As much as I enjoy watching other people play video games, Hearthstone was probably the one that really got me into Twitch, and it was thanks to some of the people on this list. A slow-paced, cerebral game, Hearthstone lends itself very well to the streaming format because players have ample opportunity to explain their thinking, in stark contrast to games like League of Legends or Dota 2 where the action is often too frenetic to summarise. Even when I barely knew the game, watching streams was interesting and fun.
Whereas other games in Twitch's regular top five are often sustained by thriving, big-money esports scenes as much as the game itself, Hearthstone probably skews a bit more to the latter. The competitive scene is fun, but the core of the game's streaming success is down to people who rarely place in the upper echelons of professional tournaments, or haven't for a while. They simply keep you entertained by showing how the game can be played well, and help you keep track of its fascinating evolution. Here are our favourites.
Jeffrey "Trump" Shih, sometimes TrumpSC, is probably the most famous Hearthstone streamer in the game's short history. He did borrow his name from America's most controversial presidential candidate, something he probably regrets at this point, but the two couldn't be further apart. Trump is patient, interested in detail, and famous for breaking down the value of individual plays in his matches, and that comes through on his streams, which are consistently educational, even when Trump is just taking it easy. He's also famous for constructing a bunch of basic-card decks that remain easy to pick up and play to this day.
Cong "StrifeCro" Shu is another great streamer to follow if you want to learn about the game while watching somebody win consistently. Like Trump, he was one of the early fixtures of the competitive scene and is famous for inventing some interesting decks. He's also extremely versatile and can be found playing all sorts of decks, rather than just sticking to a few champions. Methodical and relaxing to watch and learn from, StrifeCro is well worth a follow.
Another hugely popular streamer, Octavian "Kripparrian" Morosan has been streaming since the early days and plays a lot of Arena, where he excels whatever he drafts. Less of a talker than Trump or StrifeCro, he makes up for it in the audacity and skill he brings to the board, particularly when he pulls out stuff like the insane Rogue combo that you can see in the video he rightly promotes as the cold open for his YouTube channel.
Whereas most of the streamers we feature in these articles either began high-level play with the game they stream or something in the same oeuvre (Trump and StrifeCro both graduated from StarCraft 2, for instance, while Kripparrian played a lot of Diablo and World of Warcraft), Brian Kibler began his competitive gaming career with Magic: The Gathering. By the time Hearthstone rolled around, he had already been playing collectable card games at a high level for nearly 20 years, and is a member of the MtG Hall of Fame. He took to Hearthstone very impressively, winning tournaments and joining Blizzard's casting team for key events. His stream has a slightly different flavour to the others on this list, but is every bit as educational.
Finally we come to Jason "Amaz" Chan, who has enjoyed success as a professional player but is also known for his highly entertaining stream, where it's hard not to fall for his infectious energy and overblown reactions to what happens in the game. Amaz doesn't spend as much time explaining his play as Trump or StrifeCro, but it's hard to watch his stream and not end up with a broad smile on your face.
Hearthstone is an incredibly popular game on Twitch and there's always someone interesting streaming it. You could just as easily watch Hafu, Day 9, Reynad or plenty of others, and as Blizzard layers on more expansions and throws more money at the professional scene, interest in the game only seems to grow.