While the Overwatch League’s opening weekend will showcase a number of exciting matches, none stand out more than the first 2022 Battle for Texas. The Overwatch League’s battles for Texas are a vital and frequent aspect of the Dallas Fuel & Houston Outlaws’ rivalry. Clashes between the two Texan teams have been iconic parts of the League since season 1, and have only grown in importance as the two teams have improved. Sometimes, a Battle for Texas will serve as a blockade between them and an important tournament. Other times, it’s been what separates them and the title of North America’s #1 team. And in the first week of season 5, it’ll be that first crucial point that decides whether they snowball their success or fall flat right out the gate.
But as crucial as this match is for teams, it’s also a momentous occasion for fans. Why? Because it marks a return to live events for the Overwatch League. Although a handful of events were played live & in person in 2021, in-person games were generally canceled over the course of the season (save, in NA, for a single Battle for Texas, which the Houston Outlaws played remotely). So a live game of this size and caliber in the first week of the season clearly instills hope in fans who have been without them for so long.
But is a clash between the lone star state’s scrappers all fans can expect from the first 2022 Battle for Texas? Who will be hosting? & what else should attendees know before shipping off to San Antonio?
The Lone Star Locale
The first thing fans of the Houston Outlaws & Dallas Fuel should know before heading off to the first 2022 Battle for Texas is that this event isn’t strictly a homestand. In fact, it’s far from it. The May 6 event will take place in the Tech Port Arena in San Antonio, a neutral ground for both teams. And for neutral ground, the location couldn’t be better. The yet-to-open arena will be able to sit 3,300 attendees on opening day, & will host a number of other activities for fans of both teams to enjoy.
Before the match, attendees will get the chance to take part in photo ops & sponsorship activations for brands like HEB & Wingstop. Then when the dust settles, fans will get the chance to meet the Houston Outlaws themselves. But there can’t be high noon without high night. So following the event, the Outlaws will host Battle After Dark, an afterparty featuring food, drinks, & other fans recovering from the live-or-die opening game. This variety of activities should serve as a treat for Overwatch League fans, especially long-time supporters of either team.
But OWL fans won’t just see star players like Dante “Danteh” Cruz & Yeong-han “SP9RK1E” Kim at the game. Malik Forté, one of the original faces of the Overwatch League, will be hosting the event, much to the delight of veteran watchers.
“Since the dawn of the Overwatch League, the rivalry between the Houston Outlaws & Dallas Fuel has created key memorable moments that practically define the excitement & tension within each game played throughout the season,” said Forté. “Both teams definitely don’t disappoint & have proven to be a premiere match up every year within the league. We hope you’ll join us in San Antonio to witness Overwatch 2 PvP for the first time in person since 2019.”
Those who pine for the days of On Point will surely be thrilled by this news. Forté’s legendary ability to connect personally with fans & pros alike will undoubtedly add excitement to the already jam-packed event, & propel it to the top of the week 1 must-see match list.
The Beta’s Bigger in Texas
Of course, no conversation about Overwatch would be complete without some discussion of the elephant in the room. The release of the Overwatch 2 Beta is, arguably, one of the biggest events of the year for the Overwatch League community. The game will be chock-full of updated visuals. Updated heroes. Updated maps. And, most importantly, it’ll be the game the pros will play on for the 2022 season. But despite the sheer stature of the event. For an average Overwatch League fan, there’s no guarantee they’ll be chosen to take part in the beta when it first drops. That means no guaranteed chance to try out the Orisa & Doomfist’s reworks. And no chance to test the game’s newest hero, Sojourn. That is, unless they’re attending the first 2022 Battle for Texas.
For fans that are attending the monumental event, a chance to try out the beta themselves is far from out of reach. The UK’s Belong Gaming Arenas, who recently expanded into the USA, and Beasley Esports, owner of the Houston Outlaws, recently partnered to deliver an onsite experience for fans to play the Overwatch 2 PvP beta during the event. The beta area will be open before the opening ceremony, and all throughout the rest of the event.
“With something as momentous as the start of this year’s Overwatch League, we wanted to match that and give back to our fans who’ve supported us right from the very start,” said Lori Burgess, COO of Beasley Esports who owns the Houston Outlaws. “We know fans have been eager to get their hands on Overwatch 2 PvP, and partnering with Belong will help us do just that. The Battle for Texas won’t be just a kick-off to a new Overwatch League season, but a true debut of what fans can expect from this game, our team and the community as a whole.”
Ticketed attendees will certainly be excited to play the beta during the event. But for 50 lucky ticket holders, the excitement won’t end there. These fans won’t only go home with added excitement for the 2022 Overwatch League season. They’ll also leave with a highly sought-after key for the new beta.
A key as sought after as the one for the Overwatch 2 Beta is a legendary prize for even a casual Overwatch fan. But for Overwatch League fanatics? Well, it’s the jewels on the crown of an already brilliant event. While we don’t yet know the winner of the match, one thing’s for sure. The first 2022 Battle for Texas is a must-see and a match that’ll likely go down in Overwatch League history.