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Riven Build Guide by SorenAltigo
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At release, Riven was quite underestimated due to the sudden influx of bad Riven players--and the fact that her stats were rather underwhelming. Luckily, a hotfix uplifted her a bit, putting her on par with other champions in terms of power--and, in my opinion, far above many of them in fun.
Although building Riven is not particularly difficult, playing her can be. If anything, you may find that you have too many options available to you at any given time and be somewhat at a loss for which one of them to use. Hopefully, I will be able to help you through some of these difficult decisions.
My goal for this guide is to provide a useful and extensive reference and guide for Riven in both Classic mode and Dominion--where I feel she truly shines. I've included separate information for Dominion in several sections of this guide.
Before we go any further, I want to stress that the builds up there are merely suggestions. They are, in order:
- Summoner's Rift Jungle Riven
- Summoner's Rift Lane Riven
- Dominion Riven
Depending on the game you're in, you might want to build very differently to get the most out of Riven. But more on that in time; let's get down to business.
- High sustained damage output
- Good scaling on abilities
- Doesn't fold instantly under damage
- Highly sustainable
- Very mobile in a fight
- Excellent for chasing and finishing wounded enemies
- Can jungle!
- Uses a broken sword. Seriously, how cool do you have to be to use a broken sword?
- Melee, except for her ult
- Entirely physical damage
- Poor at burst damage
- Requires a good sense of rhythm to play
- More vulnerable to silence than most AD characters
- Not the best jungler
- Forgot to buy the blade warranty
Or The Art of War, depending on whether or not you're watching the Champion Spotlight. Whenever you use an ability, you gain a stack; whenever you autoattack, you consume a stack if possible and deal extra damage. The amount of damage this adds is not insignificant, and proper management of stacks is what separates good Riven players from bad.
Despite what the description says, Broken Wings scales with a coefficient of 0.7, rather than 0.6, since the hotfix. What does this mean? Well...more damage. Also, it has a cooldown of 13 seconds, which counts from the time you use the first slash.
This skill is very important to have early, since it, along with Runic Blade, forms a significant part of your damage at low levels. It should not, however, be your first priority in leveling. Why? Because you get 3 slashes on one cooldown, which should last you the course of a (short) fight, and the higher levels of Ki Burst and Valor will let you fill in the gaps while Broken Wings is on cooldown.
Two other things make this skill a must-have early, but not a priority: It deals a small AoE of damage, which makes it useful for last hitting, and it dashes you forward slightly. This will make you move ever so slightly faster, giving you strong chasing potential, and you do damage while moving, too! No need to stop to attack when you're using it to finish off someone; just combo into them and keep slashing.
Broken Wings and your Damage
Warning! This section contains math!
It has been noted that, once you have enough AD, you do more damage with your autoattacks than with Broken Wings. Let's take a minute here to consider this. Broken Wings scales with 0.7 of your bonus AD, with 110 bonus at level 5, and Riven has, before items or runes, 104 attack damage at level 18. Thus, when you have at least 20 bonus AD, your autoattacks will do more damage than this ability. So why use it?
Well, as noted above, it's a great chaser. The other thing is that Broken Wings gives you stacks of your innate, making your autoattacks hit like a truck. Consider a point past our above example, with 30 bonus AD. Two hits from your auto-attacks would deal 134 + 134 = 268 total damage, while two Broken Wings would deal 131 + 131 = 262 damage. One Broken Wings and one auto-attack will deal 131 + 134 + 30 = 295 damage because of the stack of Runic Blade being generated and consumed for an extra 30 damage. Of course, these are just raw numbers. But for a conservative estimate of 100 bonus attack damage at level 18, we get the following:
Broken Wings x2:
180 + 180 = 360 damage
204 + 204 = 408 damage
Broken Wings + Auto-attack:
180 + 204 + 65 = 449 damage
Of course, you could get enough attack speed to make more than 2 autoattacks in the time it'd take you to use Broken Wings twice, but...I'll get to that later. For now, I'll just say that it's not worth the inventory space and gold.
The conclusion is that if you manage your stacks, Broken Wings essentially scales with 1.2 of your bonus AD, rather than 0.7. Watch those stacks: they're the key to your success.
Math is over now. On to the next skill.
An excellent ability, and my choice to max second. This is mainly useful for the reduced cooldown--you want your key abilities to be up as often as possible. The damage isn't phenomenal, the burst is small, and the stun is short, but the only cost is a fairly short cooldown, and 1:1 AD scaling helps greatly on the damage. Use this when you're in someone's face to get in a free Runic Blade'd hit or in the middle of a minion wave to farm like crazy.
It's also extremely useful in teamfights--on its own, the stun can buy your team just a bit of extra time, which might be all they need, or it can interrupt things like Absolute Zero, Nether Grasp, or the channel on Crowstorm. Ki Burst may only be a 0.5 second stun, but it's one of a very small number of AoE stuns in the game, most of which are ultimates. Don't underestimate this ability; the base damage is the least of its benefits, although it's not terrible there, either.
Arguably Riven's best ability, and the most important to max early, particularly for a jungle build. Valor gives you a short dash and a shield; the shield isn't particularly large but increases 1:1 with AD, and the dash is invaluable.
Need to chase? Valor. Being chased? Valor. Need to get into a fight? Valor. Need to get out of a fight? Valor. This is an extremely versatile skill, contributing a large part of Riven's excellent mobility in a fight, along with giving you the bit of extra distance you need to escape or close a gap. The shield is nice, as well: it makes your AD serve double duty by boosting your survivability, if only by a bit.
This is particularly crucial on a jungle build, since every point of damage negated lets you jungle for that much longer, but it shines as well in-lane for the reasons mentioned above. Having a low cooldown on this will benefit you immensely; max it quickly, if not first.
It's also worth noting that you can get over terrain made by champions with this! Anivia has never looked less annoying.
Blade of the Exile
An extremely interesting ultimate. This will be off cooldown surprisingly often, so you will rarely find yourself lacking it when you need it. The extra range on auto-attacks, Broken Wings, and Ki Burst can make a noticeable difference, but 20% extra attack damage is the real kicker. Your DPS will spike after you use this, and it lasts long enough to get you through most of a teamfight.
Wind Slash, too, is extremely useful. Like Garen's Demacian Justice, it will do more damage against wounded opponents. Unlike Demacian Justice, however, Wind Slash is a skillshot with long range and the ability to hit multiple targets, rather than a single-target nuke. It's just as capable of finishing off wounded enemies, however, and anyone who tries to engage you at low health will quickly regret that choice. Use it to secure a kill after a gank attempt or clean up in the middle of a teamfight. The scaling increases to a max of 1.8:1--and at the level of health your opponent would be at for it to rise that high, using this skill will be overkill against anyone except Rammus. Try to hit as many enemies as possible with it, even if you need to briefly disengage to cover more in the cone.
I've explained most of my choices above, but, to reiterate, the most sensible skill priority is Blade of the Exile > Valor > Ki Burst > Broken Wings. Particularly aggressive players may prefer to max Ki Burst before Valor, but Broken Wings will almost always be your lowest priority once you have 1 point in it.
The virtues of Flash are widely known. Like Valor, you can use it for nearly anything: initiating, escaping, ganking, getting over walls...the list continues much further. There's a reason that you rarely see a champion without Flash.
For jungle Riven only. You can't jungle without it, and it's a waste of a slot if you're not jungling.
For lane Riven; jungle Riven could take this instead of Flash, but it's not a good idea. Instead of using it for catching opponents ( Broken Wings and Valor do that well enough), use it to secure ganks or shut down a carry during a teamfight. It's easy to forget about the 70% auto-attack-damage penalty Exhaust imposes, so remember that and make good use of it.
Other Viable Options
Cleanse can save your life and be the bane of opponents who rely on CC. An excellent choice.
Secure kills and shutting down Vladimir and Dr. Mundo. Don't take the mastery, though; it doesn't do you any good.
Not a bad choice by any means, but you don't need the movement speed quite as badly as other champions. Someone like Olaf needs this to close range, but you have Valor for that.
Potentially useful on lane Riven, particularly solo-lane Riven, if you feel so inclined. Overall, however, it's more useful to focus on other spells.
While Teleport is rarely a bad choice, per se, there are more useful options on Riven, particularly since Valor will help you get back to lane a bit quicker.
Stay away from Revive, Rally, and Clarity. If no one has it, consider taking Clairvoyance, but a support character should have it. Don't take it if someone else has it.
This spell is to Dominion what Flash is to Classic: everyone has it, and for good reason. Those extra few seconds of travel are more likely to count in Dominion. Use it primarily for escaping when Broken Wings and Valor can't create enough distance or to sprint across the map.
A solid choice for defense and an excellent tool if you plan to turret-dive. Think of it as Exhaust for capture points.
Exhaust, Cleanse, and Flash are your best other choices on Dominion for the reasons described above. I wouldn't recommend Promote--although Riven can push decently, she's more suited for combat with champions than for pushing.
For Dominion, the recommended setup up there is 21/8/1: The Ghost mastery is very useful on Dominion.
Greater Mark of Attack Damage: Although these don't scale, the extra damage right off greatly improves Riven's jungle.
Greater Seal of Armor: Same as above; you will need these to jungle effectively.
Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist: Since minions don't deal magic damage, you can afford to let your magic resistance runes mature a bit. If you don't like MR glyphs, stock up on the Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction for CDR; you'll hit about 39% with the items above.
Greater Quintessence of Health: Makes your early game safer overall.
Greater Mark of Desolation: These will give you quite a bit of damage throughout the game. Get Youmuu's Ghostblade, and you'll have around 35 armor pen.
Greater Seal of Evasion: The dodge chance from these is very nice at all stages of the game. It synergizes nicely with Nimbleness , as well. If you don't want dodge seals, my second recommendation would be the Greater Seal of Vitality for HP/level.
Greater Glyph of Magic Resist: These will help you ward off the early damage from enemy mages until you can get some stronger items under your belt. Again, CDR is another good option.
Greater Quintessence of Health: 76 extra HP in-lane at level 1 is quite powerful.
Greater Mark of Desolation: See above. Armor pen is always useful.
Greater Seal of Evasion: Again, these are useful throughout the game.
Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist: Since you'll level much faster than in Classic, you can afford to let your MR mature, as with jungling.
If you choose CDR Glyphs, I'd recommend Greater Glyph of Scaling Cooldown Reduction rather than Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction to match the higher-level play. The extra CDR would also allow you to buy Mercury's Treads or perhaps even Boots of Swiftness without sacrificing much CDR.
Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed: You don't need the extra level-1 HP, and Dominion is all about speed. Although Riven doesn't need speed as badly as other champions, these can get you to a point that much faster. Greater Quintessence of Desolation is another fine choice.
First, let's consider what types of items Riven needs and what she doesn't.
Stats You Need
- Attack Damage: This goes without saying.
- Cooldown Reduction: Cooldowns are the only limiting factor on your abilities. Get them down as far as you reasonably can.
- HP: Building Riven as pure damage, although satisfying, makes her unfortunately squishy. She functions best when she can stay alive for a while. For the same reason, you want...
- Armor and
- Magic Resistance
- Lifesteal: While not necessary, this is highly recommended. All of your abilities deal physical damage, meaning they will all refund life--and so do your auto-attacks.
Stats You Don't Need
- Attack Speed: Fill up the space between auto-attacks with abilities and everything will go fine. The passive gain in attack speed from leveling and masteries will serve you fine.
- Critical Chance: A bit is nice, but you aren't Tryndamere or anyone else who relies on their auto-attacks for all of their damage. It's certainly not necessary.
- AP and Mana: These do you no good.
- Movement speed: This is highlighted because it deserves particular mention. Obviously, you do need movement speed, but you don't need as much of it as Boots of Swiftness or Phantom Dancer would give you: you can chase and escape quite well with Broken Wings and Valor. Stick with Enhanced Movement 2 and you'll be fine.
With these points in mind, let's move on to consider some items. First, a word about a specific item...
About Trinity Force
Ah, Trinity Force. The most expensive and wide-ranging item that LoL has to offer. Look at those stats! It gives everything! But is it good on Riven?
Arguments for Trinity Force include that it gives you HP, movement speed, crit chance, and increases your damage on your next attack whenever you use an ability. Since you're weaving abilities and attacks anyway, it seems like a natural choice.
However, Trinity Force also gives you mana (which you won't use), AP (which you won't use), and you can get the slow it offers from Frozen Mallet or Entropy without as steep a price tag. The attack speed and crit chance it offers are somewhat wasted on Riven, as well, and although the movement-speed buff is nice, as said above, it's not as important as it can be on someone like Nasus. Although Trinity Force gives you a plethora of benefits, it doesn't give you enough of any one, even the damage-boost, to justify its ~4K price tag. I'd say to give it a pass.
But what items are better on Riven? Why, these:
Despite what I've repeated about not cramming a build down my readers' throats, these are the two items that I consider non-negotiable.
* Jungle Riven only. Wriggle's is the jungler item, and it's no worse on Riven than on any other jungler. It remains an excellent item through the mid-game, at least, but you will probably want to eventually replace it with Bloodthirster.
* This is the one item that every Riven needs. It gives you damage, CDR, armor pen, and a very nice active ability. The touch of crit chance, while not necessary, is a nice bonus. Consider completing the Ghostblade late so that your Avarice Blade can give you more gold--not to mention that The Brutalizer is hardly dead weight in your inventory. Note that the gold gain from Avarice Blade is less significant on Dominion, since it still grants gold at the same rate, but everyone's passive gain is much higher. It's also wise to land a series of abilities before activating the Ghostblade so that you can burn through your stacks of Runic Blade.
A great choice for Riven, particularly on Dominion. The CDR helps immensely, and the risk of being CC'd and thrashed is lower on Dominion than in Classic--partially since death isn't as punishing. Not a bad choice for Classic, but the Tenacity from Mercury's Treads might serve you better. Assess the enemy team before deciding to go with these.
Good against AD-heavy teams. If the enemy team features multiple auto-attackers, you may want to get these, and get your CDR somewhere else. Frozen Heart or Randuin's Omen are good in that regard.
An old standard. These are more valuable on Classic, where deaths are more punishing and CC therefore more definitive, than on Dominion. Strongly consider them, particularly against teams with plenty of CC or magic damage. If you're having problems with CC, these are the way to go, but Ionian Boots of Lucidity may provide more overall benefit.
Classic only: An excellent starting item for lane Riven, and jungle Riven may want to consider it. Heck, if you really want, get more than one, but that's probably not the best course of action.
Dominion only: Like Doran's Blade, an excellent starting choice, particularly because you can still afford Boots of Speed if you get it. Those allergic to Prospector's may want to consider two Long Swords or one and a Vampiric Scepter.
* Dominion Only: A lot of damage and a bit of tanky. The slow effect is good, if not too consistent, and the active is potent. An excellent choice for a damage-focused Riven.
Gives 6 bonus AD with Atma's Impaler
If you want to crit a lot and crit hard, this is the way to go--but it's a bit pricey. Its AD bonus is second only to Bloodthirster or Sanguine Blade when they're full, though, and it's more consistent. Worth consideration.
* Dominion Only: Like Bloodthirster, this is an excellent choice for a primary damage item. You won't work up stacks quite as quickly as someone like Master Yi would, but you can still get them well enough--and remember, your abilities benefit from lifesteal, too!
Nice AD, a good attack speed buff, and a very useful on-hit effect. If your opponents are building a lot of armor, this can be a solid choice, but remember that your abilities don't apply on-hit effects and that you can get the same benefits attack speed would give from using your abilities.
* Classic only: A very solid choice and useful in most games. Riven's ability to farm minion waves easily lets you build stacks quickly, and a fully farmed Bloodthirster gives the most damage of any item in the game.
* Like Entropy, but available on Classic. Less damage, but more HP, and the slow effect makes it nearly impossible for anyone to escape you 1v1 when combined with all of your abilities. As an HP item, it's one of the biggest, and it will serve you well if you think Warmog's Armor is overkill.
Gives 14 bonus AD with Atma's Impaler
Good if the enemy team is melee-heavy: you'll be in the middle of them anyway, and the HP and armor boosts are both substantial. It's a strong choice if you need a mix of HP and armor, but not the best for straight HP.
Gives 9 bonus AD with Atma's Impaler
* One-half of Fatmog's ( Atma's Impaler + Warmog's Armor, for those who don't know), and the biggest source of HP in the game if you fully stack it, which isn't hard with Riven's creep-farming and assist-getting ability. A great choice if you just need to put some meat on your bones or against balanced teams.
Gives 27 bonus AD (when full) with Atma's Impaler
A good starting choice if you want Doran's but think it necessary to play a bit more defensively than Doran's Blade would permit. The health regen isn't necessary, since Riven has the highest base HP regen rate in the game, but this is far from a poor choice.
* The other half of Fatmog's. A good source of armor and an excellent source of damage--although not explicitly a damage item. Atma's synergizes well with a moderately tanky build and can get you a total armor over 100 by itself. Note that Riven's 1962 base HP at level 18 converts to 39 bonus AD, and other HP items will benefit you to the tune mentioned in their entries (numbers are rounded down).
Also note that the numbers up top don't reflect the AD bonus Atma's gives you; I calculate the two Summoner's Rift builds should have an extra 75 AD from Atma's.
Although the mana doesn't benefit you, this item's other stats are strong enough to justify getting it against an AD-heavy team. The CDR it provides is very nice--make sure to not get both the Ionian Boots of Lucidity and Youmuu's Ghostblade with this one or you'll go over the CDR cap.
Armor and MR both help Riven a lot, and the white swirls will likely direct attention away from you, letting you wreak havoc longer and harder. Could be useful if you keep getting focused early. Another possible tactic with this is to activate Blade of the Exile before dying, then Wind Slash the enemy team once your Guardian Angel gets you back up and they're at lower health. Of course, any plan that involves dying isn't one I can in good conscience recommend...
* Very comparable to Frozen Heart, but provides less CDR and armor in exchange for HP and an active that's...well, a lot like Frozen Heart, but slowing movement as well. Good if you feel you need armor but that Frozen Heart would be overkill. A very strong contender for a spot in your inventory.
Gives 7 bonus AD with Atma's Impaler
* Classic Only: A great choice for a magic resistance item, although the mana is wasted. The spell-negation ability is very useful until the enemy team starts playing intelligently and popping it, but the MR never goes out of style.
Gives 7 bonus AD with Atma's Impaler
I see a lot of these on Riven, perhaps because it's one of Riot's recommended items for her. It's far from a bad item, but the passive will be unlikely to save you late-game. Good if you want some damage and some MR, but very situational. Between this and Valor, however, you can neuter Requiem quite effectively.
* Dominion Only: See the comments on Banshee's Veil; they apply to Odyn's as well.
Gives 7 bonus AD with Atma's Impaler
Nothing but MR, but this can save your life against CC-heavy teams, just like Cleanse. An underrated item, but might be a bit excessive.
A very strong mid-game item that gives you several things Riven likes: HP, MR, and CDR. The regen boost is an added bonus, augmenting Riven's already-high regen. Late-game, however, there will likely be bigger items that want your inventory space.
Gives 5 bonus AD with Atma's Impaler
Example End-Game Builds
Against a Balanced Team:
Against an AD-heavy team:
Against an AP-heavy team:
Offensive Riven (Dominion):
Tanky Riven (Dominion):
*Don't listen to music when playing LoL, at least not loud music. Make sure you can pay attention to the game sounds--and, if you're on voice chat, your teammates.
Using Your Abilities
The trickiest part of playing Riven is correct management of her abilities, including Runic Blade. In general, you will want to follow up every cast with an auto-attack. If you foresee the fight going on for longer (so you can get in more attacks later) or really need the extra effect right now, use more abilities and build up more stacks, but you will usually want to consume Runic Blade stacks as soon as they're created.
The reason for this is simple: It lets you fill up the 'cooldown' on your attacks with an ability cast, and lets you do damage while letting your abilities cool down. Riven functions best as sustained damage rather than a nuker: don't try to blow everything at once, but instead be content to deal damage over a longer period of time. The exception would be against someone like Jax who can out-DPS you over a long time...but you shouldn't be fighting Jax 1v1 anyway; what were you thinking?
An excellent order for using your abilities is (remember to auto-attack between abilities): Valor > Broken Wings > Ki Burst > Broken Wings > Broken Wings by which time Valor should be off cooldown. The cooldown on Broken Wings starts when you make the first slash, so you want to get that in as soon as you can, but postpone the other two: use them to fill in while Valor and Ki Burst are on cooldown.
Of course, modify this as the situation demands. Like with items, there's no single cast order that is the best in all circumstances.
Riven is surprisingly effective in-lane for a melee character. You can use Broken Wings and Ki Burst to last-hit minions and harass your opponents from longer range than many people will expect from a melee. To harass, dash in with Valor or Broken Wings, consume the stack, Ki Burst, consume the stack, and dash out--or, if you think you can safely continue, keep going. Using Riven's superior mobility to avoid and/or punish your opponents' harassment will also give you an edge. Remember, however: Riven is not an assassin, so don't expect to run into two enemies and kill one of them unless you're very fed.
Although her CC is fairly light, Riven can nevertheless contribute a lot to a gank with it. The slight knockback from Broken Wings and the short stun from Ki Burst can sometimes make all the difference.
As your item set builds and teamfight starts happening, Riven phases out of harassment mode and into sustained-damage mode. Riven is most effective in larger fights due to the area damage on Broken Wings and Ki Burst, and Valor lets her absorb a bit of damage until she can get larger survivability items like Warmog's Armor or Frozen Mallet.
At this point, Riven can wipe out minion waves without much trouble: Broken Wings and Ki Burst can clean up large numbers of minions once she has some AD. She can't push that effectively and has no way of dealing fast, heavy damage to towers like Nidalee or Ezreal do, but if you find yourself alone in a lane and no enemies are likely to come in the near future, take advantage of the opportunity and push: Riven can do so better than many.
Don't be the first into a teamfight; you aren't a tank. Be the second, if reasonably possible, since Riven's specialty is sustained damage and you want as much time to do that damage as you can get. Riven's natural hardiness and items will also help you in this area. Use Blade of the Exile whenever a fight starts: it lasts 15 seconds, which should cover you throughout most of the fight, and the cooldown is short enough it will be up soon. Save Wind Slash until some enemies are at low health to finish them or, at least, force a retreat.
Mostly, the advice above applies here as well, but with the added note that, if you don't rush blindly into fights, you will be nearly impossible to kill with the proper items. Lifesteal, combined with HP, armor, MR, and Valor, will make you near-invincible, but don't get cocky. Your damage will be low compared to Ashe or Caitlyn, so focus on disruption and attrition: finish fleeing enemies and use your AoE abilities when they will hit as many people as possible. If your carry is a fire hose of damage, Riven is a stream: Not as fast or powerful, but more inevitable and consistent. You'll also be a lot harder to kill than your carry will be.
It's difficult to divide a Dominion game into phases as clearly as a Classic one: teamfights are a rarity, and points can be backdoored or pushed at any point after the initial rush. But Riven is a natural candidate for taking the Refinery/Drill then joining the rush to the Windmill--or she can head to the Windmill straight off. Since the current metagame favors sending a tanky defender or a carry-type character to the Refinery/Boneyard, Riven is likely not the best candidate for going there. Besides, her strengths really show in teamfights, and the First Windmill Skirmish will likely be one of the largest fights in a Dominion game. Why miss it when you could do so much good there?
As mentioned in the Items section, CC is less of a concern in Dominion than in Classic, as is death. Be a bit less cautious, particularly when defending your own points. Once you have a good foothold in your build, don't be afraid to 1v1 against many characters; you may be surprised by some of the enemies you can solo. I've gone 1v1 against Tryndamere and won, for example.
The movement boosts that Valor and Broken Wings give are just as useful on Dominion as in Classic, so use them as you head to points. It's not much, but every bit helps.
While Riven doesn't have a jungle on the level of Nunu & Willump or Udyr, she can still clear the jungle quite effectively and can safely start with a Vampiric Scepter, which I consider a strong plus. Cloth Armor and 5 health potions is safer and allows for earlier ganking, but the scepter will let you do your first run without sinking 175 early gold into consumables.
Your basic route is:
Wolves -> Wraiths -> Small Golems -> Recall -> Ancient Golem -> Wolves -> Wraiths -> Lizard Elder -> Small Golems
When you first recall, buy Cloth Armor and one Health Potion. These will give you the endurance you need to complete the full sweep from Ancient Golem to Small Golems.
Gank at any point in there that the opportunity presents itself. Riven has a strong gank from the jungle-- Valor can initiate or chase, Ki Burst provides valuable disruption, and Broken Wings can easily finish fleeing enemies. Make sure to manage your stacks!
The same applies for fighting the jungle monsters. Weave your auto-attacks and ability uses to do as much damage as you can--the small golems, in particular, are tough when you're at low levels, and when fighting them you may need to briefly kite one of them while your abilities recharge.
After the initial harrowing run, Riven's jungle is very sustainable: she doesn't need Crest of the Ancient Golem , so someone else can take it, and with lifesteal and some ranks in Valor you'll be nearly invincible. Make sure to pick up Ki Burst as soon as possible (after killing the large wraith) so you can use it against the smaller wraiths. Your early jungle is hard, but take solace in the fact that you will later be able to walk into the wraiths and kill them all with a single Ki Burst.
Unfortunately, Riven can't counter-jungle particularly effectively and is vulnerable to counter-jungling, so you may want to ensure your allies can help you. She's not the greatest jungler, but can do it quite competently.
9/30/11: First version.
Upside, inside out, she's Riven la vida loca;
She'll push and pull you down, Riven la vida loca.
Her lips are devil red and her skin's the color mocha;
She will wear you out, Riven la vida loca.