Riven Build Guide by RegaliaX

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.

League of Legends Build Guide Author RegaliaX

Riven's Too-Hot-To-Handle guide.

RegaliaX Last updated on April 8, 2012
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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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This build for Riven is meant to be a resilient DPS build. I've tried many builds, most common one is the "Atmog's" build ( Atma's Impaler + Warmog's Armor) but it's a build that takes time to complete and leaves Riven harmless for a good while. She needs damage from any source she can get. Usually people think Riven is a "tanky" champion and her potential (and skills) are gone to waste. In this build we'll gear her up in a way she'll be resilient enough to take on any number of enemies without being melted in a matter of seconds and actually pulling out a kill or two in case of a big team fight... and still be able to walk away alive, or stay in the fray till you score an ace!

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I use 9 Greater Mark of Desolation and 3 Greater Quintessence of Desolation (+25 Armor Penetration total) for these reasons:

-Usually, champions start with 20 or less base armor. Armor Penetration will not drop the target's armor below 0 but the lower the base armor is (without masteries or runes), the longer you'll keep their armor at a virtual "0". Consider it as "true damage" for the first 3 or 4 levels where the enemy's base armor will remain below 25.

-Another situation (most common) is that everyone will have at least 6 points of armor and magic resist (because of those 6 or 9 points spent in the Defense mastery). So you need to be prepared to reduce the armor of your enemy to 0 for at least the first 2 levels.

-The extreme situation is where you face tanks or beefy fighters. They will have an average of 40 to 60 armor, rendering Attack Damage champions (like Riven) useless until you get more damage or more armor penetration.

25 Armor Penetration just gives Riven the upper hand for a good start, and everyone knows that a good start usually leads to a good mid and late game.

The other runes ( Greater Glyph of Magic Resist and Greater Seal of Armor) add more resistance to Riven.

Other choices are Greater Quintessence of Scaling Attack Damage or Greater Mark of Scaling Attack Damage, this way you get extra damage (more shield from Valor and damage for Ki Burst) but it'll be harder to completely surpass the armor of your enemies.

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21/9/0 is likely the most solid option for Riven as DPS with some resilience. Since it's better to start off with a Doran's Shield, I spend 3 points in Vampirism . Because we're not getting Doran's Blade some extra Life Steal will come in handy. Resistance and Hardiness add some endurance to Riven early game in case your enemies get a bit aggressive and focus you.

Although Lethality seems a bit useless at first, as soon as you build Youmuu's Ghostblade, each critical strike will hurt. The damage from Runic Blade is accounted before the critical, meaning that your base damage + Runic Blade's damage will be doubled in case of a critical strike. Criticals at high levels go around 400 and 800 (based on enemy armor). "Squishy" enemies will take 700-800 damage, while resilient fighters will take 350-450 damage.

Needless to say, the extra health from Durability and Veteran's Scars will make Riven a bit harder to kill at lower levels, which will save you from tight situations or will let you be a bit more risky without getting yourself killed.

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Summoner Spells

Exhaust and Ignite: Since she's a melee fighter, she can withstand almost any kind of damage while using this build. Characters to worry about are AD and AP carries who can nuke you down in seconds or hit you forever while recovering HP through Life Steal from large critical strikes.

Exhaust will render a carry or another fighter completely useless. It also let's you slow down an escaping enemy so you can finish him up before he or she reaches the safety of a turret or his/her team mates.

Ignite adds more damage to your damage... which is great! But it also prevents champions like Sion or Swain from restoring ridiculously high amounts of HP in a fight.

A suggested summoner spell is Cleanse. Since this build is not including Tenacity, a CC-heavy team could be a problem for you if they catch you off-guard. Cleanse would help you escape certain death while you use your skills to dash and jump away from danger into safety.

Riven has her own set of mobility skills, so another mobility spell like Flash is quite useless. Some people pick it because you can flash across trees or walls, but I would rather keep using Valor and Broken Wings to get as far away as possible from my chasers. It's like Nidalee's Pounce, that's enough to run from whoever is chasing you.

The rest of summoner spells are not recommended for Riven because:

Clarity: Duh, she has no mana
Teleport: She can stay in a lane for as much as she desires. And if you have to recall, you can jump and dash back to your turret.
Clairvoyance: Not your job to use this spell. You also have wards from Wriggle's Lantern
Promote: Who needs oversized minions when you can do the job alone?
Heal: Although it seems tempting, your health regen and life steal will get you back in good shape in no time. Also the cooldown and the risk of it being countered (being targeted by Ignite or Executioner's Calling) greatly reduces the effectiveness of this spell
Ghost: Jumps and dashes. And Youmuu's Ghostblade. No need for Ghost
Surge: Again, Riven is not an Attack Speed-based champion, and she gets no benefit from Ability Power, so this is a bad choice for her.
Revive: ...You aren't supposed to be dying too often... right? Also, way too long cooldown.

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Although Riven needs as much damage as she can get from items, the best starting item for her is Doran's Shield.


-She is a melee fighter with no ranged or harassing skills. If you want to deal some damage, or even try to farm while in a lane, you'll be poked each time you get close to the enemy. But if you are the aggressive kind, Doran's Shield also lets you take quite a beating if something goes wrong, and reduces damage taken from minions if you plan on playing aggressive.

-You regain more health with Doran's Shield than Doran's Blade. The shield restores your HP by just standing there, the blade restores HP by attacking, and Riven is an easy target if she gets too close to the enemy trying to hit minions to get back some health.

Starting with boots and potions usually seems like a good idea, but Riven is not the aggressive, always-chasing type of champion at lower levels and sometimes you're forced to drink your potions so fast that it makes them unworthy of the gold spent on them.

Wriggle's Lantern is a great choice for both farming/pushing and defending. It saves you great amounts of gold from wards, it adds Life Steal, it helps you clear minions faster if your lane is being overpushed down to your turret, and the damage it gives makes your Valor add more armor and Runic Blade will deal more damage, not to mention that the rest of the skills will also gain bonus damage.

Ionian Boots of Lucidity is the best choice over any other boots for Riven because it lets her skills "fit" into an endless rotation if you add it to the Cooldown Reduction from The Brutalizer/ Youmuu's Ghostblade. At 30% CDR, you can use all your skills, timed correctly, so you never stop casting them. This is vital during a fight because you can engage with Valor, stun with Ki Burst, then cast Broken Wings three times (with auto-attacks between each cast) and Valor will be ready by the end of the last cast of Broken Wings. Hence, the cycle repeats endlessly.

The Bloodthirster is another good choice because of the additional Life Steal and it's the second strongest "independent" item (attack damage added is not based on health, or remaining hp, armor, random procs, etc) for AD champions. Now with the change they've done to the item, you can stack it up to 40, and if you die, you won't lose all the stacks, so it's better for raw damage than Infinity Edge, even with half the stacks. Remember that the objective of this build is to give Riven all the damage we can, so The Bloodthirster beats Infinity Edge for this purpose, and it's cheaper.

Youmuu's Ghostblade is the last damage item in the list as a "must". Increases armor penetration by another 20, more cooldown reduction, and it's activated ability which let's you chase and hit faster (or run away if things are getting a bit grim). The item itself is good for her from every aspect.

An item to ensure the ultimate survivability in combat is Guardian Angel. Now that all the damage items have been acquired, Riven needs an item that will let her rush in recklessly without worrying about dying or even getting focused. If the enemy tries to kill you with your Guardian Angel active, be completely sure that the rest of your team will raze them while you "die". If you're lacking a tank, this item will also let you engage, take a hell of a beating, you might even go down but you forced them to waste skills and summoner spells on you because you are a threat to them, and your team will be free to engage without worrying about dangerous skills or risky situations.

For the last item (after selling Doran's Shield), I've included the Infinity Edge. This item is a good choice but shouldn't be priority because of its price and components. Riven is not a critical-chance based champion. But once you have enough damage at your disposal, this item can give you an extra kick that will send the enemies flying back to their spawning pools.

Suggested Items

The Hexdrinker: In case you're dealing with an AP heavy team, this is a good choice for your build. Get it before the B. F. Sword and upgrade it to Maw of Malmortius as the last item. This item is good for the extra Magic Resist and the small shield that absorbs magic damage.

Frozen Mallet: Although it's a bit expensive, this item grants you health, and will let you chase your enemies to land each hit with Runic Blade stacked. I actually don't recommend this item because you have plenty of ways to chase your enemy: you can use Broken Wings or Valor, or even use your Exhaust to ensure they aren't going anywhere. The extra health given could be attractive, but the damage it gives will not add much to your shield from Valor, which is the skill that literally keeps you alive in combat.

Trinity Force: For as inappropriate as this item might seem, it's a good choice for Riven, but the components lack utility for her until it's finished. Phage is the only useful item from the 3 main components. Attack Speed and Critical Chance ( Zeal) aren't Riven's main stats; mana and ability power are definitely NOT stats that fit Riven, but Sheen is the key item here. Since the Cooldown Reduction percentage will let Riven cast her skills endlessly, Sheen will proc almost always. If you time your Broken Wing jumps correctly, each cast will proc Sheen/ Trinity Force. The damage it deals is 150% of your base damage and Runic Blade's damage will be added later, but it all sums up in case of a critical strike. Even though this is a good item for her, the problem is the cost to make it (4070 gold) to enjoy the item just when it's finished. If you see you're doing really great in your game and coins are pouring out of your pockets, you can aim for this item. More movement speed, critical chance, slow chance and a huge damage spike on almost every attack is something you shouldn't let go, if you have the funds to afford it.

Last Whisper: This is an item that would come in handy if the enemy team is full of beefy bruisers or they geared themselves to counter AD champions. Armor Penetration from runes, masteries ( Sunder ) and The Brutalizer/ Youmuu's Ghostblade should be enough to take down poorly armored champions (usually carries, assassins and mages). Buy Last Whisper as your last option if you see the damage output of your team is really low against armored enemies.

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Skill Sequence

Ki Burst must go first, definitely. The stun duration will not increase with each rank, but the damage and AD ratio for this skill is the highest compared to Broken Wings. Consider Broken Wings as a chasing/fleeing skill that stacks up your Runic Blade and the third jump is just an extra stun/disruptor (the third jump from Broken Wings can stop enemies on their tracks while casting skills like Shyvana's Dragon's Descent or Lee Sin's Resonating Strike, preventing them from doing damage. It's quite hard to calculate or measure the 3rd jump to interrupt these kind of abilities, but I'm just bringing this up to let you know that the last jump CAN nullify the damage from the mentioned skills and abilities alike)

Valor should be maxed second because of the shield itself and its reduced cooldown per rank. You can also alternate between Ki Burst and Valor on each level up, but we're focusing on damage more than survivability or tanking. Also, you'll be spending points in Valor mid game, and your damaging items will make it give you a nice shield even at low ranks. Broken Wing's base damage and ratio is really low because it's used 3 times, so to "maximize" its effectiveness, you would have to spam the 3 jumps in a row to deal "burst damage", but then Runic Blade will be stacked at its fullest and the only thing to do will be to chase the enemy trying to land each auto-attack to spend the charges from Runic Blade before he or she runs away, so Broken Wings main function is to chase and charge up Runic Blade, not to kill in the early game.

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Game Style

Riven is a very "delicate" champion early game. Since she lacks harassing skills without putting herself at risk, it's better to find an opening for an attack, and save Broken Wings for a getaway. Doran's Shield is a good item for her because you'll take damage while in a lane eventually, and trying to restore that damage with Life Steal through the Doran's Blade is more risky, so instead, if you have taken a beating, you can wait behind your minions while the shield regenerates your HP. In no time you will be back at full health ready to pull another stunt trying to push a lane, farm or get a kill.

Farming is easy with her. Since you are maxing Ki Burst first, you can AoE all the minions and then use Broken Wings (spending the charges from Runic Blade between jumps) to finish them off. Be sure to do this close to your turret in case the enemy is poking you too often. Using that combination to clear minions can be a bit dangerous in the middle of the lane because you can take heavy damage from the enemy. In that case, just try to last hit minions and dash backwards with Valor.

Avoid engaging the enemy for a kill unless you are pretty sure you can kill him/her. Since Valor can dash through minions, you could end up at the other side of a big wave of minions, fighting the enemy while taking countless of hits from the mages and fighters, and at lower levels, minions are more dangerous than champions.

Once you've bought your Wriggle's Lantern, you can be more confident about engaging, not for kills but for pokes. With the lantern you can restore hp by hitting minions and the armor it grants reduces damage taken, also the attack bonus from the item increases Valor's shield, so you can resist more hits without losing HP. Doran's Shield will still give you healht regen, so sustainability becomes easier while in a lane. At this point, if you're with a partner, you should have earned yourself a kill or two before level 6, so get the Boots of Speed for a faster in-out combo to poke or farm. Once you reach level 6 and Blade of the Exile becomes available, save it in case you engage for the kill. The bonus attack damage it gives is quite big for a level 6 champion, the increased ranged helps you with the chasing and Broken Wings have a slightly wider impact range. Save the Wind Slash ( Blade of the Exile's 2nd activation effect) for the last 30%-20% health left in the enemy since it deals more damage the more health the enemy is missing.

Remember, NEVER get too greedy. If the enemy got away, let it escape. Blade of the Exile's cooldown is short at all ranks, so you'll have it back soon enough for another fight another time.

It's vital that you remember to use Broken Wings in succession with an auto-attack between each jump. This way, each cast of Broken Wings will proc Runic Blade which you will be able to land because the jump will get you closer to a fleeing enemy. If you spam the skill 3 times in a row, you will jump 3 times in your place and the enemy will just run/flash away after the third jump. That will leave you with your skill on cooldown and 3 stacks of Runic Blade rotting away. Of course you can use Exhaust to prevent the enemy from escaping, but you can't always fight dependent on your summoner spells, sometimes you can get a kill without the spells if you control the timing of the skills.

Mid and late game, if you don't have a tank, make sure you already bought Guardian Angel and don't be afraid to initiate, but make sure your team will follow you right as you Valor into the enemy team. Because of the lack of Tenacity, Riven could be pinned down pretty easily when she engages, you may be able to survive lots of skills and spells because of the shield from Valor and resists from Guardian Angel, but while you're stunned or snared, it's one less player for your team. Try to make sure you're being focused while your team is there, and not before they make it to the fight. Valor's range is short, so don't think you'll leave your team way behind if you use it to initiate a fight, but also don't stay too close to the enemy team or you might get picked off before you can do anything.

If you have a tank, let him/her initiate, and follow in immediately. Always aim for the threats (the "squishy" ones) using Valor and Broken Wings, but don't get too nervous to spam all the skills so fast that you'll reach your target with everything on cooldown. Turn on Blade of the Exile as you approach the fight because every single point of AD helps in taking down the enemy. Turn it on too late and you'll have wasted some heavy damage, and Wind Slash will be unnecessary... if you ever had the chance to use it. Turn it on too soon and you'll end up reaching your target when the skill is over. Also be careful with Wind Slash, it affects a cone in front of Riven, but you can locate the cone wherever you want in the map and Riven will run there to cast the spell in that position. You can anticipate a fleeing enemy's position, click Wind Slash on that place, and Riven will run there to cast it. If you have a clear view of the enemy, don't cast Wind Slash on top of him. By the time Riven gets there and casts Wind Slash, the enemy will be gone. If you pay attention to the Blade of the Exile buff and see it's about to wear off, don't be afraid to use Wind Slash even if it might not deal max damage, but it's better than not dealing any damage at all.

It's really important that you keep your head cool while playing with Riven, it's easy to get excited or confused and most people will end up "facerolling" her to get out of a tight spot or try to go for a complicated kill. With this build, and some focus, you can even maneuver in a team fight to reach a carry or an assassin and finish him/her off in a matter of seconds.

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This is my very first guide in MOBAFire. It's based on my long experience with Riven. I bought her the first minute she was available for purchase, I've witnessed her nerfs and buffs, tried too many things with her. I've lost countless times, and won so many others. Basically, a beefy Riven is a good choice too but as I mentioned during the guide, that kind of build is usually expensive and the components for the build are useless for Riven until the items are finished. A shield that blocks 500-600 damage every 5 seconds is worth more than 1500 extra HP, because once you lose that HP, it'll be really hard to get it back, but if you can block 600 damage every 5 or 6 seconds, that's 600 health you won't be losing while you replenish your health with Life Steal. Also Wind Slash scales greatly with both AD and the missing health from the enemy, so more damage means a higher percentage of extra damage to a low-health enemy.

Feel free to try this guide on your next match, and any feedback will be greatly appreciated. This build has worked for me despite I'm the aggressive kind of player, but Riven requires special treatment. She's one of the most destructive players once she's fed. With this build I've been able to face 4 opponents at once, take down 1 and survive long enough for my team to catch up and clean up the mess for me. Also, this build is more leaned to a heavy damaging Riven instead of the tanky, half-damage Riven. Any idea or suggestions, feel free to post them, I'll try them myself and make the necessary updates to the guide if everyone feels the ideas are better for this build.