It’s happened. Anathan ‘ana’ Pham, the Australian position one player who captured fans’ hearts with his impeccable plays and innovative IO carry, is returning to the OG roster and competitive Dota 2 at last.
Ana had taken a break after OG’s second TI win in summer 2019 and becoming the first team in Dota history to lift the Aegis twice. With the International normally taking place in the summer, Ana has joined just in time to prepare to defend his Aegis. Here’s what you need to know about his return and why it matters.
Who is ana?
Ana is best known for his stints on the multiple Major and TI-winning OG squad in the late 2010s, but it’s not where he first started out in Dota 2. He originally played in China for Invictus Gaming after taking a huge leap and dropping out of high school to move to Shanghai in 2015. He played in the CDEC in-house league, where he impressed and made it onto the IG roster.
Ana is probably best known outside of the Dota community for being the third-highest earner in all of esports – at just 21. However, inside the Dota community, he's most known for introducing the Dota world to the carry IO, which he debuted at The International 9 to the shock and delight of casters and crowd alike. It’s still seeing a regular play to this day. You know ana is a player who can change the meta all by himself when OG can simply tweet a picture of the hero without context:
Why do the fans love ana?
His modesty in interviews aside, ana is a complete monster when it comes to Dota and has created some truly epic moments for fans.
Ana has also become well known for his Ember Spirit plays with so many highlights you could look at. In the clip below, he gets Black Holed Shadow Shaman Shackled and still somehow manages to scurry away to safety using some dodging and ducking. It’s fair to say that ana and OG’s combination creates some spectacular moments, with ana’s raw ability and OG captain N0tail’s drafting prowess.
The classic ana break
What ana does more frequently than any other professional esports athlete at his level is take breaks from the game. Remarkably, this will be ana’s third time returning to the roster as he has opted to take an extended break after every international since The International 7.
The demands of training and travel that the pro Dota life requires can take a toll on even the most hardcore players and taking time off to reset has clearly helped ana. Every time he does this, he comes back even stronger and it doesn’t seem to affect his play as he has managed to win the Aegis of Champions twice after taking extended sabbaticals from the game.
The International: Third time’s the charm?
With this move, OG will undoubtedly be looking forward to the next TI as they've played every TI with him since TI7 and this time the stakes couldn't be higher.
OG will return looking to extend their run and pull off the treble at TI, something that's never been done before.
If any line-up can pull it off, however, this one can. For OG, no one compares to Ana, and the Aussie just fits like a glove on the hands of leaders Johan ‘N0tail’ Sundstein and Sébastien ‘Ceb’ Debs with the perfect combination of drafting talent and raw mechanical Dota skills.
With the gang back together, the future is very exciting for the OG roster as they look to recover their season after a disappointing first DPC split.