Is ex-OG carry ana hinting at a return to competition?

Steven R. July 11, 2020

Former OG carry Anathan “ana” Pham is playing a whole lot of Dota 2 these days.

That might not come as too much of a surprise for Dota 2 fans, given the fact that he is one of the game’s most heavily credentialed players. But considering he’s technically supposed to be retired, it does raise an eyebrow.

According to Dotabuff’s stats, ana recently played over two dozen games over the course of a week in a number of different roles and heroes. His account has largely been dead over the last six days, but this sudden surge of activity on his main account comes as a surprise and hints that a return might be in the cards. 

The two-time The International champion has been out of action since capturing a second Aegis of Champions at The International 2019. That isn’t necessarily surprising, as Ana has taken an extended hiatus from competitive Dota 2 following The International each year since 2017, but ana's OG teammates Sebastian “Ceb” Debs and Jesse “JerAx” Vainikka announced their retirement after the event. This led many to wonder if ana was also done with competition.

Could ana be returning to pro Dota 2 with T1?

ana did make a one-off appearance as a substitute with TNC Predator during the WeSave! Charity Play tournament. The team was handed a quick elimination by Team Adroit.

This isn’t ana’s first time going on an extended binge of Dota 2, as he played for an extended length of time between February and March. What makes this recent binge more interesting is exactly who he was playing with this time.

During those unranked All Pick games, ana repeatedly partied with T1 captain Lee "Forev" Sang-don. The pair have crossed paths on several occasions in the past in pub games and played together professionally with Team World alongside a number of top free agents at the time. Their time together was very short, with the team playing in just a few qualifiers before the team dissolved.

Reuniting with former teammates Johan “n0tail” Sundstein and Topias Miikka "Topson" Taavitsainen on OG is unlikely while leagues continue with online play. If ana returns to action professionally, it will likely be with a Southeast Asian team like T1. Odds are that he stands as an upgrade at both the carry and mid laner position for almost any squad in the region.