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Riven Build Guide by Straw

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Straw

Riven, the Wannabe Assassin

Straw Last updated on December 18, 2011
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for ze lulz

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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Hi there! And welcome to my guide! In this guide, I will go through the build I use, give reasons why it's good, and hopefully teach you how to get better at Riven. The guide is mainly directed to people who are new at Riven (which means pretty much everybody right now, as it's a whole new champion).

I've been using this site for a while, to get inspiration about champion builds. Then a new champion got out, Riven, and I registered on this site because I wanted to write this guide. The main reason to this, is because I want to help people who have no idea what to do with her. I'm not saying this is the perfect build because of 3 reasons:

  • Every game is different.
  • People have different playstyles.
  • There's no such thing as a perfect build.

In this guide, I will try to teach you my playstyle, but you're probably not going to play exactly like me.

When I saw the champion spotlight with Riven, I immediately thought "I gotta get that one!", but alas.. I only had 1000 IP because I've been buying runes.. I almost never pay real money for ingame items, but this time I just had to :) And it was worth it! The way Riven works is just perfect for me. I never really had much success with caster-types (not saying they're bad, they're just not my type), and it was more fun to play as Xin Zhao and Vayne, but they are limited by mana, and imo it's always more fun/rewarding to hit multiple targets. Xin and Vayne were just too single-target oriented.
That's where Riven got me hooked. All skills are multi-target (except E, which is a shield).
The mobility is also really awesome - combine that with no mana <3

I'm also only level 26, so the runes/mastery can probably get better. This is what I will get when I can afford it.
Update: I am now level 30 and started playing ranked games (5/5 won with Riven so far), and have all the runes. I am now certain this is a solid build).

Please read through it all if you're going to vote, and don't vote up/down without commenting :D I want to know if I did a good job explaining, since this is my first guide.

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PreGame: Masteries


I tried to make the masteries as useful as possible, meaning you don't waste points on stuff you don't even use.
There seems to be a bug with the masteries listed at the top of the guide. It says 12 in offense even though it's 15. Anyone know how to fix it?

EDIT: Masteries got changed but I haven't updated this section yet.
3/3 - Deadliness , 2% crit chance, seems fine to me.
1/1 - Cripple, improved exhaust = improved damage.
4/4 - Sorcery , 3% cooldown reduction, well, there's no mana need, so why not be able to spam abilities more?
1/4 - Alacrity , 1% attack speed, well okay, doesn't make much difference, but it's needed to get Brute Force.
3/3 - Sunder , ignoring armor? higher damage? neat!
3/3 - Brute Force , 3 AD, seems great early game for lasthitting creeps.

3/3 - Resistance , 6 magic resist, useful early game because you're quite squishy.
3/3 - Hardiness , same as above.

3/3 - Good Hands , die in battle? Resurrect faster.
1/3 - Perseverence , 2% HP regen, not much, but still helps a bit.
4/4 - Awareness , it's always good to level up faster.
1/2 - Utility Mastery , 15% longer monster buffs, why wouldn't we want that?

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PreGame: Runes


Greater Mark of Lethality

Greater Seal of Armor

Greater Glyph of Magic Resist

Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage
9 - Greater Mark of Desolation, because I haven't included any other armor penetration in the build (other than mastery: Sunder ).
9 - Greater Seal of Armor, because Riven's really squishy early game.
9 - Greater Glyph of Magic Resist, same as above.
3 - Greater Quintessence of Desolation, increased armor penetration early game = more damage on enemies = they're going down.

I can imagine that either Greater Quintessence of Cooldown Reduction or Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage will be a great alternative to Greater Quintessence of Desolation. I will need to test them out once I get enough IP for it - or maybe someone who already have them, could do it for me? :)

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PreGame: Summoner Spells

Provides a nice slow + damage increase (due to mastery) on target. The slow allows your team to do a lot of damage to the target, which can prove quite useful early game.

Super awesome for getting over walls, chasing, fleeing, etc.


I used this the first few times as Riven, along with Flash - but I just find Exhaust to be more useful. Personal reference.
You will also need to waste a point in offense mastery if you don't choose Exhaust ;)

Can be useful for chasing/fleeing, I just like Flash more.

You can probably use other spells with success, but these are the ones I prefer.

But whatever you pick, don't pick Clarity :@

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Skill Sequence

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

First I pick Broken Wings - for increased mobility + aoe on early creeps.
Then Ki Burst, since damage + stun is awesome. The cooldown is also lowered each point which is why I max it first.
I see a lot of persons saying "the stun is useless, it's only 0,5 sec" - well, that 0,5 second is more than enough to bring down your opponents/slow them so your teammates can do damage.

Third, I pick Valor - increased mobility and damage absorb.
4th, Ki Burst again since the damage is needed early game.
From here on, it really depends on the game. If you are up against ranged people, it might be a good decision to raise Valor a few times - to prevent your opponents from harrassing you too much.
If they're melee, Ki Burst as well as Broken Wings - just don't get Broken Wings higher than Valor if you find yourself too squishy. The damage increase on Broken Wings is not that high each level - I mainly use it for catching up with people.
Note that the cooldown does not decrease either when you level it up, opposing to Ki Burst and Valor!

As with all other champions, level up Ultimate whenever you can.

Better explained:
> > =

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The above is the standard way of the build. It provides a decent amount of armor, magic resist, damage and life-steal.
Step 1.
Doran's Blade, Health, damage, and a tiny bit of lifesteal, just what we want.

Step 2.
Boots of Speed, just the normal boots, you won't need the upgraded boots until later.

If you're doing really good early game, try to stay in lane until you can afford a B. F. Sword (get it before boots) - your damage will get really high and you will be dominating the enemy big time. Since Valor scales with AD, you will also get a bit harder to kill :)

Step 3.
Wriggle's Lantern - in 3v3, the ward is pretty helpful (doesn't mean that it isn't in 5v5 :), it's just more helpful in 3v3). Also provides more damage, armor, and 18% lifesteal!
This item is optional though. It can be pretty good, but it costs 1600, meaning for 50 more gold, you can get another B. F. Sword, which is more useful later in the game (or if you want to gank rather than be able to stay in lane for a longer time). It's all up to what you feel like getting.

Step 4.
If you didn't get B. F. Sword as number 2, get it now.

Step 5.
Upgrade B. F. Sword to Infinity Edge. Get Cloak of Agility first, if you're buying it one item at a time.

Step 6. (can be done before Step 5 if you feel like doing so)
Upgrade your boots, people are starting to get faster :) If you're doing good and you're not taking much damage, get Boots of Swiftness, else get Mercury's Threads.
Berserker's Greaves is viable as well.

Step 7.
You're starting to do pretty high damage, time to get some health, and what's better than a Frozen Mallet? 700 Health, 20 damage and slow on your attacks, sweet.

Step 8.
If the opponent team is heavy on AP, consider getting Force of Nature, gives 40 Health regen per 5 sec, 8% movement speed and 76 magic resist! Else get Guardian Angel - can help a lot as well.

Step 9.
Time to sell your Doran's Blade if you haven't already. If the enemy is STILL doing a ****load of magic damage, Quicksilver Sash is the thing to get. Else get The Bloodthirster, more damage and life steal <3

Step 10.
The game should be over by the time you get to this point :p
Else go out there and do something about it. Also buy potions if you have the gold.

I added another item build - it focuses more on hard-hitting attacks, faster movement and attack speed, but more squishyness (I added Guardian Angel to try to make up for it. If you want to go pure damage, you can switch it out with another Phantom Dancer - will make you have 87% crit).

Note: I have not tested this build out very much, use with caution!

Optional items:

  • Thornmail - "It's super effective! AD carry fainted!"
  • Phantom Dancer - if you're too slow compared to your enemies, this will help you. Also included in the 2nd build.
  • Force of Nature - pretty good against AP enemies, also gives movement speed.
  • Tiamat - costs ~400 more gold than a B. F. Sword and still gives awesome splash. Works awesome against creeps, if you have lifesteal.
  • Youmuu's Ghostblade - I really don't like this item. It is amazing stat-wise, but I keep forgetting to use the active <_< If you're good at micro-managing, perfect item for you.
  • Manamune - nah, just kidding ^_^ don't ever get this item when playing Riven...

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How to play!

Finally, past all the theory, it's time to start on some specific situations.

- - - - Not finished yet, more coming soon - - - -


Riven has 2 abilities which make you move. Broken Wings and Valor If you happen to die, spam those 2 abilities in order to get back on the lane faster. It is important that if you try to do this, rightclick immediately afterwards (or just spam the RMB while spamming abilities), else Riven will stop moving and it will be faster to just let her walk all the way.

This also counts when you're fighting/chasing/fleeing. You WILL be faster if you do this, even if it's just a tiny bit. That tiny bit is enough for you to catch up with an enemy, and stun him with Ki Burst, use Exhaust to slow him, or slow him with Frozen Mallet if Exhaust is on cooldown. This is also why I don't get more movement speed.
This is very important!
Skills which make you unable to move like Lux' Light Binding or Morgana's Dark Binding will disable Broken Wings and Valor until you can move again! Be careful if you're against them!

Here's the tricky part to being a successful Riven: You can't just spam your abilities and expect the enemy to fall over and die.
This is because of the passive Runic Blade. Every time you use an ability, you get a stack, to a maximum of 3 stacks. When you do an autoattack with a stack on, it gets removed and you do more damage (check how much in the tooltip). The awesome thing about the passive, is that it scales with your bonus attack. If you complete the build, you will have around 200 bonus attack. Meaning you will do ~115 extra damage pretty much every autoattack at level 18 with this passive ability. And since a full combo of Broken Wings gives 3 stacks......
Early game, Level 1-6 (3v3):

I choose to go bottom lane with a teammate whenever I can, mainly because there's 2 enemies down there = more money, and the ranged guys usually go top. Riven is NOT very strong against ranged people like Ashe, Caitlyn or Vayne - at least in early game. Later it will be easier, because of lower cooldowns and higher movement speed.

It IS possible to go top, but you should only go there when you're comfortable playing as Riven.

The laning is pretty standard. Don't stand there hitting the creeps all the time, last hits only. Use Broken Wings to do some AoE (if there's a couple of minions low on health - and I mean really low health! Broken Wings only do around 30 damage at level 1).
You will also get the passive buff Runic Blade by using the ability - which makes it easier last-hitting minions. Note that the passive buff will activate, even if you don't hit anything - and if you're on 3 stacks, attacking a target will refresh the cooldown of it while removing one stack - so it is actually possible to save up a few stacks. This is quite useful if you're about to attack an enemy champion. You can save up a few stacks, then Flash in, stun him with Ki Burst, do 2 autoattacks, Exhaust, Broken Wings, autoattack, Broken Wings, autoattack, Broken Wings, autoattack. (or if he's about to get away, just spam Broken Wings for the knockback)

If you want to be sure to kill him, use Blade of the Exile before flashing in, then if he's running away, use Blade of the Exile again. Don't forget that it deals more damage if the target is low on health.

This "tactic" can be used later as well, but make sure that you won't die from it, plan your escape route, coordinate with teammates.

Mid game, Level 7-14 (3v3):

You should have Wriggle's Lantern by now, so place a ward at either red buff, or the damage buff dragon (can't remember the name of it). This ward will not only help you, but your teammates as well. Whenever you see a situation where you can get red buff without having to worry about enemies (fx if there's only 1 enemy alive (or 2 if you know where they both are)), get it. It will be really easy because Wriggle's Lantern has a 20% chance of doing 500 dmg on minions.

Whenever you see a chance of ganking the enemy, do it. Don't forget to coordinate it with your teammates, Riven's still a bit squishy.
When you get Infinity Edge, you're a glass cannon, but you're starting to get focused. Try to play more defensively / stay with your teammates until you get Frozen Mallet or Guardian Angel.

Late game, Level 15-18 (3v3):

People are leveling up, they're doing more damage, but so are you! You can do some 1v1's if you're comfortable with it, but if you see another enemy, retreat (unless you're at full health and they're not :d). There's no shame in going back, you'll get them next time.

You should also be able to tower dive by now (if not before). If the enemy has around half of his health left, it's perfect. Buff up with Blade of the Exile, then flash in (if it's not on cooldown - else use Broken Wings twice and Valor once) and if he tries to attack you, it's alright, don't panic, it's just what we want him to. Get him lower on health with auto-attacks (or Broken Wings if you didn't use it), then when it looks like he's trying to run away, stun with Ki Burst and auto-attack again, use Blade of the Exile to deal the final blow.

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Scores using this build

My connection hasn't been very stable lately (I talked with my ISP, they're sending a technician in a few days), so I haven't been able to stay in a match without at least one disconnect, which is making some of the enemies invisible and creeps show up alive, when they're actually long dead. Soooo, I'll wait a bit with the scores. Or you can post a screenshot of your scores, and I'll put it here.

I can, however, say that I've been doing a lot better in 3v3 than 5v5. I need to train harder if I hope to get good in 5v5.

Update: Looks like my connection finally works again! And Riven got a buff! She's really hitting hard now.

The Twisted Treeline (3v3)
Click on the images for detailed stats.

With Warwick at bottom lane, against Blitzcrank and another Riven, total annihilation.. Surrender @ 15 min.
I waited for B. F. Sword in the beginning, then upgraded to Infinity Edge - even before I got Boots of Speed.

I actually got a replay of this match using LOL Replay. You can download the replay by clicking here. Surrender @ 16 min.

Summoner's Rift (5v5)
Click on the images for detailed stats.

Went top lane with Blitzcrank, was against Heimerdinger and Xin Zhao. Surrender @ 22min.

Was bot lane with Katarina against Yi and Gangplank. Got a couple of dc's when I was level 6, but still managed to do pretty well. Surrender @ 30min. In this match, I was testing out build number 2 (except for Sword of the Occult, which I bought ½ min before they surrendered). Also, the high IP gain is because it was the first win of the day.

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I'm still writing on the guide, but it should be enough to get you started :)

Check back in a couple of days when I am (hopefully) done with the guide!

If you have any suggestions/find any typos, feel free to comment.

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20-09-2011: Wrote the basics and published.
21-09-2011: Fixed the layout.
22-09-2011: Wrote a lot in "How to Play", will have to play some more 5v5's to write more in it.
23-09-2011: Connection got better, posted the results of a couple of games. Also changed name of the guide. Got any better ideas? Write it in the comments.
28-09-2011: Added another Item Sequence. Started on Dominion Build, not done at all.
Removed "Require comment to vote" since nobody's voting/reading on my guide :(

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Dominion Build (ignore, still writing on it)

Ignore this.

Starting with 1 point in each ability and Boots of Mobility. In Dominion, it is important to be able to walk to the other side of the map really fast.

Boots of Mobility B. F. Sword Zeal Sanguine Blade / Infinity Edge Phantom Dancer (perhaps even before SB / IE?) → (what now?)

Remove 1 point in Perseverence and get Haste .
Remove 1 point in Utility Mastery and get Alacrity . There's no point in getting longer monster buffs when there's no monsters giving the buffs.
Anything else?

Summoner Spells:
Exhaust and Ghost.
Exhaust because it's freaking awesome. Ghost because Dominion is all about running fast.

Proof of this build:

The Crystal Scar (5v5)
..aka Dominion..
Click on the images for detailed stats.

Went really fast, can't remember what happened ^^

Started out as mentioned above, but picked Tiamat and Youmuu's Ghostblade later (I'm really not good at using the active though). Lost, but still got 1st place and 11/7/14.