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Riven Build Guide by MTaur

Riven, the "Screw You" Bruiser

By MTaur | Updated on August 8, 2012

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Choose Champion Build:

  • LoL Champion: Riven
  • LoL Champion: Riven


LoL Summoner Spell: Heal


LoL Summoner Spell: Flash


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Top Lane
Ranked #16 in
Top Lane
Win 53%
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Hey, people.

I haven't played much Riven. I've watched her in a few spectator matches, and I just want to run some ideas by people and see if I'm doing it right. Every time I try to play her in pvp, someone else wants top, and I end up as jungle, support, or both... Bristle the Wardhog ftw... X-P

In particular, I hardly ever solo top, so I don't know exactly how harass/sustain works yet. Bear with me.

You can vote if you want, but I'm not really looking for votes, plus or minus. If you try it and it works for you, go ahead and upvote. If you see an upvote you disagree with, go ahead and cancel it out. But constructive feedback is needed, so comment-to-vote is enabled. "u suck n00b" doesn't count. :-P
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Changes - 8/8/12

Masteries, runes changed

Looked at some numbers. At level 3, an AD page makes a huge improvement over the base damage. Armor pen comes from masteries and The Brutalizer, so I got rid of the armor pen marks. It's easier to last hit, and the % damage increase is so much higher for flat AD early on than it is for armor pen marks.

Item discussion extended

Item choices are a bit situational. Some can be skipped, rearranged, substituted. I'm still getting a feel for it, but the generic build assumes a generic game, and not all games are generic.

Summoner spells and jungling

Not totally committed here yet.
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* Out-sustains in top like a boss
* Turns tables on chasers
* Makes magic happen in close fights
* Good DPS, short cooldowns
* Has a reasonable GP10 option if underfed early
* Study and damaging
* Can Q/E out of slows
* Snowballs hard
* Shoots carrots

* Focusable
* High skill cap
* Vulnerable to knock-up, stun, snare, silence
* Farm reliant
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MTaur's take on Riven

Ok, from what I can tell, Riven is designed to be hard to kill when played well, especially at low health.

Want to face-check for that near-death Riven? She'll ult, stun you, shield herself, knock you up, and shoot carrots at you, dead. Should've bought wards, bro. I've seen this happen in spectator matches enough that I thought it would make sense to make a build around it. Chasing never goes well, either... shield + stun are on a short cooldown, and she can Q spam and dash through slows.

Since her shield scales with AD, it makes sense to stack AD, resists, and CDR, making her, essentially, a deceptively sturdy champ. Spamming 300+ health shields at max CDR is like having 300hp5, or twice that or more in effective health, meaning she won't die much unless she gets focused. Mercury's Treads seem like a good choice to avoid excessive focusing, though Ionian Boots of Lucidity are also tempting. I go with not-quite-maxed CDR here, and take tenacity in the only form that really makes sense for Riven.* In particular, Riven should definitely build enough AD + armor to negate one turret shot with Valor. DO IT!

* - Cloak and Dagger, meh. Riven is more AD caster than auto-attack spammer.

The "Screw You" Theme

Maw of Malmortius is a total "screw you" item, granting bonus AD and an extra shield that makes Riven a pseudo- Tryndamere against AP, together with her Valor. Drop bear on Riven, she gains 20 AD and finishes you off. Uninstall.

Guardian Angel is a nice item if you're going tanky. Knock Riven out just long enough for QWE to refresh. She wakes up. Shield, stun, knockup... Only 2v1 or better is a sure kill on a resurrecting Riven. In Build 1, it could be used in place of Wriggle's Lantern, possibly as a late-game replacement, or as a straight-out substitute.

Heal is also a nice "screw you" spell choice. When Valor has a couple seconds to go or you're getting a little more focus than your kit can handle, Heal can make the difference. When playing with shields, resists and Heal make sense.

Frozen Mallet is sort of "screw you" in a different way, not in that it keeps Riven alive, but in that it helps her land that (Q + auto)x3 combo. Between Valor and Flash, she can negate a dash, making it hard to get out of a 1v1 when you need to. Total "screw you". That, and the amount of health just felt right to me for rounding out Build 1, letting her take more initial burst before enduring to the end with her "screw you" kit.
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Build 1 - Bursty/Snowball

This build is probably higher skill cap. Lots of AD, not bad for resists, health could be higher. Youmuu's Ghostblade is probably strong in conjunction with her ult, but you have to be pro and avoid using it when you'll just get CCed and denied or worse. This Riven is burstable, but she hits hard and has plenty of "Screw You" to go around.

I'm interested in what experienced Riven players think of this sort of build in particular. It's pretty offensive, and is designed for using summoner spells and Riven's kit to take hits just barely well enough to screw the other team over. When well fed, I anticipate that Build 1 is the build that will really put the competition six feet under.

Feel free to swap out Wriggle's Lantern for Guardian Angel at the end if you get a ton of gold.
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Build 2 - Tanky

This tankier build puts more "Screw You" on the unkillable side of things, rather than the swift retribution side. The damage is no joke, but it could be higher; I'll consider rearranging it some for more early-game damage sometime. The meta currently favors heavy AD, so I went with armor spam. Feel free to substitute Mercury's Treads or delay Hexdrinker according to team composition and amount of feed.

Warden's Mail for HP5 makes Lifesteal not as necessary, so there's less Doran's Blade spam, no Wriggle's Lantern, and Bloodthirster comes later. Riven isn't especially auto-attack heavy, so this is ok, but Lifesteal is still viable thanks to her passive. It just isn't used as much here. Warden's Mail is also kind of a "Screw You" item. It may be necessary to buy Health Potions until Warden's Mail is completed.

This build probably isn't as pro as Build 1. Try it if you're new to Riven, or if your team is a bit squishy, or if your game starts off badly.

As someone who mains Leona, I might be tempted to lean toward Build 2 myself... :-o
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2-3 of these are nice. Questionable as a first item... first jungle can be rough. With a hard pull at blue, spamming Valor might get you through it. Or in lane, Heal might be enough, but I wouldn't count on it... boots + potions seems safer to me.

These are all tempting. I lean for Mercury's Treads, unless your enemies have very little hard CC. Riven shrugs off slows by spamming Q and E to get out, but snares and stuns can kill. It's hard to take Ninja Tabi when CDR boots are available, but it might just be that kind of game.

Both of these are situational. Compare your resists with what you think you need. Get one or both of these accordingly. Wriggle's has nice lifesteal and free wards, and is more tempting overall. But see how their AP carry is doing. Hexdrinker has a nice upgrade, but I don't know if it's worth it in shorter games.

It's tricky to know when to get this. Very useful, but you need moar AD. Won't make enough of a difference if your AD is lagging behind. Has a luxury upgrade, but I doubt whether it's worth it.

Nice to have, if you can make it this far. Can be rushed if you're feeling confident, or if you think you can own top lane.

Iffy, but can be nice. Usually not what you want if things are going well. Good if you're up against fed auto-attackers. Puts you behind a lot, and is mostly skipable if your team has a real tank. Might consider if you just have 2-3 bruisers and no tank. Has a nice upgrade, but a real tank can use the active without dying a lot more often than Riven can.

Useful, but not much punch here. Can keep you from blowing up late-game. Good synergy with other tank items, but you want to have good AD no matter what.

Very nice if you're fed. Sort of questionable if you're not doing any damage already.


Sort of questionable. Lucky crits will hurt more. If you have solid tanks and a weak ADC, consider it.

Helps solve armor problems. Costs a lot, money sort of wasted on AS. Highly situational. Possibly good for supporting a fed ADC.

Also solves armor problems. Also situational. If you really want to stop a target with a ton of armor, and your ADC can't carry, this is better.

Might be good, but maybe questionable. The unique passive is meh, but CDR, health, and MR count for a lot if there's enough AP to justify it. Need to test. There aren't that many CDR options, and this is the only one left to consider, really. These builds are really expensive, so a cheap item like this with no upgrade options might not hurt at all, especially if you're jungle rather than solo top, or if you solo top and fall behind.

A bit extreme for a non-tank. You definitely won't stack health to make the passive extra-strong, but move speed is welcome. I'd really go Spirit Visage and Maw of Malmortius for AP games, unless the AP is off the charts.
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21/9/0 for CDR, armor pen, and Executioner (synergy with carrot shot). Also get bonus health and armor.

9/21/0 is tempting for more CDR, bonus gold, tenacity, damage reduction. Doesn't seem to snowball as hard...
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Lots of AD. I looked at the numbers, and at level 3, base damage is low, but AD scaling makes a huge difference. Move quints were tempting, but the scaling/base damage ratios were just way too high in the end.

Flat AD reds, flat armor yellows, CDR/level or MR/level blues, and flat AD quints.

(I learn CDR/level blues in anticipation of Mercury's Treads and Hexdrinker, but I might try Ionian Boots of Lucidity with MR/level glyphs sometime)
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Summoner Spells

Flash always. Q and E aren't always enough mobility. Getting into W range can be hard without Flash.

Smite if you jungle. I don't like jungling much, but people call top so often that you might as well get used to it if you want practice with Riven.

Heal is an option for turning around fights you'd otherwise have to leave. Ignite can secure kills, especially since Riven is a bit bursty and can need that little extra sometimes.
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