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Riven Build Guide by TROLLing1999

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League of Legends Build Guide Author TROLLing1999

[S4] Mid-lane Riven

TROLLing1999 Last updated on December 28, 2013
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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.



Offense: 21

Legendary Guardian

Defense: 9


Utility: 0

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Idealistic Introduction


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

Who is Riven?Why her?

Riven is a melee AD-Caster with great burst and lots of mobility throughout all stages of the game, which allows her to kill enemy squishy targets and go away/keep fighting on high health. As a side note, i would like to mention Riven's fast waveclears. She is widely known for her ability to snowball out of control and her carrying potential. Right now she is broken and she is often picked/banned in any ranked queue. When the circumstances are the proper ones, pick Riven top/mid/jungle.
Why Riven Mid?

Riven is very strong at top and mid and she does fine in the woods. The reason why I prefer to pick her on mid is simply that the enemies there are much squishier(and riven excels at killing them). In addition to this, at top a quick build of Chain Vest into Sunfire Cape(or any other armor item) can destroy you. Of course midders can build Seeker's Armguard to counter your damage but they are still quite squishy and with The Brutalizer you won't have any trouble bursting them down.

Does Riven have any weaknesses?

Well, all champions in the game have some. Hopefully, for Riven there are not too many of them atm. One major disadvantage Riven has is her lack of sustain, that's why I like double lifesteal on her. Another point is the fact that even with so much mobility, she is still exposed to hard CC and Kiting from ranged carries, which can be fixed by building some tankiness items. Finally, her playstyle looks quite tricky and indeed mastering Riven will take some time and need some practice.

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Summoner Spells

Even with 4 gapclosers this spell is essential. Flash can be used both aggressively(to catch fleeing enemies or to engage) or defensively(to escape from sticky situations).vladamar
The over time true damage from Ignite will allow you to kill enemies faster/ easier , while the healing effect reduction is very effective against champions with natural sustain bonus like Vladimir.

Any other spell is sub-optimal to bad. So these 2 are the obvious choices for Riven.

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  • Tier 1: In the defense tree you focus on inreasing your laning power. Block will ignore some of the damage dealt by basic attacks( ranged midders often harass melee charachters with AA). Recovery is my second choice over Enchanted Armor , since you don't build many resistances anyway.

  • Tier 2: Unyielding has more or less the same use with Block but it doesn't ignore only damage dealt by basic attacks, while Veteran Scars gives a considerable amount of health that is very useful in the very early game phases.

  • Tier 3: Juggernaut increases your healt even more. The 3% percent is not that awesome but it is the best place to put the 1 remaining points.

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Greater Mark of Attack Damage

Greater Seal of Armor

Greater Glyph of Magic Resist

Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage

Alternative Choices

Why not Armor Penetration?

Many AD-Casters run greater mark of armor penetration and/or greater quintessence of armor penetration. Riven, however, benefits more from attack damage. She deals more damage with AD Marks and Quints and even her defense spell, Valor, scales with AD. So armor pen in runes is kinda waste of IP.

For more information about runes in general click on this link:

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Passive Ability

Your passive ability increases the damage dealt by basic attacks equal to your number of stacks(maximum 3, expires in 5 sec if not recharged). In trades auto attack between abilities for maximum damage. The bonus damage works with life steal but it does not increase the damage dealt by critical strikes and the damage dealt to turrets.

Q Ability
Broken Wings is your main damage ability. Note that between each cast there is a short cooldown of half a second. Broken Wings do not apply hit-effects but they are a very easy way to proc your passive, gapclose or escape since you can pass through some walls. Broken Wings will be casted towards the place/enemy your cursor indicates so it's kind of a skillshot ability. It might be a little tricky to use at first place but it's not so difficult either.
CLICK TO VIEW: Walls you can pass through using Broken Wings

W Ability
Ki Burst is your secondary damage source and and more CC ability. It can help you stick to targets and it allows you to auto attack them between abilities for more damage output. The damage/stun is AoE but it has impact only in a very small area, which you have to be aware of when trading/chasing.

E Ability
Valor is a defensive ability that absorbs an amount of damage and makes Riven dash in a direction. It doesn't pass through walls though and it cannot be used while being snared/stunned. Except from a defensive use Valor can be activated in order to gapclose and excecute combos.

R Ability
Blade of the Exile is your ultimate ability. On the first cast, Riven gets bonus AD and bonus range on Broken Wings and Ki Burst. The bonus AD gives indirectly bonuses to your abilities due to better scalings. Use it at the beginning of a trade/fight more maximum damage ouput.
On the second cast, you can activate Wind Slash, which is a shockwave in a cone in front of Riven, which deals physical damage equal to the enemies' missing health. This makes her a great ability to excecute low health fleeing enemies. After using Wind Slash, the bonuses of Blade of the Exile remain until the duration of the ultimate ends.

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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

Broken Wings is your main damage source so you max it first under any circumstance. Then you usually get Ki Burst to increase your damage output and you maximize Valor last because it is a defense/ultility spell. In hard matchups you might want to max Valor at level 13 though for more surviveability. In any case get Blade of the Exile whenever possible.

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Build Preface

I made this chapter because i would like to explain some things that can not be said in the itemisaton section(it would be too long and boring). You can skip this if you want, otherwise be prepared to read this, walls of texts are ahead.

Build Priorities

1)Attack Damage: I know i'm repeating myself but...there is no other stat Riven benefits as much as she does from attack damage. It's vital for your damage output to have a considerable amount of AD, not to mention that Valor, your defensive spell, scales with AD.

2)Cooldown Reduction: Every caster AP or AD needs CDR. You rely a lot on your abilities for damage ouput so CDR is critical. Note that the CDR cap is 40%.

Just below there is an image illustrating the cooldown your abilities will have with10%/20%/40% at level 18.

3)Armor Penentration/Reduction and Life Steal: These two stats are both important. Armor pen/reduction will increase your damage output significantly against any enemy, while life steal is neccessary since you don't have any natural sustain.

4)Defenses: You need resistances/health to stay alive. However, you should not build more than 2 defense items in a game since this will cost a lot of damage output, which is essential to complete your main task( kill the enemies).

Double ArP vs. Double LS vs. Double Defense

Which is essential? Why?
On Riven ArP/Armor reduction is essential because it increases the damage output against any enemy, tanky or squishy. The core ArP is Last Whisper because it is really cost efficient as it gives 35 AD and 35% ArP for only 2300 gold. After this you can choose between Youmuu's Ghostblade and the The Black Cleaver

Defense or Life Steal?
In the build priorities I said that LS(=Sustain) is more important than Defenses. This it true in a game when you are in a game you're already winning by a lot. In this case, LS+AD items like The Bloodthirster and Ravenous Hydra will boost your damage and allow you to make some risky plays thanks to the huge healings. In a close game though, and especially when you have to face strong ranged enemies that can kite you to death defenses will be proved more important than sustain cuz they will allow you to reach the enemy without having taken so much damage. Just make sure one of your defensive items will give some AD so that your burst doesn't disappear.

In few words:
In a game you're highly likely to win: ArP/Armor Reduction > Life steal > Defenses
In a close game: ArP/Armor Reduction > Defenses > Life Steal

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Starting Items

Warding Totem is the obvious Trinket choice. The 1 minute vision it provides will safe you from enemy ganks. If you face Teemo ,however, you can go for Sweeping Lens. Do not give gold for Trinket upgrades before late game.

Doran's Blade is a very common start for AD champions. It gives you some bonus AD, while it ensures your safety thanks to HP and HP gained on hit. It works well with Greater Quintessence of Life Steal. You also have place for 1 Health Potion.

Long Sword gives you 10 AD( more than Doran's Blade gives) for 360 gold which means that it lets space for 3 Health Potions. Get this against easy opponents or if you prefer passive sustain over on-hit sustain.

Rejuvenation Bead is the best start against opponents that can regularly harass you from safe range. All the sustain it gives will guarantee your presence in lane. You can go with 2 Rejuvenation Beads and 3 Health Potions or 1 Rejuvenation Bead and 5 Health Potions and 1 Stealth Ward.

Elixir of Fortitude is an all-in start. Get this against easy matchups or against enemies you can easily kill at the very early stages of the game. I wouldn't recommend it for beginners because starting with red pot and getting killed will means that you won't be able to buy any items, which will destroy you. There is place for 4 Health Potions.

Early-Mid game builds

This is a build I like to follow quite often. Ionian Boots of Lucidity are the perfect boots for Riven due to the CDR. Then you buy The Brutalizer for increased damage output, followed by a Vampiric Scepter for more sustain. Whether you get B. F. Sword into The Bloodthirster is determined by who your enemy is and how you are attemptiong to snowball. This build is ideal against enemies with slow waveclears(with Tiamat you would push too much) and/or when you're ganking other lanes to get kills.

Again, you rush Ionian Boots of Lucidity for the CDR, The Brutalizer for increased damage output and Vampiric Scepter for on-hit sustain. Afterwards you buy Tiamat into Ravenous Hydra for more AoE damage and faster waveclears. This build is really worth the value against enemies with fast waveclears that can push you to your tower and deny you farm.

/ This build should be used against matchups that have huge AP poke. Mercury's Treads and Hexdrinker will give you a bunch of MR along with tenacity and a shield that absorbs magic damage when being at low hp. Then you must buy Vampiric Scepter and The Brutalizer for more sustain and damage output. If your enemy has a good waveclearing potential go for Ravenous Hydra, if not rush The Bloodthirster.

Offensive Items

Last Whisper is essential. It gives 35 AD and 35% Armor Penetration for only 2300 Gold. Buy it immediately after your life steal item. It will help you counter the armor the enemies will already have started building and it will increase your damage output. The Black Cleaver is one of the two upgrades of The Brutalizer. It gives a lot of AD, some CDR, flat armor pen, a bunch of HP and of course % armor reduction on hit which means that you and your allies will deal more physical damage to this target. All these are stats Riven needs and that's why it should be built after Last Whisper. Youmuu's Ghostblade is the other upgrade of The Brutalizer and a good alternative for The Black Cleaver. It gives less AD, same CDR, more ArP and instead of health it provides Crit Chance. The most amazing part is the active which increases your burst and your chasing potential. All this for 2700 gold. Get it when being far ahead.

Defensive Items

Armor Choices
  • Guardian Angel: This item is a good choice when you're being focused in teamfights and/or far ahead.
  • Randuin's Omen: Great item when AD carries are kiting you non-stop and/or you want to duel with auto-attackers such as Tryndamere. The slow can be used for chasing or dueling.

Magic Resistance
  • Maw of Malmortius: If you built an early Hexdrinker you might want to upgrade it into this. It provides even more AD and an extra shield against magic damage.
  • Mercurial Scimitar: This item is worth the money only if you're facing high CC teams. The AD is nice but still it shall not be your number 1 choice.
  • Spirit Visage: Lots of magic resist along with 20% CDR, 400 health and a boost on self healing effects like lifesteal. Great against AP heavy teams.
  • Banshee's Veil: It's good but it cannot be compared with the other 3 MR choices. It can be a solid replacement for Mercurial Scimitar if you can't activate it withing these few seconds or it can be bought when specific abilities disturb you like Blitzcrank's rocket grab.

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Tactical Play

Laning Phase

For Riven a good laning-phase means out of control snowballing for the rest of the game. So it's vital to do things correctly here. When playing mid-lane Riven there are 4 major aspects: Farming, Trading, Ganking, Warding.

  • Your farming milestone should be 120+ minions at minute 20.00. Anything less means you have kinda failed.
  • Generally, you don't want to push too much cuz you will be unable to trade without being hit by the turret and because you will be openly exposed to ganks. So try to freeze the lane somewhere close to your turret. This can be achieved by last hitting, which is the proccess of dealing only the killing blow to a creep.
  • There will be some cases where you will want to push the lane like when you're about to turret dive a low HP enemy or when your matchup is ganking another lane and you want to destroy the turret to equalize the pressure put on the two teams.
  • In the middle, freezing a lane is more difficult than doing so at top/bot. So make sure you don't loose your turret early or that you don't destroy the enemy's turret too early.
  • You can deny the enemy's farm by Auto-Attacking him when he is about to last hit.

  • Riven's full trading potential is after level 3, when she has all her abilities and can stack Runic Blade quickly.
  • When trading don't use your abilities the one after another but auto-attack in between for maximum damage output.
  • An easy way for first blood against squishy opponents is the Valor> Ki Burst>AA> Ignite>1st stack of Broken Wings>AA>2nd and third stack of Broken Wings. Note that this should be excecuted quickly. There are more combos, which will be explained later but this is the easiest to pull off.
  • After winning a trade you can push the lane to the enemy's tower and then recall, so that the enemy does not gain much XP when he comes back.
  • Before going into a trade you should consider items, abilites, levels and how trades that have taken place earlier ended up. If these facts are not in your favour, avoid trading.

Ganking/ Roaming
  • Only gank a lane when the enemy midder is missing as well. Otherwise, you will probably loose your turret.
  • In cases, when the enemy mid-laner is babysitting top/bot then you can either help your teammates(only if it's really neccessary) or push the lane and destroy the enemy tower.
  • Make every gank count by getting a kill/assist. Otherwise you have just wasted your time and lost farm.
  • You can gank normally from the river or turn right go to the bush that leads to golems and red and gank from behind. This is a very easy way to secure kills when the enemy is pushing but there is the danger of being seen by the minions. So wait for the perfect time.
  • Babysitting is not something I like when playing as Riven because it draws people's and brings many champions to the same lane. You don't want teamfights so early so babysit only if it is 110% neccessary.

  • Good warding will save you from enemy gank which could kill you and stuff.
  • As a mid-laner you don't need to ward for all your allies but only for your own safety.
  • Putting wards in the bushes at the left and the right side of middle is a must do. You can also ward the tiny bushes near dragon and baron for extra safety.
  • Wards last 3 minutes and trinkets 1. Have this in mind when warding.
  • Most junglers don't gank before level 3/4 so do not waste your Warding Totem by putting it very early.


Teamfighting is the most tricky part when playing as Riven. People are generally aware of your damage and make sure their potect theiself and their carries. If they see you trying to reach an enemy squishy target they will focus you with CC and take you down in a matter of miliseconds. So what do you have to do?

Riven's task is to kill the squishy high-dps carries and not to initiate fights or protect allies from assasins. To do this you have to look for gaps in the enemys front line; move constantly and wait for your/their tanks to initiate and then boom!!! Flash+ Valor to reach the enemy followed up by Ki Burst for the stun. AA then use Broken Wings(more combos in tips and tricks section). If it is possible AA between the charges...Don't forget to use Ignite.

If the enemies don't commit any mistakes then stay behind your tanks and kill any enemy coming close enough to you. In any case DO NOT OVEREXTEND!


That's your other option during late game. If your team is causing pressure to the enemies by getting objectives(turrets, dragon) or if your enemies push another lane(not mid) go top/bot and push to hell.

Riven has very fast waveclears with Broken Wings, Ki Burst and Ravenous Hydra, while the mobility she has allows her to escape from sticky situations. As a side note, her huge damage output that allows her to duel with one or even 2 enemies. What Riven is not so good at is taking down turrets quickly. The 50% bonus AS from Youmuu's Ghostblade's active is a great help in this situation.

When you are splitpushing make sure your team has warded well and keep an eye for enemies trying to gank you. Do not overextend and do not miss when your team needs you for teamfights.

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Common Matchups

Coming soon!

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Tips & Tricks

Note that all these things mentioned above must be pulled offf quickly.

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Soooo...this was the guide. Hope it helped you discover the ins and outs of mid-lane Riven. I'll try to keep this updated and I will probably add/change things based on your suggestions.

Feedback and Constructive Criticism is appereciated. I'll try to keep this updated. For now, I am trying to add more content(to finish the matchup section),images(mainly screenshots) and videos(for visuals in the tips and tricks section) to the guide.

Thank you all but especially jhoijhoi for the teamplates that can be found here.

This is TROLLing1999 signing out...