There is nothing stopping you from being a great Hearthstone player. Unlike Starcraft or League of Legends, nobody else in the scene has a higher athletic or technical capacity than you. It’s a card game. The only thing that separates you from a world champion like Sebastian “Ostkaka” Engwall is a better understanding of how to utilize a static bundle of resources. Of course, it’s still very hard to be great at Hearthstone, but the promise is slightly more tantalizing than the more physical demands of other esports.
So, do you want to get better at Hearthstone? Yeah, we do too. Below we’ve highlighted five streamers that we think do a great job at educating viewers on the deeper subtleties of this ostensibly casual, free-to-play game. Start studying! It could be you next year.
Jeffrey “Trump” Shih is easily the most popular Hearthstone streamer in the world, and for good reason. Shih does an excellent job of talking out his plays and making sure his viewers are never in the dark. In fact, he has a whole series on his channel, “Trump Teachings,” that focuses on fundamentals as well as tutorials for specific, meta-popular decks. I’d say roughly 70 percent of all serious Hearthstone players got their start from watching Trump play, so if you haven’t you’re truly missing out.
Brian Kibler is a full-time game designer and only streams when he has time, but he was also inducted into the Magic Hall of Fame in 2010. The guy knows his card games. Kibler is good enough to hit Legend every season, but he’s also not quite as concerned about following the metagame, which allows him the flexibility to test out weird ideas on stream. Kibler might be the most prolific dragon-tribe experimenter in the world, with various cracks at Dragon Mage, Dragon Paladin, Dragon Priest, etcetera. Come for the affable personality, stay for the rock-solid fundamentals and inspiration.
Octavian “Kripparrian” Morosan is mostly known for his incredible meme-ability, and yeah, that’s why I tune into his stream, but that’s not all he offers. Morosan is legitimately one of the best arena players in the world. He chalks up a lot of his success to having an instinctive understanding of how powerful his deck is, and when to make risky or conservative plays. You can pick up a lot of nuances in arena by watching Kripp draft. Sure you’ll laugh when RNG destroys him, as you should! But you’ll also become a better player.
Cong “StrifeCro” Shu is the Hearthstone pro’s Hearthstone pro. A top 50 player according to GosuGamers, and also someone that gets a ton of respect when you ask other personalities who they enjoy watching. It’s easy to see why. Like Trump, StrifeCro is excellent at talking out his plays, but he does it with a level of analytical expertise most other streamers aren’t capable of. Not because they aren’t thinking the same things, but because sometimes the super technical nature of Hearthstone is hard to elocute. StrifeCro is great at that. He’ll talk at length about a decision to Shield Slam a Knife Juggler in a way that everyone can relate with. Shu is Hearthstone’s professor, and you should be watching him.
Most people tune into Andrey “Reynad” Yanyuk’s stream to watch him get salty. To be fair, he’s really, really great at being salty. I don’t think there’s anyone in video games that goes on tilt quite like our boy. You shouldn’t let that distract from how good of a player he is, however. Reynad has created a ton of interesting decks over the years, including permanent standbys like Zoolock. Watching his stream lets you catch a truly inventive deckbuilder at work. A lot of Hearthstone focuses on great players practicing the same six archetypes over and over again; Reynad is one of the few guys who thinks outside the box.
Photo by Frederike Schmitt via DreamHack/Flickr