the gap, and you take a lot of damage without Valor.
Once you have the core set, you're off to midgame!
You should have your core by now, and lanes have started breaking down for ganks. Now is when you go where your team needs you. It's also when you start getting your fun items. I recommend getting a Phage here, since it gives you HP, AD, and a slow.
With Phage in hand, look at the game so far. Are you initiating fights and getting into the thick of things? Or do you have others who do that better, and you are doing more in the way of damage? If it's the former, grab your Giant's Belt and start working towards Frozen Mallet. The latter means you should look for something more damaging, like The Bloodthirster. Be warned that if you go for a more damaging route that you are more of an AD burst. I don't feel that it's her strongest role, but if that's what you need to be, then go for it.
From here, give some strong consideration for Banshee's Veil. If there is little magic or CC to go around (or they aren't hitting you with it), pass it up for another item. This is rare. Often, you will want that MR and bubble of safety to protect you from burst mages or CC. At the very least, consider getting a Negatron Cloak.
When you are trying to gank others, try to prime up Broken Wings by using it before coming into the lane. This way you will have multiple charges already set, and you will lead with a knockback that you can use to push the enemy champ into your teammate. Valor and Broken Wings will allow you to get into range surprisingly fast.
Riven can actually tower dive very well. Valor gets her in range, and the bubble she gets will soak up some of the tower's damage. It WILL do some serious damage if you take sustained fire (especially if you get CC'ed), so make sure you have friends to ensure a kill.
This will round out midgame. There is a high probability that the game will be over or close to it by now. If it's not, there's still plenty more for you to do.
No one is really staying in their lane anymore, team fights are breaking out, towers are falling, and Baron is just waiting for some champs to make his day. Welcome to late game.
Now, if you grabbed Frozen Mallet, you should have some good health and the MR from Banshee's Veil, but armor is lacking. Atma's Impaler is here to save the day! Armor and lots of damage in one low cost item. It will give you quite a jump to your abilities, and protect you in ways that your Wriggle's Lantern can't anymore.
Now, once you have Atma's Impaler (or if you skipped Frozen Mallet for The Bloodthirster and didn't get it), you are getting to the situational items. Look at your role up to this point and the opponent's item and team composition. Build according to your own observations. Look at the situational builds above if you want some hints.
If you have reached this far, you have pretty much reached full build. You have two options at this point. One is to upgrade The Brutalizer to a Youmuu's Ghostblade. Keep in mind this can be done any time you feel it necessary. I rarely feel it necessary, so I save it for last. However, if you are having trouble building other items and need the CDR and chasing ability, go for this item.
Instead of upgrading The Brutalizer, consider trading it for Last Whisper. Everything Riven does is physical, so any armor gets in your way. This is the best fix. Any champ building two or more complete armor items means you will need Last Whisper to do the most damage. You can regain the CDR from the loss of The Brutalizer by buying an Elixir of Brilliance. It's a cheap item that gives the same CDR, and you won't be as reliant on the small amount of gold late game. Yeah, the AP is pointless, but I have no problems buying 10% CDR for 250G. Worth it if you get to this point.
ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS BUILD FOR THE SITUATION AT HAND. IF YOU ARE DYING, GET ITEMS THAT LET YOU LIVE. IF YOU ARE LIVING BUT NOT DOING DAMAGE, GET SOME DAMAGE. DO NOT JUST BLINDLY FOLLOW BUILDS.
DANGER! TALL GRASS!
You wouldn't dare run into the jungle without properly setting yourself up, would you? Jungling often requires specific setups or strategies that are different from laning. However, Riven's jungling isn't all that unusual. Lucky you. I mean, I just spent all that time telling you how to handle her in lane, and now I'm telling you to throw her into the woods?
Well, I'm here to make you more prepared. Well, as much as I can. Monks, clowns, barbarians, mummies, and all manner of horrors pervade the jungle, and you need to be sure you're ready.
Greater Mark of Armor Penetration
Greater Seal of Armor
Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction
Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage
Greater Mark of Desolation - She seems to have received a buff while I wasn't looking (or maybe I just forgot), so these runes will work now. Fantastic news, since they're better over the course the game than AD marks.
Greater Seal of Armor - These are arguably the only seals you want for jungling. Scaling seals won't do enough, since they only reach the effectiveness of flat seals by level 4, and you won't need them by then.
Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction - CDR? CDR. She loves it, and spamming abilities does more damage. Use them. These are the only runes that aren't necessary for your jungle. It will let you proc your passive and Valor more often, so this is what I recommend.
Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage - Same reason as the marks. It isnot recommended that you change these.
These will be your runes in all cases, regardless of whether you stick to the route or counterjungle. Greater Mark of Attack Damage still works, but it simply isn't as effective as ArPen marks in the long term.
Deadliness for more critical strike. The other option is AP scaling, which is a no.
Sorcery for CDR.
Alacrity to hit faster. The little bit helps you early.
Sunder will give you a bit of a damage boost for your early game.
Offensive Mastery for more damage in the jungle.
Brute Force for more starting AD. I don't normally recommend it, but you need more damage.
Havoc for more damage. Caught the pattern yet?
3 points into Good Hands . It gives you more benefit than Perseverence . You'll die in games. Get over it.
A point in Perseverence for ladder advancement.
Awareness is for level advantage. No mana means Expanded Mind is not an option. Without Awareness you will not reach the levels that you need, when you need them. Every jungler should take Awareness , and Riven is no exception.
Utility Mastery for the last point. Extended buffs in the jungle make ganking easier and provide a more fluid and safe jungle. Highly recommended to get this point.
Choose Smite and either Flash or Exhaust. I personally prefer Flash since it helps significantly in ganks. But any jungler that can carry Exhaust around is scary.
NOTE ON SMITE
IT'S DANGEROUS TO GO ALONE. TAKE THIS.
Riven is a good jungler. Not one of the best, necessarily, but she has excellent ganks from her mobility and CC, and her jungle times are fairly quick. TAKE SMITE IF YOU JUNGLE. Why? It's for securing Baron, Dragon, and buffs. Oh, and killing blue wraith. Because that jerk said nasty things about your mother. Also, Riven will probably die without it. TAKE IT.
And now, Stonewall008 will give you a demonstration.
Grab a Vampiric Scepter and head for the wolf camp. Start by popping one autoattack, then using Broken Wings, targeting the big wolf, to deal AOE damage and charge her passive. Try to hit all of the wolves with Broken Wings. It takes practice to get the positioning right, but it's necessary for a successful jungle. Do not use Smite on the wolves.
Next, move on to Wraiths. Smite the blue wraith. This will get you to level 2. Level Ki Burst and clear the remaining wraiths using Broken Wings and Ki Burst, making sure to proc her passive between each attack. With Ki Burst, wraiths should be easy.
Move on to the double golem camp. Do your absolute best to hit both golems with Broken Wings and Ki Burst. This is the riskiest part of Riven's jungle. You will get very low here, but if you have the runes and masteries, you will survive. If you focus solely on one golem for your attacks, you won't live to kill the other. At best, you'll be very low on health. Level Valor when they are defeated. Recall after this camp, and buy a Cloth Armor and a Health Potion or two, depending on your gold.
Time for blue golem. Attack him, and use Valor to position yourself and absorb blows. Don't use Ki Burst until your shield goes away. You'll waste Valor if you do. Try to hit all three creeps with your skills, but don't worry if you can't. Valor will allow you to survive this fight fairly easily. It also adds a passive stack, so make use of it. Smite to finish him off. Use your HP pot here if you like.
Proceed to the wolf camp once again. It will have respawned by now. Same tactics as before apply. Use Valor to absorb damage when you can, and clean house with Broken Wings and Ki Burst.
Back to the wraith camp. Once again, it works just like before, except you have Valor providing shielding.
Now we progress to Red Lizard. Remember to use Valor to soak damage, and don't waste the shield by immediately popping Ki Burst afterwards. Smite will be back up before he dies, so use it to finish him off.
Once finished, clear double golems again. It should be no trouble, but once you finish, you will be level 5. I tend to level Valor here, but Ki Burst is fine if you want to be more aggressive.
This is essentially the end of your jungle route. Use this opportunity to gank a lane, now that you have been double buffed. If no lane can be reasonably ganked, feel free to replace someone in a lane to allow them to recall, or just recall yourself and finish Boots of Speed and work on Wriggle's Lantern.
There may be many more times before this that you can gank a lane. Your level 2-3 ganks are actually really good, and if you have a lane determined to start an early fight, you should be there to help them. If nothing's gankable, just go about your business.
Here's a video of the sustained route that Riven takes. I'll provide my own commentary once I get my computer to like me enough, but for now, I'll let Stonewall008 show you.
If you want to take advantage of Riven's insane early game damage, there are a few strategies that you can use. Keep in mind that my requirement of Vampiric Scepter becomes more of a suggestion here. You could also start with Doran's Blade or any number of things. Just make sure they will help you deal with whatever you're going up against. Don't get armor if you're counterjungling Fiddlesticks.
Getting a Leash at Blue Golem
Getting some help with blue buff will allow you to hit level 2 and still have high HP. This sets you up well for ganking top/mid if you are on the blue side or for ganking mid/bot if you're on the purple side. The cooldowns are nice, but the benefit mostly comes from having the level and skill advanatage on the lanes.
Getting a Leash at Double Golems
Not as beneficial as blue, but it will still get you your level insanely fast and set you up for ganking top if you're on purple side. You can nail one of them with smite to take it out quickly, and one by itself won't be much trouble. You'll have your level, but you won't have any buffs. If you're looking for an early gank, I wouldn't start here on the blue side, unless a fight already broke out bot while you were waiting for creeps to spawn.
Getting a Leash at Red
If you can pull this off, you will be set to put some real hurt on them. In fact, if they don't flash away from you as soon as you enter the lane, they will be in for some serious hurt. Red always feels more difficult to me, though, so go for it if you're feeling ballsy. This will set you up to gank mid/bot if you're on the blue side and top/mid if you're on the purple side.
Tips On Jungling
- Timing is important when jungling with Riven. Because she has a short duration shield and two interrupting abilities, having good timing will save you from a few strikes. Don't stun them right after you use Valor; wait for the shield to disappear first.
- When hit by Ki Burst or the third strike of Broken Wings, a monster will cancel his attack, even if he was in mid-strike. Once the effect ends, he will have to restart the attack animation. If your timing and positioning is good, you can save yourself from one of the attacks of an entire creep camp. This is mostly pertinent to the melee jungle minions, but it does still affect the others, albeit less so.
- Try to space out your attacks to get the highest sustained benefit. For example, Broken Wings -> autoattack -> Valor -> autoattack -> Broken Wings -> autoattack -> Ki Burst -> autoattack -> Broken Wings -> autoattack.
This combo will allow you to soak the initial damage from combat and provide sustained interrupts until your Valor cooldown refreshes. It also gives you the full damage of your entire combo.
- Using Broken Wings to enter a lane for a gank can give you a solid entry and good CC burst when timed properly. Hitting the knockback when timed with the stun from Ki Burst is enough for whoever is in lane to land their slower or skill-shot based CC.
- Charging into a lane with Blade of the Exile active is usually enough to scare people off. Even if a champ doesn't run from you, the increased damage and range of Ki Burst and Broken Wings will deal enough damage to even out any HP advantage they may have. Plus, the finisher from Wind Slash will wreck almost any champ in the lane.
- Be mindful of your health when you gank. If you don't have the HP advantage, your gank might not pan out. If your teammates in the lane have some hard CC, it might be fine. Judge for yourself, and practice jungling often.
I hope you all enjoyed reading my guide. I've been putting a lot of work into it, and I hope that it was informative. Maybe it was even a little bit fun.
Fine, I'll settle for you not being glad that it's over, at least.
Riven has been called a bad choice in the laning phase, but I think that's because no one builds her to be nearly invincible early. I wanted to present a viewpoint that can be just as viable in the right setting. Give it a try, and tell me what you think.
Thank you all for reading!
Special thanks go to all those who have looked over and reviewed this guide, offered their time and knowledge, and gave an unknown person like me the time of day. Thank you so very much. It means a lot to me.
Thanks to all those who commented and voted on this guide. Everything that's been said has made its way into the guide in some form or another. Your effort has been tremendously beneficial.
Thanks to Jhoijhoi for the line dividers. She was nice enough to let me use them. ^_^
Also, she did the top banner for me (OMG still excited).
10/30/11: Added and changed some more stuff. Fixed stuff that I missed. Still need videos. I'll try to have them up this week.
10/30/11: Added so much junk that I don't even feel like listing it all. Formatting, jungling info, build data, suggested items changes, build order, skills, runes, masteries, and everything else. I tweaked everything here. Revamped like a boss.
10/4/11: Added jungle map and changed laning masteries to a 9/0/21 build.
9/28/11: LOTS of changes this time. Added a jungle build and a section on jungling. Removed the secondary build for being unnecessary. Changed the masteries of the first build to reflect what I regularly use. Added more information in the "runes", "masteries", and "skills" sections. Added Banshee's Veil to situational items because I forgot to put it there.
9/24/11: Changed some typos, fixed some formatting, added info to the "Skills" section, and fixed a problem with the guide being tagged as "Dominion". Also, title was changed randomly at some point, returned to normal. Whoops.
9/19/11: Changed a few things and added an additional build, centered on more damage.
9/19/11: More formatting changes to clean it up and make it more visually appealing. Working on adding images and videos next.
9/19/11: Added more rune suggestions, changes to the core items section to add the possibility of a Doran's Shield as your starting item, and some minor formatting changes.
9/18/11: Cleaned up the formatting, added situational items and builds, added more general information.
9/16/11: Build posted.