V1per's Official 2020 Riven Guide
Fri 6th Nov 2020 - 12:43am
When we think Riven, there are many things that naturally come to mind. Powerful, challenging, fun to play… and of course, Dignitas’ own Rank 1 Riven expert, Omran “V1per” Shoura. Throughout this guide, we will take a look into the inner workings of one of the most dominant Riven players in League of Legends history, both through solo queue and in the professional scene. From everything about her matchups to item progression and more, read on!
To consider Riven’s mechanical matchups, we must consider what makes Riven so strong. Her high mobility allows her to create opportunities against opponents even from distance, so she can get into effective range with ease. When her mobility is easily countered, or her effectiveness up close can be turned against her, she will begin to feel mechanically outmatched.
V1per: Riven’s biggest counters are Renekton, Lucian and Jayce. Renekton is able to break her shield, which makes it incredibly hard to all-in on him through the game. He outpokes her to make this extremely difficult, but you can potentially go all-in at level 1 and coinflip the game on that fight; I haven’t had a lot of trouble since thinking like this but it might be hard if you’re unfamiliar with the matchup. Lucian is honestly nearly unplayable as a matchup, you just have to farm and hope for ganks while he farms and dashes away from all of your damage. This goes for Jayce too. If he just saves his E (Thundering Blow) for when you move forward then he can just deny your engage and continue poking you down. However, if you get help from your Jungler or punish their mistakes after level 6 you can find a way around their poke and pick up some kills too.
Following the same logic, Riven will feel most in her element when her opponents struggle against mobility and burst damage. While Riven is weaker than most Top Lane powerhouses while they’re behind in a match, a skilled Riven pilot can put the team on their back and carry them to a glorious victory when it comes down to skill.
V1per: Riven’s most comfortable matchups in my opinion are Jax, Mordekaiser and Camille. All these champs are played a lot right now and Riven does well into all of them. That being said, Riven is not a champ you can just first time into any of these, you need to know what you’re doing, but Riven wins early against all of these champs if you start Doran’s Blade (except Mordekaiser, where you’d start Long Sword and 3 Health Potions).
Over the years, there have been many different items that have synergised well with Riven, bringing her in and out of the meta on multiple occasions. With the introduction of lethality, Riven’s build is arguably in the most creative place it’s ever been, as she is able to buy tankier bruiser items or high-burst assassin items depending on the situation.
V1per: Riven’s two-item spike, Black Cleaver and Death’s Dance, is one of the strongest powerspikes in the game. Once you have these two items, you’re in a really good spot to start taking over the game. Youmuu’s Ghostblade is also great as a third item, as this gives you 40% CDR through items which makes you super difficult to shut down. Riven just feels so good once you get to this point.
The following build and build options are V1per’s preferred item progression. Ninja Tabis are preferred to Mercury’s Treads against an AD-heavy team, and vice versa against an AP-heavy team. Her four core items remain the strongest in an ideal game, however her final item can depend on whether or not she has a huge lead or whether she needs extra survivability against a team with hard CC.
Typically, Riven will follow a Q, E, W ability choice progression. This gives Riven a shorter cooldown on Valor earlier in the game, so that her mobility is enhanced and defensive capabilities can grow. V1per, however, has taken an alternative progression path as of late, and his full build progression and explanation can be seen below:
V1per: I’ve actually been doing Q to W max recently. It’s great against squishy top laners, so I can go for the most damage possible; people usually go for the E max second, but the W max feels really great to punish less tanky champions.
Riven’s power in extended fights is accentuated by shorter cooldowns and quick-hitting abilities. With this in mind, there can only be one clear choice when it comes to Keystone Runes, and that is Conqueror. Reaching 12 stacks ASAP is priority in fights, and Riven’s damage is maximised in the following rune selection:
V1per: My favourite Riven rune page is Conqueror, with Triumph, Tenacity or Alacrity (depending on the matchup, if you’re against hard CC you go Tenacity, but otherwise Alacrity is great) and almost every time I take Last Stand. As for secondary runes, you go Magical Footwear and Cosmic Insight every single game. No matter what, this should be your pick; the cooldown reduction is good early game, and you can feel it a little, but in the late game, when you have 45% CDR, you just feel unkillable.
Summoner Spells in the current meta highly favour global map presence, and as such Teleport is found to occur more often in Top Lane matchups. While Riven can operate effectively with Teleport, Ignite can be taken in matchups where aggression is needed more than utility.
V1per: It’s a Flash/Teleport angle almost every game. The only exception is against Renekton, where you should take Ignite so that you can get an advantage in that level 1 coinflip, to try and snowball against him.
Powerful Team Compositions
When considering the kind of teams that work best with Riven, you don’t necessarily need to keep a close eye on the meta. Of course, champions that are powerful in the current state of the game are always advantageous to have on your team, but Riven-based team compositions rely heavily on champions that can allow Riven free reign over the enemy’s back line. For that reason, champions that can spoon-feed Riven that invaluable kill gold are preferable choices, as outlined by V1per below:
V1per: On Support, an engage-tank like Leona or Nautilus feels great to play with as they can CC the enemy team while you flank. Otherwise, an enchanter such as Lulu is really good as she can buff you up while you go crazy on their carries. In the Mid Lane, Galio and Zilean are really good as they’re supportive Mid-Laners that can enable Riven in fights, which is why Lillia and Nidalee are fantastic in the Jungle with Riven as they can help set her up to best effect in fights.
Playstyle Tips and Tricks
Riven’s playstyle through the early game is greatly dependent upon her ability to secure a lead. As highlighted previously through the decision to take Ignite against Renekton, or V1per’s preference to max W for greater kill potential, the more proactive you are about finding kills early on in the match, the better you’ll set yourself up for success. Being conscious of the entire map when laning can lead to creative plays and kills for your whole team, which is exactly the kind of Riven player your team deserves.
V1per: In the early game: just. play. aggressively. I like to use my first Teleport to help out Bot Lane. I will always make sure my lane is good before I go though, I don’t want to lose a huge wave or give Turret Plating for free if I can help it, but transferring some of my lead into the other lanes is a great way to put your team on the front foot in the early game. If I’m winning lane really really hard, however, I’ll pretty much never leave Top Lane and just win the game through lane.
As the game goes on, your proactivity should not stagnate. After coming online, don’t just waste your power on pointlessly farming or neutrally contesting objectives, you need to feel confident in playing risky, especially when you have a team that can support you. When Riven is used to her fullest potential, she becomes nearly unstoppable and even when she does go down, it’s only after she directs enough attention away from her other carries for them to clean up in her wake.
V1per: In the late game, the moment you get your 3 item powerspike, you should take any fight possible. Push your lane out, and then look to flank other lanes to help your team start fights with your power; aim for this in every single game, and then if you can pick up Guardian Angel shortly after doing this then it’s just GG!
GG is right! We’d like to thank V1per for his time, advice and guidance in constructing this guide. You can check him out on Twitter @hiitsviper, as well as in our post-season interview, for all the latest updates.