The Mongolian IGL made the jump to coaching back in 2023

erkaSt on coaching: "I saw this as a good opportunity and now I love this job"

erkaSt has settled into his new role as FlyQuest challenge for a spot in the top 30.

FlyQuest's opening match against Spirit at IEM Dallas 2024 was a slaughter in all senses of the word. The plucky Australians were ripped apart by the Eastern European squad in a 13-1 loss on Ancient while Danil "donk" Kryshkovets had free reign to be a holy terror.

Despite not having a chance to show anything during day one, FlyQuest's Mongolian coach, Erdenetsogt "erkaSt" Gantulga says there is a lot recently to be proud of. During an interview with' Jeffrey "Mnmzzz" Moore, the former IGL discussed his transition to coaching, ex-Grayhound's search for a new organization, FlyQuest's run at ESL Pro League Season 19, and his final year in the Asian scene, among other topics.

With Spirit being one of the best teams in the world at the moment, what was the expectation heading into the match against them and how is the team feeling coming out of that 13-1 loss?

For me I'll have to re-watch the game again. Obviously they were really strong, taking a lot of control from the start of the game, they were just having mid control and banana deep control on Ancient and we started very passive. They got like super momentum, they were playing super aggressive, and they were not letting do anything from the beginning. It was really strong from them.

While the Spirit game was a one-sided loss, things have overall been looking up for the team since signing with FlyQuest, especially with your top-twelve finish at EPL. How do you feel about the team's performance at EPL?

The performance at EPL was very good and for I thought we could've even beat Liquid and go further, but unfortunately we lost to Liquid. In general, the whole trip began a week before our first game. First we went to Serbia for a bootcamp and then unlike other events every game was a BO3 and there was a lot of gaps between games so we had a lot of time to talk about future games and previous games.

The first game was a loss against NAVI and then from that loss we started adapting and waking up, fixing mistakes straight away, and in that way it was such a great event.

With the result it was also great.

Overall it has been a positive period for the ANZ scene at-large after a scary period when VERTEX and Grayhound both released their teams, leaving some of the best teams in the lurch. How did you find your way to FlyQuest?

Once Grayhound dropped us, dexter tweeted that we were free agents and we had a couple offers and one of them was from FlyQuest. We really liked their ideology and how they think about [being an] organization and about esports and it went from there. It was two parties who really wanted to work together and then we decided to go with FlyQuest.

Around six months ago you hung up the mouse and ended your playing career. What prompted that decision, and do you think you would have retired without Grayhound offering you a coaching role?

The last year was pretty bad for me as a player. There's so many extra problems I had when I was a player, starting with there being no salary. So basically I was in a difficult situation. When the boys were looking for a coach because I used to play for them I am really good friends them in real life we both agreed to have me become a coach.

At that point I was really demotivated as a player so I saw this as a good opportunity for me to work as a coach and now I love this job.

With the Mongolian scene being in something of a "Golden Age", did you ever consider returning to that scene after last playing there under TIGER in 2020?

As a player, no. As a player I really didn't think about that because I was in NKT at that time and when I was with TIGER there was a conflict with the Chinese org. I really did not want to leave the team, there was no issue for me to leave the Mongolian team, there was no issue or something, it's just something that happened with the TIGER organization.

They were a Chinese org and we had a lot of problems. When I was a player I had a lot of problems with orgs in Asia and then it just ruined my mentality.

Your final team was NKT, a pan-Asian team with real talent over the years that has been quite disappointing. What went wrong with the NKT roster you were on alongside Gratisfaction?

NKT started very well, but like I mentioned previously they were not able to financially support every player. For example, I had to give up on my salary to [bring in] certain players. But for me it wasn't a problem I just to practice and compete.

But, in general they struggled to give salaries to other players as well eventually. Then people were demotivated at that time and it was dark times to be honest.

That was the main reason we couldn't work, every player had financial problems with the org. It was kind of unprofessional from my end.

Focusing back on FlyQuest, while this is a new org for you and your teammates, the core of this squad has been together for a long time. Do you think further growth and a way into the top 30 is possible for this lineup?

Yeah there's a lot of room to improve because this team has every potential to be a good team role-wise and skill-wise, but it all comes down to putting the [pieces of] the puzzle in the right position.

The only big difference between top ten teams and us is that they have a game plan and they know what to do against so many styles, they know how to control the game consistently. The word consistent is the main difference. For example, at the moment we know we take control of the games but we also can lose control of the game very easily just like against Spirit.

It just shows we are inconsistent in that part. For us at events like IEM Dallas especially, where the opening games are BO1, it is really important to have a good start and unfortunately it didn't go our way this time. But, again it just shows that we are not consistent and we didn't even have a chance to get in the game. We have to re-watch it and get in the feeling of how we should be playing again.

Consistency is the biggest missing part for us.

Do you think we'll be able to see more from the team tomorrow against BIG in the BO3s?

This kind of loss is also an awakening, I don't want to say that losing is good... blah blah blah, we didn't want to lose obviously. But, looking back at this game we missed a lot of fundamental and basic things that cost us the game.

Maybe we still lose the game even if we have that but it's really important to get that good feeling about the game, and being able to control the game. Tomorrow it's BO3s so we're going to play a guaranteed two and we know what we're going to pick and expect what they are going to pick as well.

Tomorrow we'll have a better idea and more control of the game and just fight for it.

FlyQuest will look to stay alive in IEM Dallas 2024 today as they take on BIG at 04:00PM.

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