| Author Joseph Downey
Overwatch League Community Update #1
The Overwatch League returns on May 5, 2022.
In the first Community Update of 2022, the Overwatch League has announced its opening day.
Overwatch League 2022 Plans
May 5, 2022 will be the start of the 2022 season for the Overwatch League. This was announced in the first OWL Community Update of 2022 on YouTube.
This announcement was not only unexpected, but settled many rumors and made several confirmations. The start date was not the only exciting announcement made in the video. We now also know that live events are planned to return across the season. What was not specified is whether this includes all games in both regions, or only stage championships. Speaking of stage championships, the format is changing slightly, but not completely. Alongside these big announcements, the league has also revealed the first two games of the year in each region.
This season will, like the last, be comprised of four stages. Six games will be played by each team in each stage per the announcement of a 24 game season for every team. The first and third stage tournaments will be the Kickoff Clash and Summer Showdown tournaments respectively. The reason these are grouped together is due to them being regional (separated into East and West). In the East, 4 teams will qualify for each regional tournament, with 8 qualifying in the West. For the Midsummer Madness and Countdown Cup tournaments, they will be global tournaments, still with 4 Eastern and 8 Western teams.
League points will return, which means qualifying for, and winning games in each tournament can be the deciding factor of who makes season playoffs. For playoffs, the Countdown Cup Play-Ins will determine what 2 Western and 1 Eastern team get to join the 6 Western and 3 Eastern teams that qualify through league points.
For the kickoff of the 2022 season, we now know what 2 teams in each region will be playing. The first game of the season will see the LA Gladiators take on the New York Excelsior in New York's first Western game since 2019. That game will be May 5, 2022 at 12PM PT. The first Eastern game will gauge the reining champs, the Shanghai Dragons as the take on the Philadelphia Fusion at 6PM CN. Whether these games will be live events, or whether other teams will play following them is still unknown.