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AST Jeskla: “Overall I’m very confident that Astralis will make the playoffs”

After Week 7, five teams have now officially locked in their playoffs spots, leaving the sixth and final one open to four teams to contest: Astralis, Excel Esports, SK Gaming and Team Vitality. With all four teams having close scores, it might come down to the wire in the final week of the regular season.

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Astralis’ botlaner Jesper “Jeskla” Klarin Strömberg took time after their 1-1 week and sat down to talk with us about Astralis’ improvements from spring, being a Ziggs fan and his personal growth throughout his time in the European Regional Leagues (ERLs) to now.


First and foremost, thank you for accepting this interview, we appreciate it. Congratulations on the 1-1 week, which means you’re on track to still make the playoffs. Firstly, how has it been for you to be able to play back on stage?

Jeskla: It really feels amazing to play on stage. Unfortunately, there’s no audience but this whole experience of going to the studio, seeing the other teams, it’s all really nice.

Your win against S04 means Astralis also break their three game losing streak. Before coming into Week 7, what was the team working on in the week before?

Jeskla: Hmmm… I think we had a really good practice week in general. We’re more focused and more or less comfortable with the meta now, I would say. The week before we played really strong teams in Fnatic and Rogue, and this week we still faced MAD Lions who are still a strong team, but they’re maybe not as strong as Fnatic or Rogue right now. I would put it down to practice being better and the schedule helped as well.

That’s fair enough. Other than this week’s games, Astralis has been doing quite decently this season and some have touted you guys as the frontrunners for the last playoffs spot. What has the team changed or been working on from last season?

Jeskla: I think it’s how we play together and the amount of time we’ve spent together for sure. It feels more natural to play with each other now and in terms of communication and just listening to each other, we’ve been doing much better on that. Spring Season was a bit of a mess because of us needing to swap in a new midlaner in the middle of the season, though it did go better for us towards the end.

Now, we have a lot more time with Carl Felix “MagiFelix” Boström and we’ve worked very hard in scrims and practice. We always ask ourselves how we can play better together and how we can communicate better. This has also helped when it comes to teamfights because we’re pretty much on the same page when it happens. I’d say that’s been a big change this season.

What did you work on personally from spring to summer?

Jeskla: I think I mostly worked on communication in general. Spring was me returning back into LEC and getting back into the LEC routine from the ERLs. It was more of a learning process for me coming back to playing in LEC, where you have to be much more focused and serious. I also had to work with three new players, since I already played with promisq in mousesports, as well as with a new coaching staff.

I suppose spring was our warmup season, but going into summer my individual play, communication and what I bring to the team has definitely improved. I’m working with the coaches to see what I can do more, and I think I’m very open minded on what I’m not doing so well and what I should do to improve.

Currently, there are four teams contesting for the last playoffs spot. Between SK Gaming, Excel Esports and Team Vitality, which team do you think is Astralis’ biggest contender to clinch sixth?

Jeskla: Excel has a really hard schedule where they have to face Rogue and G2 Esports, and I honestly think that makes it really difficult for them to make it so I’d say Vitality, probably. They are a good team when they play together and they have good players, but overall I’m very confident that Astralis will make the playoffs. To me, I don’t really see any other team taking the sixth spot from us, and we’re ready to secure it because we are facing all three of them in our schedule this week.

Also, with Excel defeating Vitality, it might make it easier for us to make playoffs because if we managed to defeat Excel and SK, we might not even have to defeat Vitality to secure our playoffs spot.

I’d like to ask you about the bot lane meta since Ziggs has been picked a lot recently. What are your thoughts on the current meta for bot lane and do you like it?

Jeskla: Yeah, I’m a big Ziggs fan! It was really nice to see the Ziggs buffs and I played it a lot last year and the year before, and I’ve also played it a lot in scrims this year. I’m really happy because I practiced Ziggs a lot and most people actually didn’t, so it’s really nice for me!

Do you think we will see more mages show up bot lane then or is Ziggs a prominent outlier in this meta?

Jeskla: There might be more mages viable in bot lane but I think most people are not that comfortable playing new champions on stage since you need a lot of practice on them. We might not see too many mages but it is for sure a possibility.

I’d like to ask you something more personal. You’ve come a long way from the ERLs and even EU Masters, to now with Astralis contesting for playoffs. How do you see your growth as a player and how have you changed?

Jeskla: I’ve definitely become better as a player since I made that huge step when I joined Excel, because the LEC is just on another level from scrims, official matches and how you play in general since you get punished a lot more here.

I’ve also matured a lot as a person, which is a huge thing. I communicate what I want or what I need better now because in the early stages of my career, I think I was quite immature and I didn’t speak in a good way to get my points across. I think in these past years I not only got better at playing the game but also learned to communicate in-game too, and overall learned how to be a better teammate.

On your point of maturing, what was the biggest catalyst for your growth? Was it your past teammates or team? Friends or family, perhaps?

Jeskla: In Movistar Riders there were a lot of experienced players and I learnt a lot from my time there, for sure. I learned how to communicate and how to behave as a person since my social skills were not the best during my early years, and that made things a lot harder. In every team there’s always one person you can learn from, and having knowledgeable people around me as well as seeing how the people behave was very beneficial.

It’s also rough if you’re not a winning team, so you have to look at how the people around you are doing and you take it all in as experience. My old teammates Hattrix, Klaj, Cinkrof and Xyraz, we were a bunch of good friends and I really valued the time I had in Movistar.

Before we end, you face the three playoff contenders in Excel, SK and Vitality in the superweek. Since you played with Adam “LIDER” Ilyasov in Vitality and Excel in 2019, is there any rivalry going into these matches? What are your expectations?

Jeskla: It’s always fun to play against LIDER since we’re pretty good friends and it’s nice to play against old teammates, since you can talk and joke a bit after the game. But overall, we’re confident that we’ll beat Vitality.

For Excel, I don’t really have any special feelings towards facing them. Whatever happened before happened and I’ll just face them how I normally would.

We’ve come to the end of the interview, anything else you’d like to say? Any shoutouts you’d like to give?

Jeskla: Not really, but I would like to say thank you to all the fans who are supporting us. Please continue to cheer for us in the final week of the regular season!

Thank you ,Jeskla!

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Image Credit: Riot Games (Michal Konkol)