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Riven Build Guide by Equitum

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Equitum

Riven: An Homage to Marth

Equitum Last updated on September 20, 2011
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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.


Brute Force
Improved Rally

Offense: 21

Strength of Spirit
Veteran's Scars

Defense: 9

Expanded Mind
Blink of an Eye
Mystical Vision
Presence of the Master

Utility: 0

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In Noxus, any citizen may rise to power regardless of race, gender, or social standing – strength is all that matters. It was with committed faith in this ideal that Riven strove to greatness. She showed early potential as a soldier, forcing herself to master the weight of a long sword when she was barely its height. She was ruthless and efficient as a warrior, but her true strength lay in her conviction. She entered battles without any trace of doubt in her mind: no ethical pause, no fear of death. Riven became a leader amongst her peers, poster child of the Noxian spirit. So exceptional was her passion that the High Command recognized her with a black stone rune sword forged and enchanted with Noxian sorcery. The weapon was heavier than a kite shield and nearly as broad – perfectly suited to her tastes. Soon after, she was deployed to Ionia as part of the Noxian invasion.

What began as war quickly became extermination. Noxian soldiers followed the terrifying Zaunite war machines across fields of death. It wasn’t the glorious combat for which Riven trained. She carried out the orders of her superiors, terminating the remnants of a beaten and fractured enemy with extreme prejudice. As the invasion continued, it became clear that the Ionian society would not be reformed, merely eliminated. During one bitter engagement, Riven’s unit became surrounded by Ionian forces. They called for support as the enemy closed in around them. What they received instead was a barrage of biochemical terror launched by Singed. Riven watched as around her Ionian and Noxian alike fell victim to an unspeakably gruesome fate. She managed to escape the bombardment, though she could not erase the memory. Counted dead by Noxus, she saw an opportunity to start anew. She shattered her sword – severing ties with the past – and wandered in self-imposed exile. Now she seeks atonement and her own way to serve the pure Noxian vision in which she believed.

“There is a place between war and murder / in which our demons lurk.”
- Excerpted from the poem, “Scarlet Shon-Xan”

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Riven has the potential to become a very strong choice due to her mobility and burst. Riven can be a god if played correctly, but punishing if played poorly. I hope my guide will help with your endeavors to learn and master The Exile.

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Added Changes section.
Removed Trinity Force form the build and added Frozen Mallet. Had some other changes. Still considering Phantom Dancer for the movement/crit.
Changed skill sequence around to get the most damage for your money (Prioritizing Ki Shout over Broken Wings; still testing).
Added the Items section explaining my item choices.
Added Summary section.
Added Runes section.
Added Pros and Cons section.
Added Lore section.
Updated Summoner Spells section.

Updated Cons list to reflect 9/20/11 hotfixes.
Made a few cosmetic changes throughout the guide.
Looking into a few build/skill sequence changes once the hotfixes become live.

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Pros and Cons


High mobility.
Great burst.
Decent sustained damage.
Punishing harass early-game.
Really fun to play.


A bit squishy for a melee champion.
Valor doesn't cross over terrain barriers.
Slow jungle (not discussed in this build.... yet) and mediocre ganks.
Broken Wings is as fast as level 1 Boots of Speed and slower than level 2 boots.
Her base AD is low in order to discourage the use of Sheen/Trinity Force.

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Greater Mark of Desolation: Straight up ArP. Great for any AD champion.

: As a cooldown based champion, CDR will help you use your abilities more often and put out for damage.

: Some armor to help with Riven's laning phase.

Greater Quintessence of Desolation or : Still trying to decide between these two. Either one is probably a good choice. ArP or Flat AD.

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Instead of 21/0/9, I opt for a 21/9/0 to help out Riven's laning and survivability.

With Mercury's Treads, a 21/0/9 build might be more effective (shorter CCs effectively mitigate damage by allowing you to escape).

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Summoner Spells

Good Choices

: You can't really go wrong with this spell. Use it offensively or defensively.

: I prefer Flash over Ghost with Riven, but this is mostly personal preference.

: Very useful to nail down someone you are chasing or to escape. Also useful to neutralize enemy carries in team fights.

: Your tool for getting first blood. Very helpful in team fights against pesky supports and self-healing juggernauts.

Less Useful Summoner Spells

: Generally, your tank or support would grab this.

: Ideally, you won't be dying.

: It can be useful with smart ward placement to set up ganks, and to get back in lane quickly or split push, but it is generally less useful than some other spells.

: An okay spell. Better suited towards a tank or a support. You have better choices.

Situational Summoner Spells

: If you are going to be jungling with Riven, you'll need Smite. (Jungle Riven build upcoming, along with a section to explain how to jungle with Riven.)

: Yes, Clairvoyance. While not the best choice overall, Clairvoyance is helpful no matter who has it.

Don't even think about it!

: >.>

: Just don't.

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: Gives you great starting damage, health and lifesteal.

: I chose these boots over Mercury's Treads because Riven needs CDR to pump out the damage. Change to Merc Treads against a heavy CC team or if you are having trouble with CC in general.

: Health, damage, kiteability. All-around nice weapon for Riven to give her some more survivability early-mid game and some decent damage as well.

Some nice survivability as well as a free ward. Damage, armor, lifesteal. Very nice build-up item.

: The item for Riven: CDR, damage, crit, ArP and an active that synergizes well with your ulti ( Blade of the Exile ) for chasing and for straight-up brawls.

: The item with the highest AD total, with some nice lifesteal to boot. Build it up and let it work wonders for you.

: Rounds out your build with some armor and magic resist and lets you come back to life in case you didn't escape them the first time.

Guardian Angel can be substituted for another situational defensive item ( Force of Nature or Banshee's Veil would work well against heavy AP teams whereas Sunfire Cape or Thornmail or Randuin's Omen would be good choices for heavy AD teams).

The second The Bloodthirster is a contingency in case the game goes on for far too long. Sell your Wriggle's Lantern for this. Considering using Phantom Dancer in place of the 2nd The Bloodthirster.

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Thank you for checking out my build. This is a work in progress at the moment, but I hope my build works well for you.

If you liked this build, check out my first build for a laning Lee Sin: Lee Sin: Force and Skill