Anathan “ana” Pham is returning to professional Dota 2, and he’s joining some old friends.
The Australian carry has returned to the lineup of OG to rejoin most of his former teammates from the two-time The International championship team. He replaces Yeik “MidOne” Nai Zheng, who was removed from the side after it failed to qualify for the ONE Esports Singapore Major. The news was announced on the organization’s social media channels.
When things go wrong and you’re unsure where to go next, the only source of sunlight that you feel like turning to is your friends. Your family.
The ones that love and accept you for exactly who you are.
— OG (@OGesports) April 11, 2021
With the addition of ana, OG’s Dota 2 roster is made up of the following players:
Now that ana is back in action, the only player missing from OG’s The International-winning roster is Jesse “JerAx” Vainikka. The former support player recently returned to Dota 2, but affirmed that he is not planning a return to competition and is instead simply looking to stream the game.
Regardless, ana’s return should be welcome news for OG fans. He will likely be debuting with the team at the start of DreamLeague Season 15, the second cycle of the 2021 Dota Pro Circuit in Europe.
ana taking a break after The International has been a tradition for a few years now, and The International 2019 wasn’t an exception. After becoming Dota 2’s first two-time champion alongside the rest of the OG roster, ana stepped away from the game for months with Ceb and JerAx joining him in retirement.
He played just one professional series in 2020, and spent months at a time without even playing the game casually. During this time, he reached the top ranks of tactical shooter Valorant.
He only returned to Dota 2 in February, ending a four-month break from the game to play alongside Lee “Forev” Sang-don in a handful of pub matches. It was unclear whether he was simply having fun or if it was the start of something else, but those questions have now been answered.
The addition of ana is big news for OG, which is in a precarious position when it comes to qualifying for The International 10. The team’s failure to qualify for the Singapore Major came after a fifth-place finish in DreamLeague Season 14, which means OG needs to perform exceptionally well in the next major cycle.
OG earned just 50 points for its efforts in DreamLeague Season 14 and will incur a penalty to those points for making this roster change to bring on ana. Because of that, OG will need to post a very strong performance in DreamLeague Season 15 and notch a good showing in the subsequent major in order to qualify directly to The International 10.
Even without JerAx, it’s easy to imagine most of the two-time champions at OG making a strong run moving forward. The second 2021 Dota Pro Circuit cycle and final push to The International 10 begins on April 13.