The Arlington Major visa crisis has resulted in another surprise comeback for Anathan “ana” Pham.
After announcing that Daniel “Ghost” Chan Kok Hong would not be able to attend duke to visa issues, Royal Never Give Up will now sport double-TI champion ana as its hard carry for the Arlington Major. This marks the second big Dota 2 event to feature ana since his informal retirement after The International 2019. While ana did not perform spectacularly well at Riyadh Masters, there’s reason to believe he has improved in just these last few weeks.
RNG announced its misfortune through social media, where it clarified that Ghost’s visa has been repeatedly declined. He is one of several players who will be absent from the $500,000 event. The statement also revealed that ana will be able to stand in as RNG’s carry at the Arlington Major.
“We are very sorry to inform fans that despite multiple attempts, the visa of position one Ghost will still hasn’t been accepted… We will still go all-out on preparing for our games and strive for a great result. Thank you all for your support of RNG Dota 2,” RNG said, according to an unofficial translation.
Assuming that all other players and staff have secured visas, the RNG Dota 2 roster for the Arlington Major will look like this.
RNG qualified for the Arlington Major with a 5-2 record in the contentious third tour of the CN Summer Dota Pro Circuit. Royal Never Give Up also attended the $4 million Riyadh Masters tournament in Saudi Arabia. After reaching the playoffs, the team lost a three-game series against reigning The International champion Team Spirit.
ana also stood in at that event for Team Liquid, and now he’ll get another chance at the big stage while playing with RNG.
While many fans expected ana to immediately trounce the competition at Riyadh Masters, he performed relatively poorly compared to other top-level carries at the event.
Team Liquid ultimately failed to reach the Riyadh Masters playoffs, losing 0-2 to both OG and TSM. The squad did leave a mark in its series against Nigma Galaxy and RNG, which may have inspired ana joining the latter team for the Arlington Major.
ana himself performed somewhat under par. He averaged a 2.7 KDA ratio with 6.63 deaths per game, according to Dotabuff. The former OG carry did average 624 GPM, the fifth-highest of all carry players, as his standout stat.
While his first performance was underwhelming, comebacks are rarely smooth in Dota 2. ana was likely brought in to replace Lasse “MATUMBAMAN” Urpalainen at the last minute. This is also true for the current situation with RNG, but unverified rumors claim that ana has already been scrimming with the RNG roster.
The third-highest paid esports pro of all time originally started his pro career with a Chinese team. Standing in for another at the Arlington Major could be the start of a big comeback.