neaLaN on EG offer: "I didn't expect it at all"

Evil Geniuses' new in-game leader discusses transitioning from the CIS region to a North American roster in our latest interview from the BLAST Premier Fall Groups.

In a surprise addition to the North American core, 22-year-old Kazakhstani Sanzhar "⁠neaLaN⁠" Iskhakov joined Evil Geniuses from K23 to replace Jake "⁠Stewie2K⁠" Yip and take over in-game leadership in the team following a period full of disappointing results.

Now making his official debut with the North American side at BLAST Premier Fall Groups alongside Jadan "⁠HexT⁠" Postma, who was brought up from the organization's Blueprint project, neaLaN spoke to HLTV.org about the transition to the American organization.

neaLaN says he has thought about joining a North American team before

The Kazakhstani leader shared his surprise when he got the call from Evil Geniuses and discussed the challenges of making the move, whether he had any concerns about joining the team following their disappointing track record in the first half of the year, and why he wanted to join a North American team in the first place.

Was it a surprise to get that call from EG?

Yeah, I didn't expect it at all, because it's an NA org, and I was really surprised that they invited me to tests. That was cool.

What did you think about the offer and the team and potentially joining them when you first heard they were interested?

As I said already, I was surprised that they invited me, but maybe they knew I was playing in FPL and that I have good English, and I guess they have a good data science (laughs).

What did you think about valens' vision of the team and how it was going to be set up?

I like how valens thinks about CS:GO. If he found me in CIS and he saw, he did really good data, because I was playing with AdreN, with mou, and I got a lot of experience from them. When he sent me an email for the test, I was like "yeah, of course I'm gonna come." I played tests with them, I talked with valens, I liked his vision and the vision of the organization.

What made you accept the offer, in the end?

Everything, I liked all those things in EG.

Leading up to this point throughout this year struggled a lot in terms of results, and there was a lot of criticism. Were there any concerns on your part when you were considering whether to join or not?

I got the offer somewhere in July, I think. I don't mind what happened in the previous team, but when I talked with valens he talked about his vision, I talked about my vision of the game. We have the same vision that we want to win trophies and be successful, so I don't mind what happened in the previous team.

What about concerns in terms of your departure from the CIS region and getting into a North American team, the differences in cultures, spending time in North America for extended periods of time?

The difference between the CIS region and NA is in the mentality, the culture, how they're making the process in the game. A lot of things are different, but I liked that. Actually, like two years ago I was like "I wanna play in an NA team," so I'm here and I'm glad to play with the guys.

Why did you want to play in an NA team?

That was somewhere like two years ago that I was thinking about that it would be good to get experience in an NA team and organization, so that I can improve my English for the future, and it's another culture. That's why.

RUSH is standing in for autimatic in the first phase at BLAST

How has it been so far to play with the team? What are your impressions about how the team functions? Have there been any surprises in terms of how they approach the game?

They have a different style than I had in my previous team, so we're trying to mix it up, their style and what I had in the previous team, somewhere aggression, somewhere passive, this stuff. We're working in the team, so all cool.

Has it been difficult to match your styles and find out where you're both comfortable?

Yeah, at the start it was hard a bit because we have different styles, but we were just talking a lot at the bootcamp in Serbia. We just figured out our style and how we wanna play, and we're close to finding it.

I know you said you have experience from FPL, but I'm sure from the communications side being in a real team is a bit different. How has it been to transition to English?

This is different, of course. I had a problem at the start, maybe the first three days, because when you're communicating in the team in another language for like four, five years, and you need to change it in your mind that you need to communicate in English. I just need to be in the team, talk more, and it's all good now.

You've spoken about having the same vision of aiming for trophies with this team. At what stage do you think you can reach that level? How quickly do you see yourselves being able to compete at that level?

As I said already, we had a lot of talks about our vision and other stuff. We're training, playing scrims, and everything that we train it is working, so I just feel that we just need time to find success and be competitive at tier one.

You're playing the first stage of BLAST without autimatic. How are you approaching the tournament with that in mind?

Yeah, playing with a stand-in is really hard because we were training one thing, and RUSH and autimatic have different playstyles in the game. We're trying to figure it out and just play with a stand-in, but I hope that Tim will come back soon, and we'll show our game.

Kazakhstan Sanzhar 'neaLaN' Iskhakov
Sanzhar 'neaLaN' Iskhakov
Age:
22
Rating 1.0:
0.93
Maps played:
1080
KPR:
0.65
DPR:
0.70
Canada Jadan 'HexT' Postma
Jadan 'HexT' Postma
Age:
21
Rating 1.0:
1.02
Maps played:
505
KPR:
0.71
DPR:
0.69
United States Jake 'Stewie2K' Yip
Jake 'Stewie2K' Yip
Age:
24
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
1.01
Maps played:
1525
KPR:
0.70
DPR:
0.69
BRING STAN BACK AND EZ TOP 10
2022-08-21 16:01
4 replies
#11
FASHR | 
France Ansi
stan was absolute GARBAGE the past few months, but sure dude, if it makes you happy.
2022-08-21 16:07
2 replies
#29
 | 
Morocco toshir0
and still Garbage actually :)
2022-08-21 16:46
1 reply
#30
FASHR | 
France Ansi
yeah, exactly i know its rough in NA, and yeah i'd like stan to be performing as well, but lets stay realistic ffs.
2022-08-21 16:47
Daps with a .78 > Stan
2022-08-22 16:45
#2
 | 
Poland Astoner55
GL to You mr Nealan!
2022-08-21 16:01
#3
 | 
Egypt BomberMan_
no one expected it
2022-08-21 16:01
1 reply
true, hes a bot
2022-08-21 19:20
#4
 | 
Russia mshkoda
Joker
2022-08-21 16:01
#5
 | 
Finland Teukkasd
nice
2022-08-21 16:03
#6
f0rest | 
Romania CSm1n
nobody did tbf
2022-08-21 16:04
#6 anyway gl
2022-08-21 16:05
#8
 | 
United States Sancler
hahahahaha what a waste
2022-08-21 16:05
#9
 | 
France Gloomyz
Nobody did and still nobody knows why
2022-08-21 16:07
massive upgrade to steven10am so gl mens
2022-08-21 16:07
1 reply
lmaoooo +1
2022-08-21 16:43
They actually did better than I thought they would against faze. Nice improvement boys
2022-08-21 16:08
2 replies
xd they won 4 lucky pistol rounds + 4 ct round
2022-08-21 16:11
1 reply
#25
minet | 
North America minte
Which is a marked improvement over the old roster
2022-08-21 16:39
almost as if the move doesn't make any sense at all
2022-08-21 16:09
3 replies
#24
 | 
United States Jeebur
Well they wanted to replace RUSH and Stew - Entry and Support. And NeaLan can do both while playing in a region where IGLs, Supports, and AWPers are scarce. He can do two of those roles so it becomes valuable to us.
2022-08-21 16:39
2 replies
If igls and supports are rare, how about not sending one of them (stew) to valorant?
2022-08-21 18:35
1 reply
#36
 | 
United States Jeebur
Beats me. there was a ton of turmoil in that team and no one really knows what was going on. But when RUSH and Stew dipped, the roles of IGL Support and Entry were needed so nealan doing 2 of those roles is good. Especially taking the 2 non fragging roles
2022-08-21 18:38
No one expected - because it made 0 sense
2022-08-21 16:12
guess if you don't know what you're doing they don't know what you are doing
2022-08-21 16:15
luckiest kazah in easport
2022-08-21 16:15
Ofc u didnt expect From k322 to NA team with 25k$ month
2022-08-21 16:17
No shit Sherlock
2022-08-21 16:20
#20
 | 
Norway Gjellan
Liquid: you can copy my homework but don't make it obvious
2022-08-21 16:22
bro says he speaks good english ahaha nice one mate i can barely understand when you speak
2022-08-21 16:23
Interview TLDR: What made you accept the offer, in the end? Nealan: the 25k paychecks and not having to matchfix in random CIS Lootbet tournaments anymore.
2022-08-21 16:24
#23
JK | 
Asia flipflop
Nobody expected it but eg is famous for signing trash players
2022-08-21 16:32
Winning trophies is a vision now?
2022-08-21 16:42
he wont make a difference at all or will hext
2022-08-21 16:42
1 reply
#43
minet | 
North America minte
HexT doubters will be exposed soon
2022-08-23 22:11
#31
 | 
Ukraine ShimonSS
eg simply doesn't have enough firepower for cs in 2022, it's not 2017 anymore, you need at least 2 very good riflers, and at least a somewhat ok awper to just get into some grand finals
2022-08-21 16:50
4 replies
EGs problem is their firepower (brehze and cerq) doesn't perform at all.
2022-08-21 18:36
3 replies
#38
 | 
Ukraine ShimonSS
Those two haven't been playing like firepower since 2020
2022-08-21 20:33
2 replies
they had a terrible captain, and so autimatic, brehze, cerq are superstars for sure
2022-08-22 16:48
1 reply
#42
 | 
Ukraine ShimonSS
Again, they were superstars years ago, they have been playing average at best for the past 2 years, you don't build a team around such guys hoping that miraculously they'll start playing good again.
2022-08-23 08:23
we neither
2022-08-21 17:13
I guess this is better than staying in a CIS team, at least pay wise but I feel like this team is equivalent to getting signed on to Fnatic these days, you go there to build upon your career and it kills it instead.
2022-08-21 17:19
AUTIMATIC WILL CARRY TO TOP 1 EZ
2022-08-22 02:22
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