Riven Vi Deck Guide and Matchups
Hello, Agigas here! I am a Master player since beta with several #4 peaks and tournament wins. I love sharing my knowledge about the game and I have been a regular writer at RuneterraCCG. I write in-depth deck guides, articles for tournament players, and curate our constantly updated Meta Tier List.
This guide is dedicated to Riven Vi – a brand new one turn kill (OTK) combo deck, reminiscent of Zoe Lee, recently pioneered by Freshlobster.
While at first glance, this decklist might look like a weird twist on Draven Sion, it is actually a very different, combo-oriented deck.
Our goal is to grow a very high attack unit – often Vi, but sometimes Riven or even Ballistic Bot. All are very easy to boost thanks to Blade Fragments from Riven, Blade Squire, and Runeweaver. Next, we look to give our high-attack unit either Overwhelm – with a Heavy Blade Fragment/Blade of the Exile, or Elusive – with Ambush.
If a single hit with our huge attacker wouldn’t be enough, Midnight Raid will surely finish the job. Ruined Reckoner is a perfect fit for the deck, enabling our big evasive unit. Alternatively, we can also finish the game with Get Excited! to the face, once the opponent is low enough.
To make sure our big unit gets through and doesn’t die mid-combat, Survival Skills is a strong protection spell we can play for free.
To round out the combo gameplan and be able to consistently activate our Survival Skills, we bring in the famously strong Discard package of Zaunite Urchin, Fallen Rider, Lost Soul, Poro Cannon, and Rummage. These cards will make sure we do get to our combo consistently, all the while making strong early and mid-game tempo plays.
This package serves as the perfect bridge to our combo, and can even allow us to punish slower opponents through a more standard aggressive game plan.
This deck is overall very comparable to Zoe Lee with its OTK combo game plan. Compared to Zoe Lee, Riven Vi tends to be faster, as the combo often comes down on turns 6-8, and has a better presence early on thanks to its numerous cheap units. However, it doesn’t have as much protection for the combo and therefore doesn’t have Zoe Lee’s inevitability.
Techs and Options
- Might is one more tool we can use to enable your combo. Unlike with Ambush or Heavy Blade Fragment, Might don’t need to be pre-commited as we attack which makes it more convenient in some matchups and situations.
- Give it All is yet another finisher spell once we have a good board. Give it All is particularly good on wide boards with lots of keywords and some big unit(s) – which is often what we have, for example with Vi alongside Daring Poros.
- Set up your combo. This deck is a combo deck, and you won’t find success if you don’t play accordingly. You should always be thinking ahead how you’re going to OTK your opponent, and look to stall the opponent out in the meantime while giving them as few possibility as possible to stop your combo.
- Avoid trading your key units. You will need to have at least one of them on board to kill your opponent. Avoid using your Vi recklessly to get value trade if the opponent could then kill her.
- Your other units are dispensable. While you should do what you can to stick a key unit, the other ones are there to stall the opponent out – use them to trade with the opponent’s units early on, and to chump block later. Don’t feel bad about losing on value and board presence sometimes – those mean nothing once you 20 to 0 your opponent over one turn.
- Think about the opponent’s counter plays. Once we have survived the early game and set up our combo, we need to play around the opponent’s answers. Look to corner them into a spot where they can’t prevent their death, or to minimize the chances for them to have something.
- Slow stuns are a very common counterplay to our combo (Arachnoid Sentry, Twisted Fate, Crescent Strike…). However, we can easily navigate around them by open-attacking with our combo. Then, Midnight Raid will work even if the unit is stunned.
General mulligan tips:
- Riven and Vi are both very important to the combo, and are always good keeps.
- Blade Squire, Zaunite Urchin, Runeweaver, Poro Cannon should be kept in tempo-oriented matchups, so we don’t fall behind early on.
- Ballistic Bot is a great early unit in slower matchup – 3 health make him hard to deal with efficiently, and he quickly grow into a dangerous threat.
- If you already have some discard effects in hand, Fallen Rider and Lost Soul are very good keeps.
Be aware that these are just the general guidelines to help you understand the deck’s game plan. Mulligans are very matchup-dependant – please refer to the matchup section below for more specific advice on mulligans against different meta decks.
Click on the box to read detailed info about a matchup of choice:
Mulligan for: Riven, Vi, Blade Squire, Zaunite Urchin, Poro Cannon. Keep Fallen Rider or Runeweaver if you have a turn 1 play.
- As long as you don’t fall behind too much in the early game, this matchup is very good. You often get to OTK them before they have time to burn you down and they usually have no counter to your combo.
- They can develop a lot of pressure very quickly. However, as long as you hit a good curve too you should be able to keep your health high enough and the board close to even as your units trade very well into theirs.
- Conchologist’s spell is often their best out once you are entering your combo, as they can find a wide variety of spells that could mess you up. If you have the luxury to do so, you can try to play around as many spells as possible among Guile, Ravenous Flock / Noxian Guillotine / Scorched Earth, Roar of the Slayer, Stress Defense, and Whirling Death.
- Another way they can prevent your combo is with 2 Noxian Fervor, which even kills Vi if you don’t have Survival Skill. However, unless they are very far ahead on the board this line often won’t win them the game because of how much tempo it costs.
Mulligan for: Riven, Vi, Blade Squire. Keep Zaunite Urchin if you have Lost Soul or Fallen Rider.
- Gangplank TF is a midrange deck that relies on consistently triggering plunder to level Gangplank. While they aren’t an all-in burn deck, they can definitely burn you down – be conservative with you nexus health. If you can deny them plunder triggers, it will slow down Gangplank’s level.
- They have a lot of ping damages – Make it Rain, Pokey Stick, Lecturing Yordle, TF, Group Shot or Parrley. You numerous 1-health units are easily removed, and you should try to trade them in combat as soon as possible. Avoid stacking too many 1-health unit, or a TF’s Red Card could lose you the game.
- Because they rely so much on ping damages, Vi really shines thanks to her Tough keyword. They can make their ping’s damage higher with Kegs, but killing Vi is often out of their reach, meaning you can safely go for the combo even without Survival Skills. That said, be aware some versions tech in Monster Harpoon.
- TF’s Gold Card is their single counter play against your combo. Fortunately, it is quite easy to play around it by open attacking, then Midnight Raid will allow your big evasive unit to attack again even if stunned.
- You can deny their Double Up’s face damage with Get Excited on your own unit, or with Survival Skill if they target your strongest unit.
Mulligan for: Riven, Vi, Ballistic Bot. Keep Fallen Rider or Lost Soul if you have Zaunite Urchin or Poro Cannon.
- Bandle Tree looks to stall out games by flooding and controlling the board. Then, the Bandle Tree comes down and quickly wins them the game. You don’t need to kill them very quickly to outspeed the Bandle Tree win condition, but you need to find a way around their stalling tools.
- While their board flood isn’t good at stopping your combo win condition, Minimorph is. Going for an all-in combo with no set up will often not work. You should instead try to lower their health with Ballistic Bot and Fallen Rider, so you can kill them with 1 hit and some Get Excited. Then, hold onto Ruined Reckoner and Heavy Blade Fragment for when they tap under Minimorph mana.
- You also need to recognize when you cannot play around Minimorph – if they are too healthy and getting ahead on the board. In that case, go for the combo and hope they didn’t find Minimorph. If they did, you can try again if you have the tools to combo again.
- If you have the tools to combo with 2 units at the same time it will be very hard for them to stop you.
- Look to remove Bandle City Mayor as soon as possible with Vi or Twinblade Revenant – this card will generate them too much tempo.
- When possible go for the combo with a non-damaged unit, even if you have Survival Skill for Ravenous Flock – most versions play 1 copy of Scorched Earth.
Mulligan for: Riven, Vi, Poro Cannon. Keep Lost Soul or Fallen Rider if you have Poro Cannon or Zaunite Urchin.
- Zoe Nami stacks multiple buffs with Nami and Captain Amiral Shelly on elusive units, quickly finding lethal opportunities. Poro Cannon and Ambush to slow them down with elusive blockers. Vi and Twinblade Revenant, with challenger, also help a lot with keeping their numer of elusives in-check and/or to contol their engines.
- While Zoe Nami tends to spend the first few turns passing, allowing us to push some damage, going aggressive is rarely ever a win condition as they’ll gain their life back with Sparklefly and Guiding Touch.
- Ambush against them is generally a defensive tool, not a combo spell, as they can block elusive units. However, depending on their version it can be quite hard for them to stop a big Overwhelm unit – some versions play 0 Hush, some play up to 2.
- Don’t forget they have access to more spells than what you see on decklists – celestial spells with Zoe and Supercool Starchart, and your own spells with Spell Thief.
Mulligan for: Riven, Vi, Blade Squire, Runeweaver. Keep Lost Soul or Fallen Rider if you have Zaunite Urchin or Poro Cannon. Keep Survival Skill if you have Poro Cannon.
- Draven Sion is a midrange archetype looking to play a solid gameplan all game long. Their early game is slightly stronger and more consistent than yours. Unless you’re setting up a turn 6 or 7 kill, you want to keep the game a even as possible and not lose too much nexus health. Ideally, you want to be able to tank a Sion hit without going into their burn’s range.
- Use Survival Skill to block their Draven. A Draven that keeps hitting your face is a Draven that brings you in Sion + Burn range.
- It’s very hard for them to stop your combo if you set it up cleanly.
- Go for the open-attack combo to play around Arachnoid Sentry.
- Avoid taking damage with the unit you want to kill them with, even if you have Survival Skill to protect your unit from Ravenous Flock – some versions play Scorched Earth.
- When going for the kill with Overwhelm Vi, don’t challenge their strongest unit even if you have First Strike- it would play into Whirling Death and Survival Skill.
Mulligan for: Riven, Vi, Zaunite Urchin. Keep Lost Soul or Fallen Rider if you have Zaunite Urchin.
- Darkness looks to grow and discount the Darkness spell to gain control of the board and leverage synergies. They have a lot of good units early on, and their late game is powerful. However, their midgame is generally weaker as they need to transition between enablers and payoffs.
- Like against all Minimorph matchup, setting up your combo can be difficult. This one is especialy tough as they have good early board presence and lifegain, making it hard to win without the full 2-hit combo. Try to play around Minimorph by going for the combo with 2 threats or when they tap under 6 mana if you can, or all-in on the fact they might not have found Minimorph if ou can’t play around it.
- Most version play 1 or 2 Stress Defense, adding up to their potential ways to counter our combo.
- Use Twinblade Revenant to prevent Veigar or Senna from sticking on the board.
Riven Vi is a very spicy and high-agency deck. If you always have liked combo decks such as Zoe Lee and are looking for something new to play, then I would strongly recommend you to give this deck a solid shot – it’s a very fun and competitive archetype.
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