League of Legends: A Figure In The Myst
By Jason Harper (Hhean), OnRPG MOBA Reporter
Welcome summoners, to the patch v18.104.22.168 article for League of Legends, the game that welcomes strangers. This patch includes numerous small changes to items, UI and champions, some major changes to Taric and the addition of Riven, The Exile.
Riven is a highly mobile melee damage dealer with a fast paced playstyle reliant on rapid combinations of both her abilities and auto attacks. Outside of managing her passive, Riven doesn’t consume any resources to use her abilities, much like Katarina and Garen. If you’ve been playing a good bit of God of War or Street Fighter recently, and wanted to bring some of the gameplay into League of Legends, Riven is likely the character for you.
While that sounds like the sort of stupid claim you’d usually see in a bit of marketing fluff, the way she threads her Broken Wings [Q] with the rest of her kit has a very similar pace to performing combos in a fighting game. This is because each of her abilities are very lacklustre when taken on their own. Each hit from Broken Wings does pathetic damage, and her only crowd control ability, Ki Strike [W], is an AoE stun with an extremely short duration (a lousy 0.5 seconds). Valor [E], her remaining ability, is a short range dash that won’t allow her to go through impassible terrain, but will let her pass through champions, minions and any spell effect that makes an impassible object, like Anivia’s wall. It does give her a shield when she dashes, but the amount of damage it absorbs can be pitiful until you make use of its impressive attack damage scaling in the late game.
When she strings even two of her abilities together though, she can be a force to be reckoned with. Broken Wings alone can be used three times in a row, with the final blow blasting your foes all over the place in a giant, satisfying explosion, resulting in some hefty chunks of damage. That combo alone would be impressive, but when you start using her autoattacks and her other abilities in between her uses of Broken Wings, she can be genuinely scary to deal with.
Valour, attack, Broken Wings (1st hit), attack, Broken Wings (2nd hit), attack, Ki Strike, attack, Broken Wings (3rd hit), attack is probably her most ideal combo, but you rarely get the opportunity to use it on an enemy dumb enough to stand around long enough for you to spam it on them. Usually you’re going to need to hold on to Valour as either a positioning tool to use to juke incoming attacks, use the shield to protect yourself from incoming burst, or use it to escape. Enemies also don’t often stand around for you to use ideal combinations of auto attacks on them either, unless they’ve got no other option. Usually you’ll be using parts of combos, and then using other parts while different abilities are on cooldown, simply because it winds up being much more practical at any given moment.
One thing that Riven does very well during her combos though is she can move extremely erratically using both Broken Wings and Valour. If you get used to when you need to highlight nearby enemies while using Broken Wings, causing her to turn, and when not to highlight something, (resulting in a longer dash when near enemies, going past them) she can make a very hard target for skill shot reliant characters. This becomes especially nasty when she’s very close to an enemy, as she can switch sides numerous times in a single combo, acting very similarly to a cross up in most fighting games.
It’s worth noting that managing Riven’s ‘resources’ can be unusual at times. She can freely use her abilities whenever she likes, but has absolutely no means of regaining health and no means of poking someone in a lane. So while her mana is essentially infinite, her health is a resource that you have to pay very, very close attention to. Any time she takes a hit that isn’t stopped by Valour, you have to respond with a trade. Don’t allow anyone to bully you in a lane, as you will undoubtedly lose it if you cede control to the enemy. Always try to maintain a life lead, and always pay close attention to the enemy’s life, especially if they’re a sustainable character like Warwick or Garen. Keep hitting those sods or they will rip you to pieces. Playing passive as Riven at the wrong times will cost her the farm that she really, really needs to be effective late game.
You might have noticed I’ve not brought up her ultimate, Blade of the Exile/Wind Slash [R] yet. That’s because the former is simply a steroid you use at the start of the fight, and the latter is pretty pathetic. On paper it looks impressive, but the awful travel speed on it make it near useless in practice. It rarely hits against anyone not stunned or rooted, since the projectile is slow enough for an enemy to simply walk out of the way of it. That and its damage in the early levels feels underwhelming. Later on it gets better, but until you get some attack damage, your foes will feel little more than a light breeze.
Take a level in Broken Wings to begin with. Her level 2 is dependant on who you’re laning against. Valor is better for rushing down ranged enemies, while also protecting yourself from their harass. Ki Burst is better against a melee character who’ll be coming at you anyway. The level 3 pick up is usually the other ability you didn’t pick, as she benefits from spamming as many abilities as possible. Level 4 is a second level of Valor to help with her early game survivability. After that, concentrate on Broken Wings to get her damage output up, followed by finishing levelling Valor. Ki Burst isn’t worth leveling until last, as it only reduces its cooldown with level, as is worthless to use if her damage and survivability aren’t up to par.
For her items, I’ve been build- ATTACK DAMAGE! MOAR! Whether you get it from stacking Bloodthirsters or going with the Atma + Warmog build, what you’re after on Riven is loads and loads of attack damage, tempered by just enough defense to keep her alive. Her starting items are going to be a Doran’s Blade or Vampiric Sceptre for jungling, and cloth armour or boots (with health potions) for laning, depending on her match up. Her early game is very reliant on vampiric items to help keep her in the lane if she’s solo laning or jungling, so stacking Doran’s Blades or taking a Wriggle’s Lantern on her can be a very good idea to help her stay in the fight. Youmuu’s Ghostblade is a very good late game item on her, when enemies begin stacking armour against her, so Brutalizer can make a good mid game pick.
Trinity Force seems like a great item on her, until you consider her passive is essentially a better Sheen that scales off of her full attack damage rather than her base. This means you get more returns from stacking attack damage rather than getting the odd sheen proc on top of her passive, as you’re going to get more use out of your passive than of sheen, since one has a cooldown and the other doesn’t. Xepherous, the champion’s designer, even admitted on the forums that her passive was deliberately made to make Riven one of the few bruisers that didn’t need a Sheen. While you get a bunch of other nice bonuses from the Trinity Force, using your gold on it is only going to result in a suboptimal build.
For her Masteries, I’ve been using an experimental 15/15/0 set up, grabbing the attack damage from the offense tree, while also trying to get as much survivability as I can out of her. The stock 21/0/9 offensive set up also works well on her, for something a little less oddball. For Runes you can roll out with the stock bruiser page I’ve referenced for the past few articles, armour penetration marks, armour seals, magic resist glyphs and health regeneration quintessences. Alternatively, due to the percentile bonus her ultimate adds to her attack damage, you could simply stockpile attack damage runes, though it’ll only really be effective if you think your enemies left their brains at home and forgot to bring armour runes into the match, or you’re planning on jungling.
In all honesty, I’m starting to get bored of melee damage dealers. I haven’t played a character with a ranged auto attack since Orianna, and my enthusiasm for this sort of character has worn thin. Riven is very active, but I’m just so tired of playing the same archetype over and over. If you want to be pressing buttons all the time while fighting, and are fine with a lack of sustain on your characters, then I’m sure she could be a good pick. She has a clever set of abilities that mesh well together with one another exceptionally well, and I can’t doubt the craftsmanship that’s gone into her design, but I just found myself wanting to get done testing her so I could move on to playing someone I was actually interested in. Is she strong? Eh. She feels very middle of the road. Maybe a slight bit underpowered? Couldn’t say really. The active component on her ultimate feels lacklustre and her stun is pathetic, but the rest of her kit is solid. She’ll likely get some slight numerical buffs alongside some little utility tweaks in the next patch, and then be a damn good champion overall. I’m simply looking forward to a change of pace next patch.
Patch stuff! The new Taric is fabulous. If you love support, but also love being a walking nuclear bomb that both helps your team and blows up anything that gets near you, I highly recommend giving him a go. He’s a complete blast to play now, and I’m loving the changes he’s been given.
Hooray for the jungle icons being updated through wards and clairvoyance! While most experienced players are keeping track of jungle timers, that little usability tweak really helps when you lose track in the heat of the moment. The new potion queuing is a similar boon to help with those horrible moments when you accidentally waste a potion due to slamming that potion button twice in a blind panic, only to realize you just wasted 35 gold. Panicking idiots rejoice! We are saved from our own stupidity!
To discuss some of the changes yourselves, post in the massive League of Legends thread in the free to play MMOs section. If you haven’t tried League of Legends yet, you’re missing out.