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Riven Build Guide by AmasianGrace

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League of Legends Build Guide Author AmasianGrace

Season 6 Riven: You're Doing it Wrong

AmasianGrace Last updated on March 24, 2016
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Top Lane
Ranked #18 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.


Natural Talent
Bounty Hunter
Battering Blows
Piercing Thoughts

Ferocity: 0

Dangerous Game

Cunning: 18

Tough Skin
Runic Armor
Veteran's Scars
Legendary Guardian

Resolve: 12

Threats to Riven with this build

Show all
Threat Champion Notes
Darius Trade after level 3. Use abilities to stay as close to Darius as possible. If you can prevent the heal, you can force a flash or secure a kill as early as level 3.
Gangplank Easy. If building triforce or damage, you can 100-0 GP (using your spells for damage, not distance) at level 6. Very squishy. Can force flash at earlier levels, as well. Just be aware of Grasp of the Undying Parley poke.
Sion Bully this guy. Save your W to interrupt his Q charge up.
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Hey Riven players, meta hasn't been too nice for us lately has it? A lot of changes have happened since Riven was actually seen in bans. Item reworks (I will never forget you, brutalizer), Juggernauts (Garen w/ true damage? uh...), ADC reworks (harder to one shot ADC's), devourer/bruiser changes (Master Yi, Shyvana, Xin Zhao, enough said), Sunfire cape buffs, and most recently Hydra nerfs. I used to see other Riven players in ranked. I used to get worried that the other team would pick Riven. These aren't for no reason. The traditional Riven build has been on the decline, and is almost unplayable for the average player in Season 6. Just look at Riven's page. Look at the very sad graphs. </3

Through about 150 games of experimentation in normals and in ranked on a smurf, I've finally found a build that can be considered "hidden op," and I'm ready to share it with all my fellow despairing Riven one-tricks. Let's make Riven great again! (sorry, I had to)

One last thing - This is my first guide. I'm trying to be as detailed as possible, but I neither have the knowledge or the time to include videos, fancy art/banners etc. Just trying to get this build out there as fast as possible. I know it's more than likely that this guide will get 0 views at all, but as long as the true hardcore Riven mains can find it, I'm happy.

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Under the runes menu, Mobafire is listing some pretty cool items. I can't figure out how to make it work. So I'll write it out here -
9x AD marks
9x Armor seals
6x Scaling CDR glyphs
3x MR glyphs
3x AD Quints
Pretty standard, but for a reason ('cause it's so good).

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Masteries are where things are very customizable. This guide focuses on building Riven into an unkillable killing machine. So let's think. If you're going to live in teamfights, you'll get to 10 Stacks of Fervor no problem and get upwards of 80 bonus AD. Not bad. Going into the ferocity tree also gives you some much needed laning sustain (Feast and vampirism), as well as some armor pen. against that tanky Garen/Nautilus you're probably going to be against and some Attack Speed to animation cancel faster.

On the other hand, for Riven, CDR is a beautiful thing. More damage, more survivability, more mobility. Along with easily proc-ed Thunderlord's on top of Merciless's synergy with Wind Slash and Dangerous Game? Cunning is personally my favorite tree for Riven.

It really is up to you. Since Intelligence increases CDR cap AND gives CDR, you don't need to compensate by adding CDR to your Rune page if want Fervor.

Alright, now let me explain why it's a good idea to go 12 into Resolve. 1) Recovery - Riven's base health regen is pretty ****, let's be real. Riot even buffed it (wow Riven buffs?? We'll get to that later). Even after the buffs, I still think it needs help. 2) Veteran's Scars is just really good for early game. 45 free health? Yes please. Especially if you start with the common longsword, three pots. The extra health makes trading a lot less punishing and really helps versus the tankier champions of today's top lane meta. And 3) Insight. A Riven's flash is gamechanging. It means the death of the enemy team's two carries. It means the 5 man knock up into follow up and a 5 man execution. 15% CDR is a must.

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Summoner Spells

Flash is a given. If you aren't taking flash on Riven you haven't actually unlocked the Flash summoner spell.

Teleport - The second best spell. A lot of utility. You can set up bot lane ganks snowballing into dragons and good teamfights, you can swing fights and engage from fog of war or any favorable position, really. You can also use this to save towers, get back to that huge wave of minions etc. Biggest though is probably splitting. Riven is a great split pusher. Fed, she can take down 2 or three members of the enemy team by herself and if the enemy team commits to you, your team can take free objectives on the other side of the map. If the enemy team tries to fight your team, you can 1) ask them to stall while you take objectives or 2) teleport to the fight.

Ignite - Situational. Against cheese picks and some harder matchups. I would recommend taking ignite vs. Tryndamere mainly, but if you aren't confident, take it against Volibear, Trundle, Fiora etc. Riven is a monster with ignite. Basically, if you don't think you're going to be able to farm/in an unfamiliar matchup, take ignite to dumpster their toplaner and get strong.

Exhaust - I never take it, but it's a close second to ignite.

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Skill Order

Q Max first is basically a given. I know Boxbox went through a phase where he maxed E first into W and then Q. There's some logic there, since maxing Q doesn't lower its CDR, but you also sacrifice a lot of your damage. Sure, you get more button presses, but it also takes a lot more button presses to actually kill somebody. Lots of cons to this as well. CS'ing under tower is going to be a lot more difficult, and killing squishies is going to take longer. If you want to carry soloqueue, you have to be able to at least 1v1 the enemy ADC. That being said, it's ok to put points into E at level 4 and maybe even 5 if laning against heavy, hard to dodge poke like Pantheon's spears.

Maxing W second - OK. It gives you a lot more burst, a lot more damage early to mid game, but you sacrifice mobility and survivability. If E being on a 5+ second cool down is cool
with you, go for it.

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Laning Tips and Tricks

All you have to remember -
Riven is a snowball champion. One dumb move at 2 minutes, and you get chunked, you can't farm, you can't fight, you're behind early-mid, you're a non-factor, game is 4v5 because you have to farm top at 35 minutes to complete your 3rd item, you've lost. That's all it takes. Same for the other team. as soon as you hit level 3 and chunk the **** out of that obnoxious Gnar, you have total control of top, you can free farm, you can dive w/ flash, you can one shot some disrespectful squishies, and you can win.

Farming -
It's so important to know which trades to take. Against most meta toplane champions, Riven gets bullied. Riven is the epitome of melee. She has no range capacity whatsoever, other than Wind Slash. In order to farm, Riven HAS to walk up to the wave. And if you get chunked early, you will die if you walk up against that Garen/Renekton/Pantheon. Show some respect, let those 3 minions die, and settle for exp until it's safe to farm. With practice, you can also farm with Q. People don't expect this, and if you're level 2, you can swipe in, grab one or two melee minions, and E, 2nd Activation Q out of range. Pretty neat, but practice it.

Power spikes -
HUGE power spike at level 3. Go for trades here, and make sure you make meaningful use of your abilities. For example, if you E-W when you're already in range to just W, your shield goes to waste, because the enemy probably can't do damage while stunned.
Obvious powerspike at level 6, be careful about all-ins at level 4 and 5
Riven has a lot of kill potential, even when counterpicked. Say you get a Garen down to 500~ Health (keep reading). At that point you don't have to worry about Garen's silence anymore. Just E-R-Q-W-Auto-R-Q-Auto, you don't even need to auto after every ability to kill him. Always remember your ultimate is an execution as powerful as a Garen's ultimate. If you can chip away at an opponent's health, and pay attention to their exp/level (look at how many allied minions vs enemy minions there are in the wave and look at your own exp til 6), you can catch an enemy off guard and get an easy 300 gold.

Counterpicks -
Think about this stuff, and it's simple. Now I'm going to do the thinking for you and it'll just be simple.
I'm going to take a couple "hard Riven counters" (somewhere in the threats feature that Mobafire has and that I honestly didn't know existed) and tell you why a good Riven actually wins.
As an example,and most commonly used as a counterpick (in my experience), Garen. We all know that if you put Garen and Riven together and just tell them to fight, Garen wins. But why? Oh, well he has a silence, which negates Riven's damage, mobility, and survivability. Without a silence though? A whole different story. At level one-three, assuming Garen doesn't put two points into his Q, his silence is on a fairly long cooldown. I'm not going to look it up ('cause I'm lazy but don't tell anyone), but 7-9 seconds is probably accurate. In lane, his silence is also his main source of damage. It chunks. I know.
So here's a common trade pattern I use versus this abnormally buff d00d-
If his silence is off cooldown - Q onto him, stun, auto and proc Thunderlord's, shield away to absorb Garen's Q damage and stay out of range of his spin move.
If his silence is on cooldown (he Q'd a minion or something) - Just fight him. Watch for his W, and save you auto's and spells for when it wears off to do the most damage. Always keep in mind when his Q is coming back up and back off before he gets a chance to land it on you.

Remember that cooldowns generally lower as people put points in the ability, so when facing a level 9 Garen, you have a much narrower time to get in damage.

You can use this trade pattern against a lot of champions. It will take a lot of practice and patience, but it works very well. If you keep track of cooldowns, most lanes aren't as bad as they seem to be.

Getting Ganked -
A lot of junglers look at Riven and say, wow. I can't lock down Riven. She has 4 dashes! That's wrong. And you have to know that that's wrong. At level three, your abilities are on ridiculous cool downs. All 10 seconds +. Try not to use abilities when pushed up, because if the enemy jungler is there, well you're just gonna have to spam right click at your tower and pray that you live.

Getting Ganks -
Riven has a surprisingly long engage range. By stringing together your E and Q, you can catch most melee champions and ranged champions. When getting a gank, pay attention to your jungler's position and engage range (Lee Sin Q vs. Rammus taunt) and use that information to know when to start the fight. You want to start the fight before your jungler arrives. Make the enemy player commit to the fight and then use that to secure the kill.

This is a hefty chapter, but it accurately reflects the importance of laning. Never forget that the smallest things are gamechanging when it comes to playing Riven and League of Legends in general.

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Explanation for other buys are under notes. This chapter is dedicated to the Situational items.

Ok let's talk situational. Maw is good versus AP heavy teams. (2 or more AP, you can build Magic Resist versus devourer junglers, too, since on hit does AP, but keep in mind that they also do a lot of true + physical) The question is when to buy it. If you're against an AP heavy top laner like Rumble or Teemo, go for the hexdrinker and then continue with your build, finishing Maw at times depending on how strong their AP users are. Against a lighter AP user like Vlad, skip the early hexdrinker and go for the vamp scepter and caulfield's components of Death's Dance. Vlad is low damage early, so you can outsustain him with just the 10% lifesteal and still kill him in all-ins.
If they have an AP heavy mid laner and jungler, finish Maw after black cleaver, but before bloodthirster. By the time you have Death's Dance and about half of black cleaver, team's will start grouping, so the sooner you finish cleaver and work towards maw, the better.

No AP? Take last item Deadman's or Randuin's. No threats whatsoever? Grab Mortal Reminder or LDR. (probably not going to happen)

For the boots - ONLY buy ninja tabi's if 1) you're dying to AD AND 2) they have kite/CC
Here's why. CC is the only way to shut down this Riven build. By the time you get Sterak's, you're pretty much a tank and an assassin. But CC is still a threat. Let's think about the build. You have 2 (3 if you count Maw) lifesteal items along with extra health and Death's Dance's bleed passive. The whole idea of this build is to make sure you don't pop (Death's Dance, Sterak's, Maw, Cleaver) and sustain so that you can't die to the bleed that absorbs the damage. If you get locked down, you won't be able to make use of Death's Dance's passive to lifesteal.
If you don't get it (I know I'm not the best at explaining) think about it this way:
You're playing Riven, full build. (DD, BC, BT, SG, MT, MM) Let's say you have 3000 HP. Imagine that the enemy team has a Jhin that can crit you for all of your health. He crits you. You take 2550 damage and the rest of the damage is bleeding on you, roughly 100 true damage per second. But don't worry you aren't going to die. Actually, you're going to attack any monster/minion/champion in range, using your empowered auto's to heal 200 hp per hit, your abilities to heal for 33% of damage given, and animation cancelling to get more autos off. But then you get stunned and the bleed kills you because you aren't able to lifesteal. r.i.p.
If you STILL don't understand the concept of this build, well just try it. You'll see what I mean.
Anyway, back to the boots, with the recent buff to 30% tenacity for Merc Treads, these shoes are very strong and synergize very well with the build.

Same idea with QSS/Merc Scimitar. Don't get CC'ed.

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Teamfighting with Riven is like teamfighting as Kha'Zix or Katarina. You have to choose the right moment to go in to burst an enemy carry down and live yourself to DPS vs. tanks. If your team has engage like Amumu or Sejuani, wait for them to engage and follow up with your AOE CC abilities. If you ARE the engage, then be very careful choosing your fights. If you engage, you have to make sure you catch all threats in your CC. For example, if the other team has a WW, make sure you hit WW as well as their carries so that WW is unable to suppress you before you finish off the damage dealers. Easier said than done. Normally, if you are the engage look for picks with your flash. Distortion plus Insight give flash a disgustingly low cooldown and with E-R-Flash-3rd Q you can land your knockup from some pretty crazy distances. Just make sure your team can catch up if you can't take out the rest of their health by yourself.
Always aim to kill the backline first. If you can dive and kill the backline, do it. If you can't, you can either wait until the backline is low enough or peel for your own backline. After their carries are dead, peel for your teammates or just fight the enemy team's tanks. with this build, it's almost impossible for you to die versus tanks as long as you avoid crowd control.

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General Game Sense and Mechanics

Game sense. Sadly, I'm not going to teach you much about this. This is a Riven guide, not an entire League of Legends guide. But you still need Game Sense to play Riven, and any other champion for that matter. So for this section, I'm going to list the things a Riven player needs to focus on and why. Mastering these will come down to you through practice and reflection.

Wards/Junglers - Like I said, Riven snowballs. So junglers and roaming supports/ midlaners have a massive impact. Always be wary of the minimap and don't go for all-ins unless you know where the jungler is, or you can 1v2.

What you can win, How you can win - A 1v2 outplay toplane can get Riven rolling and end the game. Look at items, gauge damage, and think about what you need to do to win a fight.

Splitting - splitpushing is an effective strategy when executed correctly. Know when your team needs help and when you have to TP, and make sure your team is in position before overextending. If you die for free while your team isn't in position to do baron or take towers, it can snowball into an inhibitor or baron.

Teamfighting - know how to engage, when to engage, how to stay alive, who to kill, who to avoid, whether or not to peel, etc. This takes a lot of experience and practice. Be familiar with Riven's damage and kit adjust your decision-making to past games.

Mechanics -
Some stuff to focus on and exercise in custom or normal games are the "fast combo" (look it up, boxbox has an excellent guide on it), wall hopping, corner cutting, animation cancelling, and CC timing.

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So this marks the end of the guide. I was inspired by the popular Death's Dance, Phantom Dancer Graves build, and I adjusted it to suit the CDR needs that Riven has. The basic concept of the build, if you haven't picked up on it by now, is to be tanky enough to survive any burst that comes your way and be able to lifesteal back to full by the time the damage catches up to you. I didn't make this guide to be a fancy piece of artwork and I hope my tone and word choice kept you guys interested. Try this build out in a game, and comment! Any feedback is appreciated.