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Riven Build Guide by PuppySin

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League of Legends Build Guide Author PuppySin

Riven [Comprehensive]

PuppySin Last updated on September 30, 2011
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Top Lane
Ranked #18 in
Top Lane
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.


Brute Force
Improved Rally

Offense: 21

Strength of Spirit
Veteran's Scars

Defense: 6

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

Utility: 3

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Quick Note

Now this guide is still in it's early stages, and I'm rather busy with University at the moment so I will cut it short here, and return to it later. I plan to make in far more in depth with pretty pictures and nice looking skill thumbnails in place of this giant wall of text.

Have fun people!

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So who is Riven really? I've seen so many guides come pouring out for this new champion. Some seem to have no idea about her true potential and some are on the road to success. We all know that no guide is perfect and that a champion can be built many, many ways.

Unfortunately I see so many mistakes with the current guides, and even though Riven is only two days old on the League of Legends battlegrounds, her power is being wasted.

So I've dedicated some of my time with my new favorite Attack Damage Champion, and to answer my own question, she is an amazing AD burst anti-carry who can truly devastate the opposing team. She is not built like most other AD champions as she, as noted by riot themselves, possess a real "flow" to her ability set. Even her passive comes into play as an important asset to this champion. So let's get this started shall we?

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Pros / Cons

No guide would be complete without some pros and cons. So here is a small incomplete list!


Amazing Fun.
Dangerous ultimate that can be used right throughout a fight.
Amazing gap closer.
Has some nifty escape mechanisms.
Can farm incredibly quick during mid late game.
Has all her skills purely scaled off AD.
Has reasonably high scaling on all abilities (even passive).
Has a little bit of survivability compared to some other AD champions.


A little difficult to lane against ranged champions.
Often focused, though she is still new.
Not very "noob" friendly.
Her Valor cannot jump walls or ridges.

May be I'm a tad biased, but I haven't found a lot of flaws to her yet, though I'm still working out the kinks.

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As this is my first guide ever, I'm basically sticking to the recommended "quick chapters" until I get the initial draft going so bare with me a little.

Masteries are rather basic and I think "Phreak" has it right on the ball here. Riven makes use of quickly striking down and obliterating her opponents. The Offensive mastery tree brings out the best in such qualities. Sorcery gives us a little more cool-down reduction to help reload our arsenal of slashes and strikes. A couple of points (whatever you can spare) into Alacrity will help a little in the area of Attack Speed since, as you will see, we don't generally focus on such an attribute item wise.

I think most of the offensive masteries are self explanatory. The reason we don't put extra points from utilities into the defensive tree, is that they are wasted on Riven. The added little bit of defensive helps in those situations where you are taking quick successive damage. Dodge chance and puny health regeneration are not desirable, so we shove our last few points into utilities. If you don't know why we choose good hands in place of perseverance, google it. There are plenty of guides out there telling you the reasoning behind it (I'll come back and add some references later).

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The runes shouldn't be too hard to understand.

For extra overall damage, Armour Penetration Quints and Marks help to pierce that annoying armour. A little extra survivability is placed in our seals (more armour for us), and I chose Cooldown reduction Glyph's.

Now here is the catch; runes are personal preference; runes don't directly carry you to late game.

The main reason we buy runes is to give ourselves a leg up early game. The statistics they provide for us aren't significant in comparison to those we gain from items. Make sure you are choosing runes that will allow you to further survive or get kills in the early laning process NOT for taking out champions down the line.

Indirectly, runes carry us over to late game, as they have helped boost our early game. People argue that some characters are "late game", but isn't it nicer to get to "late game" mode before your enemy does? That is where runes come in and that is what you as a player should always be aiming for.

So what I'm basically trying to say is, please, PLEASE choose the runes that best suit your play style. My rune set works for me, but I have tried out many combination's, and this works for me personally. It should generally work well for most of you as well, but take the time to dabble in what you think is right.

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Amazing Fun?

Just a quick note on what I mean by amazing fun. We have finally received a champion that is athletic, versatile and full of quick flowing attack power. I have not seen a champion like this since the release of Brand. Her abilities can be used in multiple ways for many different circumstances, and her raw power will surprise you every now and again. I guarantee most people trying her out will fall in love with this character. Riot finally got one right again.

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Summoner Spells

Flash and Exhaust work for me. It is my favourite combination that I use for the majority of my AD champs. It isn't always perfect, but here is a little listing of summoner spells to lend you a hand in what to choose.

The Great

Flash & Ghost - For closing and making Gaps.
Exhaust - Quick take down for auto-attack characters, also another gap closer.

Now you have ALOT of gap closing power so you may wish to choose something that will help support your champ in other ways.

The Good

Ignite - Early game this helps, ALOT. Grab it if you want to secure kills or make sure the enemy has no choice but to return to base.

Cleanse - Riven is prone to CC, and is vulnerable to it. Grab it if you are finding yourself getting stuck alot.

Teleport - Not my cup of tea, but it helps you get to far areas of the map, fast.

The Plausible

Rally - Don't knock it till you try it. Though I don't recommend it. Your character is a chaser. Rally doesn't follow you around. However if you pop it in the middle of a team fight, it makes a difference.

Heal - Grab it for more laning survivability. However, with Valor, you would be surprised how long you can kite around your enemy and protect the tower while you are on low health and/or waiting for your lane partner to get back from base.

Fortify - Very situational, however if you forty and Ki Burst them under a tower, they're in trouble. But remember, you are an anti-carry and will generally be chasing down the enemy.

Revive - You are not the tank, you will probably get focused hard and may die first. Revive can get you straight back into the fight, while the enemy are weak. Combine with Teleport and you will sprint in guns a blazing like a Miss Fortune on crack.

...And the Wasteful

Clarity - Nice mana you got there. Karma will love you.

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In the pros and cons section, you may have noticed I said you are a terrific mid/late game farmer. This is because you can wipe out a wave of creeps in a second or two.

A quick dash in using Valor to ignore collisions from the outside creeps will get you into the heart of the mob. A Ki Burst should kill most of the group, if not, finish off with your Broken Wings combo and ta-da! A free 200 or so gold. It is very easy clearing out lanes, and cash generally isn't a problem for our female soldier. Early game you may have a little trouble vsing double ranged enemies, example, Fiddlesticks and Caitlyn.

If you play cautiously and harass whenever the chance arises (when one goes off to gank or heads back to base) you will find that you have no trouble keeping up with the rest of the team.

You are a great farmer, but an AMAZING tower pusher. Late game you should be able to wipe out towers within ten seconds. That isn't anything to impress a Master Yi, but it allows you to quickly take advantage of holes in the enemy defence line up. And if you need to get away? Read the escape chapter (but not while you're being ganked).

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Riven's versatility lies in her ability to use her skills both offensively and defensively (minus the ult, that baby is all offensive). To open up the gap between you and your pursuer without the obvious summoner spells such as Ghost and Flash, you can spam your skills like mad!

Broken Wings is a triple get away card. Spam your 3 part combo in the direction you need to go and you will open the gap by around 400 range. Your Valor will increase it further as well as give you a small armour bonus, if required. And don't forget, that if you are really desperate and the enemy is right on your tail, you have the power of juking. Simply run into a bush run in a non-expectant direction and Ki Burst the enemy as they collide or come close to you, giving you a half a second (rather invaluable) head start.

I have saved myself oh so many times by using her skills in a defensive manner. The range of each skill by themselves is negligible, but luckily we don't have mana so we can spam, spam, spam, and we are away, or alternatively, bait them to our allies turn around and clean 'em out. It's just that easy.

Remember, make sure you correct her direction with right click as she will Broken Wings the way she is facing! Valor follows the direction of your mouse.

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This is the more... comprehensive part of the guide, and I have a bit of explaining to do so bare with me.

First off, I will need to talk about Phantom Dancer and why they simply aren't a viable choice for Riven. I've seen this mistake too many times to ignore it. Remember when I said in the introduction that Riven is an AD burst champion? Well we need to be wary of this when buying our items.

Every skill of hers' is scaled on AD, and not attack speed. Attack speed also does not allow our champ to use her skills any faster, nor does it directly give her any more survivability.

Phantom Dancer is best used on auto-attack champions. It raises their attack speed so they can hit faster, it raises their critical strike chance so that their auto-attacks can hit harder, and it raises their movement speed so they can close the gaps quicker.

Riven uses her skills to close gaps. She uses her skills to deal the bulk of her damage. The only time she should be auto attacking is for during each skill which is almost immediate. Her auto attack is boosted by an insane amount of power after an ability due to her passive, Runic Blade. So critical hits are only a lucky bonus for Riven, which can be built in by other items anyway IF you are that desperate to heed their power.

So what do we do about attack speed? During those small periods where we have cool downs on all our abilities and/or are making the most out of Blade of the Exile (ultimate). The Black Cleaver is generally a winner in this area for Riven. The 30% attack speed is adequate for her small use of auto attacks. The added attack bonus of +55 is an important asset to Riven, and finally the stacked armour penetration is a brilliant plus when using our ultimate, Blade of the Exile.

Important Note: Remember, I am building her as a burst champion in this guide. If you wish to use her as a straight auto attack champion be my guest, this is merely my opinion on the matter.

First Item


This is all relative to how you play her. Just like every other item recommendation in this guide. Personally I start with the infamous Doran's Blade. This gives me the survivability and attack power I need to farm in lane. However if you wish to build a The Brutalizer later down the road, you may wish to turn to our friend the Long Sword.


or or

Once again situation and preference comes into play here. Generally I find myself buying Mercury's Treads to help counter a team with a fair amount of Crowd Control. If you notice that the enemy team has little to no CC, feel free to grab either Berserker's Greaves or Ionian Boots of Lucidity, personally I think the extra 25% attack speed during your cool down stages outweighs the 15% cool down reduction. Remember, Mercury's Treads should be priority number one.

End of Early Game Items

or or

Yet another choice for you to make. Personally Sheen is still something I'm dabbling with and am just throwing it out there for those who would like to further test it. Theoretically it should be an amazing item for Riven to combo up with. The Brutalizer is also a very Riven friendly item. The attack damage and cooldown reduction, all for 1337 gold is a nice little starter item to further increase your anti-carry power.

Finally we can also choose to start off our legendary tier item with a nice B. F. Sword, this will give all of our abilities the damage (or scaling) boost we need to rip our early game opponents to shreds.

Whichever way you go, you are going to need that B.F. Sword at some point, and I highly recommend grabbing the brutilzer during your build, even if you aren't keen on grabbing a Youmuu's Ghostblade later.

Rise to power; Mid-game items

At this point we want to build up our attack power, so if you haven't already done so, grab yourself that B.F. Sword as fast as you can. If you didn't buy Berserker's Greaves before, you may want to invest in a Dagger for a little extra attack speed before building up your first legendary/high tier item. I more or less tend to do this if I'm finding my cash flow is starting to suffer, as I have a better chance of those last hits.

Now if you thought I was going to straight up and tell you what to buy next, you're dreaming.
Here is your new list of items:

or or

I don't recommend grabbing Youmuu's Ghostblade first, as you really need to proc up that attack scaling as early as possible. However grabbing it a some point isn't the worst thing you can do, but you have to use that active, or you're missing out on a large portion of it's usefulness.

The Bloodthirster is your bread and butter here as it will allow you to life steal during those desperate moments during your burst damage cool-down and will give you some powerful boosting to all your attacks. This should be your first item even if you are opting on the side of auto-attack Riven.

The Black Cleaver is generally what I will grab after The Bloodthirster and if you have already bought that Dagger from before, than you're half way there... sort of. It's passive, used between bursts of Riven's spells, cuts down the enemy something fierce, and even if it's to help another ally grab the kill, it ends up helping Riven substantially. The attack speed bonus is modest but at this point in the game, it will suffice. The extra 55 attack damage is invaluable to us though, so overall it is a winner in our books.

Late Game; Final Struggle

This is all about who got fed, and who didn't. The quicker you reach your late game build, the better but we don't always come out on top, or we may be versing a team that is built to counter you like mad. Choosing late game items really is something that changes a lot, game by game. If you are carrying the team like crazy and nothing can stop you, you can keep choosing items that will make you even more of a powerhouse. I do, however, recommend survivability later on in the game, for a few reasons.

All it takes is an Ace (or 3 to 4 consecutive deaths) against your team and the enemy can wipe out your base. This happens frequently, so make sure you can sit in the battle.

Squishy, high damage characters are focused heavily, especially ones who are built for frontline combat like Riven (as opposed to Caitlyn and Lux). You want to stay in the fight as long as you can and allow your tanks to jump in as many times as possible so you can keep slashing away at the opponents health.

Enough of the late game analysis, onto the items. This section of the chapter is a little different though.

Infinity Edge - Yes I know we aren't building critical strike, but when we DO crit, an extra 50% damage can really make a difference. Make no mistake, you will die eventually and instead of rebuilding those stacks on your The Bloodthirster, having that extra damage straight after resurrection is a big plus to us.

Banshee's Veil - As far as survivability goes, you generally can't beat this. Build it for heavy CC and/or AP heavy teams. It will save your life.

Hexdrinker - How Over powered! Not really... but it does give you a unique little active that is automatically consumed. It is perfect for heavy AP teams or for when there is that one caster who is focusing you like mad. The extra attack damage it gives makes it an optimal choice for Riven.

Quicksilver Sash - If your enemy has decent Magic damage and a bit of CC that is giving you the sh*ts than this item comes in handy. It gives you higher Magic resistance than Banshee's Veil but for cheaper, however the "cleanse" effect doesn't block the skill, instead you must activate it once you are disabled (and it's every 90 seconds instead of 45) plus you don't boost... but don't worry! It's cheap ~ Guaranteed!

Guardian Angel - This is merely something you grab if you are the only carry on the team. Unless you are with your team throughout the rest of your game, then once you are revived you are likely to die again anyway. The choice is yours but I believe for this character, you can spend your money on better things :)

The Bloodthirster - Yes, you could grab another one, though I don't really recommend it as other items can be more beneficial here. Keep in your mind at all times that you are burst damage, the auto-attacks are just a portion of your combat role.

Warmog's Armor - This isn't something I'd grab, though many find it useful. You (probably) haven't built any real survivability items, and this isn't really a great choice to start with as the extra health will only get you so far. Unless you combo this up with Atma's Impaler I would give this a miss. Which brings me too...

Atma's Impaler - As far as survivability goes this isn't an item to boast about, however if you grab a Warmog's Armor or something else with a bit of health to it, the extra damage resulting from this (in addition to that extra bit of armour), can bring you back up to speed in the damage department. In my opinion though, unless you are sitting on 6000 health, you aren't getting enough attack damage out of this to be worth it. If you really are interested in this item you are better off grabbing Dr. Mundo or Sion with a couple Warmog's Armor... do try this though, it's fun.

Frozen Mallet - Not a bad choice. The little bit of health will help in those desperate situations. The slow (activated between abilities from your auto-attacks) is what really gives us our bang for buck here, which will buy us time to rip our opponents to shreads. The added attack damage isn't anything to turn your back on either!

Tiamat - Damn this item is good with her. Certainly something to grab for the big team fights, the reasonable attack damage boost and the AOE boost to her auto-attacks makes her incredibly dangerous during those crazy skirmishes. Don't be scared off by that little bit of mana regeneration, it doesn't add much to the cost of the item and the pros completely outweighs the cons.

Frozen Heart - Not worth the cash. Simple as that. It's a terrific item for a tank/offtank but that ain't you. You don't use mana, and the slow is only viable for your Broken Wings skill. The cooldown reduction is nice, but you gain plenty with the brutilzer.

Executioner's Calling - I don't see this item coming in handy for you unless you are up against someone like Dr. Mundo or Fiddlesticks, where the Passive can shred their health regeneration. I haven't personally tried it with Riven however, Critical Strike is, once again, a secondary priority, and you have enough life steal to sustain yourself from The Bloodthirster.

Force of Nature - Don't underestimate this item. You are better off buying something like a Banshee's Veil for heavy CC team but if they are simply heavy AP, then this is definitely an item to think about. It carries huge Magic Resistance. The extra movement speed is a terrific plus for chasing down your weakened adversaries.

Hextech Gunblade - I know a strange item to buy for someone who is strictly Attack Damage in her scaling. While it's not something I'd generally grab for a serious game, it's not something to rule out all together. Removing the Ability Power for a moment, you get Attack Damage equal to an unstacked The Bloodthirster, Life steal and Spell vamp for your auto attacks and abilities, and an Active ability to deal a heap of damage to an armour stacking foe as well as granting a slow! All these things together in a single item are a ferocious mix for Riven and all I have to say is, don't knock it 'till you try it; it's a hell of a lot of fun.

Last Whisper - Another situational item that is inline with "tank-shredding". It is definitely something to consider if the enemy team has noticed you and are stacking on some of that pesky armour. This is something that can help out a player who is finding their damage is simply negated too heavily, however I have never been in a position to need it on Riven so if there is any comments relating to it's use, please let me know.

Sunfire Cape - Terrific for high AD teams, especially when melee DPS are giving you a hard time. As a champion who sits right on top of their opponent, this item starts doing a decent amount of damage over time. The health and armour boosts are substantial enough to warrant grabbing this item.

Aegis of the Legion - I'm not a great fan of this item in terms of survivability, but if you find that your team is losing all out team fights, this item may help to turn the tides a bit. If you are getting focused down though, your gold is better spent else where.

Madred's Bloodrazor - Madred's is a terrific item for auto attackers, however, as your abilities do not use on hit effects, you are getting very little use out of the items passive, which is a big part of buying the item in the first place. Unless you intend to auto attack throughout most of a battle, and do it quickly enough to accumulate enough damage, than this item doesn't seem worthwhile.

Malady - You don't use Ability power nor do you deal magic damage. Most of this items viability is wasted on Riven.

Randuin's Omen - As far as survivability items go for Riven, this is by far one of the best. Health, a ton of armour, an AOE slow and health regeneration all scream to Riven as a must have. Definitely something to pick up if you are being focused by AD characters.

Shurelya's Reverie - Not the best item for an AD carry. I have put it here in case of desperate times in a game. If you have money to spend and simply don't know what to get, have bought your more optimal survivability items and are still getting hammered, you could pick this up. It does help a lot, particularly the active in large fights. I won't recommend it though, it's just an item that can work with Riven in rare situations.

Zeke's Harbinger - By now your attack speed should be adequate enough to take down your opponents with ease. The extra life steal, while a nice bonus, isn't anything to sway us one way or the other into buying this item. Much like the Aegis of a legion, if your team is getting hammered in team fights, pick this up, particularly if you have a fair bit of DPS. Otherwise, take your gold elsewhere.

Sword of the Divine - Even though this item is based around the attack speed bonus, it is rather cheap to by and grants you terrific bonuses. Don't knock this item, the passive shouldn't be underestimated in the long run, but better yet, that active is deadly for high dodge characters such as Jax or Sivir.

Thornmail - As a character without a great deal of health, Thornmail is only going to do so much. Even in AD/DPS heavy teams, you are better off grabbing something like a Sunfire Cape, because even with the Thornmail, once focused, you won't last long enough to return enough damage.

Trinity Force - This is an item that is probably better to grab earlier on in the game. I find it more of a mid game all-round item to help get you fed, but it does do Riven proud. Grab it if you feel you aren't pulling your weight for the team and need some more sturdiness in fights.

Don't like that there is SO many item choices? Don't worry, a small guide will be added to help you figure out what you really need!

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Sword of the Occult

I am a firm believer that you don't put snowball items into a character build unless they are imperative to a strong character. In Riven's case it isn't, but many jump at the opportunity to grab a snowballer early on.

Just remember, you will be targetted even further by the enemy and that if things don't go your way, the item is rendered virtually useless. But this is all apart of the calculated risks of grabbing one, so if you are comfortable with one, be my guest as if you can make it work for you, it is a devastating item for a Riven and can make her virtually unstoppable.

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Wriggle's Lantern

I personally don't grab this item for Riven unless I am jungling. You are essentially paying for the jungler's passive which is useless unless you intend to go ganking and keep levelled up from neutral camps.

I'm giving this item a mention because many believe it is a great starting item for Riven. They think this because "Phreak" thought this. Phreak is also a man who tries to jungle with every character in the game, that is his play style. The armour and damage is nice but as far as starting items go, it isn't the best. I'm not adding it to the build up top but that doesn't mean it doesn't work. Try it for yourself and see if it fits your play style.

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The Jungle

I have been asked time and time again about Riven and Jungling. It's possible, but it's slow and really not a viable option. Chances are that if you don't get a leash you'll need to head back after level 2 or die. I've tested her in the Jungle a little and seen others Jungle with her as well. You end up under levelled (getting your ultimate around the same time as the dual lane, if you keep up the pace), and your power to gank early on is very situational and based around your team mates help (letting the enemy push up hard).

The Conclusion:
Possible - not viable.

This (top figure) is my best jungle so far and that was against a terrible team (I was pre-made). I will add some more up soon and a little guide on her Jungling habits as well. You need to gank alot and hard. Be incredibly aggressive early game to get fed quick and not be underlevelled, anyway guide coming soon.