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Riven Build Guide by AnarianElf1085

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League of Legends Build Guide Author AnarianElf1085

Redeeming Riven: Tricks of the Blade

AnarianElf1085 Last updated on May 5, 2012
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Win 51%
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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: 0

Strength of Spirit

Utility: 9

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Warning: This Guide is still under construction.

Welcome to my guide to Riven. I've taken a look at a few different popular guides for this character, but I feel they don't really do her justice as a champion. I've also run across a few in game who see me as Riven and say gg from the beginning. This is an attempt to make a better Riven... to redeem her, as it were. Keep in mind, this guide is a work-in-progress. Feel free to comment with ideas to improve it.

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Greater Mark of Desolation
I like to use the Greater Mark of Desolation because when most players see you coming, they're going to start building armor to defend against your attack. These marks provide good armor penetration, negating some of that defense they just put up.

Greater Seal of Vitality
For seals, I prefer to get a little bit of a health buff. Not only does it provide a bit more durability, but the Greater Seal of Vitality feeds directly into your late game Atma's Impaler, which benefits from you having more health, with each one providing 19 health.

For glyphs, I go with Greater Glyph of Magic Resist, which provide good early game defense against mages, and help your defenses later in the game as well.

Greater Quintessence of Desolation
Finally, we have the Greater Quintessence of Desolation. This allows a lot more armor pen, making it that much harder for your enemies to withstand your attacks.

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I go with 21/9/0 Masteries. This greatly increases Rivens' offensive power, while providing a nice boost to her defenses, especially when she needs it, in the early game.

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Summoner Spells

I prefer to go with Exhaust and Flash for summoner spells.

I use Exhaust liberally with this build. It provides a number of benefits. First, it slows the target down by 40%, making it a lot easier to keep up with them. That alone would be worth the spell. But not only that, it lowers the attack damage they do by 70%, and the damage from abilities and items by 35% too! You can turn a one-on-one fight around with that kind of advantage! Or, keep on a fleeing enemy. Sometimes exhausting the enemy that isn't your real target has its advantages too. Early game, enemy players will usually run, leaving you and your partner to chop up their friend harassment free! Just make sure to attack a couple of times so they think they're the one being focused, and don't use the trick more than once in a match.

I use Flash as my second summoner spell because this spell, too, has a lot of uses. You can use it to flash over small walls. You can use it to get out of a fight that's going badly for you. You can use it to get into a fight with a fleeing opponent. It's just an all around good spell.

Possible substitutes:

Ghost can be useful for keeping up with an enemy player, or getting away from them. It doesn't fit my Riven play style that well, but if it works for you, use it. It's a good spell, and I use it with my Teemo a lot.

Teleport is good if you don't think you're going to get into too many tight spots, and you want to minimize your time away from your lane. It's also good for backing up team mates and ganking, or defending a turret.

Ignite makes for a good chance to kill that enemy that is about to get away, without even having to dive that turret. But, it's largely hit or miss when it comes to actually dealing the killing blow. I use it with Teemo, but I have lots of poisons with Teemo, too.

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Alright, let's take a look at the awesomeness that is Rivens' abilities.

Riven's passive, Runic Blade is more dangerous than it sounds. It can really build up the damage that you're dealing, if you space out your abilities properly. Every time you use an ability, the next auto-attack you make within the next few seconds deals bonus damage. It stacks up to 3 times, using one stack per auto-attack. And, the ability scales with her bonus AD, granting half her bonus to your attack as well.

Some guides out there say to never spam your abilities. Others say to spam some, but not all. This ability can be charged up to 3 times. Spamming your abilities too much will, as all the guides claim, deny you damage. Less damage means more health for the enemies. But some level of spamming is ok, as long as you pay attention to how you're doing it. More on that with the other abilities.

As far as damage goes, Broken Wings is questionable. Early game, it deals almost no damage. But, you can use it 3 times in rapid succession. Each time you activate it, you move forward a little, and faster than your movement speed. You also deal damage in a slight AOE, rather than to just one target. But the third strike is the most important one. You deal the same damage as each of the two first uses, but you also knock back enemies from the center of the blow. Even if it knocks them forward when they are trying to run away, they don't move as fast as their movement. That momentary slow can do a lot for trying to kill an enemy, especially if you have support from your team. Finally, it does scale to your bonus AD, providing 6 bonus damage for every 10 bonus AD you have.

Rivens' W is one of her best abilities. Ki Burst provides a good amount of damage, scaling 1:1 with her bonus AD. Not only that, but it stuns enemies in a small radius for 0.5 seconds. Not much time? You're right. But, it can interrupt an enemy channel. It can stall an enemy for just long enough for you to get out of melee range. And, it still deals a good amount of damage on top of that. Finally, it's a great farming tool, especially once you hit 3 ranks.

Riven's E is a good defensive/dash ability. Valor can quickly move forward a (very) short distance, while throwing up a shield that blocks damage for 2.5 seconds. And, the shield scales 1:1 with that bonus AD, like Ki Burst. The more bonus damage you're dealing, the better you defend yourself with this ability. And, it can be used to both get away from an enemy, or to get closer.

Riven's R is the most important ability for you. First, upon activation, you now have improvements to all your other abilities. 20% more bonus AD for Broken Wings and Ki Burst. They both also have their AOE extended a little, as well. And, because of that bonus AD, even Valor is better, providing more defense in that shield. These effects last for a full 15 seconds. But, as if that wasn't enough, you get a second activation of the ability, which is now Wind Slash. Wind Slash deals damage in a skill-shot cone. The lower your enemies' health is, the more damage it deals! Your bonus AD scales too, with 0.6 to 1 for enemies with high life totals, to 1.8 to 1 for enemies who are low! That's almost 2 extra damage for each point of bonus AD you have!

Tricks of the Blade:
So, there are a few things to keep in mind about these abilities. First, for Q and (I believe) R. Each activation charges Runic Blade. So, if you R-Q-Q-Q-Auto Attack (AA from now on), you just lost bonus damage on one of those abilities.

This is my typical usage order when I'm going into a solo fight, if the enemy is high on health. E-W-AA-AA-Q-Q-Q-AA-AA-AA. If the enemy is looking low, or like I can finish them with another cycle, I trigger R, for this order. E-W-AA-Q-Q-Q-AA-R-AA-AA-E-AA-W-AA-R. Something important to note about this, the order is not set in stone. Sometimes its better to go in and use R immediately. Sometimes it's not worth the activation. Sometimes you need E before W, or vice versa. Sometimes they'll get away if you don't trigger W before you can use that extra AA damage. Point is, use your brain when making the decisions in a fight. This order doesn't always work, and you might need to do some things differently.

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Alright. Let's tackle items, now that you know how awesome Riven is before we even get to these things.

Starting off, I go for a Doran's Blade. This starts our bonus AD right off the bat, and provides an extra 100 health (very useful as Riven is very squishy in the early-game), and 3% life steal.

After Doran's Blade I go for Boots of Speed to help make me more effective at getting into and out of combats. It also helps with chasing and farming.

This is the first major item I complete. Starting with B.F. Sword, then finishing on the next trip back, this item skyrockets Rivens' damage output. First, it provides 55 bonus AD. Then, it increases your attack speed by 30%, helping you farm minions more effectively. Finally, it lowers your targets armor by 15 for a 5 second period, stacking up to 3 times. So, 55 damage, 30% attack speed, 45 Armor reduction. There aren't many better deals than this for an early-mid game damage buff.

After The Black Cleaver, I finish off my Mercury's Treads. Not only do they provide you with more movement speed, but they also come with two other important abilities. First is 25 magic resist. This provides good early defense against enemy spell casters. The second is 35 tenacity. This lowers the duration of Crowd-Control effects on you! That stun won't hit you as hard anymore. Fears vanish sooner. Slows don't affect you for as long. These are flat out the best boots, most of the time. Sometimes you want a little more AS or outright movement speed. For AS, I suggest Berserker's Greaves, and for faster speed, Boots of Swiftness. Finally, and rarely, you'll find yourself in a position of not having any of those things to worry about. On that rare occasion, I would recommend Ninja Tabi. More armor means less physical damage.

So by now, you're probably wondering about survivability, and realizing that the enemy has more health than you do. After my boots, I go for Regrowth Pendant, then directly into Warmog's Armor. This provides at least 920 health and 30 health regen per 5 seconds. But that passive grants bonuses on Minion Kills, Assists, and Kills, too! The more things you kill, the more health and regen bonuses you get, up to 1,370 health, and 45 regen per 5 secs! Now your deadliness has a nice buffer of defense, too, but it doesn't stop there. The next item makes it even better.

From the Warmog's Armor, I go into Phage, and then from there into Frozen Mallet. Frozen Mallet does a few nice things. First, it adds another 700 to your health, and another 20 AD to your bonus. Finally, it lowers your opponents' movement speed by a full 40%, making them much easier to chase down and kill! You won't have to tower-dive anymore to get that kill (though with the 2K extra health from this and the last item, you can)!

Next comes the item that brings it all together. Atma's Impaler does three nice things for you. The first is 45 armor. The second is 18% crit strike chance. And the third is by far the most important. By now you should have nearly 4,000 health. 2% of that is converted directly into additional AD. That's 80 more AD, which should push you to well over 200 total damage now.

Finally comes one last push for survivability, and damage. If you haven't already, sell your Doran's Blade. To make it a little easier, buy the B.F. Sword first, then spring for the rest of the weapon. The Bloodthirster makes Riven a very powerful character in the late game. You start out with 60 bonus damage, and 15% life steal. Every kill you get, including minions and monsters, increases the attack by 1 and the life steal by .25%. These cap off at 40 extra damage, for a total of 100 damage from this item, and 10%, for a total of 25% life steal from this item.

Possible other items:
Instead of the items I use, it may be plausible to use some others. Instead of The Black Cleaver, it might work to go with a Phantom Dancer, though the lower damage isn't worth it in my opinion. Frozen Mallet can be replaced with a Hexdrinker if you're fighting a heavy AP team, or if you want a little more defense without sacrificing too much damage, a Sunfire Cape might do the trick. Finally, if you want earlier life steal, Wriggle's Lantern might just do the trick for you, though I've had mixed results. The items I have highlighted in this build are what suit my playstyle best, but sometimes they might not work for you.

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So, that is how I build my Riven. I'll try to update more on how to play this version of Riven later on. Feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts on how I can improve this guide.