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Riven Build Guide by

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Riven, the BA'AM - you dead

Last updated on October 13, 2011
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Ability Sequence

Ability Key Q
Ability Key W
Ability Key E
Ability Key R

Not Updated For Current Season

The masteries shown here are not yet updated for the current season, the guide author needs to set up the new masteries. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.


Brute Force
Improved Rally

Offense: 21

Strength of Spirit
Veteran's Scars

Defense: 6

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

Utility: 3

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Since alot of people were complaining over how UP Riven was, with most of them probably not playing her more than once or twice, combined with them using Phreaks awesome "hey check out our variety of items! + top ELO I'm so creative FOTM items"-build...

Yeah. So I felt the urge to make a guide that actually explains how to utilize Riven to her full potential. She isn't a pure DPS, she'd just get roflstompd' in a mere 2 seconds - and she also isn't an off-tank, simply because she can't tank well enough and doesn't deal any damage.

She's a ****ing melee DPS carry.

And for gods sake, stop building that ****ty Bloodthirster. It's HORRIBLE.

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To start off, Riven is a really item dependant champ, so there's really no way to place her runes other than to boost the stats that her items give. Still, it's anyones' choice which ones to use. I just tend to bulk her up a bit and add some much needed armor pen for those lovely squishies.

Armor Pen Marks

They're just awesome for Riven throughout the game. Really no need to explain 'em in detail.

Flat Magic Res. Glyphs / Flat Armor Seals

With most builds Riven has a very offensive and strong early game, mostly due to early armor/magic res coupled with Doran's blade stacking and/or a Brutalizer. This build doesn't include those. To boost her early game she needs to be as bulky as possible. The extra 14~ magic res and armor will also come in handy later on in the game to make her mid/late game beefier.

People could argue about using CDR runes here, but with the extra atk speed from the Triforce and the early black cleaver, you'd just let em go to waste.

Armor Pen. Quints

Same here. It's kinda a free choice what to use, but armor pen is always handy when.. always. And really, I can't find a good place for any other quints.

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Think DPS

Standard melee DPS masteries, works awesome with the extra res and armor from the runes and the defensive stats. Placing any more points in the defensive tree is pretty much useless, since Rivens focus always should be attack. Cutting attack will most likely put you in a worse position since your defense won't make up for the damage lost in the long run.

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Early game

Always play aggressive with Riven, that's the only way to about it. Don't be afraid of getting hurt, since you'll most likely do more damage to them then they will do to you. Think twice about backing away - you're supposed to make them back. Riven's damage output ealy game can rival ANYONE early game, so don't be afraid to use it.

I start out with a Doran's blade, since Riven benefits from all it's stats. HP works awesome with the runes and masteries, the damage synergizes perfectly with her passive and her Q and the lifesteal tends to work very well vs most champs, of course with the exception of ranged carries. When facing ranged foes, focus on staying alive and utilizing your skills to jump around getting last hits.

When going back the first time you should always buy yourself some boots and health pots, and if you've got enough oney, buy a pickaxe. Make buying health pots a habit, since they WILL save your life again and again. Keep the farming up as much as you can, since it's your main lifeline.

Mid game

You should hopefully have finished your Executioners Calling and Merc threads by now, and that's where you'll begin to really wreck faces. Try to always stick close to your teammates when theres a fight coming up, but try not miss out on any farm if possible. Rivens abilities allow her to smash up creep waves in mere seconds, and then retreating even faster, so utilize your time as best you can. No creeps? Grab red buff and stick to your team.

Mid game is just a moneyfest, hopefully you get a few kills here and there, but always focus on the farm. Getting your BF sword and finishing the Black Cleaver is top priority.

As mid game moves to it's close, start stacking up some well needed armor and/or magic res. The base if enough atm, so don't rush any main items if you don't have to.

Late game

Time to move on to the next core of the build, the Hextech. The stats of this weapon is just unbelievable on Riven, considering its a perfect match with the Cleaver. The spell vamp + life steal will keep you alive throughout the teamfights, while offering top tier damage and a well needed slow active with 300 damage. People might complain about it wasting stats with AP etc, but hey - it won't, trust me.

With the hextech done, your cores are all finished. The best thing now would be to build a Zeal first, even if you choose another end game item, since it will add extra flavour and movement speed to your build. After that, the rest of the items are just compliments that will make Riven scale really well as the late game proceeds. Nows your time to analyze what you'll be needing in teamfights; Banshee's veil for for magic res, Atmas for armor or Triforce for extra power.

Team Fights

Know this; Riven is pretty tough, but not THAT tough. Never initiate if there isn't a really good reason. Leave it to the tanks. Always focus the squishes first, or target the bruisers that are ravaging your own team members. With Rivens damage output you should be able to make quick use of most targets. Always remember to keep your distance, never take unnecessary damage. This build is made with the thought of keeping yourself alive by doing damage as quickly as possible.

Always use Rivens ultimate before charging in - it holds for 15 seconds with a 60 sec cooldown. Awesome.

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Summoner Spells

I usually go for Exhaust and Flash. Exhaust works perfectly for Riven, the longer you can stay near them, the faster they die. Together with Red buff and the active on the Gunblade you'll have a massive slowfest.
Flash is just a good extra escape, since creating a small distance maked a huge difference for Riven. Fast flash, the spam Q + E and leave those enemies far behind.

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Pros / Cons


+ HUGE dps
+ Highly mobile in fights
+ Very tanky with spell vamp/life steal + alot of armor/magic res
+ Awesome melee carry
+ Pretty much strong throughout the whole game


- Takes time to get into the playstyle
- Will get killed if engaging without proper backup
- Trouble laning vs ranged opponents
- Hard countered by Thornmail

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Hopefully this helps out a few players who have trouble getting Riven to work as they want to, or having trouble getting her to scale well into late game, going in without proper damage. Riven is a melee CARRY, don't forget that when playing. Playing her as an off-tank is just ridicilous, since her skills will just go to waste without proper itemization.

Think DPS, and wreck havoc. Puh.