Despite being denied the opportunity to compete at the US$1 million MLG Columbus tournament for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive courtesy of the US Embassy, Mongolia's top Counter-Strike team will be able to show their wares at the equally large Valve-sponsored major in Katowice, Poland.
Photo: ESL, ESL Taipei 2016
The team confirmed via social media that the Polish Embassy in China -- as Poland doesn't have an embassy in Mongolia -- approved the team's visas in approximately four hours. It was a much simpler process than their well-documented troubles trying to acquire visas to the United States, which was denied three times despite heavy lobbying from the team, Major League Gaming, and Valve.
— TseZiSAMA #MongolZ (@MongolZOfficial) February 29, 2016
The presence of the Mongolians will make IEM Katowice, which starts later this week, infinitely more interesting. While they're not expected to take any games off Fnatic, Natus Vincere or Ninjas in Pyjamas, their matches against the rising Brazilian stars Luminosity Gaming could be extremely interesting. It'll also be fun to see how the final qualifiers from Europe, mousesports, deal with the Mongolian style of Counter-Strike.
For what it's worth -- and this is coming from over a decade of watching CS in many forms -- it's highly unlikely that the Mongolians will qualify from their group stage. Their playstyle revolves heavily on two of their stars leading the way, and if their opponents can find a way to shut them down it's difficult to foresee the Mongolian upstarts doing much damage.
But, one can dream. And there have been bigger upsets in the past. IEM Katowice kicks off later this week; you can find more details over at ESL's landing page here.