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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Riven Guide

I am putting the symbolic "main" tag on Riven. I have been playing her since her release and after reading several guides and experimenting, I feel comfortable enough to write a brief guide on her.
To start, let me say that I have a great winning percentage with her - I have easily won more than I lost (albet in normal games).

If you're in a hurry and need some quick pointers, here is a brief summary of how to succeed with her:
  1. Take attack damage marks and quints, armor seals, and cool down reduction blues
  2. Jungle with her using the standard 21/0/9 build, ignoring anything that adds ability power
  3. Take smite and flash
  4. Skill order: start with q then e, after that go in this order: r > w > e > q
  5. Start with doran's blade - your jungle route should be wolves -> wraiths -> golems -> return to base to buy 2 health pots -> blue -> gank (important to gank whenever you see an opportunity)
  6. Item build is doran's blade -> boots-> brutalizer -> lvl 2 boots (either mercs or ninja) -> IE 
Riven belongs in the jungle

I strongly suggest you jungle with Riven. She is an ideal jungler because she:
  1. has no mana;
  2. has a fast clearing time with just doran's blade; and
  3. has strong ganks.
Runes, Masteries, and Summoner Spells

I think Riven is like Akali in that you need certain runes to be really effective. You need to take flat AD marks and quints to succeed with her. All of her skills scale well with AD, and the more you have early game the easier it will be to: (1) gank early and (2) safely jungle. In the jungle, you'll also need armor seals. Glyphs are debatable, but I run cooldown reduction but I've seen others succeed with magic resist. 

For masteries, stick with the standard 21/0/9 set up, and be sure to take any that gives added damage or cool down reduction. Anything with magic penetration or ability power is useless to you.

For summoner spells, you'll want smite for jungling. I use flash all the time, but there have been situations where ignite would've been helpful.

Skill order and priority

Start with q, then get e for the shield. After that, the order is: r> w> e> q. You need to start with q because each time you use it, your passive is activated. This gives you extra damage that you need in the jungle. I take e second because the shield helps you mitigate damage, which helps you jungle without exposure to counter jungling and it helps you gank. Once you get q and e, w becomes the priority. W gives you great aoe damage and it is your most important skill for ganking. 

Some may ask why I max q last. The reasoning is simple - w and e get lower cool downs each time you level it up, whereas q does not. The extra damage from q, which is very small, does not warrant leveling it up early.

Jungle Route

My route is wolves -> wraiths -> golems -> return to base and buy 2x health pots -> blue -> wolves -> gank. This route allows me to gank at level 4 with blue buff. Blue buff is very important because it greatly reduces your cooldown reductions. If I see an opportunity to gank before I get blue, then I'll gank. Conversely, if my team has pushed all lanes to the enemy's towers, then I'll keep jungling. 

Item Build

As I stated earlier, I start with doran's blade. Starting with this item is very important for Riven because it gives you even more attack damage, which will make it even easier to get a kill early game. If you go the more traditional route of either cloth armor or vampiric scepter, you miss out on valuable attack damage that you need early game. 

Here is my item-purchase order:

doran's blade -> two health potions (after returning to base at level 3) -> boots -> brutalizer -> upgrade boots (usually ninja tabi) -> infinity edge. 

By the time I finish infinity edge, the game is usually almost over. If not, then what I build is dependent on the enemy team. If their mages are hurting me, then I'll build a hexdrinker. If, however, I'm surviving well, then I will continue building AD. This means I build Black Cleaver -> Bloodthirster -> Ghostblade.

I've seen builds that recommend Bloodthirster over Infinity edge. This is not ideal because Riven is a high risk champion - you will likely die a few times and lose the bonuses on Bloodthirster. I wait until late game to Bloodthirster because by this time, I'll have enough AD to survive and dying will be less likely.


  • It is immensely important that you gank early. This is true for any jungler, but with Riven you're almost guaranteed a kill/assist because of her mobility and stun. 
  • Riven is squishy and has stats similar to assassins. This means that you should never initiate a fight. You need to come in once the fight is initiated and clear house.
  • When you enter a team fight, make sure you activate your ulti first. Go straight for the enemy's carry and spam "q." You need to spam "q" in team fights because you want to knock up the enemy then follow with "w" to stun. There will be a few seconds where your accumulated passive charges will proc, so don't worry about wasting them.
  • Use your "e" to bait the enemy to attack you. Late game your "e" will provide you with a big damage shield. Use this to your advantage by baiting enemy players to attack you when low on life. Once they move in, use your "e," follow with "w," and melt them.
  • Don't forget you're a mobile champion, but only when you use your "q" and "e." Don't get in the habit of simply right clicking on Riven to move to a location and then wait for her to get there. Always use your "q" and "e" to get around (unless of course you'll put it on cooldown when you need it).

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