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Riven Build Guide by Nighthawk

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Nighthawk

Riven - Storm of Swords

Nighthawk Last updated on August 14, 2012
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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: 9

Strength of Spirit

Utility: 0

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About Riven

Riven is melee fighter who goes top lane. In lane, she focuses on being SUPER aggressive and bullying the other party out of lane. Some people think she's a Hyper Carry, but she really isn't, she's more of a soft carry since she can snowball and carry the game, although she's still good early mid and lategame regardless of if she gets fed or not.

She's a very versatile champion who can do multiple things. She's deceptively tanky but has high damage and great initiation. She's very good at controlling creep waves, harassing, bullying people out of lane and can also serve as an initiator (though 99% of the time you don't want to do this, she's very likely to just get insta-gibbed). If you are initiating, it better be cause a) you have no other champions who can, b) you can just 1v5 them or c) you caught someone out of position.

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These runes are without a doubt the best runes for Riven.

I mean, you COULD go HP quints, and some people like to go ad glyphs, but really neither of them are as good as this setup. I suppose Arpen Marks are ok if you plan on going The Brutalizer, but Last Whisper is generally better iirc.

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Summoner Spells


Don't ever take a summoner spell that's not called Flash. Best summoner spell for Riven without a doubt. So many different combos, and just having more mobility on someone who does so well with that already is great.


I generally choose Exhaust as my second summoner. Why do I do this when most other players take Ignite? Because people should a) rarely get away from you (and exhaust works for this too) and b) Ignite doesn't really have much utility, whereas Exhaust can be used to flat out assassinate their ad carry without getting owned yourself, save yourself while waiting for your cooldowns, etc etc. Exhaust is just more versatile and serves the same purpose as Ignite

Other Summoner Spells:


You can use this in tandem with Ignite, this basically insures you win all in trades since if you start trading and it escalates to an all in you can just heal and kill them. Also great for towerdiving or 1v2 situations. Make sure to use it early against people with Ignite if you are going all in though. I generally don't take this because Flash is just 2gud and it doesn't have great synergy with Exhaust.


Gives you that little edge you need to finish off targets and Riven is a champion that likes to score kills both in lane and in team fights and this spell helps you do just that. Also the mastery for Ignite gives you a bonus 5 AD after using it, which isn't that bad early game. I just prefer Exhaust, since it helps more when you go all in, you can towerdive with it, and it also serves as an escape spell while you're waiting for your cooldowns.

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Generally self explanatory, I take a bit of Defense for laning and everything you need in offense. You can also take more points in offense if you want to (mainly for Vampirism and the point in Executioner ). Other viable options is taking a point in the Flash summoner. Only put a point in deadliness if you plan on getting a Youmuu's Ghostblade.

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Runic Blade

Her passive makes her the incredibly strong dualist she is and is another reason why stacking AD is so strong on her. Do not underestimate just how much damage this passive does. Optimal usage is in between spell casts, eg. Q + Auto + Q + Auto + W + Auto etc

Broken Wings

Use this skill for mobility and to proc your passive. Don't spam all three without an auto attack in between unless you are using it close a gap or need the knockback ASAP such as to save a teammate that is being chased down. You can flash and use the 3rd q to instantly flash + knockup, however this takes some practice and you should remember that you shouldn't be initiating teamfights.

Ki Burst

Your main component of your harassment combo. Dash in, stun + auto attack and dash out. Few champions can trade with this since you essentially get free hits and get out of range before they can retaliate. Also great for initiating with flash + stun. Try to save this ability for disengaging or harassing. Don't randomly throw this out or other players may try to force a trade with you while it is on cooldown.

Always remember to stun BEFORE you use your ult if you're close enough.


Great for trading in lane and avoiding harassment. In some matchups I will take this ability first (For example against a Nidalee) and use it to last hit while avoiding harassment. This will also cause their creeps to push towards you since hitting you with auto attacks draws creep aggro.

This ability can also cancel the animation delay on Blade of the Exile and can immediately follow up a Wind Slash.

Also in the middle of dashing with this ability, if you attempt to use the third charge of your Q it will INSTANTLY apply the knockback and damage when Riven STARTS TO JUMP instead of when she lands, This can help for interrupting channeling spells very quickly or catching someone by surprise. Just note that doing this will cut down the total combined travel distance of the two spells.

Blade of the Exile

First off, this is your major damage steroid and execution ability rolled into one. Make sure to use Valor right after you activate Blade of the Exile to cancel the long delay animation it has.

If you're close to someone try to use Ki Burst as soon as you pull your sword out to stun them and get a free hit, while leaving all of your gap closers up for the chase.

Make sure you use Blade of the Exile when you have all of your abilities off of cooldown unless you only need to use Wind Slash The steroid increases the damage of all of your abilities. The only thing worse then not using it at all is using all of your skills then realizing you got them low and popping it for Wind Slash which can be easily dodged at that point.

Also remember that your ultimate increases your auto attack range from 125 to 200. This is longer than EVERY MELEE CHAMPION IN THE GAME, it also increases your Ki Burst and Broken Wings so try to get used to your ability ranges both with and without your ult on.

When using Wind Slash, try to force your opponents in a situation where they will die to you if they don't Flash and die to Wind Slash if they do Flash that way there is no way for them to Flash and outplay you. Keep in mind that Wind Slash does its maximum damage when the target is at 25% health or below, but don't fall into the trap that you can ONLY use it when they are low, any damage is good damage even if it won't kill them outright. One thing you should do as Riven (and all champions) is always plan your engages before you do them, that's how you'll become an extremely skilled player, by planning your escapes, knowing where everyone is, knowing whether you can combo someone and just kill them, that is what is going to turn you into a mean lean pubstomping machine.

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Skill Order

Generally in most matchups I take a point in Broken Wings sometimes Valor or if they have ranged harass or if they're stronger then me pre lvl 4. Broken Wings is better if you're stronger early and can bully them or they have a really aggressive jungler.

If you want to go all in all the time, you can max Broken Wings with heavy damage. I generally max this vs Rumble since he needs to go all in to trade effectively, and it works vs Shen too.

If you do max Broken Wings first, you should max Ki Burst second since you should be aggressive and more damage is great, although that doesn't mean you can't take points in Valor.

If you're up against a champion who you can't harass efficiently, it's ok to take a couple points in Valor early to delay your Ki Burst max. You should never max Valor first though.

Generally though you want to max Ki Burst first as it allows you to trade better, control your wave, and zone low sustain champions. You can then max Broken Wings second if you want more damage or Valor if you want more defense.

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Starting: Cloth Armor + 5 Health Potion OR Boots of Speed + 3 Health Potion (Advanced players can go Doran's Blade but that's only good if you have extensive knowledge of Riven and are sure that you can win the lane). Obviously take Cloth Armor 5 Health Potion only if you're facing someone who has heavy ad. Boots of Speed 3 Health Potion is just generally the better start.

Early game Items:

Some viable options would be 3x Doran's Blade (only if you're behind/losing), Brutalizer (if you want to be aggressive and they aren't stacking armor (in which case LW would be better), B.F. sword (if you just have ****loads of money and can buy it in one go at your first back), Hexdrinker (if it's vs double ap or you have someone like Kayle or Teemo in your lane) or (for advanced players) Pickaxe + vamp specter + Doran's Blade (generally only get this if you bought a first Doran's Blade since otherwise it's just better to get a b.f. sword)

Mid game items:


Most important mid game buy is boots, after you get your first major item you want to pick up either tabi or treads (only pick up ionians if you're mad fed or you went brutalizer and are snowballing). After that you'll want to pick up at least 1 BT preferably 2 if you have enough gold. You should be able to pick up Guardian Angel as well. If their team doesn't do much damage you can pick up a 3rd The Bloodthirster, though that's generally not recommended and should only be done if you're confident in your shield/you have a lot of peels on your team/shields. If you built Hexdrinker feel free to buy Maw of Malmortius, but don't ever rush it and never buy it before a The Bloodthirster. If you bought The Brutalizer early, you can buy Spirit Visage, but only do that if you have The Brutalizer and it's a heavy magic damage team.


Lategame your shield should look something like this:

Vs Balanced: Mercury Treads + The Bloodthirster + The Bloodthirster + Guardian Angel + Last Whisper + Maw of Malmortius

VS Heavy AP: Mercury Treads + The Bloodthirster + Spirit Visage + The Bloodthirster + Maw of Malmortius + Youmuu's Ghostblade (Remember though that you should build Hexdrinker + The Brutalizer before your first The Bloodthirster, you can also sell it for Last Whisper if you need to.)

VS Heavy AD: Ninja Tabi + The Bloodthirster + The Bloodthirster + Guardian Angel + Last Whisper + Randuin's Omen (remember to buy HoG early game and Warden's Mail early if you're taking to much damage]])

I snowballed! :D Ionian Boots of Lucidity + The Bloodthirster + Youmuu's Ghostblade + The Bloodthirster + The Bloodthirster + Guardian Angel