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Riven Build Guide by nifflo

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League of Legends Build Guide Author nifflo

Ganking lanes with a broken sword: Jungle Riven

nifflo Last updated on April 19, 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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Jungle Riven?

Welcome to my Riven Guide!
I aim to make this an interesting, complete and well structured guide. Long, but not too long. Well motivated, you could say. I hope you will enjoy reading it.
Polite and constructive comments are very much welcome.

I play Jungle Riven because it is a lot of fun! Her ganks are quite good and her early game is wicked strong. Having a good early game with Riven is quite easy since runes/masteries (and items) can be tailor made to put an emphasis on the early game. In Riven's case it is extra simple since all she need is AD and Health. She will capitalize greatly early game on Doran's Blade, gimp the enemy champions and eventually transition into a fearsome bruiser late game.

Disclaimer: Riven isn't exactly OP in the jungle. She is quite a wonky jungle pick to be honest. Her speed is decent, but very item/rune/mastery dependent. She has no sustain except life steal, her matchups in 1v1 are decent at best. But the big problem is that she needs to snowball! Getting ahead is paramount, successful ganks are vital. Building a couple of early Doran's Blade is key to secure early game dominance and be successful through the course of the game.

Falling behind is a nightmare on Riven. If you die, if you dont gank successfully, if you get forced back to base or get counterjungled you will start to fall behind. How to recover is to stop ganking and jungle like a mad man. Riven recovers quite quickly since she clear minion waves extremely fast. You can turn around a game where you fall behind if you get to farm.

With this build you will overcome those barriers, dominate early game and scale well into the late game where you will be a tanky bruiser that deals a ****load of AoE dmg and wreak havoc on the enemy team. Some times you will even have to be the initiator if your team does not have a proper tank. This is simple with Riven, continue to build AD and health but slap an armor item or two on the build.

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Pros / Cons

+ No resource costs
+ Strong early game
+ AoE abilities x 3
+ Mobile
+ Stun ability
+ Gap closer ability x 2
+ Self Shield ability
+ Self AD steroid ability
+ Low cooldowns
+ Benefits greatly from AD - both offensively and defensively
+ Tanky and high damage
+ Scales well into the late game
space space
- Very short duration stun
- No built in sustain (self healing)
- A bit susceptible to kiting
- Shut down by well timed CC
- Simple champ - easy to read
- Not the top jungle pick
- Countered by defensive play - unable to gank
- Countered by counterjungling and invades
- Not a great counter jungler
- Bad skins (Battle Bunny is hot but a mere gimmick)

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Itemization for Riven

In ascending order of priority:

  1. Attack Damage
  2. Health
  3. Armor
  4. Magic Resist

Nothing else. Attack Damage is the pinnacle stat for Riven! But she also needs to be tanky with health, armor and MR.

Ability Power and Mana are worthless, of course. But Attack Speed is undesired on this melee burst-warrior with low ability cooldowns since she is no "autoattacker".

What about CDR? Well, she has no mana costs. But I havent found myself thinking her Cooldowns are too high. Theoretically since they cost nothing you could spam them more often, but you probably wont. You want to use them at the right time, not just spam them as soon they are off cooldown.

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Greater Mark of Attack Damage

Greater Seal of Armor

Greater Glyph of Magic Resist

Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage

A Riven player should aim to grab as much AD as possible since all her abilites scale with it.

Greater Mark of Strength x 9
For marks I hook up with 9 flat Attack Damage. This gives me early game damage I need to clear jungle fast and boost my skills. Going all in Attack Damage makes you clear gamps with your AoE really fast with very few autoattacks to mop up the remains.

Greater Seal of Resilience x 3
For Seals I grab the 9 Armor flats since they are standard bruiser/jungle seals to reduce incoming damage.

Greater Glyph of Warding x 9
For Glyphs, I grab 1 Glyph in flat AD to give me 13AD at the start instead of 12AD. Yay for rounding. I then swag 8 Glyphs in flat Magic Resist. This one is optional, I like it because it gives me early game resistances vs magic damage. Many people you fight WILL fight back (surprise!) and many are dealing magic damage in addition to their physical damage. Not only pure casters.

Greater Quintessence of Strength x 3
For quints I grab 3 in flat Attack Damage for early game dominance and quick jungle clears.

Under construction: Vampirism (aka Life Steal)

Warning: Please skip this section as I do not know if these quints are bad or good. I do not have these quints yet. This is more a "think tank" for now.

Greater Quintessence of Vampirism

I am currently experimenting with Vampirism quints. Sacrificing AD for Life Steal means a slightly slower jungling speed but at a higher sustain. However if getting AD instead of LS means faster clear, that also means taking less hits from monsters. I think its relatively safe to take 1-2 Vampirism quints without needing more AA's on most camps.

Pro's and cons with Vampirism Quints

  • Higher sustain
  • Could prolly start with boots instead
  • Heals up faster between ganks/skirmishes
  • Slower clear
  • Less burst
  • If you get a good leash you probably dont need sustain

I have not yet tried LS out so for now I recommend 3 AD quints.

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Riven is an offensive champ, and she jungles well with the offensive tree. Picking defensive tree will gimp your early game, and this guide is all about emphasizing the early game.

Go 21/9/0 and grab all AD, armor penetration/reduction and lifesteal possible. Make the mobs hit for less in the defensive tree and get some valuable health.

Skipped masteries

I do not take Havoc. Even if you go full AD you will have 82.93AD at level 1. This mastery will give you +1.24dmg per attack. This mastery is equivalent to ~1.3 AD Marks at a cost of 3 mastery points. What about end-game? With 230AD this is equivalent to ~3.6 AD Marks for 3 mastery points, i e 1.2 AD Marks per mastery point. Which is about the same as Brute Force.

I do not focus on a crit build and as such I skip this mastery point. End game with 18% crit these 10% will increase your damage with 1.8%. No thanks.

I do not pick Summoner's Resolve. I don't smite that often that the 10g would give me anything. Stick with offensive summoner spells.

This is more of a sustain mastery for laning. It doesn't help much in the jungle where you will be porting back a lot. Its better to instead focus on a larger health pool and synergize well late game with Atma's Impaler.

It is viable. Maybe your initial jungle will be slightly faster and better sustained with it. I would pick it if I could proove to myself that I will suffer less monster hits per camp. This would enable having higher health after clearing the jungle and getting ready for a gank... However I am not convinced this is the case.

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Early game items:

Get 2-3 Doran's Blade. Riven needs AD, health and LS. CHECK. These items are the most cost effective in the game, but this is only true in the early game of course. It is the early game this guide is all about and what we are trying to benefit the most from!

Mobility. Is. EVERYTHING. It is important to get Tier 2 boots sinc Riven is highly dependent on her mobility and movement speed to gank people successfully. I snatch Mercury's Treads up on almost all champs, sometimes even on AD/AP carries. It depends. So many times they save my life... Those Taric stuns, Sion stuns, Ashe arrows that normally means you are screwed? Now you have a fair chance to escape!

Towards the end of early game I find it powerful to swag a big fat health item: Giant's Belt.

Mid game items:

It's time to get a little more tankiness in form of armor and MR.

Take an early Atma's Impaler to get armor and some extra use out of all that health! Some people say this item is OP, but I say it makes and breaks bruisers into the power houses they are.

Pick up an early Hexdrinker to cover your magic resist needs. And to protect you from that AP carry who now is feeling powerful enough to exact revenge from your ganks...

It is time to put a cherry on top this power house build: The Bloodthirster! Riven needs one BF Sword item imo, and this is the best of the lot. Attack Speed is bad on Riven which rules The Black Cleaver out. Critical Strike is not important on Riven which rules Infinity Edge out. The nature of this weapon is like Riven: Snowball. However the base AD is good already with no stacks and the life steal is great for healing back up after skirmishes.

Late game items:

Toward end game its time to upgrade health again. This is the one stop item shop for making your Giant's Belt into something more powerful, and also scoring a lot of sweet AD from Atma's Impaler. Hell yeah.

As a general rule I think that you can never go wrong with Guardian Angel. It gives you tankiness to cement the health you have accumulated, and an aura that for many people clearly states: "Do not focus me first" which will make them hesitate when you charge toward their carries.

For the final item slot you need to be flexible. But since I have recommended Hexdrinker I can also recommend to upgrade it: Maw of Malmortius for allowing Hexdrinker to scale into late game. It makes you tanky, it protects you and it also gives you more precious AD.


Item Sequence

Atma's Impaler

Warmog's Armor

The Bloodthirster

Guardian Angel

Maw of Malmortius

Other items

Riven does not need Wriggle's Lantern but if you cant live without it go get it. It is good for dragon and jungle control. However, Riven is the type of jungler that wants to get out of the jungle and gank enemy champions, not spend a lot of time inside the jungle it and hitting monsters...

Brutalizer is a great item. But of course, its best to get it if you plan to build Youmuu's Ghostblade... Otherwise you loose quite a bit of gold when you sell it.

You could consider Phage early game since it gives a bit of AD, bit of tankiness (health) and a slow which is pretty much guaranteed on Riven. I do not recommend this in the build because I dont like Frozen Mallet on Riven. It doesn't have enough HP, the AD is pitiful and the slow isn't needed. I do not recommend to buy an item just to sell it later - but still I want to say its pretty nice early game. Get Phage if you like it, but then skip Warmog's Armor and build this into Frozen Mallet instead. Especially if you can't live without that slow late game.

Youmuu's Ghostblade on Riven? People say its not good? Nah, they are wrong. It is quite awesome: It gives mobility and its active is a great steroid. If you pop YG with your ult you can AA most champs to pieces. You can catch a runner. Or you can tear a critical turret to pieces. It is not a recommended item though since it is not tanky enough, it has crit which I dont use on Riven, but the times I have used it I have loved

Trinity Force? No thanks! Riven was designed to NOT benefit from TriForce unlike most other tanky bruisers. Attack speed, mana & AP is useless on Riven and the item is simply too expensive.

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Skill Sequence

The old school max Q Broken Wings first for the DEEPZ. And yes, the DEEPZ is good. Too good to palm off.

The new school purists max W Ki Burst first for the CDR: Stun more often! The AoE dmg is high too.

I max E Valor last because it doesn't help in ganks or jungle speed. It is only valid to max 1st or 2nd while laning.

Since you might find myself among huge creep waves Broken Wings is great to farm it up quickly. But Ki Burst helps in those situations too. So, I usually level them simultaneously to give a good balance between Old Skool and New Skool (while gaining zero respect from both factions, sadly... but I digress)

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Summoner Spells

Smite is mandatory.

The 2nd summoner spell is your free pick: In my build (and on Riven in general) I find that these tend to work out best:

Secure the kill on any runner who shouldn't get away. Shut down the passive of Volibear or ultimate of Dr. Mundo, or Warwick, Nasus, Irelia or any champ with any form of annoying self heal.

Shut down that Katarina or Kennen ulting in the middle of your team. Lock the gank target in place for your team mate to catch up. Turn the 1vs1 fight in your favor when the enemy is about to ult.

Because running fast is OP! Sometimes you need to catch up to the runner and maintain high speed. Sometimes you have to escape the crime scene. Sometimes you HAVE to get to that huge creep wave first!

Because escaping is always nice? Riven does not benefit very much from using this spell offensively though. bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla

Be in a critical point in a jiffy. Dragon, Baron control. Gank opportunity on the other side of the map? Did you recall to base to heal up and need to quickly rejoin the battlefront? This is the spell for you. bla bla bla bla bla bla

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Jungling advice

A note on jungling and jungle route

First of all: Riven doesn't belong in the jungle, she belongs in the business of punching in enemy champions' faces! The jungle is more like a diversion/distraction when Riven goes from lane to another looking for trouble.

Second of all: There is no route. What is a "route" anyway? Something for junglers that gank at level 6 ( Warwick) and need some kind of path to get there as soon as possible? That is not Riven at all. Just go where you want! Riven ganks at level 2 and anyone can get to level 2 with just about any route.

Jungle startup guideline

If you can get a good leash on red, start at wraith (no leash) then go red and have it leashed: smite lizard and go for an early 3minute gank. Then go back to the jungle, clear the camps and farm up to boots.

Portal back to fountain when you can afford Boots. Look for trouble or if that fails farm jungle.

Portal back to fountain again when you can afford another Doran's Blade. Look for more trouble and/or farm the jungle some more.

At this stage you are starting to become a huge early game threat so make use of it, the clock is ticking - early game is soon over. Hurry up and make the most out of your early game dominance!

Counter jungling

I wouldnt recommend counter jungling because it is
A) Very risky
B) It doesn't set your opponent back enough to be worth it
C) Riven is not a good counterjungler.


Ward, keep your eyes open. Try to catch them in a camp and call for backup. You are a good dueler with decent matchups but in case of doubt that they will fight back and fight back hard ( Udyr, Shyvana, Lee Sin, Trundle) or escape ( Shaco, Nunu) get a teammate to help out.

Gank gank gank!

Pick fights! If a lane is pushed in your favor, screw the jungle and go gank! Ideally you should be ganking all the time. Constantly. Camp lanes, but don't be predictable.

If nothing happens make sure you do not fall behind: Always go back to jungle if lanes are pushed in your disadvantage.

I should add: Gank even more! Be uber-aggressive. Gank the same lane 3 times if they do not learn to ward. Keep them on their toes, keep them in fear. Your team will get ahead, they will fall behind and you will be rich. Keep an eye on which lane needs most help. Or sacrifice the loosing lane and make sure the other 2 lanes are winning instead.

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Ganking advice

Basic ganking

Check the minimap regularly for enemy movement to get alert on which lanes are suitable for a gank. Example of favorable scenarios:
  1. The enemy champion(s) has pushed the lane and has extended over the mid point.
  2. The exchanges in lane is going in your teams favor and the opponent is at low health.
  3. The enemy champion has blown his escapes (such as Flash).
  4. The enemy champion is too strong for your team mate and needs help. Maybe need to camp this lane (only if the other lanes are fine).

Standard Gank Approach

The most favorable gank approach is to advance from their rear. From the side brush can work too (mid) but also top or bot if the enemy minions do not have vision when you enter the brush.
  • Simply run toward them, if they don't try to flash or otherwise escape this will do. If they do try to stun and run past or flash, then close the gap with (E) Valor. In case the enemy is very slippery you might have to throw Exhaust on them if you carry it.
  • If you have your (R) Blade of the Exile, pop it immediately. It is your self steroid and will increase all your damage done by pretty much flat +20%
  • Lock them in place for a split second with (W) Ki Burst. Since Ki Burst doesn't reset the attack swing timer, don't delay yourself with an Auto Attack at this stage.
  • Do your Broken Wings combo: (Q) + Auto Attack + (Q) + Auto Attack + (Q) + Auto Attack
  • The Broken Wings combo resets the attack swing timer as you should know so the AA take virtually no time. It also helps you stick on your target in case it is trying to run away from you.
  • If you have Ignite and it will kill them, use it if you want to be certain that he/she dies (especially if there is a bounty or he/she has Heal).
  • If the enemy reaches the turret range you should probably abort the gank unless you KNOW you can catch up. At least at lower levels. At higher levels Wind Slash or Ignite should net you the kill.

Maximum Speed Gank

If the enemy is really low you must reach them fast and lock them in place. Pop (R) Blade of the Exile and Run towards them and dash with (E) Valor and cover the last bit of distance with (Q) Broken Wings 1-2 times, hopefully landing the third knockback one on them and even knocking them toward the friendly turret.
Slap a (W) Ki Burst on them and autoattack. Not dead yet? Wind Slash ought to do it.

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First of all, thank you for reading this guide, I hope you found it useful, insightful and a good read. I hope I didnt harm your eyes with the or caused you to become color blind. Please vote and leave a comment!

Thanks to BBCode codex for helping me make this guide look nice.