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Riven Build Guide by Nikyre

Not Updated For Current Season

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Nikyre

Cruising for a Bruising

Nikyre Last updated on July 12, 2012
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Top Lane
Ranked #19 in
Top Lane
Win 51%
Get More Stats

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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Chapter 1

This guide will cover how to play:
-AP heavy teams
-AD heavy teams
-As a jungle(Under Construction)
-The standard/competitive method(Under Construction)

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Hello all, this guide is just my interpretation of how Riven should be played. I have done over 200 games with her and want to put my thoughts of how to play her into word to share with everyone. Hope you enjoy this guide and use it to make Riven into an awesome champion that everyone will ban from Draft.

One thing you will not see is me proclaiming the Riven is the best champion out there, that she will own everyone you come up again. Any champion can become great in the right conditions, this guide is to help you get those conditions in your favor every game you play.

This build focuses mainly on being able to survive encounters with most champions you encounter, having a great basis in damage output and even a bit of LS to help you recover from encounters.

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Pros and Cons of Riven

Riven, like any other champion, has her strengths and her weaknesses. It is very easy to try [Riven] out for the first time and get an instant dislike for her. Many people will go and either be to offensive, burn all her abilities and go for the kill, meanwhile get burned with nothing to show for it.


Movement-Riven is built to move, she can keep up with running champions, run from champions, or use her abilities to speed through the map, AWESOME.

Disrupts-Riven has TWO disrupts, this helps on champions that channel, trying to get away, or chasing you. Nunu you casting ult? Dash right in and stun or knock him out of it.

No huge enemy-Riven is special, she has no champion which is overpowered against her. With her movement she can dodge skill shots, absorb target shots, get in close to ranged targets, and flee over powered ones as well.

Great early game-Riven can easily take charge of top lane early game, depending on your skill. Harass your target and get out before they can respond.

Great Ult-Underrated ult which becomes a deadly ranged weapon when they try to run from you.


CC-Watch out!!! This is [Riven]'s number 1 weakness. She is weak when focused and being CC'd can disrupt your skill chains. Riven is an extreme close range fighter meaning she has to be in the middle of the fight to be any use, however if your cc'd you cant escape or run from skill shots, or hits.

Team Fights- This is her double edge sword, she can either rock the other team, or she can be feed. Since she can be CC'd in mid group she is usually a focused target in all team fights. Try to NEVER initiate fights with [Riven] cause if shes focused she can drop FAST

Laning against tank/LS builds-Riven is a harasser. Early game she deals consistent damage against your opponent while getting reduced damage. However if your opponent has large hp pools with hp regen, or LS where they just attack and regain whatever you deal it can be an annoying fight. Be careful.

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Know thy abilities, know thyself!

Runic Blade

This buff is activated after every use of an ability. It stacks three times. One stack is removed with each normal attack that you use. You want to use a normal attack usually once between each ability use to get the most of it. If you use all your abilities at once you will have some stacks go to waste.

This is what Riven's Playstyle is all about. If you don't use this as your main focus then you are playing Riven WRONG. Assume that you only have 200 damage. If you single hit then you hit at 200. If you use your ability then hit its now at 300. Now if you do Riven's basic combo you can deal 900 damage + ability damage. Not to shabby.

Broken Wings


This is Riven's best ability. This ability can be used for chase, escape, damage, dodging and maneuvering. On Riven's first activation she steps forward and deals damage to any enemy which is in the short range in front of her. Her second activation repeats the first action. Her third and last activation makes her jump and slam down an aoe in a circle in the direction she slams. Depending on the direction the person is to the slam, they will be knocked back. This ability combos with her passive to increase the damage of her basic attacks, so CHAIN them. Follow this procedure.

-Normal attack--normal attack--normal attack

This pattern will apply the Runic Blade buff to each attack increasing your damage output.

Ki Burst

This ability I upgrade first for the reduced CD and ridiculous damage it does. This move sends an aoe out which stuns all who are hit for a short period. It is best used when chasing, to prevent the other person from escaping, or when escaping, so that you have a chance to get away. The following is a good method for keeping up with a running opponent.

-normal attack--Normal attack--normal attack-


This move can be used in a variety of ways. Can catch up to fleeing guys, dodge skill shots like if done correctly. On use it will also bring up a shield for a short time. This move is pretty good for Tower dives as it can take a hit from one of those for you. This is a move which can be used in many ways. I use it as either an engager, dash in absorb their counter and stun then dash away with broken wings.


Blade of the Exile

This is Riven's Ultimate. At high levels it is very spamable. It increases her attack range and damage. Use it again to shoot a cone aoe which deals damage based on their health. It is very good. Use it as an end to the previous combos. Do not be afraid to cast it when entering team fights. Its better to cast this at start or mid fight rather waste it when fight is over.

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Bruiser STYLE

Boots of Speed-3x Health Potion
Wriggle's Lantern

If your fighting AP heavy team- Mercury's Treads- Hexdrinker
There is nothing more annoying to Riven than getting hit with a CC in a combo. Or being engaged in a teamfight, then retreating with a bit of health left then Karthus using his ult. This combo will help you against both these situations.

If your fighting AD heavy team- Ninja Tabi- Phage
This is to fight AD top fighters and prevent them from running during a gank. This works pretty well in surviving top lane and helps end game alot as well.

By now you should have a pretty good set of damage and annoying mitigation. From here I usually build more mitigation to survive against some champions who go straight for damage

AP team- Guardian Angel-Great item for balanced AD AP teamfights
AD team- Thornmail-Got an AD issue, take this. Turn their damage against them. That Ashe got a 600 crit on you? Deal 200 to them!

After this start focusing more on damage again. Frozen Mallet-Great for slowing and setting ganks up again. Plus HP

AD builds The Bloodthirster-Your set on armor, start the devastation!

Both then build Last Whisper For the tanks and tanky characters-Show them whose boss!

AP builds Maw of Malmortius-Laugh as they get you down and you just start doing more damage. Plus great shield in times of need.

Final Items to finish are
AD- Trinity Force-At full The Bloodthirster you are at 305 damage. passive does 15+50%AD. With this you start doing 320x2=640 per swing without Crit not bad!
AP- The Bloodthirster-Just to get your damage up. You are a Bruiser, take your punishment and dish it out!

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Greater Mark of Desolation Greater Mark of Attack Damage

These marks increases the damage output that you give on basic attacks and a small percentage of your ability damage. It works in conjunction with armor pen. I have seen builds go full Strength, I have seen them go full Armor Pen, however neither is the right answer. If your playing Riven top, most likely you will fight another AD fighter. Most AD fighters include Greater Seal of Armor. They will have some armor which mitigates the damage which comes from you. If you get all Strength then you just about cancel out their armor. If you get all Armor pen you may deal true damage but you lack the power for your passive and abilities.

Greater Seal of Armor Greater Glyph of Magic Resist
This is for greater armor and resist, should give you an advantage against any players you are playing against in your lane by reducing the damage they deal to you. I choose Greater Glyph of Magic Resist because of the lack of AP that champions have at the beginning of the game and the chance that you will face one in top lane.

Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage
Greater Attack is better at the start of the game, however it tends to become worse over time. However with this you should be able to harass effectively and control your lane against your opponent early game. I take this over the Armor pen Quintessence because of the math behind it.

Greater Quintessence of Desolation =2 X Greater Mark of Desolation
Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage =About 2.5 X Greater Mark of Attack Damage

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Master your Masteries


I choose these masteries to grant greater damage resistance and to give Riven a good amount of offensive capabilities. Ill explain the logic of choosing some abilities over others.
-This grants your or a slight buff which comes in handy in both offensive and defensive situations. Why wouldn't you upgrade this!

-Simple choice for Riven as she has no AP bonuses to worry about.

-This is worthless for Riven, she is not a carry, she is a relatively slow hitter and 4 damage on minions is not worth the investment of 2 points.

-Another simple choice. Riven can always use a bit more attack speed.

-I have chosen this for a few reasons but just know the CD reduction yields more abilities cast.

-This i put in for the bonus damage, gives Riven alot of offensive capability. Since its a constant amount of damage it affects her abilities slightly, unlike Havoc

-Always need that armor pen


-Better at finishing.

-Greater ability to take hits

-A little extra HP per level, helps get the extra 30 hp at start of game.

veteran's scar-Helps early game.

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Do's with Riven-TOP SOLO

Riven playstyle takes time. Pick at your enemy, work with your jungle to get ganks.

Picking-Dash in, stun, hit, dash out. How you do this there are plenty of ways, play and practice get comfortable. Situation always changes so you must be adaptable.

Mesh your abilities-Use ability, attack, use ability attack, use ability attack. By the end of this you should be able to constantly mesh an ability between an attack.

RUN AWAY!-If in doubt retreat. A dead Riven is a worthless Riven. Know how to be aggressive and when not to be. If you go to far ganks will come and better safe than sorry.

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Why you do that?- TOP SOLO

Riven is fun, she moves fast, seems strong, and looks cool while doing it. Except if you die... don't repeat my stupid mistakes.]

Situation 1: Wow I am owning this dude, hes at Half health. (ult and dash in). Next thing I know i am stunned next to turret taking damage from it and he is running circles around it. I die.
Lesson 1:Know your limits, yeah she can push people around, however don't get over confident and charge recklessly. CCs are her worst enemy.
Correction 1: Be near bush or mid. Be ready for him to start farming your minions. Riven has a great dash stun retreat ability which can lower his damage enough so that you can ult shot him eventually if he stays. If not and he retreats you can take the tower and start roaming.

Situation 2: (Tunnel Vision Enemy Champion with no ward up on river), up gank comes try to retreat and get exhausted. Dead.
Lesson 2: Be aware, get a ward up, you have a wriggles so use it. Place it in bush or place it on river wall between tri bush or in river bush.
Correction 2: Save some abilities to get out of these situations. If gank comes start timing your dashes and abilities for when they catch up or if they are further in range. If they are semi closest use 1 dash to get distance, if they slow use remaining while slowed to keep speed until it wears off. If they are far enough just get out as fast as possible.

Situation 3: I am low HP and decide to stay and defend turret, lvls are already high arround lvl 10s. I get ganked from top and bottom and a tower dive occurs. I die and maybe get lucky getting a kill from whoever gets focused by turret.
Lesson 3: Listen to your instincts better to safe than sorry,
Correction 3: Listen to lesson 3