When Ninja streams Fortnite, hundreds of thousands of people tune into watch. DrDisRespect and Lirik command audiences that will follow them to whatever game they play. But for every big name streamer, there are hundreds of lesser-known personalities who are worth watching, whether you want to learn the ins-and-outs of a game, marvel at inhuman pro play, or just put on some background entertainment.
We've pulled together a collection of streamers we like to watch, with recommendations across some of the PC's biggest games and genres. They're not the biggest names, but they're all streamers we think you should be watching. Fortnite, Overwatch, League of Legends, and many more are here, along with a few of our favorite variety streamers, too.
Watch for: Grown up Fortnite
It is difficult to find a non-abrasive Fortnite stream on Twitch right now. Most streamers specifically target that uber-important preteen demographic with vintage PewDiePie shrieks, stale memes, and delinquent 'tude. You can't really blame them for going after what works, but I've always appreciated Dakotaz for his relative chillness. If you often feel like an alien or a predator as an adult Fortnite fan, Dakotaz will keep you grounded.
Watch for: Pro skills
Former pro gamer KatGunn has still got it, as evidenced by her regular Fortnite streams where she calmly, almost casually tears it up. Gunn formerly played Dead or Alive, Halo, and other shooters, but these days mostly streams Fortnite. Her cat makes frequent guest appearances on stream.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
Watch for: Veteran Counter-Strike
Missharvey started playing Counter-Strike in 2003 and has long been a feature of the pro scene. She currently plays for CLG and regularly streams CS:GO on her own Twitch channel. Also, if mad Counter-Strike skills aren't enough for you, she competed in and won a season of the show Canada's Smartest Person, and previously worked as a game designer on Far Cry Primal at Ubisoft.
Despite his occasionally grumpy demeanor, particularly when a day one raid is proving tricky to down, Datto is the go-to guy for explaining the secrets and strategies of Bungie's shared-world shooter. His clan, Maths Class, regularly finish among the top groups for each new raid, and over on his YouTube channel his Exotic tier list and weapon DPS comparison videos also provide super-helpful advice for grinders.
Watch for: Chill times in Trials
Watts is a consummate Trials players, going flawless multiple times most weekends, and also a great watch thanks to her laid back enthusiasm and the positive relationship she's built up with her chat community. Watching how her teams communicate and the strategies they employ on each map is a great way to get better at D2's PvP end game.
Watch for: Learning what the hell is Dota
Slightly bending our rule to not recommend the most obvious streamers, but former pro Purge offers an invaluable wealth of advice for those learning the vast complexity of Dota. After playing professionally, Kevin Godec moved over to commentary, analysis, and teaching. Lately he's streamed regularly with Day9 and makes instructional videos on Youtube.
Watch for: Dad jokes and meticulous explanations
These days the 2014 World Champion is more focused on streaming and casting than competing in HCT events, but he still regularly finishes in high legend ranks, and his stream is arguably the best if you're looking to improve your own play. Firebat breaks down his thought processes on every turn, attempting to read what might be in his opponent's hand and planning his own moves multiple turns ahead. Aside from the meticulous play, he delivers the smarts with a deliciously dry sense of humour.
Watch for: The lack of salt
There are moments where Hafu joins up in collaborative streams with other Hearthstone luminaries like Eloise, but for the most part you can catch her in her bedroom, playing through endless arena runs. In that sense she's comparable to megastreamer Kripparrian, except she holds back on any salt or sanctimony. Three cheers for seeing Hearthstone as a glass half full.
Watch for: The technical ability
It's difficult to think of anyone in Hearthstone more studiously dedicated to the craft of arena than ADWCTA. Yes, there are other arena streamers on Twitch, but none who regard every choice, and every draft, with the same agony. Blizzard doesn't hand out any trophies or monetary rewards for Hearthstone's secondary game mode, and that makes ADWCTA's craft reverberate with the sort of passion that makes Twitch a compelling place.
League of Legends
Watch for: Relaxed vibes and support skills
A lot of popular League streamers get their notoriety for their ballsy plays in all-or-nothing roles like midlane and AD Carry, but Zaqueri "Aphromoo" Black demonstrates the game-winning influence of a consistently strong support player. A pro who's been dropping wards and protecting his team's carry since 2011, Aphromoo is currently on the 100 Thieves roster and streams regularly (as a variety of roles and champions) when he's not playing in tournaments. His calm demeanor, hearty laugh, and anime appreciation all make him an endearing Twitch entertainer.
Watch for: Jokes and serious skills
Come for the personality, stay for the absolute shop-wrecking. KayPeaLoL is a blast to watch (and one of the most popular streamers on this list) as she dominates the mid lane in League, usually as Ahri or Lux, displaying skills that make me nostalgic for my League of Legend heyday. But I was never even close to this good, and certainly never this funny. KayPea is always goofy and uploads weekly edited montages on Youtube that pack even more jokes into her already funny streams. She'll keep you entertained through even the dullest laning phase.
Watch for: Salt-free tank play, big slams
A good-natured streamer who maintains an extremely positive outlook while playing in the Overwatch ladder Top 500. He mostly plays offtanks like D.Va and Zarya but will often flex to other heroes as well. In a game that has become notorious for toxic behavior, Emongg is a breath of un-salty air.
Watch for: Thoughtful play analysis, great team coordination, and justice raining from above
As her name suggests, Fareeha almost exclusively plays Pharah, but her stream is great for rocketeers and groundlings alike. She often talks through her decisions in game, giving great insight into what it's like playing in the high-Masters/Grandmaster competitive tier.
Path of Exile
Watch for: The chill skills
Mathil1 is easily Path of Exile's most popular streamer, but that's for good reason. He's very relaxed but plays at a top tier competitive level that average players are likely to never experience. If you want to see what Path of Exile's true endgame looks like, Mathil1 is a good place to start.
Watch for: Her hilarious antics
By and large, Path of Exile's streamers are a quieter, laid back bunch. That's what makes DCLara so fun to watch. She's goofy as hell and doesn't take the game all that seriously, which is a nice contrast to Path of Exile's hyper competitive community.
Watch for: Sharp eyes and cool crowd
Pro player for TeamSoloMid, Break's PUBG streams demonstrate both his extreme skill and contagious enthusiasm. While he can certainly get keyed up at times, Break never feels like a performer trying to entertain his audience: he's got a naturally fun and casual vibe that doesn't feel forced, and it's easy to see why he's attracted an enjoyable and supportive community of viewers.
Rainbow Six Siege
Watch for: Tips, tricks, and skills
If you want to learn more about the many operators in Siege--deciding which to play, or brushing up on their skills--Macie Jay's channel is a great place to go. Regular R6 streams and a wealth of videos on Youtube are useful teaching aids, and if you'd rather learn nothing but watch some clutch aces, those are also readily available.
Watch for: Newbie help
Warframe is an intimidating and complex game, but Jaemz has built a large part of his channel around helping new players. Each and every stream is an invitation to join his party and play alongside him, where he'll help players overcome certain challenges or just offer advice.
Watch for: The shiba
Wgrates is a top tier player who's fun to watch just to see Warframe's endgame, but the real appeal of his channel is the shiba-ness of it. He uses a 3D animated shiba avatar instead of a face cam and points a second camera at his puppy's bed so you can watch him do sick ninja stuff and then aww at his puppy as it chews on a toy. It's a weirdly compelling combination.
Watch for: The variety
Maximilian_dood is one of the true omnivores in fighting games. On his stream, you can catch him indulging in everything from Pokken Tournament to Injustice 2, always served up with a distinct, gleefully obsessive adoration for the scene and the metagame. Max's late-night couch streams are legendary (especially when he invites his friends along), but I'm also a fan of the work he does on his YouTube channel, from documenting fighting game history, to recapping Evo.
Watch for: The positivity
It feels like wherever I go in strategy games, Quill18 isn't far behind. The man has streamed pretty much every turned-based grid under the sun, and he's my personal go-to whenever I want to decipher the arcane systems of the latest Paradox game or whatever. He's also relentlessly positive, even when Genghis is at his borders.
Watch for: Bending RNG into submission
John "Beagle" Teasdale is the go-to guy for XCOM expertise, and we've turned to him more than once ourselves. As well as XCOM, the laconic commander streams D&D with his partner Jamball, the occasional game of PUBG or Into the Breach, and is getting into Battletech.
Watch for: Counter-Strike. (Just kidding; Total War)
Like the name suggests, LegendofTotalWar specializes in the Total War 4X strategy games, and plays them on legendary difficulty. He's great at cheesing the AI, which can be educational though if you're not into seeing someone win with exploits—or swear like a trooper—stick with Heir of Carthage or Lionheartx10 instead.
Watch for: Dark Souls 3
Sayvi, real name Erika, is better at Dark Souls than you, unless you also happen to be a hell of a speedrunner. Watch her stream for regular all bosses speedruns, with the nice added touch of a controller cam so you can see the precise movements of her boss-killing hands. When she's not streaming Dark Souls, Sayvi is likely streaming Fortnite instead. Low stress, compared to Lothric.
Watch for: Impressive one-handed play
Halfcoordinated is an amazing speedrunner who tackles challenging games using just one hand. His right hand is less coordinated thanks to a physical disability, so Halfcoordinated uses his left to do everything on a controller, in challenging platformers like Momodora and action games like Nier: Automata and Vanquish. And he does it all with a calm, genial vibe that's impossible not to like. He sometimes plays console exclusives, but we won't hold that against them.
Watch for: Couple co-op play
Fred and Emily used to play a lot of DayZ, but these days they bounce from PUBG to whatever's hot, whether that's Sea of Thieves or co-op stuff like Far Cry 5 or A Way Out. No matter what they play it's fun to watch a chill married couple whether they're backing each other up in a firefight or throwing buckets of vomit on pirate island.
Watch for: Indies!
The developers of digital board game Armello play their own game against its community on the regular, but they also stream other indie games of interest. It's a good way to check out the kind of games that don't get streamed often, like Minit, Ghost of a Tale, or PC Building Simulator.
Watch for: The soothing voice and lustrous beard
Tefty began as a Destiny 2 streamer, but has increasingly made his mark playing a variety of PC games including The Witcher 3, Sea of Thieves and Rollercoaster Tycoon. The latter in particular took his chill style to almost ASMR levels of relaxation. A visit to his 'Church of Unlimited Frames' is recommended if you want to just kick back and watch someone likeable playing good games without too much shouting.