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Riven Build Guide by Foxtrotter

Not Updated For Current Season

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Foxtrotter

Riven, The Exile - The Life of an Exile.

Foxtrotter Last updated on September 28, 2011
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Top Lane
Ranked #19 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: 9

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

Utility: 0

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First of all, hi! This is my first ever contribution to the holy grail that is Mobafire so I hope the communitay will be kind to the guide (and me!) :D

Ok Riven. Where do I even begin? Right off the bat, if you've seen the Riven Champion Spotlight, you probably would've had an itch to play her. I tried her out, and man, is she a BLAST to play!

Riven excels in small team fights and and has pentakill potential in full out 5v5's. Played right, she can be a beast - shutting down many other champions 1v1 using her devastating combos. This comes with a price however, as Riven is rather squishy (as with most other melee carries - I'm looking at you Xin Zhao). As such, with her high damage potential, it is very viable to build Riven a little tanky so she can take some hits while dealing MORE damage back to the enemy.


-High damage output.
-Great early game presence.
-Excellent skirmisher/ganker/chaser.
-Highly mobile.
-Comes with some CC (which is always great) in the form of a knockback and a small stun.


-VERY squishy.
-Lacks sustain when solo laning.
-Cooldowns can be troublesome during early game.
-Rather underpowered now (expecting more buffs from Riot).

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Of Masteries and Runes.


Pretty standard 21/0/9 with a point into the Exhaust Mastery.


I take the standard Greater Mark of Desolation, Greater Quintessence of Desolation, Greater Seal of Armor and Greater Glyph of Scaling Cooldown Reduction. This rune page is a great all round page (for just about any AD carry) and is especially good for Riven. With the armour penetration, your skills will do a TON of damage all game. The armour yellows help against other AD champions or if you drew minion aggro. Finally, cooldown blues are so vital it's not even funny - especially on a mana-less champion.

It's possible to run a full AD rune page with Greater Mark of Attack Damage and Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage. This rune page will greatly increase your early game potential as ALL of your skills (including your passive) scales off AD. I've seen other Riven's do this but they kinda fall out during late game.

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Of Items.

Riven can be built quite a number of different ways. What I prefer is a build likened to that of an offtank. I think Riven needs some tanky items. Without them, you would die too fast in team ventures which will put your team at a straight disadvantage in numbers.

This is what I usually do:

Starting items.
I usually like to start with a Doran's Blade. Grab Boots of Speed and The Brutalizer on your first port. Alternatively, you can opt for the classic Boots of Speed + 3 Health Potion combo. I continue farming and rush a Phage. Finish with the Ionian Boots of Lucidity and I'm basically ready to take (almost) anyone head on.

Here, I continue farming but take advantage of over-extended enemies as well as coordinating ganks. By now, I should have a Giant's Belt which really beefs Riven up, following up with either Frozen Mallet, Last Whisper and some tier 1 defensive items (depending on enemy comp) - Chain Vest or Negatron Cloak.

Late game.
Finish off with Atma's Impaler, Force of Nature, Youmuu's Ghostblade.

Item discussions.

Core items.

A bunch of cooldown reduction - perfect for mana-less champions like Riven. Synergizes well with The Brutalizer and your cooldown runes.

This is without a doubt the best item on a Riven early game. The armour penetration means your skills do a whole lot of damage while the cooldown reduction means you'll be spamming them a whole lot more.

Another incredibly good item for Riven. Extra health is always nice as you're a melee champion which means you have to be close to the enemy to deal damage. The slow proc is amazing with Riven as you throw down your auto-attacks in between your combo, permanently slowing them down for easy kills.

Riven was made for this item. It provides a massive armour reduction which means higher damage on all your skills as well as auto attacks.

Further discussion on core item build.

After completing Phage and The Brutalizer, the way you build Riven next is entirely game-dependent. What works best for me is to wait out a Giant's Belt. After that, if I find enemies constantly getting away, I build it right into a Frozen Mallet. However, if you find yourself roflstomping, a Last Whisper (or at least a Pickaxe) will be the better choice to capitalize on your dominance, especially around the 30 minute mark. Don't forget defensive items either.

So basically this:
1. Get a Giant's Belt.
2. Enemies keep getting away? Finish that Frozen Mallet.
3. Already raping face? Follow up with Last Whisper.
4. Constantly getting focused? Build some resistance items ( Chain Vest or Negatron Cloak) into your preferred defensive items.

Rule of thumb though, is to always be flexible. Never let a guide (yup, not even mine) entirely dictate how you play. Games are always different and you must be able to adapt.

Situational items.

Pretty self-explanatory. If you're up against a heavily magical team or a team with heavy CC, swap out your Ionian Boots of Lucidity for these.

Against a heavy AD team, an Atma's Impaler stomps all. The passive is great as it synergizes with the health from the Frozen Mallet. The crit strike isn't all that helpful but we'll take what we can.

A pretty good item on Riven. Provides even more health which would come in handy as well as large boost of armour. The passive on this is pretty good as it is. Magic damage per second to surrounding enemies? Yes please. Also, works in conjunction with Atma's Impaler and Force of Nature to great effect.

A massive magic resist boost. Its passive regeneration works wonders with the health from Frozen Mallet. The extra move speed helps with your positioning as well as moving across the map that little bit faster.

A largely underrated item. Against teams with nasty CC ( Kennen, Amumu), this item can mean the difference between life and death. Also to note, it can completely screw up ults from Malzahar, Warwick and Skarner.

The other items.

Increased attack speed that helps with your autoattacking, aiding your passive proc-ing. These boots pale in comparison to the utility of Mercury's Treads and the damage potential from Ionian Boots of Lucidity.

To me, Wriggle's Lantern is one of the best items in the whole game. It's cost to utility ratio is so great its not even funny. Lifesteal, armour, AD and a free ward every now and then?! Wriggle's Lantern is practically OP. But how does it fare on a Riven? While the stats and wards give Riven quite an early game advantage, allowing you to stay in lane longer (with a free ward and lifesteal), I personally feel your gold is better spent elsewhere. Lifesteal is not that big of a deal on Riven considering your above average health regeneration and not autoattacking (outside of last hitting). The damage is great but I feel you do a ton more damage with a The Brutalizer.

A rather useless item on Riven except for the increased cooldown reduction and AD. However, I find the CDR very useful as when I finally buy this item (and I usually do), your CDR will have reached the cap of 40%. The active is rather sub-par but is great for pushing/catching an enemy as its basically a free Ghost every now and then.

Provides a massive increase in AD. Fully farmed, this item will net you 100 more points of AD making you quite the monster. With all that damage, I still feel this item is poorly utilized on Riven as you won't be auto attacking as much so the lifesteal portion, while great on most champions, is pretty wasted. Not to mention you actually put a big target on your head because your stacks are lost on death - tantalizing enemies to focus you even more.

Many a Riven have rushed this item only to poorly scale into late game. This item is a complete waste on Riven, safe for the AD it gives. This item is mainly for champions which deal most of their damage with autoattacks (see: Ashe, Caitlyn). It is not fully utilized on Riven as her damage comes from her skill combo. Furthermore, you probably won't have enough crit chance to fully maximize the increased crit damage. Overall a terrible item on Riven.

Even more crit chance and attack speed as well as a movement speed boost. Stay away from this. Really. This item is really meant for autoattacking carries and is almost completely useless on Riven. Once, I played against a Riven with two of these. Needless to say, she fed our team the whole game, having very little damage to begin with (only a phage) thus not fully utilizing the increased crit chance.

That's all the items I can think of the top of my mind that you might build on a Riven. Leave me some comments about other items you would like to see me discuss.

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Of Summoner Spells.


From the get go, an Exhaust + Flash combo is your best bet. Exhaust can completely shut down an enemy carry as well as giving you quite the edge in 1v1 encounters.

Being the OP beast it is, Flash is a no-brainer. Can help you get out of tight situations or even to start your combo.

The other spells.

A fairly good spell on Riven. Can help with getting to a teamfight faster or to run away. A very usefull spell with quite some utility. Overall, I prefer Exhaust but that's just personal preference.

A DoT which reduces healing. Can completely shut down champions like Dr. Mundo or Soraka. Mainly used to throw in some extra damage after enemies get away with low health. I feel this kinda falls off late game mainly because other spells provide much more utility.

Used to quickly return to lane. Saves a load of time returning to your lane, meaning less experience lost. Can be used offensively on creeps where a team fight has broken out. More often than not, the enemies will be too caught up to notice the particle effects, giving you the element of surprise.

Cleanse is used to quickly remove any debuff on your champion and on someone like Riven, you tend to get focused first so this comes in handy. Simply pop this Summoner Spell and you're all good to continue your combo.
Note: If you take this Spell, it would be overkill to also buy a Quicksilver Sash.

Any other summoner spells are better utilized by other champions.

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Of Skills.

EDIT: When I find the time, I'll discuss my skill build order.

The Skeels.

Runic Blade.

This is Riven's passive. In my opinion, learning to fully use the proc to its maximum potential is key to mastering Riven. It increases AD for your next, kinda like a Sheen proc. I might be wrong but the increase in AD actually helps with lifesteal items.

Broken Wings.

This skill is what Riven is best known (or revered) for. Essentially, it is three small bursts of damage rolled up in one skill, with the third activation causing nearby enemies to be knocked back. Throwing autoattacks in between activations help maximize damage.

Ki Burst.

A short AoE stun with quite some burst damage. Using this at opportune times is important to secure kills. Used in conjunction with Broken Wings, Riven becomes a very potent farmer.


This is a dash skill which also shields Riven. Generally used to start your combo and to get away. Worth noting is that this skill does NOT allow you to go through terrain. Heck, you can sometimes fail to pass through creeps.

Blade of the Exile.

Increases your AD by a percentage for 15 seconds. Using this before your combo guarantees maximum damage. Also, activating this again will allow you to cast Wind Slash which deals damage based on how much health the enemy is missing - like Garen's ult.

Skill sequences.

Start by using Broken Wings into Valor. Autoattack twice and follow up with Broken Wings again and autoattack finishing with Ki Burst, autoattack and one more Broken Wings, throwing in the final auto attack. The initial Broken Wings used to begin this move can throw most enemies off with the forward movement it gives you, allowing you to easily get in range with a quick Valor. Sometimes you may not be able to execute the complete combo. Just play smart and know when to back off. Remember that Riven is pretty squishy early game and might not be able to take a few hits to the face, especially against ranged champions.

Basically just Valor and Broken Wings all day to the general direction of your base/team. If near brush, you can attempt to juke by stunning them just as they enter and executing the combo.

Teamfights and skirmishes.
I usually find myself executing the offensive combo but activating Blade of the Exile beforehand. When your enemies' health bars start to drop, throw down Wind Slash to pick up the kills. Used properly, and with a little luck, you might even score a pentakill!

Varying situations.
These sequences are rough outlines on how to use Riven's skills to their fullest effect. However, the battlefield is ever-changing and many variables come into play, some that may disrupt your combos. A good Riven adapts. For example, spamming Broken Wings to CC the enemy with the little knockback (with which you can then keep up with Valor and throwing off a Ki Burst) becomes much more vital than getting autoattacks off in between.

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Of Game Phases.

Early game.

-Solo laning 1v1.
Even though she possesses a high burst early on, I recommend focusing on last hits. Of course, if the opportunity presents itself, throw down an offensive combo on the enemy and watch his health bar disappear. Basically just play a little passive early on until you have got Boots of Speed and The Brutalizer, in which case you may start zoning your opponent out of experience range with your combos.

-Solo laning 1v2.
Soloing against two champions is a very tricky thing to do with Riven. What you might want to do is stock up on Health Potion's and focus on last hitting near your tower. Avoid engagement so as to not fall dangerously low, allowing the enemy to zone you out. If possible, ask for a lane change from champions better suited to a 1v2 like Mordekaiser or Cho'Gath

-Duo laning 2v1.
This is probably the ideal (though almost never seen in high ELO games) lane you would put Riven in (though you do get less farm and experience). You can freely harass the enemy while zoning him out, keeping his farm miserable but don't forget about your own farm, too. Zoning your enemy but neglecting your own farm means you're bad D:. As always though, make sure to ward and watch out for the enemy jungler - imma looking at you, Nocturne.

-Duo laning 2v2.
Basically play little passive until you get your Boots of Speed and The Brutalizer. After that, its all about coordinating your target with your lane partner and kills will start pouring in (considering your lane partner is competent o_o).


This is the time where you've completed your core build, maybe except Last Whisper (unless you were really fed). This is when Riven really shines as she outclasses most other champions head on. Basic rule of thumb during mid-game though is to always make sure you're doing something. Gank, kill dragon, secure buffs. Keep moving around, keeping map control and you and your team will snowball into late game pretty well-to-do.

Late game.

Finish off your build with defensive items. You should be sticking with your team now. Try not to let anyone get caught or you could end up with nasty 1v5's. If you catch an enemy out of position, proceed the hell away with your combo and try to take them down as fast as possible. Every bit of advantage is crucial during this phase. And as always, ward and control baron.

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That's all for now. I hope you would try out my build as well as give me some constructive advice. Leaving a comment on why you would rate my guide up or down is greatly appreciated :D.

Side note: I wrote this guide all throughout the wee hours of the morning o_o seeing as I wasn't sleepy and was a little bored. Apologizing in advance for any spelling/grammar/stat/fact errors I may have made.

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Recent Changes.

-Guide created.
-Added Cleanse.
-Added further build discussions.
-Added Redeemed Riven picture in introduciton.
-Added Wriggle's Lantern discussion.
-Moved icons to centre.
-Overhauled layout.
-Minor spelling/grammar errors and failed codes fixed. Minor elaborations.