Riven Champion Guide and Strategies for League of Legends

Riven Champion Guide and Strategies for League of Legends
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In the PC strategy game League of Legends, Riven the Exile is a melee champion best suited to close ranged skirmishes. She excels at moving quickly in and out of combat with great mobility, strong attack damage, and excellent defensive abilities that scale with her attack damage. Riven’s primary goal in a team is to act as a disruptor to enemy champions, interrupting them with strong, quick attacks and short stuns while coming out of battle relatively unscathed.

Masteries, Runes and Summoner Spells

The Mastery Trees

In League of Legends, masteries and runes serve as elements to enhance a champion’s abilities and power, among many other benefits. At summoner level 30 – the maximum attainable level in League of Legends – the most powerful masteries and runes become available to you for your full benefit.

The mastery section in League of Legends focuses on three skill trees: Offense, Defense and Utility. Each summoner receives 30 mastery points to use as they see fit in a skill tree. Riven’s primary role is as a fighter who focuses on attack damage, ergo she benefits most from the offensive and defensive mastery trees. For example, placing 21 points in offense and 9 in defense would offer greater attack damage to a champion such as Riven while also managing her natural frailty by placing several points into defensive abilities, such as extra armor and magic resistance.

Likewise, runes should provide a similar enhancement. Riven excels at close combat fighting due to her high base attack damage, but in contrast is rather frail. Runes are bought with the games in-game currency – earned by playing any game mode – and act as extra upgrades to a champion’s base statistics. For example, Riven benefits greatly from armor penetration runes for enemies with high armor, attack damage runes, and general defensive runes such as armor, magic resistance or dodge runes to help mitigate basic attacks from an enemy.

For example, a typical level 30 rune-page for Riven may include:

  • 9 Armor Penetration Marks
  • 9 Armor Seals
  • 9 Magic Resistance Glyphs
  • 3 Attack Damage Quintessences

Because of the great amount of runes available, these runes may be changed to better suit a particular user’s play style. Runes that increase movement speed, or grant health over time benefit Riven just as much during the lane phase.

Over the course of the game you will come across summoner spells that you can utilize in battle. Each summoner is granted the use of two summoner spells to use from a large list and bind them to the D and F keys for use. The effects some of these spells grant your champion are extremely useful and powerful, allowing you to escape dangerous situations and speed up your movements.

There are no right or wrong summoner spells to spells to choose from, however there are certain spells that are better for some champions than others. Because Riven excels at close ranged combat, summoner spells such as Exhaust which reduces an enemies armor, magic resistance, and slows their movement speed proves extremely beneficial to Riven during a fight. This spell combined with another like Ghost which increases your movement speed will allow you not only gain the upper hand in a fight, but allow you to escape as well should things not go as planned.


Riven’s primary abilities focus on her being able to dash in and out of close combat situations, and disrupting enemies attacks with short stuns and knock-backs, keeping enemies from advancing towards Riven and her allies from attacking them.

  • Broken Wings: Riven steps forward and lashes out in a series of powerful sword slashes. This ability can be activated up to 3 times in a short period.
    • 1st Use/2nd Use: Deals damage to a small area in front of her
    • 3rd Use: Jumps into the air and slams downward, causing a larger impact nova that deals damage and knocks nearby enemies back.
  • Ki Burst: Riven damages and stuns nearby enemies.
  • Valor: Riven dashes forward and gains a shield for a short duration.
  • Blade of the Exile(Ultimate): Riven’s sword reforms, giving her a percentage multiplier on her total attack damage, extended range on her damaging abilities and basic attacks and the ability to use Wind Slash once.
    • Wind Slash: While Blade of the Exile is active, Riven can reactivate the ability to emit a large shockwave that deals damage to all units hit based on their missing life.
  • Runic Blade (Passive): Riven’s abilities charge her blade, causing her to do bonus damage on her next basic attack. Riven can store up to 3 charges, but only expends one at a time.

Depending on the play style of the user, leveling up Riven’s abilities may be done in any order. For a more aggressive approach, consider leveling up Broken Wings and Ki Burst primarily, with less focus on Valor. This setup will allow Riven to increase her attack damage early on, while decreasing the cooldown on these particular skills as they level up. Likewise, for a more passive approach you should level up Valor as soon as possible to reduce any incoming damage Riven may receive.

Items and Equipment


There are several different roles Riven can fulfill to varying degree. Depending on the items you purchase during a game, she may be played as a bruiser champion with heavy defenses with less focus on physical damage output or with high physical damage, but as a much more frail combatant. When faced against an enemy team with both physical and magical based champions, it’s best to build Riven as a hybrid of both these types. Because Riven’s abilities all scale with physical damage, items that increase her damage help to improve her defensive abilities as well, such as her Valor skill, which grants her a temporary shield to absorb incoming damage.

Items such as:

  • Atma’s Impaler: (Unique Passive) You gain attack damage equal to 2% of your maximum health. Effects: +45 Armor, +18 Critical Strike
  • Frozen Mallet: (Unique Passive) Your basic attacks slow your target’s movement speed by 40% for 2.5 seconds (30% for ranged attacks). Effects: +20 Attack Damage, +700 Health
  • The Blood Thirster: (Passive) Gain 1+ Attack Damage and +0.25 lifesteal per kill (maximum +40 attack damage and +10 lifesteal). Bonuses are lost upon death. Effects: +60 Attack Damge, 15% Lifesteal

provide Riven with stats that both increase her physical attack damage, as well as her defensive stats, proving very beneficial to her. It is imperative to experiment with item choices to utilize Riven to her full potential based upon the enemy team composition, and whether or not they are more physical damage based, magical damage based, or a mixture of the two.

In Lane and the Jungle

Riven’s role during the lane phase of the game can vary between two separate roles. First is as a melee fighter in lane battling against opponents face to face in one of the three lanes – top, middle or bottom. Due to Riven’s nature as a strong close-ranged combatant, she is usually designated to either the solo-top or duo-bottom role, the latter of which is typical paired with a more supportive allied champion to assist the champion who deals the most damage, and should therefore benefit from more kills and gold gain.

The second role is as a jungler. This role assigns Riven to spend a portion of her time battling against monsters found across the game map to gain gold and experience, separate from the top, middle, or bottom lanes, allowing your solo-top lane to gain more experience than they would have were you there as well. In this role, you also assist the other lanes by “ganking” or otherwise surprising the enemy at random to score kills for your allies against the enemy.

In the jungle, Riven excels in two key areas: her strong base attack damage, and from the fact that she does not use a resource system (mana or energy) for her abilities that needs replenishing, unlike some other champions in the game. These two factors give Riven the ability to defeat monsters inside the jungle very quickly, allowing her to assist allies in their lanes much earlier.

Although there are no clear-cut routes to take within the jungle, a typical route for Riven may be as followed:

  • Defeat the wolf camp
  • Defeat the wraith camp
  • Defeat the mini-golems camp
  • Defeat the large golem camp (passive buff includes increased mana regeneration, and reduced cooldowns)
  • Defeat the lizard camp (passive buff includes increase attack damage, and slows the target enemy)

Because Riven does not rely on a mana or energy resource system, the large golem camp remains somewhat insufficient to start at as its passive buff merely provides mana regeneration and increased cooldown reduction, of which only the latter is useful to Riven.

Team Composition

Team Composition

Team composition plays a large role in League of Legends in each game mode. A well-balanced team will consist of champions who deal magical damage, champions who excel at physical combat, and those who are more sturdy and able to withstand large amounts of damage dealt to them in order to protect their more frail allies. It’s imperative to place Riven on a balanced team capable of fulfilling each role, in order for Riven to reach her full potential.

Having a sturdy, “tank” champion who can soak up damage and initiate battles against the enemy team will allow Riven to weave in and out of combat without taking too much damage when rushing in using abilities like Valor. It’s important to know when and who on your team should lead the way into an oncoming fight. Sturdy champions such as Amumu who can pull himself to an enemy at a great distance, and stun surrounding enemies in a wide area benefit close-ranged combatants characters like Riven to a great degree, allowing Riven and other short-ranged fighters to close the gap between friend and foe.


This post is part of the series: League of Legends Champion Guides

A collection of miscellaneous champion guides for playing League of Legends.

  1. League of Legends - Champion Guide for Riven
  2. Champion Guide for Wukong in League of Legends
  3. League of Legends Guide to Akali
  4. League of Legends Guide to Playing Sona, The Maven of the Strings
  5. League of Legends Champion Guide: Olaf Pre-Game
  6. League of Legends - Ezreal, The Prodigal Explorer
  7. League of Legends Champion Guide - Singed
  8. League of Legends Champion Guide - Malphite
  9. League of Legends Champion Guide - Kayle
  10. League of Legends -Amumu, The Sad Mummy
  11. League of Legends: Playing Veigar - The Tiny Master of Evil
  12. League of Legends: Annie, The Dark Child
  13. Playing as Teemo: The Swift Scout