Movistar Riders are brimming with confidence ahead of their first playoff game against the Polish powerhouse Illuminar Gaming.
We sat down with Movistar’s 17-year-old AD Carry Jesper “Jeskla” Klarin Strömberg just a few hours before their first match in the elimination phase of the European Masters 2018 Spring Split. It’s been a rocky start for the Spain based team in the international tournament, as they struggled to find the key to victory and lost in two of their three group stage matches.
In the tiebreaker games, however, Jeskla’s Movistar Riders picked themselves together and showed everyone why they were considered one of the strongest teams ahead of the tournament, defeating both Ninjas in Pyjamas and SPGeSports.
In the first game of the playoffs, they will have to go head-to-head with Polish Illuminar Gaming, for whom the group stage did not go so well either — they lost against both GamersOrigin and Penguins, and picked up a single victory against group underdogs Ad Hoc Gaming. Flaunting a lot of experience on their lineup, the Polish team will be looking to redeem themselves where it matters the most.
The young Swede, nonetheless, is not scared.
Vie: Your group certainly wasn’t of the easier ones. What did you first think after seeing it? What were your expectations ahead of the group stage?
Jeskla: I thought it wasn’t too bad. The only team that was good was MAD Lions and I thought we could beat them and that we were a lot better than NiP and SPG. I expected us to come second place but also there was a chance to come first aswell.
Vie: Looking at the European Masters, which teams would you say look the strongest? Any predictions on who will take the whole thing?
Jeskla: I think MAD Lions is looking the strongest and then maybe Origen? I am not really sure. I think no team is really looking that much stronger than others but I would say MAD Lions if I had to pick one team.
Vie: EU Masters so far showcased a lot of new, young talents who don’t get so many opportunities to play on the international stage. If you had to guess, who you’d say are the most likely ones to move up to LCS soon?
Jeskla: Probably Nemesis and Crownshot. [both MAD Lions]
Vie: So far your journey through the European Masters was a bit of a wild ride — your group stage didn’t go so well, but you really picked yourself up in the tiebreaker games. What happened there?
Jeskla: In our group stage, at least first two games, our confidence level on some of our players was pretty bad so that’s why we lost vs Ninjas at least, but we got the confidence back and just started to play like normal.
Vie: You came into this tournament as one of the favorites to qualify for the LAN finals, but your performance wasn’t that great at first. How far are the goals set for your team? What’s the absolute minimum you’d be happy with?
Jeskla: I think at least semifinal for us is very important to reach and we should if we play like normal. Reaching semifinal for me personally is also very important.
Vie: Some would say you got an easier end of the bracket. Do you agree with that sentiment?
Jeskla: Yeah, I agree with that. I think GamersOrigin is the only decent team on our side of the bracket.
Vie: Today you’ll be playing against the Polish IHG. What do you think of them? Do you think you can take them down and move on to the quarterfinals?
Jeskla: I honestly think they are pretty bad and we should easily win over them. I just prepare the same way I always do and I think we should easily beat them 2-0.
Vie: KlikTech became somewhat of a mystery this tournament. They win games they had no right winning and lose games they should’ve won. What’s the deal with them? Are they running on borrowed time or are they the real deal?
Jeskla: I’m not really sure. I was very surprised, I thought they would be a bottom tier team in this tournament and I think a lot of people thought that as well. But they proved everyone wrong, so maybe they are a good team… I don’t know.
Vie: You are still very young, only 17 years old. What are your plans for the future? How big of a part will League play in it?
Jeskla: Hopefully it will be a big part of my future as I want to reach LCS as soon as possible.
Movistar Riders will be playing their game against Illuminar Gaming 20th of April, 21:00 CEST.