Riven Build Guide by Acolarh

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 Acolarh

The time for talk is over: Jungle Riven

Acolarh Last updated on February 27, 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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Pros / Cons

  • Quick clear of the jungle
  • Two stuns and four dashes that are great for ganking
  • Blade of the Exile's active, Wind Slash is great for finishing off enemies that are almost dead

  • Almost dies on the first run through the jungle (Susceptible to early counterjungling)
  • Needs to be aggressive
  • Although she does have Valor for defense, she's not extremely tanky

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/Greater Mark of Desolation

Marks: Greater Mark of Attack Damage/ Greater Mark of Desolation. Since Riven's abilities all scale with AD, having 2-3 Marks of Strength give you a bit of an early boost for the jungle. Marks of Desolation help you more later, so I don't usually use more than 2-3 Marks of Strength.

Seals: Greater Seal of Armor. Flat armor is pretty much required if you're going to jungle with Riven. It will help keep you alive (and you barely are alive after the first run through of the jungle a lot of the time).

Glyphs: Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction. I usually run flat CD glyphs for slightly more spammability, but MR glyphs or something else that you prefer will do also.

Quints: Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage. Same deal as with the marks. Using flat AD quints and just a couple AD marks give you an edge on your early jungle.

Feel free to swap these around if you'd like (especially the glyphs). If you feel more comfortable using all armor pen marks then go for it, just be careful on your first run-through.

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I prefer loading up on offense masteries. Riven is no good to a team if she isn't dealing considerable damage, because she's really not much of a tank. Also, since her defense comes mostly from Valor and lifesteal, there's no reason NOT to build offensively. After all, Valor scales at a 1.0 AD ratio, and lifesteal comes from AD items such as Wriggle's Lantern and The Bloodthirster.

21/9/0 - Offense Setup
I prefer to take a 21/9/0 setup. Some of the notable masteries that I take in the offense tree include Sorcery to give me a bit of early CDR, Vampirism to get just a bit of early sustain in the jungle, and Weapon Expertise for the armor penetration. The masteries I take are in no way required. You're more than welcome to change them up however you feel.

Havoc and Deadliness are two masteries that I tend to not max out, although they would probably be very effective, if you'd rather take them.

In the defensive tree, Hardiness , Tough Skin , and Bladed Armor make jungling much easier for you. You're of course welcome to experiment and try out whatever you think works best, but I find these to be very helpful.

9/21/0 - Defense Setup
Another mastery setup you may consider is something along the lines of 9/21/0. Make sure to take the Weapon Expertise mastery in the offense tree for the armor penetration. From there, take whatever defensive masteries you prefer. I'd recommend grabbing Veteran's Scars , Evasion , Honor Guard , and probably Enlightenment for just a bit of CDR.

In my opinion taking the offense setup is better, because Riven isn't a tank, she's a damage dealer. But if you do take the defense setup, your jungling will be a bit safer, and you will find yourself surviving longer in teamfights. My only issue is that you won't be putting out as much damage, which is really the main purpose of Riven. But it's worth considering, and testing out to see if you like it more.

X/X/9 - With Runic Affinity
A lot of junglers probably prefer to grab Runic Affinity from the utility tree, and that's totally fine. Take Good Hands and Summoner's Insight in the first row, then max Swiftness in the second row. The other masteries in this tree are mostly useless for Riven, but if you'd prefer to go deeper into utility for Awareness or Intelligence , then by all means, go for it. The deeper into this tree you go, the more either your jungling or you later game damage output will suffer, so keep that in mind.

If you do decide to go for Runic Affinity , keep in mind that jungling survivability probably just decreased, so you need to make up for it somehow. I do not recommend taking a 21/0/9 setup unless you start with Cloth Armor and 5 Health Potions.

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Summoner Spells

Ok, so if you're reading this guide, you're planning to jungle. So obviously, take Smite. But your other summoner spell is completely up to you. I personally take Flash, because it helps in so many different ways. But I'll go through the list of other spells and what they could do for you below.

I feel like you should take whatever summoner spell you like. You shouldn't feel like anything is absolutely mandatory. That said....don't take Clarity.

and . . . . .

Good Choices:

Flash: My personal preference. The applications of this spell are just so varied. You can use it to aid in a gank, to get away from an enemy gank, just whatever the situation calls for really.

Ghost: I can see this being very useful as well. Sometimes your gap closers (even though you have 4) just aren't quite enough, and an extra burst of speed would put you right where you need to be.

Teleport: I can see this being of some use. Could help you do your job of supporting all the lanes. You could place a Sight Ward in the brush (or use Wriggle's Lantern) and then conveniently Teleport to it whenever you feel like you have a good opportunity to gank.

Exhaust: This is a solid choice. The slow from it could give you extra time to close the gap or wait for your cooldowns to come back up. Adds even more CC to Riven, which is always a plus.

Cleanse: This is another good choice in my opinion. Just remember to use it if you have it!

Ignite: This is a decent choice also. A bit of extra damage is never something to laugh at. The 50% reduced healing effect could be very beneficial if you're ganking a lane with a healer like Soraka or Sona.

Mediocre (in my opinion at least) Choices:

Heal: I personally don't think I'd ever take this skill, but I don't think enemies would be expecting it from a Riven. It could be useful in a duel, although I think Exhaust would be even better for that.

Clairvoyance: I've never seen anyone take this as a jungler, but if no one else got it, and you plan to counterjungle a lot (which Riven is good at), this could be a useful ability. I feel like just carrying a Sight Ward or two around with you would be a better choice, but it's certainly up to you.

Promote: A valuable skill for pushing, so I can see it helping some if you, for example, just successfully ganked, and now have an opportunity to take a turret out. However, I feel like pretty much all of the other summoner spells (except Clarity) are probably a better choice.

Clarity: You don't use mana, so unless you just want to show how awesome you can be with Riven even with a handicap, don't take this.

Surge: Riven doesn't benefit a whole lot from increased attack speed (because she's more of an AD caster), and the ability power bonus will be completely useless. I wouldn't recommend taking this, but if you really want to try it, go for it.

Revive: This spell has such a long cooldown, it just doesn't seem like it'd be worth taking. Hopefully you won't be dying too much anyway. But even if you did die in a teamfight and used Revive immediately, you took Smite as your other summoner spell, so you'd still have to run all the way back to wherever the fight's going down. Just doesn't seem worth it to me.

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Items are so flexible.

Core Items
The items I would consider core to Riven when jungling are A) Wriggle's Lantern, and B) The Bloodthirster. Depending on how the game is going, The Brutalizer is something I often build as well.

Item Sequence
Your main goal early is just to survive, so having Doran's Blade to start with is great. The HP, the life steal, and the extra AD are all great. Vampiric Scepter is also ok to start with, and Cloth Armor + 5 health pots is also ok. I almost always start with Doran's Blade, but if you'd like to get an early start on Wriggle's Lantern, by all means start with something else.

After buying your starting item, your first priorities are to grab level 1 boots, and to work on getting Wriggle's Lantern for jungle control. Get these in whatever order you find that you need. After the first jungle clear I usually end up having enough gold for level 1 boots and maybe a potion or two. If you had a successful gank, then you probably have enough for at least part of Wriggle's also.

After you finish your Wriggle's Lantern you're really fairly well off for awhile. Keep jungling and ganking when there is an opportunity. Whenever you feel you need to go back to base, you should finish your boots (usually Mercury's Treads or Ninja Tabi) and try to start building either The Brutalizer or The Bloodthirster. If you have enough gold for a B. F. Sword, then get that. Bloodthirster is just such an amazing item, skip the Brutalizer altogether. You can always build it after the Bloodthirster if you feel you need it.

By mid-game you should have Wriggle's Lantern, your choice of boots, and either The Brutalizer and part of your The Bloodthirster, or just a Bloodthirster. Once your Bloodthirster is finished, you should start building some items that give you tankiness. Go for either Atma's Impaler/ Frozen Mallet/ Warmog's Armor, or if you find yourself taking more magic damage, grab Hexdrinker or Force of Nature and Frozen Mallet/ Warmog's Armor. Guardian Angel is also a nice addition later if you want to make sure you stay alive.

Your final build should consist of The Bloodthirster, Boots (Merc, Ninja, or Ionian), and depending on the situation, 4 of the following items: Frozen Mallet, Atma's Impaler, Warmog's Armor, Force of Nature, a second The Bloodthirster, Last Whisper, Guardian Angel, Banshee's Veil (occasionally).

Starting Item(s):
or or x5

Mid-game Items:
and one of

Situationally take or

Final Build:
and one of

Also 4 of the following, depending on the situation:

Depending on how your game is going, you need to be able to adapt and get different items. Adaptability cannot be stressed enough. If the enemy AD champions are farming a lot or getting fed, you may want to consider getting Atma's Impaler and Warmog's Armor for more tankiness. If the enemy AP champions are doing well, you will probably want to grab a Hexdrinker fairly early on.

I find that one of the main items I change around a lot is the boots. If there are a lot of autoattackers on the enemy team, grab Ninja Tabi. If the enemies have a lot of CC, or if they just do a lot of magic damage, grab Mercury's Treads. If you're doing well and haven't really been focused much or the enemies just don't seem to be able to do a whole lot to you, Ionian Boots of Lucidity are perfect.

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Skill Sequence

-> / -> /

Skill sequence is also extremely fluid, and you need to be able to adapt to whatever you need.

The one constant in every game I play is that I always start with Broken Wings first. Its ability to charge your passive 3 times, deal damage, give you 3 short dashes, and also stun make it by far the best ability to take first.

Levels 2 and 3 should take Ki Burst and Valor, because having all 3 of your skills is extremely important. It not only gives you great mobility, but it also gives you an area stun, and lets you keep your passive going most of the time.

After you have all 3 of your basic abilities, just decide what you need more. Are you taking a lot of damage? Grab Valor. Do you want faster jungle clears or more AoE damage? Grab Broken Wings. Do you find yourself needing your stun more often? Grab Ki Burst. And constantly reevaluate every level, and ask what you need most. It's all about your situation.

And of course, take your ultimate, Blade of the Exile, whenever possible.

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Jungle Routes

So you want to jungle with Riven. She's strong in the jungle. She has good ganks due to her mobility and stuns, and her ult is good for picking off enemies that have almost gotten away with just a bit of life. So let's discuss her route.

Depending on whether you get a leash, you have different available jungle routes. Also, your starting item plays a role in where you'll want to start first.

1) x5

The safest start for Riven is Cloth Armor and 5 Health Potions. Using that you can go

Wraiths -> Red -> Golems -> Wraiths -> Wolves -> Blue

This is probably the most efficient route.

With Cloth Armor and 5 Health Potions you can also start at Blue then progress through the jungle in the traditional route, or start at Red and follow whatever route you'd prefer.

2) or

Starting with Doran's Blade is less safe, but it allows you better ganks. If you start with it, it's best to get a nice leash on either Red or Blue, then progress through the jungle from there.

Vampiric Scepter is also a less safe first item, but if you really want a nice start towards Wriggle's Lantern then you may buy it first. If you bought this first, you should also ask for a strong leash at either Red or Blue.

If you start with Doran's Blade or Vampiric Scepter, here are the routes you should think about taking:
Blue --> Wolves --> Wraiths --> Red --> Golems
Red --> Golems --> Wraiths --> Wolves --> Blue

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More detail:
So you've grabbed your starting item, now head for either the Ancient Golem (blue) or the Lizard Elder (red). It's really up to you. The blue buff is good with Riven despite her lack of mana, because it gives you a lot of CDR for ability spamming. On the other hand, the red buff gives you quite a bit more damage output, and is also great for ganking.

I usually start at blue. In my opinion it's better, because you won't be running back and forth as much through the jungle trying to get to the other camps. Get your teammates to do a leash for you if possible, and tear into the blue golem with Broken Wings. Smite it when it gets low enough, then finish off the small lizards and head to wolves.

Pick up whichever skill you feel more comfortable with. I highly recommend Ki Burst, as it deals area damage that you can use to hit all the jungle creeps. At wolves, start the fight with Ki Burst and two uses of Broken Wings. Then autoattack once, and use your last Broken Wings dash. The purpose of this is to not waste your passive, Runic Blade. After clearing wolves, head to wraiths, and do the same thing. You should be able to clear both wolves and wraiths without taking much damage. After wraiths, head to either golems, or the red lizard elder. It's really up to you.

If you go for red, remember to Smite it when you can, and try not to waste stacks of your passive, Runic Blade. Also try to hit both of the small lizards with both Ki Burst and all of your Broken Wings dashes. After clearing this camp, level up Valor and head to golems.

Now that you have all 3 of your basic abilities, you can use your abilities and passive to their maximum potential. Lead into the golems with Valor, then one dash of Broken Wings, followed by Ki Burst. Autoattack one of the golems either once or twice, then follow with your last dashes of Broken Wings, making sure to not waste stacks of Runic Blade. Keep autoattacking until your abilities come off CD, then repeat as necessary. Don't waste stacks of your passive!

After clearing the golems, you will probably be very low in health. Recall and buy boots, and maybe a Health Potion or two, or a Sight Ward if you feel like that would be more useful.

At this point you can either gank one of the lanes if there is an opportunity, or head to wolves and start a second jungle sweep. After the first clear, Riven doesn't come anywhere close to dying, so the scary part is over.

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At some point during your jungle route you'll probably see an opportunity to gank one of the lanes. If it's a good opportunity, don't hesitate to stop jungling at once and gank. Head into the brush near whichever lane and wait for your allies to be ready. Make sure you ping AND tell them that you're ganking their lane! If you end up going in alone and your allies don't back you up, you'll probably die. Not only will you lose your buffs, but the enemies will get them, as well as gold for killing you. Your allies will also rage at you for making their lane harder. And they should, because it's YOUR fault. It's not hard at all to tell them that you're ganking for them.

Once your allies are ready, walk out of the brush towards your enemies and Valor toward them. If they're a good distance away, you can also use TWO of your Broken Wings dashes to get in range. Save your third Broken Wings dash to stun them! It may seem like a waste to just use Broken Wings to get in range, but trust me, it's not. The damage is good once you have some AD items, but the dashes are ALWAYS valuable. Once you are in range of the enemies, either use Ki Burst, or your third dash of Q to stun for your allies (if you didn't use your first two Q dashes yet, then obviously use Ki Burst). The stun is very short, so follow up with whichever stun you didn't use before. Continue to use Valor and Broken Wings to stay on top of the enemies, and use Ki Burst again if it comes off CD.

If you managed to hit one or more enemy with your stun(s), you should be able to pick up a kill.

Once you hit level 6, remember to activate Blade of the Exile BEFORE you dive out of the bushes at your enemies. It lasts for a good 15 seconds, which is plenty of time to get everything done. Also, you want to be ready to use Wind Strike on enemies if they Flash away or are just barely out of range.

One tip I would say helps a whole lot, is saving Flash for a gank. Most people use it to escape from a dangerous situation, but using it offensively works wonders as well. If there is just that slight bit of distance between you and the fleeing enemies, flash on top of them, and Ki Burst or use your third Broken Wings dash to stun them. Most people don't seem to expect it, and I can't even tell you how many times using flash offensively has gotten me a kill. I'm not saying use it every time, but I am saying don't hesitate to use it if you need it to grab a kill.

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Counter Jungling

Riven is a good counter jungler. It's pretty simple to do, but it's something you need to be careful about, of course. You're going into enemy territory alone, and there is a possibility that you'll end up facing multiple enemy champions. Fortunately, Riven is mobile enough to escape in most instances.

Helpful things to have:

An escape spell:

Tools for quick stealing:

If you took Flash or Ghost you're taking less of a risk entering the enemy jungle, but if you took some other summoner spell you should still be ok.

When should you counter jungle? If the enemy jungler has just died, or you happen to spot him trying to gank a lane across the map, and you yourself don't have any opportunities to gank. Just enter their jungle and try to steal Blue or Red buffs, or one of the smaller camps if those aren't up. If you have Wriggle's Lantern or a Sight Ward, place it in a nearby bush to watch out for their jungler or other enemies. If possible, try to leave one creep at whichever camp you're stealing. That way, the others won't respawn until it is killed.

With Riven, leaving a creep behind is difficult, as both Broken Wings and Ki Burst do area damage, and you're usually in a hurry. Just do the best you can. If you use only Valor and autoattacks, you'll at least get a benefit from a charged Runic Blade. If you have time, try to do that. Also, having Wriggle's Lantern and Smite will both help you just steal the major creep at each camp, and you can leave the others (or just one) of the remaining creeps intact.

If you get into trouble, and are discovered by one of the enemies, just dash away as soon as possible, don't try to fight. Remember that you're in enemy territory, and reinforcements will likely show up for them soon. Remember, if you die while you have their buffs, your counter jungling didn't really do any good. Not only do they have their buffs, but they also just got more gold for killing you.

If you find yourself doubting whether you can pull off a successful counter jungle run, just play it safe. Risk can pay off, but don't get too greedy. If you feel like you'd be in too much danger, it's better to just be safe by guarding your lanes, and protecting your own jungle.

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I'm sure I'm probably leaving a lot out. I can always come back and add more later, though. I know the items and skill sequence sections are not all that helpful, but in all honesty, I almost never take the exact same item or skill path every game. You have to be able to adapt to whatever is needed. I understand that having a basis to work off of is important when you're first learning a champion, and hopefully I have helped with that. But at some point, you have to be able to examine the situation and just get whatever is most suitable.

If you have questions or feel like there is anything I should add or explain more, by all means let me know. Hope this guide helps! Definitely give feedback, good or bad.