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Riven Build Guide by Maelstrom147

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Maelstrom147

Riven the Exile - Toplane and Jungle dominance

Maelstrom147 Last updated on October 16, 2012
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Team 1

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Top Lane
Ranked #19 in
Top Lane
Win 51%
Get More Stats

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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Hello everyone! I've been using Mobafire as a resource for a while now and since then I've gotten quite good at League. I've noticed that there seems to be a lack of an expert guide to Riven, which is one of my favorite champions, so I decided to make one myself.

Riven is generally used as a solo top bruiser or jungler in the current meta. She does crazy damage early game and can potentially carry your team late game if played correctly.

If you downvote this guide then please tell me what I can do to improve it to make it a better resource for future viewers!

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Pros / Cons

  • Insane early damage
  • Strong Level 2 ganks if jungling
  • A lot of mini AOE damage and CC
  • Can make your adversary's life hell in top lane
  • Shield that scales with AD (only one in the game that does so)
  • Can be shut down with CC
  • Hard to catch up if you get behind
  • Can be kited somewhat easily
  • No hard escape tools

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We put one point into Summoner's Wrath because of the Armor Shred on Exhaust and for the extra Attack Damage if you use Ignite. Only get this if you aren't jungling.

Two points into this if we are jungling as we generally won't be taking exhaust or ignite with us. If you do decide to take Exhaust or Ignite then feel free to take a point out of Butcher to put into Summoner's Wrath.

Riven only scales off of attack damage and doesn't have anything to do with ability power at all so this is a no brainer.

This is really our only filler point that we use. For most AD champions you will put a point into Lethality because of the added DPS when you build crit items. Riven, however, doesn't build crit items very often because they usually don't suit her needs. The point from this can go into either Butcher or Sorcery as per personally preference. I take it in Demolitionist because of the added DPS to turrets which will aid you in poking/pushing them down early and mid game.

Riven doesn't benefit from the attack speed much but this is required for Weapon Expertise and there isn't anything better in tier two to put points in.

The 10% armor penetration is a must have for late game when your enemies will probably be stacking armor against your mighty sword.

Attack damage per level? Riven? You want to kill stuff? Get this.

We need this to advance to the next level. The life steal will also help your lane sustain.

The armor penetration from this will greatly help your early game. Generally you should get anything with an attack damage bonus or an armor shred.

This is what we've been building up to this whole time. 6% extra damage doesn't sound like a lot. And for squishes it isn't. But if you find yourself 1v1 with a tank then you'll be thankful you have this.


Since your adversary in top lane will most likely deal attack damage we put three points into this for the armor.

One point into this to advance to the next tier if you aren't jungling.

If you are jungling put a point into this for the added gold off of Smite. This mastery can easily get you 150 gold if you use smite when ever you can in a short game. And much more in a longer game.

We put two points into this for jungling. Taking flat damage off of creep attacks will help keep your health up a ton early game. It's also needed for Bladed Armor.

We try to put as many points into this one as we can after we fulfill all of the other defensive requirements. That adds up to four points if laning and two if jungling.

The extra health will help your early laning phase a good bit.

This will aid your jungle clearing times so you can get back to those insane ganks :)

Masteries Wrap Up

If you didn't notice when reading that, Masteries are all about your early game (with a few exceptions) and they don't have much impact late game due to how powerful they would be. With that said though, they are still important because if you have a bad early game it's hard to catch back up and become the damage dealing monster truck that you will become late game.

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Greater Mark of Attack Damage

Greater Seal of Armor

Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist

Greater Quintessence of Lethality

I prefer these marks due to how well Riven's passive and ultimate scale with attack damage. Earlier on these will help with last hitting minions as well.

greater mark of desolation These are viable as well, but for Riven flat AD is better simply due to her passive and ulti. These aren't bad by any means and you should get these if you see that the enemy team might be tankier than usual.

If your tight on IP and you can't get both sets of marks then get the AD marks. They will work better overall.


These are pretty much the only seals you can use. You can use HP seals but they won't do nearly as much to keep you alive as these will. Armor seals are also a must have if jungling.


These are my prefered glyphs if your opponent top will do primarily attack damage to you. I also use these when jungling as creep auto attacks don't do magic damage. Most of the time flat runes are better. But Riven can get away with per/level glyphs..

No, these don't actually make your wards better :( But they do allow you to survive more early game magic damage! You won't need these in the jungle and you rarely need them in top lane. However, there are certain top laners that I would recommend you getting these for. Vladimir, Galio, and Jax are the main ones you get these for.

Once again, if you can't get both then go with the flat MR.

But wait, didn't you just say that you should use the per/level glyphs most of the time? Yes I did and you should. But on the chance that you only have one of the sets and you face a Vladimir in top lane I don't want you to be totally screwed.

So most of the time you will use per/level glyphs, but get the flat glyphs to be safe.


greater quintessence of desolation Basically these are to provide even more armor penetration for shredding though your opponents. Three of them stacked together means about ten extra armor penetration which equals insane early damage.

These are equally strong on Riven and it is a tough choice between these and the armor penetration. The extra AD scale wonderfully with her passive and ulti (once again).

If you can only get one set of quints then I would go with the armor penetration quints. Because most AD champs that you will play will work well with armor penetration but not all of the scale with attack damage like Riven (she's just that bad@$$).
Runes Wrap Up

Just like the masteries, runes are geared toward early game dominance. Runes, however, provide a much larger bonus than masteries do and you definitely need to save up your IP for them. If you aren't level twenty yet then don't bother with the tier one and two because they become useless when you want to play more competitive games.

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Summoner Spells

I take this spell almost every time I choose Riven regardless of whether I'm jungling or laning. The reason is the superb defensive and offensive potential. Riven does have good mobility with her esape combo ( Valor into Runic Blade). The problem with this escape combo is that it is not instantaneous. Which means that if you get hard CC'd during the combo you can still be killed. Also, your combo can not be used to traverse most walls (there are exceptions that I will explain later). Flash, on the other hand, can be used to get across walls either to escape or to gank/attack. Flash can also be used to simply create some distance if you get caught or chased by the enemy team. In high elo play you will see this spell on 10/10 players most all of the time.

I take this as a shut down spell for who ever is causing you the most trouble, or the person you just really want to kill. If there is a particular carry or high damage dealer on the enemy team you want to use this on them in a fight to render then almost completely useless. This is also very helpful if you get tower dived. I like to take this over ignite because, unlike ignite, this has defensive utility as well as offensive utility. At level one Ignite will do 70 true damage to a target over time when cast. Exhaust will shut down the enemy for 2.5 seconds allowing you to get at least two if not three auto attacks at them. At level one, two auto attacks should do at minimum 100 damage if not more. Can you see the advantage here? Exhaust can enable you to do more damage and have a summoner spell with more than one use as well.

This is a must have for jungling. This greatly increases your clear times and is also important for counter jungling or smite-stealing enemy buffs/dragon/Baron. If you are jungling then you have to decide between Flash and Exhaust and you need to pick one of those depending on what the enemy team looks like. If they have a lot of CC I would go with Flash to get out fast. If they have a lot of high damage dealers I would go with Exhaust to shut one of them down.

Other Viable Spells

I take this spell if I'm solo top sometimes because it will help you get all the way across the map to aid in ganks and dragon early game. It is also good for split pushing which Riven is decent at. I don't usually take this in non ranked games because I'm not sure if my team will ward or not. I generally do not want to use this to set up ganks if I'm teleporting to a minion where the enemy team can see me.

This is a completely viable alternative to Exhaust. I tend to take Exhaust of this because of the above said reasons, but this can provide the extra damage you need to finish off an enemy if they get to far away and they have just that sliver of health left. I would advise taking this if they enemy team has a champion with a lot of health regeneration like Dr. Mundo or Vladimir. It's also useful for killing that annoying Tryndamere if you ever find one in 5v5.

This is another escape/gap close spell but it has the same problems as Riven's escape combo. It isn't instantaneous. It can provide more mobility that Flash but if you get CC'd before you can get some distance they your screwed. This doesn't allow you to jump walls like Flash does either. This is useful if the enemy team doesn't have hardly any CC at all but that is rare.

This seems like a noob spell to a lot of people but it's perfectly viable. It it useful for newer players who don't know how to play the game all the way yet. Higher skilled players will also use this to bait an enemy into tower diving them only to find out they have another couple hundred health to deal with. As useful as it is, it still doesn't compete with the utility of Exhaust and if the enemy has ignite then this becomes null.

This spell is one of the more overlooked but powerful spells in the game. Cleanse + Flash is almost a guarantee escape tool. I take this if the enemy team is stacking a lot of hard CC.

Summoner Spells Wrap Up

The above spells listed are the only ones I would use with Riven. If you don't see a spell here then don't use it ever :S
Some of the non-listed spells are for other game modes but this is a SR guide so I'm not going to cover those.

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Ability Details and Combinations

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

Passive: Runic Blade

This passive, in combination with her ultamite, is what gives Riven one of the highest damaging auto attacks in the game. Basically, every time you activate a spell her next auto attack does bonus attack damage. Each use of her Broken Wings counts too, so you get three for that whole spell.

Q: Broken Wings

This is the main spell that will proc Riven's passive. It is great for early game damage because of Riven's passive so we take it at level one. Leveling it up further, however, only grants a small damage increase per use and that's it. So we level this up last. Each one of this spells three uses after activation will give you a Runic Blade mark so try to auto attack after each use!

W: Ki Burst

Ki Burst is a damaging AEO stun with a moderate cooldown. It does decent base damage and scales wonderfully off of Riven's bonus attack damage. I max it first because of the increased damage and the decreased cooldown. Activating this will give you a Runic Blade mark so auto attack (which should be easy since they have been stunned) should follow this spell if harassing or if you are simply trying to kill them.

E: Valor

Valor is a small dash and shield spell that gives Riven more mobility. This spell is great for negating counter attack damage when harassing an enemy. Shields have a lot of use in this game so basically you should use it when you need to negate some damage (Random Karthus Requiem and Ignite are good spells that you can counter with Valor.

It does provide movement so don't forget about that as well. I often use this to initiate on an enemy because of the movement and the shield it provides. Once again, activating this will proc your passive so try to auto attack after using the spell.

I max this skill second for the cooldown reduction and for the added protection from the shield increase.

R: Blade of the Exile

This turns Riven into a monster when she hits level 6. Activating Blade of the Exile gives Riven bonus attack damage (synergies with her passive) and bonus attack range. It also gives her spells bonus range as well.

In addition to making all of Riven's auto attacks and spells more powerful for the duration of the effect, Blade of the Exile also gives Riven to ability to use Wind Slash once. Wind Slash is a physical damaging cone attack that gives Riven her only ranged damage. It does quite a bit of damage on it's own but there is a way to make it do more damage.

Wind Slash will do additional damage to enemies with less than 25% health remaining. So try to use it as a finishing move when attempting to kill and enemy or group of enemies.

Ability Combinations


Valor --> auto attack --> Ki Burst --> auto attack --> Broken Wings --> auto attack --> Broken Wings --> auto attack --> Broken Wings --> rinse and repeat.

This will provide the most damage to the enemy if you are trying to harass them. If you get them low enough doing this combo then you may consider attempting to kill them afterwards.

Safer Harass

Valor -- auto attack --> Ki Burst --> auto attack --> Broken Wings away from the enemy.

This combination is very similar to the previous one but instead of doing as much damage as you can you are get a few auto attacks in then retreating with Broken Wings to prevent yourself from taking much damage.


Valor --> Broken Wings

This is basically button mashing Valor and Broken Wings to attempt to get some distance between yourself and the enemy. If you need to use Flash in this combo to get even more distance if you really need to.


Blade of the Exile --> Valor --> auto attack --> Ki Burst --> auto attack --> Broken Wings --> auto attack --> Broken Wings --> auto attack --> Broken Wings --> Wind Slash

This is your kill combo. Use this for maximum damage and for murdering your enemies. If the enemy isn't quite low enough for Wind Slash to kill at the end of the combination then keep auto attacking and using abilities when they come off of cooldown until you can kill them.

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Core Items

These are your core items to most Riven builds and should be built in almost every game you play with Riven.

These are handsdown the best boots in the game. The magic resist is always welcome the tenacity is what makes these the most bought boots ever. Riven needs the CC reduction from the tenacity so these are a must.

Riven's own CC doesn't last very long so the passive from Frozen Mallet is greatly needed for chasing and enemy. The added 700HP is also a huge plus to her survivability and is what helps make Riven the tanky bruiser that she is.

All of Riven's abilities scale off of attack damage and she needs attack damage to do any serious damage. The Bloodthirster gives the second largest AD bonus in the game when fully stacked. This will provide Riven a great boost in damage when built. The added lifesteal will also help when trading blows with the enemy team. The huge AD bonus is what makes this item another "must have" for Riven.

Additional Items

This will improve your jungling capabilities with some cheap damage, armor, and lifesteal. Not to mention the two passives which give you a free ward and the chance to do additional damage to minions and monsters. Even though this is meant for jungling you can buy it for solo top for some early survivability against AD tops and for the free ward it gives you.

{icon="maw of malmortius" size=50] I tend to get this offten as both of it's passives synergise well with Riven. The attack damage and magic resist are both greatly welcome as well. The first passive means that as you get low on health you get more attack damage. Cool right? The second passive gives you a spell shield when your health gets low from magic damage. This in conjunciton with Valor means that Karthus (or any other mage for that matter) doesn't have anything on you. The only time I don't build this is if the enemy team is lacking any serious source of magic damage.

This item provides huge defensive stats in both attack damage and magic resistance. The main reason for getting this item is the passive. In team fights you will likely get focused since you deal a lot of damage and tend to go right in after the tank/initiator. With this you will revive after a few seconds of dying to get right back into the fight and finish up what ever your team couldn't kill. If you find that you aren't dying that much or you are facerolling the enemy team then you can bypass this item for more damage.

Last Whisper is a late game item geared toward dealing more damage to tanky foes. This will be one of the last items you buy. By the time late game comes your enemies will generally have built a lot of armor. Last Whisper is designed to counter that with armor penetration. You will notice a large jump in damage once you get this item into your inventory. If they enemy team isn't building armor for some reason then skip this for more damage as usual.

Many more items to come!

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Now it's time to get into the actual meat of the guide!

Early Game

Spoiler: Click to view

Spoiler: Click to view

Mid Game

Spoiler: Click to view

Late Game

Spoiler: Click to view

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Thanks for reading my Riven guide everyone! Please leave a rating and tell me if there is anything I can do to make this guide better.

This guide will remain a work in progress until Riot abandons League of Legends itself.

Special thanks to jhoijhoi for the guide to all guides.

Special thanks to Panglot for his amazing warding guide.

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October 16, 2012: Made changes to the Masteries, Summoner Spells and title from the advice of That Trev Person.

October 15, 2012: Guide finished and ready for use!