Twitch emotes can be a work of art, a tiny masterpiece of brilliance that conveys emotion or even whole sentences in just one image. Viewers often subscribe to a broadcaster just for their emotes. But with tens of thousands of emotes on Twitch it can sometimes be hard to find ones that really stand out.
Emotes are an essential element of the Twitch chat experience, so much so that it can be overwhelming for new viewers who are inundated with these images that convey inside jokes and phrases, especially when everyone else seems to understand what they mean. They’re used to troll streamers or other viewers, show support, or even just say “hi.” With more than 15,000 partnered broadcasters on Twitch, not to mention the hundred or so emotes that the company itself has made, that leads to a lot of emotes on the platform—more than 50,000, according to Twitch.
When Twitch first spun off from Justin.tv in June 2011 the site apparently had around 50 emotes. With its rapid growth, it had to implement guidelines for the emotes, with certain content banned, such as nudity, drugs, explicit words, or anything that violates third-party intellectual property or privacy rights—recently the company surprise-banned butt emotes, leading to outrage in the Twitch community.
The amount of emotes that a partnered broadcaster gets depends on how many subscribers they have, with different tier levels allowing for more emoticons. Newly partnered channels get two emotes automatically, two more when they hit 25 subs, and channels with 7,000 subscribers get the maximum number of emotes at 50. Some of the most popular words for emotes, according to Twitch, include RIP (death), Rekt (someone got beaten badly), Hype (celebration), Hello, and Fail.
At TwitchCon last year, Twitch announced a power ranking of emotes, with Kappa topping the list. But so far nothing has really been written that includes broadcaster emotes. That’s where I come to the rescue. I’ve rounded up some of my favorite emotes from both Twitch and streamers themselves, so you can be the coolest kid in chat.
copyThis and pastaThat
This two-fold emote is only for Twitch Turbo subscribers (a special subscriber tier that costs $8.99 a month). If you’re not familiar with the term “copypasta,” you probably haven’t been on the Internet long. It’s a neologism formed from “copy and paste,” and on Twitch often refers to phrases or jokes that are spammed over and over again in chat. Sometimes the copypasta is so intense you want to reference it without using words (or by continuing the copypasta chain), so this copying machine with pasta coming out of it is just perfect.
This Twitch emote depicting the song “Sandstorm” by dance music producer Darude is a classic. The track has been a meme in the gaming community since around 2007 (even though it was released in 1999), with people in chat often asking “What’s that song” and everyone else answering “Darude – Sandstorm” as a joke. The emote name itself (“duDudu”) refers to the song’s lyrics, with the absurdity of those lyrics one of the main reasons the track became a meme in the first place. Even better, on big esports streams the chat during countdown music is often punctuated by the duDudu emote. According to the Twitch Emotes website, it’s used roughly once every minute.
The KappaRoss emote was introduced at the end of October last year when Twitch’s new Creative category kicked off with the inaugural Bob Ross The Joy of Painting marathon. A twist on the classic Kappa emote (which is used to denote sarcasm), KappaRoss adds the painter’s famous afro to Kappa’s head. During the eight-and-a-half day continuous stream, the KappaRoss emote was used a total of 3.8 million times—proving that sarcasm lives on, just like Bob Ross does in our hearts.
Sometimes you really just need to express your panic, and what better way to do that than with the panicBasket emote. Twitch’s graphic perfectly captures that terrifying feeling of finding out that your food is on fire (because I’m sure we’ve all gone through that at least once), or that a stream has gone down, or that the audio has cut out, or there’s someone creeping up behind the streamer to scare them. The panicBasket emote has proved so popular that it is used around 10 times every minute (down from 297 when I last checked, which hopefully proves that production quality is improving across the board), according to Twitch Emotes.
Twitch is overrun with saltiness. The term, ubiquitous in gaming, refers to anger or annoyance—especially when someone’s losing. And for a lot of Twitch viewers, nothing is more delicious than a very public display of salt. There’s no better way to depict that than through a Grumpy Cat face with the word SALTY underneath it. The internet-famous cat is notorious for always looking crabby or bad-tempered, and Sarina, aka 1nsanitygaming, has captured the mood perfectly with her emote.
Yes, even streamers need to pee—and in the case of Ally, aka 2MGoverCsquared, what seems like every 10 minutes. Did you think they just sit there and hold it for the entirety of a 10-hour stream? No one’s paid enough for that. What better way to while away the time when a streamer’s doing their business than by spamming toilet emotes in the chat? It pretty much speaks for itself.
“W” emotes are pretty much a staple for any partnered Twitch streamer. The zoomed-in face originated from Chance, aka Sodapoppin’s, stream and has since taken over. LeFrenchStallion’s “W” emote is easily one of the best on Twitch, with his eyes wide and mouth open in what looks like celebration, who wouldn’t laugh at thousands of those spammed in chat?
scarMEGA and scarLOVE
Another awesome two-emote special, Scarfino’s personalized Mega Man tribute is pretty next-level. Mega Man, a CAPCOM game franchise, has been around since 1987 and started off as a series of side-scrolling platformers. Scarfino is a huge fan of the games, so why not turn himself into Mega Man (complete with red beard) firing a loveheart out of his gun. His subs that also have Turbo often use the scarMEGA emote with the MiniK (Miniature Kappa) emote, calling it the Kappa Cannon.
sbzyStitches and sbzySays and sbzyBuffalo and sbzyHook
While having an image depicted over two separate emotes is cool, having four is epic. And what could be better than having it as Heroes of the Storm’s Stitches Hook move (think Pudge from Dota 2’s Meat Hook or League’s Blitzcrank with his Rocket Grab). Well played, ShaBooZey, well played.
Another Twitch staple, whenever a broadcaster leaves the frame of the camera (most likely grabbing food) and all viewers can see is their chair, chat will often be spammed with chair emotes (usually right alongside Hype emotes). JuliaTV’s chair emote captures a bit of both worlds, with the little pink hearts showing just how exciting and fun chair streams can be—at least until the streamer comes back and ruins the fun.
atpRtsd1 and atpRtsd2 and atpRtsd3 and atpRtsd4
For those Twitch viewers that want to be extra trolly, a new-ish trend has users building a giant face in chat with four separate emote slots. A few streamers have done this, but AvoidingThePuddle and Ice_Poseidon do it really well. The emote for AvoidingThePuddle (FGC player Aris’ stream), is popular Street Fighter player Alex Valle.