Riven Build Guide

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Bounce for Noxus - A jungle guide to facestabbing fun

written by Ulminati

Riven Build

Table of Contents

  • Introduction

    Hello, and welcome to my shiny new Riven guide. You may know me from such guide as Facemelting with the Morg -- A ballet tribute to AP mayhem and, er, well that's it really.

    Riven is an AD-based bundle of bouncy joy. Her kit makes for an interesting playstyle, in which you mix autoattacks and your various spells to string combos together. A good Riven can dish out surprising amounts of damage while still remaining pretty tanky.

    Riven was touted as a solotop champion in the champion spotlight. Depending on her opponent, her laning phase can be pure hell as ranged enemies can kite her with impunity. Similarly, many casters will be able to do heavier harrasment than Valor can migitate. To counteract this, I have found Riven to be ideally suited for the jungle. Her jungle path is safe and she is mobile enough to land some pretty decent ganks. She's not the next Udyr or Nocturne, but she IS great fun to play.

    There are some solotop champions she will fare surprisingly well against. (Nasus springs to mind). But laning Riven is outside the purview of this guide. If you're looking to lane Riven, I reccomend looking up Xspecial's quite excellent guide on solomid.net or possibly Bradoshado's guide here on leaguecraft.

    As with my other guides, I have colour-coded sections for your convenience and easy browsing.

    Purple: Denotes a subsection of a larger topic
    Blue: Means something is optimal, very good and so forth. These are the tings you always want to acheive.
    Green: Means that something is generally good, but better alternatives may exist.
    Yellow: Is not bad per se, but may only be useful against/with very specific team compositions.
    Red: Means something is bad. Care should be taken to avoid it.

  • Pros / Cons

    - Can do multiple safe jungle paths
    - Early ganks (First one typically somewhere between 3:00 and 3:45)
    - Infinitely sustainable jungle from level 4 onwards
    - Can donate all blue buffs to mid
    - Decent ganks
    - Can solo dragon at level 6

    - Doesn't scale quite as hard into the late game as solotop Riven
    - Requires non-standard runes and masteries for her level 1-3 path
    - Counterjungle is not too impressive
    - Requires some lane farm in the mid-late game to remain useful.
    - Somewhat reliant on teammates to secure kills when ganking.

  • Abilities

    Runic Blade
    A really good passive. This means every point of Attack Damage you buy effectively becomes 1.5 points of Attack Damage when you attack. This is the main reason you gank so well, as your gapclosers will charge this and make your autoattacks deal obscene damage.

    Broken Wings
    Rivens signature ability. You can (and should!) activate it three times. But timing is important. Every use of this skill resets your autoattack timer and moves you forward roughly the distance your champion could've walked during an autoattack animation. This means that if you go Attack->Q->Attack->Q->Attack->Q->Attack you will basically be able to keep attacking a running enemy. It will also vastly increase your DPS when standing still as it's a ninja attackspeed buff.

    Don't overlook the fact that there is a knockup/knockback component to the third activation of the spell. An AoE knockup can be hugely disruptive to the enemy team in a teamfight, especially if you pounce on someone who is channeling.

    Finally, if you stand at the very edge of Jarvan's Cataclysm, you can use Broken wings to leap out of it.

    Ki Burst
    Your stun. 0.5 seconds may not sound like much, but it is also a PBAoE nuke and its cooldown can become extremely short. The spell has a casting time of 0.25 seconds, so the actual time you get to wail on someone who is stunned isn't too long. It is still enough to interrupt casts, catch up and gain a psychological upper hand since many people pannic once the "STUNNED!" text flashes on their monitor.

    Your shield and dash. It is spammable, but even after the Riven Hotfix it will by no means make you invulnerable like Mordekaiser. It's a decent gapcloser and the shield gives you great sustainability in the jungle coupled with a lifesteal item.

    Valor allows you to move through Cataclysm and Crystallize. It is a surefire way to make enemy Anivias and Jarvans rage at you. Neither this spell nor Broken Wings allows Riven to dash through terrain not created by another champion.

    Blade of the Exile
    Your ultimate. If you're level 6 or above you should activate this before every gank. The cooldown is short - you can get it down to 27 seconds at max CDR - so don't be afraid to spam it. The damage boost applies to all your spells, your passive and your autoattack.

    An important secondary effect is that it boosts the AoE on her Broken Wings and Ki Shout, allowing you to hit more people in a teamfight. It also feels like it increases her autoattack range slightly, though I have no numbers to back this statement up.

    Finally it allows you to use wind slash once during the 15-second duration. the AoE is roughly equivalent of Ashe's Volley. The projectile does have travel time, so keep that in mind when leading targets. Damage dealt is somewhere between mediocre and awesome, depending on how low the targets health was to begin with. For best results, use this ability as a killsteal button to catch runners, similar to Garen's ultimate.

  • Masteries + Runes

    Riven has no innate sustain so her runes and masteries need to be tailored around making her survive jungling until she can finish wriggles. For the fastest jungle path (and strongest ganks), I reccomend 21/0/9.
    External Image

    For runes, you want attack damage and lots of it. All your abilities including your shield scale well off of bonus AD. While it's always painful to give up armor penetration, we will get Youmuu's Ghostblade later on to make up for the loss.

    The page I'm using at the moment uses:
    3x Greater Quintessence of Strength
    9x Greater Mark of Strength
    9x Greater Seal of Resilience
    9x Greater Glyph of Focus

    You can replace the marks with Greater Mark of Desolation, the seals with Greater Seal of Evasion and/or the glyphs with Greater Glyph of Shielding. It will hurt your early jungle speed and sustain but provides slightly better value lategame. Also, since you will take more damage at early level with runes swapped out, some of the level 1-3 paths discussed later may not be viable.

    Alternatives rune and mastery setups are discussed in the Jungle Path Alternatives section.

  • Summoner Abilities

    Smite and Flash/ Ghost

    Really, these spells should be self explanatory. They are the bread and butter spells for every jungler worth his salt.




    No, no, no, no, NO!

    Smite is mandatory. No exceptions. Even if some junglers CAN jungle without smite, their level 1-7 (or however long it takes to finish Wriggle's Lantern) will be slowed down severely. This will result in weaker ganks, vulnerability to counterjungling and merciless mocking from your team. Furthermore, if you don't have Smite, you can't smitesteal/secure buff creeps, dragon and baron.

    Your secondary spell should be mobility. Both Flash and Ghost are solid choices. Flash lets you jump over walls and quickly close the distance for a surprise Ki Burst. Ghost has a lower cooldown and helps you chase to land all your charges n Runic Blade. I usually run Ghost in ranked. Against teams with a lot of innate blinks and jumps I would go for Flash instead.

  • Skilling Order

    Typical build:

    Defensive build:

    Offensive burst build:

    Basically you want every skill available at level 3 for the best ganking options. If you don't have at least 2 ranks in Valor by level 4, your jungle sustain will suffer since you're unlikely to have finished Wriggle's Lantern yet. After this point, it's really up to you whether you want to max Ki Burst or Valor first.

    Valor will give you more mobility as you can dash about the map like nidalee in kitty form. The flat scaling on the shield is so-so but the cooldown reduction is a godsend.

    Ki Burst has a really good scaling on flat damage and a pretty decent cooldown reduction. You're still unlikely to use this more than once in a gank but the extra damage is pretty good if you need to nuke someone down fast.

    Broken Wings is usually the last spell I max. It gets a decent amount of extra damage per level, but cooldown is unaffected and her other spells have greater utility. If you're absolutely steamrolling and taking no appreciable damage, maxing Ki Burst and Broken Wings first gives you frightening burst damage. But the second you draw focus fire you're going to wish your Valor was off cooldown.

    Nearly every game I max Ki Burst first, followed by Valor. The additional damage leads to more successful ganks and a better mid-lategame.

  • Items

    Jungle Riven works off of a small core set of items. Once they are built, everything else is pretty much gravy on top. Namely, in order:
    ( Doran's Blade x1-3)
    Wriggle's Lantern
    Boots of Speed
    The Brutalizer
    ( Phage)

    The safest path starts with Doran's Blade. It has all the stats Riven really needs and the extra HP give her a decent HP buffer at the end of her jungle path. Other viable starting items depending on runes and masteries would be: Vampiric Scepter or Cloth Armor plus 5x Health Potion.

    Your first priority is getting Wriggle's Lantern done. If you don't have enough gold to finish it, you want its various subcomponents in this order:

    At some point while building Wriggle's Lantern - after Cloth Armor but before - you'll want to buy Boots of Speed. If you get a really good start (first blood, for instance) you may want to delay Wriggle's Lantern slightly and get somewhere between 1 and 3 Doran's Blade. They give Riven a really strong ganking and counterjungle game, allowing you to keep momentum up. They will delay your transition into your core items however, so only get them if you're doing well.

    Phage is a pretty decent item to consider after The Brutalizer is done. In most games you would rather have Giant's Belt, but if you have trouble securing the red buff this is a solid item to pick up.

    Once you have your core items, your build should be dictated by the makeup of your team and the opponets team. Depending on the enemy lineup, I will usually upgrade my boots ot either Mercury's Treads, Ionian Boots of Lucidity or Ninja Tabi. I then look to get hitpoints in preparation for Atma's Impaler. If the enemy has a lot of physical damage in their makeup, I will build Atma's immediately after a Giant's Belt. Depending on whether I have problem securing lizard buff or not, I will then turn the belt into either Frozen Mallet or Warmog's Armor. I'll then upgrade The Brutalizer into Youmuu's Ghostblade. If I'm dying a lot, I'll get another defensive item. Preferrably one with hit points to fuel Atma's. Otherwise I'll get a BF sword and upgrade it either to The Bloodthirster or an Infinity Edge if I'm insanely farmed.

    A typical late-game build on my riven looks like this:

    In-depth Item Review
    Jungle Riven (well, any Riven really) needs the following stats:

    Attack Damage: All 4 of her abilities and her passive scale really well off of bonus AD.
    Survivability/Sustainability: A dead champion does 0 DPS
    Cooldown Reduction/Armor Penetration: Cooldowns are the only resource Riven really needs to manage. Armor penetration is quite useful since you are unlikely to have it on your rune page.
    Crit, Attack Speed, AP, Mana etc: Riven doesn't really need any of this.

    Typically I look to some variant of Atmogs/Fatmogs to do my damage. For those of you new to LoL lingo, that's Atma's Impaler coupled with Warmog's Armor to make the most of the Atma's passive. (Or Frozen Mallet instead of Warmog's for the Fatmogs build). You COULD conceivably go for fast BF Swords into something, but I feel it'd leave you way too squishy to do your thing.

    Mercury's Treads: You'll get these in 95% of all your games. Being CC'ed sucks. also, there are very few other MR items it's worth building until the lategame.
    Ninja Tabi: If the enemy lineup has 3-4 AD champions and no insanely scary CC, you can substitute Merc Treads for these.
    Ionian Boots of Lucidity: Almost never worth getting. The CDR is nice, but to give up on the sweet tenacity from Merc Treads is too high a price.
    Boots of Swiftness: We're well into do-not-bother territory by now. Your Valor and Broken Wings should be enough to catch up with just about anyone. If you really need more movespeed, consider a [item_text=force of nature] in the lategame.
    Berserker's Greaves: As explained in the section on skills, Riven's Broken Wings resets the autoattack timer. you are not likely to need more attack speed on her.
    Boots of Mobility: Like Boots of Swiftness, except they stop working the second you need them to chase. Pass
    Sorcerer's Shoes: None of your abilities deal magic damage.

    So in short: Merc Treads 95% of the time, Ninja tabi 4.5% of the time, Lucidity 0.5% of the time.

    Item-by-item analysis (Work in Progress)
    Good core items:
    Wriggle's Lantern: Gives you all the sustainability you need. Very good for laning and mandatory for jungling lest you find yourself bluepilling a lot.

    The Brutalizer: Has a ton of stuff Riven really loves. Armor penetration, damage, CDR. All in a cheap package. Lategame you can upgrade it into Youmuu's Ghostblade, but it's not a priority upgrade.

    Atma's Impaler: If you get 1-2 big HP items, the passive from Atmas will give you somewhere between 1 and 2 free B. F. Swords.

    The Bloodthirster: Once your survivability is taken care of, this is probably the best upgrade path for a B. F. Sword. The extra lifesteal is really nice.

    Warmog's Armor: The single-highest amount of health you're going to get from an item in the game. Another of the 3 items you might get one (or more!) of before finishing your Atma's. Whether you get this item or Frozen Mallet is pretty much a matter of taste.

    [item=Force of Nature]: Once you have one of your big HP items and Atma's done, this is a really good follow-up item. There aren't too many MR items that don't involve useless stats like mana or AP and this one synergizes well with the large HP pool you get with an Atmogs build. The extra movespeed is pretty sweet too.

    Rounding out your build:

    Frozen Mallet: A lot of HP, a little damage and a handy slow. This is one of the 3 items you want one of before building Atma's Impaler. The slow is fairly useless in teamfights but decent for ganks if you build Phage shortly after your Wriggle's Lantern.

    [item=Heart of Gold]: By now everyone's probably realized how nice gold/5 items can be. Heart of Gold is one of those items you buy super-early and sell once your inventory is full. The only thing that keeps HoG out of the blue tier is that you need to finish Wriggle's Lantern and The Brutalizer ASAP to remain a credible threat in the midgame.

    Sunfire Cape: The last interesting Giant's Belt item. This could be a useful investment if the enemy has a lot of physical damage. The aura is so-so, but there's no reason to turn down additional damge. In most games, you'd rather have Warmog's Armor or Frozen Mallet.

    Infinity Edge: Sort-of interesting once you've finished your Atma's Impaler since you'll have a fair amount of crit. (58% from Atma's Impaler, Youmuu's Ghostblade and Infinity Edge. Plus a little from masteries and 8% from [item_text=Elixir of agility]). The main reason I don't rate this item higher is that you are very unlikely to build one. Once you have your Wriggles, Boots, Atmogs and BF Sword, the game is probably over anyway. I'd still rather have The Bloodthirster for lifesteal, but IE is definately viable (if hideously expensive) for a game that stretches past the 45min mark.

    Last Whisper: If several of your opponents have 130+ armor, consider swapping your The Brutalizer for one of these.

    Situationally useful:

    Spirit Visage: If you didn't start Doran's Blade this is a pretty good early-game survivability item. It has a lot of nice things that Riven can use. You'd probably want to trade it in for something else lategame though.

    The Black Cleaver: It's not a bad item per se, but your attack speed will never be high enough to make th emost out of this. Also, there are 2 vastly better upgrades for your B. F. Swords.

    Hexdrinker: This item is better than many people give it credit for. Personally I feel its damage is somewhat low for taking up an entire inventory slot. Buf if the enemy AP carry is worryingly close to getting fed the shield can be a godsend. It also makes Karthus rage, which is always fun.

    Aegis of the Legion: If you somehow ended up as your teams main tank, this is a pretty good overall survivability item. There are no wasted stats for you (it even comes with a little attack damage) but you really should be building towards dishing out more pain.

    Randuin's Omen: Another oh-no-I'm-main-tank item. The active ability is pretty sweet in teamfights. Hopefully your team has an actual tank that isn't you who can get this item instead.

    Guardian Angel: Personally I prefer other items over this one. It does allow you to do some crazy initiations for your team and still be alive to Valor to safety. But more often than not I end up watching 4 enemies camp my corpse as the revive animation plays.

    Don't bother:

    [item=Madred's bloodrazor]: Is way too expensive for what it does for you. Leave this for your teammates who play rightclick-to-win champions.

    Wit's End: Requires that you keep autoattacking for the best effect. Most of the time, you'd rather be spamming your abilities.

    [item=tiamat]: I've actually seen a few people get this on riven. No idea why. The damage is so-so, the mana regen is useless and your autoattacks splashing is what Broken Wings are for.

    Sword of the Occult/ Leviathan: Riven is a melee champion who shouldn't be afraid to get in there and get roughed up a bit. Stack items ar ebetter suited for champions with a very low risk of getting killed. E.G: Not Riven.

    Manamune: You don't have mana.

    It's a trap!
    Trinity Force is the most expensive item in the game. It's good on many champions, but not on riven. Looking at its stats, you have NO use for Mana or AP. The crit chance and attack speed are of really questionable worth as well. So you're basically paying through the nose for a moderate amount of health, a moderate amount of attack damage, a tiny amount of movespeed and the damage amplification proc.

    Sadly, Rivens base damage is so-so. For the same money, build an Atma's Impaler and a Giant's Belt towards Warmog's Armor, Frozen Mallet or Sunfire Cape. It'll give you more damage and survivability. Especially since your passive already gives you something akin to a Triforce proc.

  • Creep Jungling

    External Image

    Fast start jungle

    IMPORTANT: You do NOT want a pull on wolves in this path. If the wolves don't aggro on you, they will chase and scatter, meaning Broken Wings will not hit all 3 of them.

    Your creep jungle is essentially the same regardless of which team you start on (A). Ask your teammates to guard wraiths (C) while you start on Wolves (B). Attack the big wolf, then immediately activate Broken Wings with your cursor over the big wolf. Autoattack once, then activate Broken Wings again. Autoattack and hit Broken Wings a third time. you should clear the wolf camp by the time your spell is off cooldown again.

    Proceed to wraiths (C) and smite the blue one at max smite range for level 2. Put a point in Ki Burst and activate it when the 3 small wraiths reach you. then repreat the [spell_text=broken wings]/autoattack combo from the Wolf camp. You should have a little over 400 hp left. You're going to need all of them.

    Carry on the small golems (D). Open with Ki Burst followed your Broken Wings combo. Once the first golem dies, kite the second around while waiting for your spells to refresh. then Ki Burst into Broken Wings. You should finish the jungle at ~100 hp with 300 gold. Bluepill and buy cloth armor.

    Once you've bluepilled, you should look for gank oppertunities (E). You're interested in continuing at bluebuff afterwards, so your starting position dictates which side lane apart from mid that's good for an early gank. If no gank oppertunities present themselves or of you get out of your gank attempt with at least 70% HP, continue to blue buff (F). Otherwise bluepill, then go to bluebuff. If your mid would like an early blue, you should donate it. You don't really need it nearly as much as they do. If your mid doesn't want it, claim it yourself so the enemy jungler doesn't take it.

    Continue with camps (B) (C) (D) on your side. Bluepill and shop. smite should be up again. Take red buff and continue ganking.

    My wraiths got stolen by counterjunglers! D:
    Having your wraiths stolen at level 1 is the biggest worry for Riven doing the fast path. It's inevitable that this'll happen to you eventually. If this happens, proceed to golems (D) and use smite to take them down. Bluepill, buy 2 hp potions and go to blue buff golem (F). Use your normal abilities to kill a small creep and retreat. Drink a potion, repeat for the other creep and retreat. By now the wolves should have respawned so do the wolf camp to level up and then either gank or finish/donate bluebuff. In total, havign wraiths stolen should set you back about 20-30 seconds on your path.

    Early ganking jungle

    If you are fairly confident your teammates won't immediately push, you can go for an early ganking setup. I typically do this in ranked, but it slows your lv 1-5 down a fair bit if you don't get decent ganks in.

    Start at small golems (D) with Cloth Armor + 5x Health Potion. Get a pull from a teammate if you can. Smite as soon as you won't have to share the xp with your teammate. Once the camp is clear, get Ki Burst and proceed to either mid or your sidelane for a gank. (Mid is usually the best candidate). Even if you don't get a kill, you should be able to make the enemy burn a summoner spell or take enough damage that your ally has an easier time laning.

    Proceed to wraiths (C). Depending on how long you spent on your gank, your smite might be up now. If so, smite the blue wraith, clear the camp. Continue to wolves (A) and get Valor once the camp is cleared. Offer mid the blue buff (F), use smite to speed it up. If mid doesn't want blue, take it yourself to prevent enemy jungler from grabbing it. By now you should have 1-2 health potions left and be at about 75% hp. Either gank mid/sidelane (E) or invade the enemy jungle. If the enemy team has a jungler that starts their path at their blue golem (F), there's a very good chance they'll be doing their red buff (G) now and at low health. Circle around the wall at the red buff so you approach from the brush for the best chance of catching them by surprise.

    Once you're out of health potions and at half health, find someplace safe to bluepill. Buy items, get your own red buff (G) if you don't have the buff already and continue ganking and farming.


    Around level 6 or 7, if you have farmed enough gold for Wriggle's Lantern, you should be able to do dragon. Use Blade of the Exile at the start for extra damage on your abilities. Remember to use Valor whenever it's up to migitate damage. Keep an eye on the side lanes to make sure you're not about to get interrupted. Also, just before the duration of Blade of the Exile ends, remember to use the cone nuke for maximum damage. Unless you get really unlucky with the wriggles procs, you should have ~30% HP left once dragon is dead with just boots and Wriggle's Lantern.

  • Jungle path alternatives

    Alternate jungle paths
    If you can get a good pull on small golems (D) from your side lane, Riven can easily start there with Doran's Blade. She needs the side lane to donate a solid chunk of damage so her HP won't become dangerously low. From there, she can continue to wraiths (C) and wolves (B). She'll have somewhere between 25% and 50% hp left once wolves are done, so you may be able to do a gank directly before bluepilling in this fashion.

    If you would rather start without Doran's Blade there are two alternate options which will both lead to a faster Wriggle's Lantern. One option is to start with a Vampiric Scepter. You can still do the Wolves->wraiths->golems path, even without a ghetto pull. Those who have a doran's aversaion can make this work.

    Jungle Path Comparsions
    So which jungle path should you go for? For the moment, I disregard the kind of pull (if any) your teammates might provide you and the risk of counterjungling. Those are factors which will vary from game to game. I've tested out a few different jungle paths in a custom game. The things I kept track of were the following: Game time when I hit level 3, the HP I had the moment I leveled and the game time when I stood at the tower in mid, ready to gank that lane. Yes, I know you'd usually want to be in the brush at the side of the river, but the tower gave a more persistent rallying point without the risk of the pathfinding causing erratic randomness.

    I tested 2 different jungle routes:
    - Starting wolves, smite blue wraith, end golems
    - Starting golems, smite golems, continue wraiths, end wolves
    My pre-hotfix test showed smiting golems was superior to smiting wraiths if you started at them.

    I tested 3 different sets of starting items
    - Doran's Blade
    - Vampiric Scepter
    - Cloth armor + health potions

    The results:
    External Image

    The results were pretty much what you'd expect. Cloth+pots allows you to gank sooner on account of not bluepilling. They also allow you to end your jungle path with close to full hitpoints, never dropping terribly low. Smiting golems means it is almost ready for blue buff donation once your path is over.

    Starting golems instead of wolves will cost you slightly more HP for no visible increase in jungling speed. However, if you fear a jungle invasion at your bluebuff they are a viable starting point if you don't want to risk a lv1 teamfight. Starting golems may also be preferable if you went with a cloth+pots start, as that path will finish with you being in position to donate blue with no additional travel time.

    You can start either Doran's Blade or Vampiric Scepter and have almost the same jungle path. Scepter means you will be able to afford a HP potion on your first bluepill and will give you a slightly faster Wriggle's Lantern. Blade means your gank at 3:30 will be slightly stronger on account of the extra 10 Attack Damage. All paths have their merits and it should be a matter of taste which one you use.

    Personally, I start Cloth Armor + 5x Health Potion at golems. I feel the oppertunities for early ganks outweigh the delay in reaching level 4 compared to starting Doran's Blade or Vampiric Scepter.

    Alternate runes
    After the Riven hotfix, she has slightly more leeway in how she builds her rune page. Most notably you can substitute the 9x Greater Mark of Strength. for Greater Mark of Desolation. This will give you slightly more late-game damage, but it will slow your jungling path slightly. You will also take a little more damage on your initial 3 camps, meaning that you can no longer start with Vampiric Scepter. If you start with Doran's Blade, you must start at wolves instead of golems. Cloth Armor + 5x Health Potion can still start anywhere.

    Likewise, you can substitute the Greater Glyph of Focus for something else with only a minor hit to your jungle path. Viable alternatives could be Greater Glyph of Shielding or Greater Glyph of Strength. Personally, I prefer the CDR.

    Alternate masteries
    The 21/0/9 build will give you the fastest jungling path. That said, Havoc is not essential to your jungling path. And a lot of the mastery points in the offensive mastery tree are mainly there to unlock Havoc. By dumping [mastery_text=alacrity] and a point of [mastery_text=offensive mastery], you can change your setup to 15/0/15 like this:

    External Image

    The main highlight of this mastery setup is the 3 ranks in [mastery_text=quickness]. It'll slow your early jungling by a negligble amount. I leave it up to the reader to decide whether Havoc or [mastery_text=quickness] will help them more in securing a successful gank.

  • Ganking

    The basics of ganking
    Experienced junglers can easily skip down to the Ganking with Riven section. But in case the reader is new to jungling, I feel the following overview might be extremely helpful.

    To execute a good gank - that is, running out of the fog of war, screaming bloody murder and killing someone in a lane dead - there are several things you need to be aware of. A good, successful gank will help your teammate in the lane immensely, securing them (and yourself) a gold and level advantage. An unsuccessful gank on the other hand will waste valuable time you could have spent farming creeps or ganking elsewhere. Worst case scenario you may end up getting yourself or your lane partner killed. To prevent this scenario, there are several things to keep in mind. Let us consider the scenario in the following picture:

    External Image
    The lane is pushed by purple. This means that the purple champion will have to run a long distance to reach the relative safety of his tower. This lane is set up for a good gank if you ar eon the blue team, but nearly impossible to gank if you are purple. If one of your lanes are pushed and asking for a gank, inform them that they need to let the other guy push a bit before you can even consider it.

    Next up, consider the health of everyone. If either you or your laning teammate are at low health, it's usually not worth ganking. Conversely, if the enemy is at low health and you are not, it may be worth ganking even if your teammate cannot join in. Ideally you will want both you and your teammate to be relatively healthy so you can gang up on the enemy 2v1.

    Assuming you are going for a gank, the next thing you need to consider is your approach. There are several places along the approaches to the lane that are typically warded. The most common ward placements are indicated by red dots. You can ask your teammate if he knows of any wards. (A good teammate will have kept track of whether his opponent bought any). Typically, the ward will be placed in the river. In this case, it may be a good idea to go through the enemy jungle to the brush with paths A and B instead to preserve the element of surprise. If the enemy jungler suddenly withdraws when you approach the lane, there is a high probability you just got spotted by a ward. If he doesn't return shortly after, call off the gank. If you make it to the approach, now is a good time to make sure your teammate is ready to assist you when you go in. Usually, pinging the enemy champion once or twice should be enough to alert them to the fact that somoene is about to target him, even if they are idiots who don't watch their minimap.

    Before going in, consider the position of incoming creep waves. While you can't see the enemy waves, your own waves will give an indication of how close the enemy creep are to the lane turret. It's generally best to initiate the gank when more creep aren't incoming, as they tend to get in the way when you try to close the distance, give the enemy LoS of your approach (especially on path A) and on the case of champions like Katarina, Jax or Lee Sin allows your enemy to jump towards safety.

    Once you initiate the gank, your enemy will usually try to flee towards the relative safety of his turret. Often he'll run into the brush along the far edge of his lane to break line of sight during his escape. In the case of approach A, there's a good chance he'll flee towards the river instead. Your job is to close the distance ASAP and use whatever crowd control you have to lock him down while you and your teammate try to kill him.

    The enemy will often use his Get out of Fail card if he has one. For this reason, you should keep your own [spell text=ghost] or Flash in reserve during your initial gank unless you know the enemys summoner spell is on cooldown. If you can get the enemy to burn his spells without burning yours, count it as a minor success, go back to farming and return 30 sec or so later for another stab at killing.

    Don't towerdive unless you're certain it will net your team a kill and you won't die in the process. Remember the enemy jungler may be on his way to countergank.

    Ganking with riven
    Riven has 2 gapclosers and 2 forms of crowd control. Although they are all individually weak, they stack up to a decent ganking kit nonetheless. When initiating the gank, consider whether you need to activate Ghost. Next, if it is up and the gank setup is reasonable, activate Blade of the Exile. Use the first two activations of Broken Wings as a gapcloser. If you still have distance between you and the enemy, follow up with Valor. As soon as you are in range of the enemy, Ki Burst to stun them. Autoattack once, then use the last charge of Broken Wings to knock them into the air. Autoattacks should do the rest, but remember to use [spell_text=wind slash] to finish people off if you can reduce them to ~20% hp first.

  • Todo:

    As with my other guide, this one is very much a work in progress. Sections I would like to address in the future would be:

    - Counterjungling
    - More pretty pictures
    - Indepth ganking guide, possibly with videos
    - Laning build and items
    - Mathcraft section

    Roughly in that order, subject to change.

  • Update Tracker

    The most recent updates to the guide are outlined below:

    Oct 12th 2011 - Several sections tweaked to reflect things that turned out to work well

    Oct 7th 2011 - Added ganking section

    Oct 4th 2011 - Split the creep jungling section into two topics and added some thoughts on alternate runes and masteries

    Sep 24th 2011 - Updated the timings on alternate jungle paths

    Sep 23rd 2011 - A few tweaks to ability description and the item section.

    Sep 21st 2011 - In-depth item guide added

    Sep 19th 2011 - Alternate jungle paths and timings added

    Sep 18th 2011 - Initial version uploaded

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