Riven Build Guide by Nobby
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.
Do we really need another Riven guide?
Nope. I just noticed over here on MobaFire that the top three guides don't point out how overpowered triple Doran's Blade Riven really is. It provides you an amazing early game boost, and over the course of the last few days, I've discovered how hard it is to counter the snowball which is triple Doran's. Wriggle's Lantern is pretty awesome, but you get better, reliable output this way while still costing you 175g less.
Either way works, but I've gotten a lot better snowball results with triple Doran's.
Downside to this setup? In the long run, you lose the ward every 3 minutes, and your item slots will always be full after you build your first Phage or Giant's Belt if you'd rather get Warmog's first.
Don't sell your first Doran's Blade until you make your Atma's Impaler, it should always be either between Phage and Warmog or Giant's Belt and Phage if you intend to go the Warmog's route first. At that point you should have a large health pool while needing the mitigation.
Pros / Cons
Very mobile. Very easy to last hit and harass because of it.
Scales purely with AD, which gives her a somewhat stronger early game and amazing late game.
No resource bar, scales very well with CDR but it isn't required.
Very hard to counter pick because she scales amazingly well with "specialty" items such as Hexdrinker and The Brutalizer, which can help her win her lane against counter picks.
Has no problem Farming as she levels, and her mobility allows for her to counter jangle from lane easily.
Has low base movement speed, you'll lose your lane if you don't start boots.
Her Q cool down doesn't scale downwards with ranks, like her other skills.
Valor is less important to rank up before Broken Wings, but not ranking it up can miss on kills or escapes because of the larger cool down.
She's not an Attack Speed champion, and if you build into MR it'll typically be Hexdrinker and Quicksilver Sash to deal with your lane, so she doesn't build into Zeal or Force of Nature's family in most circumstances, which means people can run away from her easily if her cooldowns don't allow for a proper chase.
Countered exceptionally hard by Executioner's Calling if she doesn't gain an early game advantage.
Build 1 - My go to build for Riven.
Boots are a hard requirement on Riven as a starting item, the only exception would to be against picks such as Gangplank, where you'll need the extra health potions and armor at the get go because they have high physical damage output that is as spammable as your skills.
The first time you go back should be around 6 minutes, it should also be where your jungler helped ganked top to give you a little breathing room. Push your lane, aim to get back to base by 6 minutes, 6:30 latest. When you go back, depending on how well you've done, start with Doran's Blade and more Health Potions and at least one sight ward. If you can purchase more than that, aim to upgrade your boots before purchasing your next and last two Doran's Blades.
After you go back, you shouldn't head directly into your lane, you should head for whichever buff your enemy jungler started at. It'll respawn near 7 minutes, and you'll wait until your lane is in trouble to gank them, or always head to red to plant your ward and push your lane hard to always be able to join mid and your jungler to gank your enemy jungler when they get to red. Red buff wins solo top, that's the long and short of it. The slow and true damage paired with Riven's mobility will keep your enemies missing creeps until they get to their tower.
When you next go back, pick up the other two doran's as well as upgrade your boots if you haven't done it yet. Now you should have level 2 boots, 3x Doran's Blades and a Sight Ward. If your team hasn't taken Dragon yet, pick up a Vision Ward if your bottom lane hasn't taken the initiative and make sure to get the objective, otherwise health potions and go back to AFK farming top. You should never have to get vision wards unless you're laning against Akali and want to troll her to oblivion.
After that, build into a Bloodthirster, typically in the piece order of BF Sword, Vamp Scepter and then finally the Bloodthirster, this is Riven's only -core- item, she needs it in every aspect of being Riven. It's 100 AD, which amazingly enough scales with -everything-. A fully fed bloodthirster adds 100 damage to Ki Burst, 100 Shielding to Valor and 70 damage per strike on Broken Wings, not to mention it's an additional 20 AD with her ultimate up and 50 more damage with her passive.
After that, get a Phage, if you want to keep purchasing wards this is where you sell your first Doran's, it's a general replacement to the item with a better chance on proc for the loss of 3% lifesteal. If you don't want to ward because you're a jerk, just buy the Phage. Your next big purchase will be Atma's Impaler. Sell another Doran's or clear your Ward slot if you need to buy in pieces (always chain vest first), after that it's going to be your Frozen Mallet or Warmog then the other and then finally finish off with a Last Whisper.
In most games, you'll finish before you even build into the Warmog's in my build order, the last whisper is just there in case you're super farmed. If you feel you need the defensive stats, Guardian Angel can be purchased before Atma's Impaler, it's kind of a ***** item imo, and it doesn't often prove itself useful, but Riven's damage output is more important and the metagame revolves highly around physical dps at the time of writing this. If an enemy build sup to 100 AR, they can negate a lot of Riven's damage output, if you want to do more damage then LW, if you want to survive and annoy more, GA. One last note, GA is a "do not hit" sign much like Oracle's is a "do hit" sign.
Build 2 - Doran Dominance on an AP counter pick.
It starts much the same as the last, but it's oriented towards early game dominance against an AP counter pick, such as Swain, Kennen and Vladimir. In this setup, you'll always start boots, mobility is much more important against ranged units, especially when they'll spike you harder than they'll spike you. The exception is that you might consider a Null Magic Mantle earlier on if you're doing poorly to offset their damage.
When to upgrade to Mercury Treads or Hexdrinker depends on personal taste, I typically build into the Hexdrinker before because it provides more MR and damage output as well as a very useful proc against most top lanes. After you get your third Doran's Blade aim to get a Negatron cloak, everything after that is personal taste. Bloodthirster is still her very important core item, but you'll typically win your lane by the time you have Mercury Treads, Hexdrinker and Negatron Cloak.
This build doesn't include a Frozen Mallet, since Warmogs is more important earlier on as hard health to pair up with your effective health, as well as giving you slight resistance to AD carries. Picking up an Atma's Impaler is best suited after Warmogs unless your enemy AD carries are fed, then an earlier Atma's will do you good.
You can also turn your Negatron into a QSS earlier on if your laning opponent has Ignite and you feel the desire to dive, dive, dive your troubles away, or if they have a particularly strong CC. No AP carry wants to face a Riven with 180 Magic Resistance.
The suggested rune setup for this build is personal taste, it's around 194 health for 12~ armor, since if you're counter picked by an AP carry, you'll typically not flinch at their basic attacks early on anyways. You can also sub in a flat magic resist setup, but you only need to hit 7 to even out on the MR per level runes, which is about when your enemies start hitting harder with abilities.
Build 3 - Doran's variant to counter AD carries harder.
Starting Cloth Armor with 5x health potions can justify Valor at level 2 instead of Ki Burst, in one hand you have damage and a short stun for last hitting, and on the other you have an escape mechanism without having to use Broken Wings.
The idea for this build is to focus more on CDR, using CDR per level glyphs and building an early Brutalizer. I used to use Brutalizer as a core item on Riven until I started using 3x Doran's Blades, then it just kinda faded out. CDR is a very powerful stat on Riven, but in this current metagame I feel it's more important to have MR/level glyphs.
Bloodthirster is the core item, as per usual. It has a very slow build up, much like build number 5, but the Brutalizer earlier than Bloodthirster will help counter the most often picked boots against Riven, Ninja Tabi. Having that low amount of CDR also helps you escape and harass much easier.
After that it's really personal choice. You might want Youmuu's earlier on for the sake of Movement speed or making an opponent regret leaving a tower unguarded. Chain Vest before Phage can help to counter a high AD threat enemy, but it's pointless to buy a Doran's if you're just going to replace it with a Chain Vest before you build your Brutalizer.
Final items are just there to be there, Aegis of the Legion is only typically worth purchasing if you're sharing the aura, which most Supports will build into and will enjoy sharing it. It's a low cost survivability item that will help out your team greatly, otherwise pick up a Guardian's Angel or Last Whisper if needs be.
This setup's largest weakness is that it provides no room for sight wards throughout most of the game, so essentially an AFK farm at top. Heal is there for Dueling, as well as Exhaust with Ignite's unjustified dominance, if you replace any summoner spell for Teleport to get to Dragon or ward placed ganks faster, I'd suggest replacing Heal. I feel it's a very inferior spell for anything other than a ranged AD carry, but I put it there because I've returned positive results from it with inexperienced solo tops.
Build 4 - Screw Wriggles, I'm jungling with Doran's Blades.
Starting Doran's blade requires a very good leash, as thus you should start Wraiths and go Red for a fun level 2 gank with Ki Blast and Broken Wings. Very hard to escape from, but it can be a pointless gank if your leash was very poor and left you half dead. You can farm for quite a while after your first successful gank or level 3, typically you'll want to stay out until about 5:30~6:00 before going back, that way you can get more for your buck, most importantly is getting Boots and a Ward to either protect or steal an enemy's buff.
Alternative starting route is at blue, it's safer and you benefit more from blue buff at level 2 than you would at level 3, but even then if you're purple side you should ask your support to ward and protect your blue, otherwise give it to middle after your level 2 gank and always start red.
Summoner spells are very obvious, Smite is to help secure map objectives, Exhaust is also great for getting that first blood and making sure you apply red buff. The rune setup is just the same as all the other builds, attack damage scales the best with Riven, and if you're feeling ballsy you can go with AD/level marks. You'll need the flat armor runes in the jungle, and the magic resist per level is great for whenever you leave the jungle to resist counter engages when ganking mid.
When you finish your Bloodthirster, you can easily do Baron with another person that has Lifesteal or your entire team. It's fun to snake out the baron while everybody but your top is in lane, but it's very unsafe, so be careful.
General jungle route is; Wraiths, Red, gank mid, Wolves, Wraiths, Golems, secure blue for mid, Wolves then Wraiths then go back. If you decide to counter jungle early to try to get first blood with top or mid, don't hesitate. Counter jungling is very efficient on Riven because of her damage output starting at level 2, get the blue, leave a small minion and leave. One word of warning with counter jungling is that other junglers can take offense, and will start to ward their jungle and try to three man you wherever you go.
For a final item I go for either Guardian Angel or Quicksilver Sash depending on if I need that immediate CC removal or not. Guardian Angel is great for initiation so you can get in and get out or scare them back, QSS will raise your magic resistance closer to your armor and give you an even amount of reduced incoming damage.
Build 5 - Inferiority Supremacy
This is the way I used to build Riven, without Doran's Blades at all. Wriggles does have some important factors, it's a free ward you can place every 3 minutes, which also provides Effective Health (through armor), a low amount of, but still useful Attack Damage, 3% more life steal than the 3x DB alternative and of course the damage proc on minions.
Having a Wriggles on Riven also means that you'll always have that chance to proc damage on map objectives such as Dragon and Baron, since a good amount of Junglers start building Philosopher Stone and Heart of Gold instead of Wriggles.
The biggest downside to Wriggle's Lantern is the ramp up time takes much longer. In comparison it's trading 300 HP and 7 Damage for 30 Armor and 3% additional lifesteal, if you're using Mercury Treads, that 30 Armor can easily amount to about 15% damage reduction, and that 3% lifesteal is just about 5 more health on every strike through early and mid game.
As an additional note, one thing that I hate about Wriggles (which is also why I don't use Crit masteries) is that proc can screw up your pushing force. As we all know, you don't push your lane unless you're about to go back to base or have enough ward support to feel safe. If you proc Wriggle's on any non-siege creep, it'll instantly kill them before they build up MR, and after that point it's not too rare for it to leave a minion at one health.
The positives to this setup is that it's a bit more of a hard counter to offensive solo tops, as with all of Riven's other builds, you should build a Ninja Tabi against tops that have enough physical damage threat, even if the enemy team has strong CC since you can always build Mercury Treads after you've won your lane. The only exception are junglers with excessive CC.
As further notes, if you can purchase a BF sword, make sure to get it as soon as you can, even if it delays pushing off double ruby crystals, but you typically wont be able to afford it unless your enemies are feeding. This build is enhanced by superb map control with wards as well as pushing your lane as soon as it comes so you have more time taking jungle creeps from your or your enemy's jungle. Having a Wriggle's tends to help with covering your *** as well as clearing jungle camps faster with procs.
My personal choices, everybody has them.
I love Frozen Mallet, I'll always promote AtMallet instead of Atmogs, phage early on is very powerful on Riven because of how her auto attacks work with her Q and E, it's an enhanced Doran's Blade in all respects for the cost of just losing 3% lifesteal. In the case that an ally is building Rylai's sceptre for bulk (see: Kennen, Vladimir, Mordekaiser), give them an alert earlier on that you'll be building Frozen Mallet or if they build it earlier than you, go straight for Warmogs. Warmogs will always provide more survivability and just a little bit more AD with Atma's.
For the sake of building an early Phage for mid game dominance and ganking power, but not into a late game Frozen Mallet, Trinity Force is a sub optimal, but otherwise very powerful item. Since she's an AD champion, she greatly benefits from the Sheen proc through Trinity Force. With the nature of her skills, she wont typically wait 2 seconds between activation of her skills, so you will only activate sheen twice between skill rotations.
I don't use CDR/Level Runes and Brutalizer commonly for the sake of going for tankability instead of repetition of skills. Both setups work well, but I find a tankier Riven is more threatening than a Riven that can stun every 3.5 seconds instead of 6 seconds, but with Broken Wing's damage improvement you'll have more escape power and damaging initiation with CDR, just a bit squishier by removing the Frozen Mallet in favor of Youmuu's Ghostblade.
I take rank 2 Valor before rank 2 Broken Wings, the reduced cool down is more imperative than 5 more damage with each activation on Broken Wings. I don't typically level Broken Wings until I can devote all of the skill points to it, since after her slight nerf/slight buff, she gains 5 more damage per rank of Broken Wings starting at rank 2, not at rank 1.
How to play Riven. Basics of basics.
Her passive is amazing and is a large part of her damage output, but it caps at 3 charges and needs to be used intelligently to benefit greatly.
First of all, Runic Blade with Broken Wings and Valor. It doesn't force an auto-attack, but it's close. It's best to activate Q or E right after an auto attack to not gib yourself. It's simple, Q, attack, Q, attack, Q, attack. The same works with Valor, just E and autoattack.
Second of all, Ki Burst and Blade of the Exile invoke a very slight attack timer delay after activation, so the only time to profit from using a skill directly after using another skill is when you W, E, attack or R, Q, attack or in any combination otherwise, placing a Q forces an attack sooner than E as far as I can tell, so use skills accordingly.
Broken Wings has a debuff like appearance, where if you let it fall off you'll force yourself out of reactivating Broken Wings. The debuff length is slightly shorter than Runic Empowerment's fall off time, so if you're using it as a gap closer close to a fray, try to time your Qs to keep a full stack of empowerment by the time you get to something to hit. The debuff is reset with every activation of Broken Wings.
Furthermore concerning your Q, the damage is the same on all three strikes, but the first two are purely damage, and the third is a knockback. For ganking, you should come from the bushes and activate the first two parts of the Q for the first closes the gap, the second strikes and the third disorients their positioning, that way you can typically force two auto attacks before valoring in and ki bursting them.
Flash is very powerful with Riven so you get all the parts of her Broken Wings in without having to use it as a gap closer with a gank. The downside is giving up a summoner slot, which I personally prefer Teleport for group support or Heal for dueling support or Ignite/Exhaust for that ******ed strong combination after level 4.
If you don't use Exhaust or Ignite, take the point out of enhanced ignite/exhaust in the offensive tree.
If you use Heal, that 10% additional health isn't that vital to success in the Defensive tree, but it adds up over time.
If you use Teleport, I love using the enhanced teleport mastery.
2% enhanced movement speed in the utility tree only typically amounts to 8 movement speed, build deeper into this tree generally only if you want 30 more seconds on red buff when you take it.
The 4% crit chance will be changed in the upcoming Zigg's patch to an unverified amount of AD per level, which will mean that it's more important to slot into those 4 slots than CDR or filler points of enhanced damage to minions. The builds will probably be updated in two days, so don't fret. The linked in 10% crit damage will probably still not be worth picking up unless you go for a PD/IE Riven that's squishy as tits, then more power to you.
I don't build into ArP runes at all, I feel they're greatly inferior with farming in every way shape and form with exceptions to jungling, and even then I sometimes ignore it. Creeps start with 0 AR/MR and by the time they start gaining resistance, your attack damage will nullify it on it's own. Dealing true damage for the first 3 levels of enemy top laners isn't imperative.
Using the Redeemed skin will give you a 1% higher kill rate, which doesn't seem like much, but it also makes you 90% more awesome which is greatly worth it.
Bored on a Sunday afternoon, decided to write a guide for my all time favorite champion.
Future releases will include visual guides to counter jungling, warding and dominating your lane... but I wouldn't be waiting on pins and needles for it, I feel a few more pointless guides need writing first.
All typographical errors were deliberate.
All redundant speech was intended, because I wrote it while watching House and Bones in a non-linear, or otherwise logical order.