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Riven Build Guide by MouseKime

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League of Legends Build Guide Author MouseKime

Riven: Shattering your enemies with a shattered sword.

MouseKime Last updated on December 1, 2011
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Top Lane
Ranked #24 in
Top Lane
Win 52%
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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: 8

Honor Guard

Defense: 21

Strength of Spirit

Utility: 1

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(DISCLAIMER): This is my first guide and as such I would appreciate constructive criticism. I also realize that my build is really quite different from how most people build her, there are reasons for this. If you are still skeptical even after reading these reasons, please at least try it out once, you should be surprised.

Allow me to introduce you to one of the best tanky DPS champions in the game, Riven. If played properly Riven will decimate your enemies, but therein lies the problem, people don't tend to play this amazing champion well enough to unleash her full potential. This guide, I hope shall bring new light to this underrated champion and allow people to reach her full potential.

tl;dr, Riven is underrated and in fact extremely powerful, this guide has been made to show you how to bring that power to your enemies.


Credits to jhoijhoi for the template, which you can find here.

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Change Log

1/12/11: Changed the masteries, added details to a lot of items and made a host of other changes.
1/11/11: Added Trinity Force to the optional items list, I hate that item but I put it there to avoid "no trinity? you bad" votes
1/11/11: Added more deets to "Riven's Role"
28/10/11: After careful consideration edited the build to include a late Atma's Impaler.
27/10/11: First constructive comments received, beginning to act on them and start to flesh out the guide, starting with alternative items and the jungling section.
26/10/11: Guide Published.

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Pros and Cons

Pros / Cons


+ // Insane damage output.
+ // Naturally tanky.
+ // No mana, no mana issues ^.^
+ // Spammable abilities.
+ // Those abilities include crowd controls, gap closers and a shield.
+ // Extremely mobile.

- Heavily reliant on early blood.
- Becomes A LOT less tanky when crowd controlled. (no shield)
- Is difficult to master her play style.
- Ignorant people may think you're crazy for playing her.
- Everything she says is so preachy.
- Her /dance is awful.

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Ok wow, new masteries that sent my head spinning. Eventually I came around to my decision of 8/21/1 and am in fact still experimenting with them. The reason for this choice is that, I feel it gives Riven the strongest late game boost possible out of all the other mastery set ups.

Now, obviously going 21/9/0 is a very viable option at this time as it bolsters Riven's early game to the extreme, yet I have a few gripes with it. The ASPD boost just doesn't feel significant on Riven as you are only auto attacking a little over half the time, and if you count the fact that most of the auto attacks you do push out are reset and spaced out by abilities, making ASPD almost useless except for those few moments where you're waiting on cooldowns. Other than that gripe at four mastery points that I feel are wasted, the offense tree feels quite strong now, much stronger than it did before.

Now, like I said, I put 21 points into the defense tree for Riven's late game. 8% CDR at level 18 is simply insane coming from your mastery tree, coupled with the 4% from sorcery and you have a tasty 27% CDR. Oh and did I mention blue potion gives you 10% CDR? That puts you only 3% away from the cap. This means that You'muu's is literally all the CDR you need. And of late I've been beginning to realize the significance of You'muu's on Riven as more than CDR ArP and AD.

The 8 points I put into offense and 1 point I put into utility are obvious enough. You should be using flash, take the 15 seconds. The 8 points in damage go as such, +3 AD off the bat as Riven will almost guarantee you will come out tops in a one on one skirmish. 4% Cooldown reduction, once again obvious enough. Two extra damage versus minions? Would you rather I spend the surplus point on improved recall?

Why not 21 points into utility? Awareness is simply not worth it any more you get less survivability and less CDR @ level 18 (inability to stack intelligence and Enlightenment). May I also add that these two losses are of a significant number and consequence? And all so you can gain a little bit of gold/exp and the summoner spell CDR. Simply not worth it if you ask me.

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Greater Mark of Lethality

Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage

Greater Seal of Armor

Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist

Optional Runes.

  • Greater Quintessence of Scaling Cooldown Reduction: Considering picking just one of these fella's up to push you to the 40% CDR cap (with a blue potion of course) Oh and it boosts your off the bat CDR to a whopping 7% shaving a noticeable amount of time from your rank one Valor and Ki bursts.
  • "Greater/ "greater: standard trade off between the amount of flat AD you get vs how much ArP you get. I prefer quints of strength and ArP reds, but... whatever floats your boat really.
  • Greater Glyph of Magic Resist: If you have a spare rune page for specific encounters, take these if you know 100% you'll be laning versus an AP carry such as Ryze, they make a difference. Trust me.
  • Greater Quintessence of Health: I'm not a fan of these on Riven, although they are pretty alright on her. They bolster her early game and allow her to 1v1 almost any champion quite comfortably at level one.

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Summoner spells

Summoner Spells

Flash: Considered by many to be the best summoner spell in the game, I agree. (you can always take Ghost
Teleport: Can be used to save turrets, avoid missing out on precious exp and farm and even gank if your allies are warding. This is especially usefull on Riven as with Ki Burst and Valor she is almost un-divable.
Ignite: If you want to be agressive and net kills, I'd take this over Exhaust as you have spammy CC abilities, great mobility and a shield to stop the carries from messing with you too much.

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Ability explanation

Ability Explanation

  • "runic blade": Riven's passive, Runic Blade is key to her play style. By using Broken Wings and auto attacking between each stage makes for a tonne of damage. Runic Blade scales with bonus attack damage, just like ALL of her abilities.
  • "broken wings" (Q): The key to Riven's damage output. Each use activates her passive, resets her auto attacks and deals damage, scaling with bonus AD. On top of this Broken Wings provides a short knock back effect that can aid you chasing down enemies.
  • "ki burst" (W): Instant, high damaging AOE stun. There's not much else to say here, use it to activate Riven's passive, hurt your enemies, stop them from chasing you, stop them from running away from you, in the middle of team fights, to clear minion waves and more.
  • valor (E): A spammable shield that scales off of AD and provides a short dash. This is an excellent ability, granting Riven extra tankiness, allows her to dodge skill shots like Morgana's Dark Binding and survive those nasty abilities like Ace in the Hole, Time Bomb and Requiem, even the dreaded summoner spell Ignite. This can also be used as a gap closer.
  • "blade of the exile" (R): Rivens ultimate is Blade of the Exile not "windslash" Never wait till your opponent is on 10% hp and running from you to activate Blade of the Exile purely to secure the kill with wind slash.

    Blade of the Exile grants you 20% extra total AD, which means your abilities hit harder, your auto attacks hit harder, and Runic Blade is more effective all of this + your broken wings dash takes you further and ki burst has a larger AOE (and your auto attacks are given slightly longer range). Another thing about using Blade of the Exile when you engage, is that you don't have to wait for the short channel before you can fire off your windslash which can cause your enemies to be out of range before you can fire it off.

    TL;DR Blade of the Exile massively increases your damage output for 12 seconds, use it to melt your enemies and if they're about to escape use windslash.

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Ability sequence

Ability Sequence Order

Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

> > >

Your first point should always go into Broken Wings as it procs your passive 3 times and in a single combo at level 1 can do around three hundred damage, and disrupt your enemy. After that I put a point into Ki Burst, then valor allowing me to achieve my full Runic Blade combo and attain the maximum utility avaliable to Riven right at level 3. (You can always take the point in valor before ki burst if your opponents in lane are being overly aggressive.)

At level 4 you want to start maxing out Ki Burstas it does a huge ammount of damage and it's cooldown scales with level. Bearing in mind to take a point in Blade of the Exile whenever it is avaliable you will now max out Valor it's cooldown also scales with level and at rank 5 with 40% cdr you will have a shield that lasts for 2 seconds on a 3.5 second cooldown making you extremely hard to kill. Last but not least you take your last 4 points in Broken Wings for the small ammount of extra damage each rank provides.

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This is where my guide is really quite different to the other Riven guides that tell you to build traditional tanky dps. Riven is a unique champion and as such does not fit these traditional builds, rather she needs RAW attack damage. That, however does not mean stack blood thirsters, that would be bad. On top or raw attack damage Riven needs, cooldown reduction, tenacity (a cc'd Riven is one that can't spam Valor), magic resist and armor.
  • : Always open with one of these when playing as Riven and where you have the spare cash buy some more, try to keep your inventory as close to full as possible at all times.
  • : It gives armor, it gives attack damage, it gives life steal and even functions as a ward. Given Riven's natural armor pool, this item grants all the armor you need as well as giving you attack damage life steal and great utility. The perfect item for Riven. Get this before Mercury's Treads whenever it's viable.
  • : These boots are the only viable form of tenacity for Riven and other than cdr boots are the only boots I'd bother getting for her, always get these unless your enemies have NO CC whatsoever, and I mean none, not even a .5 second stun.
  • : Attack damage, magic resist and a passive that can and will save your life. On many, many occasions I have found myself arrive at a turret after being ganked with less than 300 hp left, and my Hexdrinker will be on cooldown. Unless an AP carry has been fed early, always get The Brutalizer before your Hexdrinker as the cooldown reduction is so very amazing.
  • : I have been becoming more and more fond of this item on Riven. It gives you 30 AD, 15% CDR and a nice chunk of ArP which is GREAT. Now, the crit chance isn't all that great early on, but after you finish your Atma's you will see 2 or 3 crits per combo when utilizing all of your skills.

    Youmuu's is also great for chasing as Riven as you will often have to spam your Broken Wing's to catch up meaning that a lot of your DEEPS is on cooldown. Activate that ghostblade burn through those 3 Runic Blade charges, stun your enemy and FINISH THEM. Another thing the ghostblade active is great for is those 3 seconds when everything is on cooldown.
  • : You're a melee dps, a slow, HP and attack damage in one item? yes please.
  • : By this stage of the game, you will probably already be level 18 and have therefore reached your 2.7k HP pool (translates to be around 53 damage). Origionally I posted this guide without Atma's Impaler included in it because I normally choose to keep my lantern. However, after doing a lot of thinking on the matter, even though Wriggle's Lantern grants a nice ammount of life steal to keep you going, the added AD and armor from this simply out shine the latter. Of course, you should always keep your wriggle's lantern" until selling it will bring you up to the 3000 gold required for The Bloodthirster.
  • : After all your utility and survivability has been filled out grab this bad boy and become the unstoppable force that Riven is supposed to be.
Situational/alternative items.
  • Hexdrinker: Yes, this is listed as a core item, this is because my core items are presuming the enemy team is following the meta. If the enemy is the "we picked all AD for lulz" then feel free to scrap this item for something else on this list.
  • Infinity Edge: Often if it gets to late late game where I'd normally sell my wriggles for a Bloodthirster, I consider getting one of these babies instead. I must point out that this is quite a tough decision and you must factor in many variables before you decide which path you want to go down.

    To keep it simple I will pass over the key things to mention. Firstly, how much sustain do your enemies have? If they don't have any whatsoever it'd probably be worth looking at the Bloodthirster. This allows you to keep pressuring turrets after you've pushed an enemy away from the team fight. If however they have quite a large amount of sustain (IE: Morgana, Irelia, The AD carry built life steal, etc). Look at getting the IE, with your build complete it is very possible to hit over 1100 damage with a single crit, teach your enemies that it's not worth sticking around to try and gain some extra health by attacking minions.

    Secondly, are you winning or losing team fights? If you are winning, think about taking the blood thirster. Doing this will cause a lot of trouble for your enemies, no matter how much damage they do to you in a team fight (short of killing you). By the time the get back, you've pushed the lane to their inhibitor and are back on full HP because of it. If however you're losing your teamfights, it might be more beneficial to grab the IE. It might just save your turret if you manage to land the 1124 damage critical hit on Vayne before you retreat to your base and force her to do the same.

    Thirdly, any thornmail? If you can avoid attacking any one with thornmail (those that don't do much damage/don't have a taunt) this isn't much of a factor. However if Rammus, Shen, or Galio is toting it around, or maybe even a carry trying to counter your team you HAVE to get the BT. I know lifesteal doesn't counter thornmail but at least it stops you from killing yourself.

    Many other factors will affect your choice between the IE and BT, however these will be your main three influencing factors. Just try picking what feels stronger at the time.
  • Force of Nature: I personally would stick to my hex drinker, but if there's an enemy Janna or Zilean that's doing well, you're going to want that added MR and movespeed I suppose, I still would personally stick to the hexdrinker though.
  • Frozen Heart: Enemy carry has been fed? Has 2.5 attack speed? 100% crit rate with 250% damage? This nifty little item could just save your teams skin, but you're better off simply denying their carry from getting to that stage. It's also worth mentioning that you can use this to replace your Youmuu's Ghostblade if you're not to fussed on losing 30 AD in favor of an extra 5% CDR and quite a bit of survivability. (Thinking of possibly adding this as a core item in place of Youmuu's Ghostblade, going to test it out, see if the loss of 30 AD really hits as hard as I believe it will.)
  • Last Whisper: Been busy carrying your team cause of my pro guide? Everyone stacking armor and now you're not doing any damage? Take Last Whisper over The Black Cleaver as Last Whisper is cheaper, applies to your abilities and doesn't require auto attacking the same target 3 times in a row.
  • Tiamat: + 50 AD is always nice, passive provides an OK farming boost and can often go unoticed in team fights. Only get this item if you have a spare inventory space and have no ****ing clue what to fill it with.
  • Trinity Force: I personally hate this item on Riven, admittedly though, that is because I solo que. I take the Frozen Mallet over trinity because of the 100% slow. By taking trinity you sacrifice HP and 75% chance to slow to gain a small ammount of crit chance (which is nice with Runic Blade, attack speed (mostly useless) and the Sheen proc. The proc is what is most important here, YES by taking this your damage out put will increase dramaticaly, no you're not attacking often enough to garuntee that you will slow your enemies before they get away.

    Now, I know what you're saying, " Riven is mobile enough to chase her enemies down without a slow." Yes, this is true, no you don't have the entire map to traverse to do it, the slow will secure you the kill before you end up deep in the enemies jungle with no way out. This being said, however, if you are in a team that is: Trustworth (premade), has good communication (voicechat) and has a decent ammount of CC, get trinity. If you can't say that your team is all of the above, just get the mallet.

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Farming as Riven is cake. Use Broken Wings to reset your auto attack and you should be getting 100% of the minions in your lane. At later levels you should be able to kill minion waves with 1 Ki Burst and ["broken wings"] spam.

Still need to test Riven in the new jungle, will post a guide when I've figured out what feels strongest.

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Riven's role(s)

As Riven you will most likely be laning as your teams solo top. The main reason why Riven makes such a good solo top is that she scales so well with the faster levels (scaling cooldowns). As most of you know, the higher level of play you are in the more likely it is that both teams will have a jungler. The first part of this section will be presuming a 1 on 1 situation in top lane, the next part will be incase of 1v2.

Harrasment: One vs one solo top lanes are sometimes entirely situational on who you are vsing. For the most part however you can follow a single strategy to try and dominate the lane. Riven is an extremely powerful dueling champion all through the game, abuse this. Right from level one you can trade damage with most solo top champions and come out better off. Use one use of Broken Wings and an auto attack when your opponent goes in to get the last hit, at level one with 15 ArP you will deal about 120 damage doing just that, and you can repeat it three times if they aren't smart enough to back down. Once you hit level 3, you can start being a bully, esp. against all the melee champs. Use Valor to get in their face Ki Burst them, auto atack then use Broken Wings to get away, or combo it trying for the kill.

Sustain: If you are harrasing right, the trade of damage will always be in your favor, if not, stick around farming until you can afford your second Doran's Blade along side a couple of health potions. With your second Doran's Blade you now have 6% lifesteal, coupling with the fact your auto attacks deal ~ 100 damage it doesn't take long to regain health farming minions. Another key thing to sustain as Riven always use valor, whenever it looks like Olaf is lining up an Undertow hit Valor, whenever your enemy runs past the minions to slip in an auto attack, hit Valor. This being said, don't waste it, a shield is only effective if it actually blocks damage.

Setting up a gank: Get around them, use Valor to get up in their face and start your Broken Wings combo to get past them (to achieve this don't hover your mouse over them and you will instead jump through them, follow with an auto attack.). Wait until your jungler is in view before using Ki Burst this allows for maximum disruption to your opponents retreat. No point in stopping them from running, if they aren't even running yet. If you have your ult up, now is the time to use it, (you don't use it earlier because most people know better than to engage someone waving around a sword even bigger than Tryndamere's.

Playing defensive: It happens, junglers baby sit top lane, you're up against an insanely agressive opponent, your minions get pushed back to your turret. Relax, sit back, use your kit to last hit minions even with the turret attacking them and focus on leveling and farming. At this stage of the game, you won't be dived, and if you do it will only result in you getting a kill. Now, to avoid people from QQing if they do get dived, let me explain to you how to counter a dive. If they are melee, Valor away from them, closer to your turret and use Broken Wings to get back in range. Let them get tower aggro, then stun them with Ki Burst, auto attack them a couple of times then finish off your Broken Wings. Doing this will ensure you will take nearly no damage and be able to severely damage the diver. As your CC abilities are AOE, you can even fend off multiple divers, depending on how much HP you have left, of course later on in the game turrets are less effective and as such this tactic will become less effective.

1v2: Your opponents don't have a jungler and have sent two opponents top. Riven, unlike a lot of solo tops, has no real issue in 1v2 situations. Keep your brush warded, play defensive and you will be fine. Depending on the champs that are sent up to vs you, you may even still be able to keep up some agressive play. DO NOT play agressive if they have any form of CC, if they manage to get ontop of you, you have to make it back to your turret, and you can't do that if they CC you. Anyways, once you hit level 6, they will still be around level 4 (yay for solo lanes). Organize a gank and you should be able to secure a double kill as your damage output with a two level advantage is quite insane.

Later on I wish to add a specific tactics for some champions in one v one top.
Turn phase
Roam, roam roam roam. Riven has huge ganking prowess, turn this to your advantage you punish enemies for being out of position extremely hard. Your damage output will make anyone too far away from the saftey of their allies or turrets cringe. Even more importantly, Riven is difficult to kite so when she gets ontop of someone, she will stay ontop of them. With redbuff or a Frozen Mallet, Riven becomes a ganking machine.

Use teleport and your kit to get around the map, gank enemies, push turrets, counter jungle and be a general pain in the ***. If you do this right, you will give your team such a huge advantage when the big team fights start breaking out as your enemies should be under leveled and underfed.
End game
Riven has a bad habit of dieing off late game. Don't let this get you down though, you should be far enough ahead after turn phase to hold your own when team fights start breaking out. Your main role in teamfights is to skirmish, if you're in the front line and your team is squaring off, play tag, dance around them. Pull the melee off to the side, juke skill shots, use yourself as bait for CC so that your carry doesn't get hit by them. When you feel that it is time to initiate, use your ult and ping the target you want to focus. Make sure your team knows what this means and make sure you know every one is ready.

Typical rules in the a team fight apply, spread your CC abilities out to avoid overlapping with allies. Focus the enemy AD carry first, then the AP carry, the support, the melee DPS, then the tank. In 9 out of 10 cases the build I use allows me, with proper coordination, to survive a team fight even if I am focused. Yes, occasionally you will bear the brunt of a viegar nuke while Tryndamere is critting you like crazy, this is part of the game, adapt, check your death recap and build something to counter the main source of damage you took.

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Riven is a unique champion with a unique playstyle and as such needs a unique build. Riven is extremely powerful with a tonne of utility, mobility and damage output, all whilst being extremely tanky. I hope that whoever reads this guide gets a tonne of wins out of it and is able to bring out Riven's full potential.

Sincerely, Mousekime

// Credits to jhoijhoi for the template, which you can find here.