Where In The World is Zilkenberg?

by Nikhil Hathiramani

He has been missing from competitive CS:GO for quite some time, but new information has surfaced that has us excited.

No other team is more synonymous with Mongolia than The MongolZ and Zilkenberg. Aside from their slightly taboo name and super cool jerseys, it was just a few years ago that they were one of the top teams coming out of the Asian region.

At their peak, The MongolZ managed to reach a decent level in the international scene. Although they failed to make an impact, their achievements shouldn’t be discounted.

The team qualified for events like the ELEAGUE Boston Asia Minor, and IEM Taipei – the Asia Minor that granted them a ticket to the MLG Columbus Major Qualifier in 2016. Unfortunately, the team couldn’t attend due to visa issues, and it wasn’t until IEM Oakland in 2017 that we got to witness what exactly the top level in Mongolian CS:GO had to offer.

Needless to say, it wasn’t pretty.

The team tanked in group stages and barely made double digits in their matches. Despite their poor showing, however, a lot of attention focused on one player in particular, Machinegun. One of the most popular names coming out of the Asian region, he caught the attention of viewers with his masterful play and sick aim. This eventually led to a short stint on the now-defunct Splyce CS:GO team.

While Machinegun has always been the ‘poster child’ for Asian CS:GO, it is another player that I believe deserves as much attention but has mostly gone under the radar – Zilkenberg.

Zilkenberg is the type of player that anchors a team. His pure stats don’t particularly stand-out on paper, but he is the type of player that makes or breaks a team. In my opinion, his departure from competitive play in Mongolia is one of the biggest reasons we have yet to see a strong contender coming out of the country of 3.3 million in some time.

So Where is Zilkenberg Now?

Sources close to the player revealed to CSGO2ASIA that Temuulen “Zilkenberg” Battulga pursued his studies in the U.S after his parents felt that his gaming career needed to take a back seat. While in North America, Zilkenberg did receive several offers from teams, however, he eventually decided not to take these opportunities and focus on his studies instead.

Most recently, the player has returned to Mongolia, and at time of writing, is on his way to China. He has been seen playing with some of his former teammates as well as new and upcoming players such as Uuganbayar “NEUZ” Nyam-Otgon and ex-5POWER members Gan-Erdene “dobu” Batbold & Batbayar “kabal” Bat-Enkh.

New Developments

Mongolia is particularly sparse in density. With approximately half of its inhabitants living in the capital city, Ulaanbaatar, the country is uniquely positioned between Russia and China, rendering it unable to ping well to Europe OR Asia. This is a huge disadvantage to the development of their esports scene. Despite this, CS:GO is massively popular in the country, and with everything working against them, it has produced some of the most talented players in the APAC region.

The aforementioned players have announced their pursuit of a new Mongolian ‘super-team’ that has the local fan base very excited. Coupled with the recent announcement from Grayhound player Erdenetsogt “erkaSt” Gantulga on his departure after the major, we could be in for a new renaissance of Mongolian CS:GO.

In his tweet, erkaSt cites visa issues as one of the main difficulties for not being able to stay in Australia. Most recently, he has been seen spending his summer in Mongolia while awaiting his visa for the StarLadder Major 2019 in Berlin, Germany. There has been a lot of talk and buzz around the eventual line-up, but without certainty, we can only speculate.

With these recent developments, it is likely we will see the following line-up bearing the Mongolian flag soon:

🇲🇳 Gan-Erdene “dobu” Batbold
🇲🇳 Batbayar “kabal” Bat-Enkh
🇲🇳 Uuganbayar “NEUZ” Nyam-Otgon
🇲🇳 Temuulen “Zilkenberg” Battulga
🇲🇳 Erdenetsogt “erkaSt” Gantulga

If this is true, it surely will be an exciting time for Asian CS:GO. This team could be the serious contender we are looking for to compete with the likes of TYLOO and MVP PK, and take the crown as Asia’s top team.

See Also: Zilkenberg leaves August

Featured photo from HLTV.ORG

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