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Riven Build Guide by Seth346

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[10.22] Play Riven Like A God

By Seth346 | Updated on October 24, 2020
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Runes: CDR Stack Build (Other Choices and Explanations Under Runes Header)

Legend: Bloodline
Last Stand

Gathering Storm

+1-10% CDR (lvls 1-18)
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+6 Armor


1 2
For Consistency
LoL Summoner Spell: Flash


LoL Summoner Spell: Teleport


LeagueSpy Logo
Top Lane
Ranked #16 in
Top Lane
Win 52%
Get More Stats

Champion Build Guide

[10.22] Play Riven Like A God

By Seth346

My name is RivalofAll, but you can call me Rival. I reached the Diamond 1 promotional series this season and have been diamond the past few seasons as well. I have over 5 Million Riven Mastery Points and even coach Riven players specifically, so you could say I know a thing or two.

Right now, becoming a content creator is what I want to do. I'm living on my own in an apartment currently so if this doesn't work out I'll have to give in to my mother's constant nagging of "go get a real job!" and then rot at a desk the rest of my life. I'm doing everything I can to prevent that future. I would be forever grateful if you come to my stream and throw me a Follow/Twitch Prime Subcription or check out the YouTube video below which is a good example of what I do on my channel. Also, don't forget to vote on the guide! It really helps!

Hello Riven players or people looking to get into Riven, as mentioned earlier, I coach people on how to play Riven. If you're wondering whether you're ready for coaching, you're thinking about it too much and likely won't ever be "ready". If you're looking to get to Plat from any tier of play, I'm you're guy. If you're already Plat+ then my coaching isn't really geared towards you. Once I don't have to worry about how to pay for next month's rent/food (a slight exaggeration) I may be able to offer free coaching. Until then the prices are as follows:

$20 for live coaching

(Recommended for returning students or Gold players who are adept at the Basic Riven Combos and average >7 CS/min)

This is where you share screens with me on Discord while playing a ranked game and I tell you everything you should do to better your chances of winning this and future games. If I feel that I did not appropriately cover a situation we will go back to it after the game as well as answering any questions you have.

$70 for a 3 hour session

(Recommended for first time students)

This "bundle" includes (2) games of live coaching as well as personal coaching on the fundamentals of playing Riven at a level of play similar to my own. To save time, you will be acquainted with some concepts covered prior to the lesson.

Be prepared for this session to last up to 4 hours (doctor joke and serious recommendation)

Coaching is non-refundable. Examples of my coaching are highlighted on my Twitch.

For scheduling, contact me on Discord @ Rivalofall#2276

+ Least Limited Champion: How can I only play Riven (Over 5000 games; I know, I spend too much time playing League, but that's good for you!)? Because I'm attracted to difficult champions that reward the player for their skill, Riven's the best example of this. Amazing adrenaline-inducing plays can be addictive.

+ Infinite Skill Cap: The mechanics for Riven have no skill ceiling.. Keep improving, my friends. A champion with no limits, is a champion begging to be "mastered". When I, or someone else, finds out new stuff, I add it to this guide... Lucky you.

- Weak To Crowd Control: Ever been in a Soraka silence or rooted by her Equinox? Every champion has a rough time with this, but it's especially hard for Riven due to the fighting potential from her Valor. However, Quicksilver Sash, Tenacity runes, and Mercury's Treads are a huge help for some of these. Being able to do away with CC at the push of a button is a godsend.

- Vulnerable To Ganks: Ever faced a Quinn jungle? You know my pain. If you're playing someone like Malphite, you can just hobble away with 100 armor at level 5. Unlike Malphite, you have to conserve your abilities for escaping when the time comes instead of using them for aggression.

The main 3 spells on Riven: Flash, Ignite, Teleport. We take Flash because of it's ability to reduce counterplay. There are certain combos that are impossible to react to due to it. Aggressive flash plays are generally best because even if your opponent somehow lives with their flash, they're down even more in the lane.

Teleport The "smart man's" spell. This is used when you're just going to sit back until 2 items unless your opponent makes a big mistake. You main use of the spell is for wave manipulation or instant roams. Often the first use is on your lane, and the second use is on the map. When you don't have the skills to make ignite work, or just don't want to bother, this is the spell for you.

Ignite You have to start your aggression from level 1. From there on out, you have to never let up. You have to crush your opponent ruthlessly and efficiently. If you lose too much health, your opponent will just tp back and kill you or have a lane state where you're better off having lost the fight in the first place. Ignite allows you to blow someone out of the water from level 1 onward, doing so with teleport is much more difficult.
    Conqueror: This is the go to keystone for Riven. With the amount of damage and lifesteal it can provide there's few things that can combat it in pure usability. Base AD is HUGE for Riven (due to all the multiplying factors including her passive, her ult, crit, etc.), and this is one of the only things that provides it.
  • Primary Rune
    Triumph: This rune is incredibly useful throughout the game. Since our only real choice here is between it and overheal there's not much of a debate. Triumph frequently doubles or even triples the health you would get from overheal without having to stack up the shield beforehand.
  • Secondary Rune
    Legend: Bloodline: Is an incredibly useful rune. 12% lifesteal is wroth quite a bit of gold and sustain is coveted. With the amount of damage we build, this multiples our durability through that. If you crit, you can sometimes get heals up to 600 late game. When you've already one shot a main threat, some things just can't compete with that amount of healing. Consider taking Legend: Tenacity if the enemy has a massive amount of CC.
  • Tertiary Rune
    Coup de Grace: Coup De Grace is used in this build due to getting your enemies low without getting yourself there as well. This is most useful in lanes but also quite useful in teamfights too. You never want to get low enough to use Last Stand Effectively with the ignite build. With the TP build, however, Last Stand is fine because you don't have quite the edge and fights will often be decided in the range where it's effective.

Secondary Tree

There's a lot of debate around which Tree should come second. Some people like Resolve with Shield Bash and Bone Plating or Unflinching. Some people prefer the conventional Magical Footwear and Cosmic Insight. Others like me want to be useful throughout the game with a setup like Transcendence and Gathering Storm or Nimbus Cloak. I'd say all three of these are evenly matched, but you have to build with them in mind. The sorcery page needs to overcap on CDR and the best way to do this is an Essence Reaver. The Resolve tree should go with the frontline build to maximize it's durability. The inspiration tree should look to max out CDR asap with the good old "CDR Garage Sale Build". Also known as rushing Caulfield's Warhammer and Kindlegem.
  • Secondary Tree
    Nimbus Cloak: Movement speed is an incredible stat in this game. To get it when you need it is necessary. This also opens the way for some paths that wouldn't be possible without Nimbus Cloak. One of these paths would be flashing for 3 autos, or igniting to force flashes and conserve dashes with the MS.
  • Secondary Rune
    Transcendence: This rune allows us to open the door to our core build and various opportunities in addition to it. In most circumstances, you avoid overcapping on CDR because it's a waste of gold efficiency. But what if you could not only use that CDR, but it's also better used. CDR is converted directly to AD at a 1.2 ratio. Meaning for each percent of CDR (worth about 27 gold) you're overcapped, you get 1.2 AD (worth about 42 gold). To make an item like Essence Reaver give 94 AD is incredible. This allows us to also spec into tank items with CDR if we'd like with choices including: Knight's Vow, Spirit Visage, and other damage items like Maw of Malmortius, or Youmuu's Ghostblade on top of all our other damage items these can become massive threats in their own rights.

Alternative Playstyle

So, we've covered aggressive Riven setups, but there's another playstyle, one that just chips away at the enemies health bar. Usually, this is done in matchups that are incredibly difficult. Let's say Poppy, Renekton, Malphite, all those matchups that you just can't seem to win. With this build, you can not only win them, but dominate them if you do it right.

This build comes with an alternative ability maxing order, rune page, and playstyle. I call it, "Short-Trade Riven".

Alternative Maxing Order

    Grasp of the Undying: This is the short-trade keystone for Riven. If you're just trading around your cooldowns, this is the keystone to go for. With shield bash it can be a menace. We'll cover the build for this later but it's quite Health Heavy.
  • Primary Rune
    Shield Bash: This rune is this build's bread and butter. Cracking someone for 20-50 damage while also making you even more durable leaves your opponent awestuck. We'll cover alternative trading patterns at a later date as well.
  • Secondary Rune
    Bone Plating: The GO-TO tank rune. With a focus on short trading, this rune is the king. It reduces damage by a massive amount.
  • Tertiary Rune
    Revitalize: Honestly, I could argue either of these three choices we have but I'm going with revitalize for now due to its increased shield amount and healing from Grasp.

Secondary Tree

  • Secondary Tree
    Gathering Storm: Gathering Storm makes you a menace late game. Mainly due to the raw AD you get from it. This factored into all of your abilities and ratios makes you deal damage throughout the game.
  • Secondary Rune
    Transcendence: This rune allows us to open the door to our core build and various opportunities in addition to it. In most circumstances, you avoid overcapping on CDR because it's a waste of gold efficiency. But what if you could not only use that CDR, but it's also better used. CDR is converted directly to AD at a 1.2 ratio. Meaning for each percent of CDR (worth about 27 gold) you're overcapped, you get 1.2 AD (worth about 42 gold). To make an item like Essence Reaver give 94 AD is incredible. This allows us to also spec into tank items with CDR if we'd like with choices including: Knight's Vow, Spirit Visage, and other damage items like Maw of Malmortius, or Youmuu's Ghostblade on top of all our other damage items these can become massive threats in their own rights.

    Another alternative to this tree is the inspiration tree with Magical Footwear and Cosmic Insight at least if you're facing AD. If you're facing AP Nullifying Orb with Shield Bash is nutty.

This playstyle is different than the others. When I say short trades, I mean that your q is used very rarely for damage unless you've already got a significant lead. Most trades will be one of the following:
E->W->auto->Q away from the target
E auto/W auto.
Q->W->auto->e out
Third Q -> auto -> E out
Here's a short example of the build and playstyle:

Starting Items

Doran's Blade

Doran's shield

Long sword
Starting item choice is generally pretty simple. Did you go ignite? Take doran's blade and push your advantage. Did you go TP? Take Doran's Shield and chill till two items. Are you facing an AP Laner? Yes? Do you need to start shield? No? Ok, go Longsword and rush Hexdrinker.


Ninja Tabi

Mercury's Treads
Boot choice is also rather simple. If they have primarily AD, Tabis. If they have primarily AP, Mercs. If they have an even split, Mercs are generally best unless someone's incredibly fed.

Main Build

Essence Reaver

Death's Dance

Black Cleaver

Sterak's Gage

Titanic Hydra

The first three items is the core build for any Transcendence setups. These items can go in any order you want. In some matchups, rushing Essence Reaver is good, especially if you're far ahead and can get to Death's Dance without too much trouble. Some matchups, Death's Dance is great, especially for really long trades because you can get a ton of health out of it and heal up afterwards. In other matchups, Black Cleaver is best.

If you start Essence Reaver go directly into Death's Dance and then Black Cleaver. If you start Black Cleaver, go directly into Death's Dance then following it with Essence Reaver. If you start Death's Dance go into Black Cleaver then Essence Reaver. The items that follow them up allow you to stay durable while still dealing damage.

The reason these items are chosen is due to their ability to maximize damage, health, and CDR. While Black Cleaver and Death's Dance are used to maximize durability, Essence Reaver is to maximize damage. These three together make you quite sturdy and allow you to hit like a truck. You can sometimes crit people for well over 1000 damage. This makes very quick work of their health bar and heals you for 400 health in the process. These three items together work like Exodia in Yugioh, you're just incredibly strong once you finish them.

The Only Frontliner Build

Black Cleaver

Death's Dance

Sterak's Gage

Edge of Night

Titanic Hydra

U know when you're jungler and support pick some dumb stuff that has no ability to engage. I can't count the amount of times I get like a Graves jungle and a Vel'Koz support. This leaves your team with absolutely no engage... Unless... You can be the sole engage. That's what this build is for. If you're the only frontliner, you can't afford to build too much damage. So go for a tankier version of your normal build. Something that can really take a punch. Here's that something that can take a punch. This combination of items maximizes your health pool while also keeping your damage relevant. Sterak's pops for well over 1k hp and with the base hp in this build it can be kind of difficult to die. This works out very well for your greedy sup/jg, BUT your K/D/A will also thank you.

Crit Heavy

Black Cleaver

Death's Dance

Essence Reaver

Infinity Edge

Mercurial Scimitar

This build is for when you know you're going to have to do everything this entire game. This build gives you the damage to do that, now all it needs is for you to play well enough to make it work. It's much squishier than the other builds but has a higher pay-off if played correctly. If you don't get completely one shot you become quite a massive threat with your lifesteal and crits to maximize it's value.

Runic Blade
Range: 125
Riven's abilities charge her blade for 5 seconds, causing her to do 25 / 29 / 33 / 38 / 42 / 46 / 50 % of her attack damage as bonus physical damage on her next basic attack. Riven can store up to 3 charges, and can only expend 1 at a time.

This effect lasts 5 seconds allowing you to "prime" it and have 3 procs when the cd comes back up. If you're constantly priming qs, it's hard to engage on you because of your third q and a whole new cycle of qs are just around the corner. This proc really helps with lifesteal too, giving you more survivability in the lane so it wisely, not just offensively.

Broken Wings
Range: 1st & 2nd: 112.5 3rd: 150 Range With Ult: 1st: 162.5 2nd: 112.5 3rd: 200 Cooldown: 13
ACTIVE: Riven dashes towards the target nearest to the cursor or in the direction she is currently facing, dealing 15 / 35 / 55 / 75 / 95 (+ 45 / 50 / 55 / 60 / 65% AD) physical damage to all enemies in front of her. Broken Wings can then be reactivated twice within the next 4 seconds, with the second cast refreshing the timer. The third strike will knock enemies up and can be used to jump over terrain.

This is the best ability to max for DPS, as well as being a good tool to engage, escape, and burst down enemies. To deal max damage in as short a timeframe as possible, auto between each Q and use animation presets.

The 3rd Q: This strike is quite different from the other 2. Its animation is slightly longer, you knock enemies up and can even hop over many walls and towers. While officially counted as a bug, it has been embraced as a base part of her kit. Some jumps require e to kind of glitch into the wall, one of these being "your mother".

Note: If your movement speed is above 550, using your abilities will slow you down. Her dashes do not scale with MS. So if you have increased movement speed like a Youmuu's Ghostblade or Lulu's Whimsy you should just wait between qs.

Ki Burst
Range: Terrible... Wait i meant: 125/135 with ult.  Cooldown: 11 / 10 / 9 / 8 / 7
ACTIVE: Riven's sword emits a burst of runic energy that shocks nearby enemies, dealing 50 / 80 / 110 / 140 / 170 (+ 100% bonus AD) physical damage and applying a stun for 0.75 seconds.

This ability allows very profitable trading. A stun that deals good damage has a short cooldown and scales nicely. It has a lot of outplay potential but hitting it can be a bit tricky due to its limited range, horrible indicator and an effect that's larger than the hitbox.

Range: 325  Cooldown: 12 / 11 / 10 / 9 / 8
ACTIVE: Riven dashes in the direction of the cursor, gaining a 90 / 120 / 150 / 180 / 210 (+ 100% bonus AD) shield for 1.5 seconds.

Blocking damage, engaging, disengaging, your E is an incredible tool. Time Valor right and you can block anything from Decisive Strike to a turret shot. A great tool that can really help keep you alive and win trades.

Blade Of The Exile
Cooldown: 120 / 90 / 60
ACTIVE: Riven empowers her sword for 15 seconds, gaining (20% Bonus AD) and (75 bonus range) on her basic attacks. This ability also increases the range on Broken Wings and Ki Burst, and gives you the ability to re-cast your ult 1 second after activation to use Wind Slash once for the duration of the ult.

This ability can turn almost any lane around. The increase in damage scales well with any kind of build making you deal a **** ton more damage. And the increase in range will help make hitting the knockup and stun just a little easier. Add on top of that, its secondary activation Wind Slash and you have yourself a strong *** ult.

Wind Slash
Range: 900 Angle: 75° Speed: 1600
ACTIVE: Riven unleashes a wave of energy in a cone, dealing 100 / 150 / 200 (+ 60% bonus AD) physical damage to all enemies hit, increased by 0% − 200% (based on missing health).

That's a massive amount of damage, having something that scales at a 1.8 ad ratio is all you could ever ask for. This is Riven's greatest strength, a true execution, do not let it go to waste.

My matchup section started to become way too large a while back, and as such, I have moved them over to their own guide. It has recently received an overhaul, it doesn't have every matchup in the game but it has the harder ones. It can be found by going here

How do you forge a lead? There are many ways to do this, killing your laner, having your jungle put some pressure on your enemy laner, roaming to other lanes and getting kills there. But by far the most effective way to gain a lead on your enemy is through CS. Unless an enemy has a large shutdown, 2 waves of minions will be worth more than just a single kill. Not just in gold but XP too, and trust me just 1 level can make a world of difference. To help train your last hitting, I made a video for you. This video will show you what I believe to be the most optimal way of training your last hitting is.

Lane Control

However, last hitting is by far the only mechanic within farming and gaining a lead. Controlling your waves, knowing what time is most optimal to back and when to push, and other such mechanics are intrinsic to gaining lane dominance. And while I could make a large section talking all about this, visual representation works much better here. And thus I would recommend you watch the series called Leaguecraft. This playlist is made by a rioter, and explains in good detail how to play this game. Watch as much of this playlist as you can, then come back for all the info he doesn't cover.

Counter Jungling

Some games pushing your lane and then invading for red/raptors and killing the enemy jungle is the best thing you can do. If done correctly this can be a 1k gold swing. What I mean by this, is if one of the laners come, you need to ditch. But they're losing out on lane farm while you lose nothing if they come (assuming you pushed the wave/proxied it). If the enemy jungler is somehow stronger than you, you need to see them on the map before invading. If you're not blue side, wipe the entire jungle and kill them at wolves/blue. When you're doing this, make sure to keep an eye on the enemy laners though. If they leave early you need to leave too.

Abusing a lead

There are two main ways for you to get a lead,
The first is constantly pushing to tower and applying pressure while power farming. Pressuring an opposing team is basically based on forward%. This means how far up on the map you are. If you can maintain a good forward% while farming efficiently (taking everything you can at all times), this will create a gap in pressure on the map from the enemy team. They will leave their lanes/camps to come fill that gap. If you're able to fight them or even just waste their time when they come you obliterate the scenario and quickly acquire a lead for your entire team.

The second is freezing the lane and pushing your enemy away from the farm.

After you forge this lead, you can abuse it like in the videos below. Have fun :)

Lvl 1: So, you know that front bush in top lane? Yeah, that one close to the tower. Well, if you're facing a squishy opponent or anyone with a weak level 1, sitting there will give you a great opportunity to get first blood. Make sure to prime your q for your passive procs. Now, just walk at your opponent once they cross an imaginary line in the lane that you set to where you can get a q combo off.

Here's a visual for reference :
If they respond immediately, use your first Broken Wings to get to them then Q combo. This most likely won't kill your target, but often it blows flash or gets a huge health advantage.

Doing this against some lanes can get you killed, so against someone like Urgot I wouldn't suggest it.

TP Playstyle: Make much more calculated trades around your wave and your cooldowns. You don't win auto trades as hard without Ignite so you have to only play around your q cooldown here. Often starting a combo with auto/q and ending it with your third q to deaggro minions is the correct choice.

Lvl 2: Take W, and after the lvl 1 trade, it should be easy to one-shot nearly any champion, especially if you took nimbus cloak. The level 2 oneshot combo kills from any health value below ~50% health.

TP/Ranged Matchup playstyle: If you're facing a ranged champ that you haven't got much poke onto, e is the best option level 2 because it allows for farming without losing hp, which is crucial in those matchups. It also allows for more damage by not having to use Broken Wings to close the gap. Valor also keeps your health pool up as a preventative measure for ganks.

Lvl 3: You have access to all your abilities, this is where you're very threatening and can easily capitalize on mistakes. Realize where someone messes up, like that Jayce who just switched to cannon form and has his E on a 6-second cd EVEN IF IT'S UP! This is one of the best examples of a "Green light" like a Renekton w-ing a minion, it means GO! Abuse it, but be wary of the enemy jungle. They should be top by now. Make sure to ward, and don't go for extended trades or long fights unless you see the enemy jungler.

TP playstyle: During these levels you're mostly looking to chip away at your opponents health bar with short trades around your w and e. Your q should just be kept up as much as possible unless you're using it quickly for a heavy trade.

Lvl 4 & 5: At these levels, you just get an extra 90 damage on your q combo with each point. While this can lead to some incredible plays I don't think too many changes with your playstyle. Some champions are hard to kill pre 6. This is usually the section where you give them some space. Focus on the farm and see if your jungle can come to give you a gank.

Lvl 6: This is when you pop off and most matchups can be easily killed at this point, Especially Darius. If you walk close to him, and he pulls you in, pop your ult and turn the fight around. If he doesn't pull you in, ER - Auto - W - Q (through him to avoid his pull) - Auto - Q (through him again to avoid the pull if he saved it the first time) - Auto - Third Q - Wind Slash - Auto and it should be more than enough to kill him. This is very similar to most matchups, however, facing ranged champions you generally engage with ERQ - W - Auto Q - Auto Third Q - Ult Auto.

In case you didn't see the leaguecraft 101 video from the playlist, here it is again. This one is on teamfighting. It helps you know how to teamfight as Riven instead of just "Flash/Run at them and hope they die".

If you've made mistakes, don't worry, it happens to the best of us. Sadly, after one mistake, more are sure to follow. A good way to avoid these is to itemize defensively, as well as adjusting your playstyle to be more defensive for this game. But you can NEVER! Ever! build a full defensive item before you have a full damage item. A Hexdrinker or Chain Vest is alright, but a Randuin's Omen is not. If you do this, you will be useless.

Susan knows this sh*t better than anyone. If you look at the pro's, or even myself, we all get an insane amount of cs throughout the game (I average ~200). If you're fed enough, you get kills with a discounted effort. I think this is by far the best way to recover. And since, in the late game, Riven sweeps away minion wave after minion wave and can even take some from each jungle to help her come back quicker. You can win a game just off of cs if you do it right.

When your laner is done bending you over... he'll run off to impact the rest of the game, JUST FARM! Get every damn cs, get jungle creeps, and suddenly you're getting items. Your laner returns and you destroy him. Just remember to ward these spots below depending on which side of the map you're on to maintain safety.

Warding Spots


Credit Where Credit is Due
- Unswlolsoc for his multiple tutorial videos
- Riot games for their game and all icons/pictures/maps I used
- All the people who wrote the league of legends wiki pages
- Arkhala_TheSlayer gets the biggest thank you for helping me with all the coding throughout the guide!
League of Legends Build Guide Author Seth346
Seth346 Riven Guide
[10.22] Play Riven Like A God
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