Who is ana? All about one of Dota 2’s biggest star players

By Steven Rondina


Dec 20, 2021

Reading time: 4 min

Anathan “ana” Pham is one of Dota 2’s most popular personalities courtesy of his time with championship team OG. With two The International championships and two Valve-sponsored major titles to his name, he’s also among the richest and most decorated players in Dota 2 history.

ana took a unique approach to entering the Dota 2 pro scene, dropping out of high school and moving from Australia to Shanghai to try and break into the scene. He first established himself as a legitimate talent in 2016 while playing in CDEC’s in-house leagues. His excellent mechanical skills and playmaking abilities caught the attention of top teams, which led to him making his pro Dota 2 debut with Invictus Gaming as a substitute.

ana kicked off his stint at iG with a first-place finish at National Electronic Arena 2016 while serving as a substitute for legendary mid laner Luo “Ferrari_430” Feichi. This was followed by a second-place performance at G-League 2016 and a successful showing in the World Cyber Arena 2016. 

ana left Invictus Gaming at the end of the 2016 season in controversial fashion. He broke off from the organization by allegedly violating his contract, a move he claimed was due to withheld earnings and unfair contract language. This didn’t keep him from finding a new team, as he quickly landed with OG in Europe.

ana signs with OG, becomes Dota 2 star

OG started strong with good placements at Mars Dota 2 League 2016 Autumn and The Summit 6. Despite entering the Boston Major as an underdog, ana’s powerful performance helped OG reestablish itself as a top Dota 2 organization.

OG’s season continued in this way, with the team posting solid results at other tournaments while bringing its very best to majors. This saw ana notch his second major title at the Kiev Major. Two major titles established OG as one of the favorites to win The International 2017, but the team underwhelmed at the event and finished in eighth place.

ana begins regular breaks from pro Dota 2, leaves OG

Following TI7, ana began what would become a tradition by taking an indefinite hiatus from Dota 2 after the game’s biggest tournament as he left OG. He returned the following December and featured in short stints with a number of teams. 

The sudden departures of Tal “Fly” Aizik and Gustav “s4” Magnusson from OG then saw ana reunite with Johan “n0tail” Sundstein, Sebastian “Ceb” Debs, and Jesse “JerAx” Vainikka at OG. 

Despite ana previously playing mid and having success in the role, he handed over those duties to newcomer Topias Miikka “Topson” Taavitsainen while ana moved to the carry position. The revised OG roster debuted at The International 2018 stunned Dota 2 fans by winning the event in impressive fashion.

ana took another hiatus from Dota 2 following the event, returning in November. OG struggled without ana, but the team was only marginally better with him. The team placed in the top six at the MDL Disneyland Paris Major and in the top eight at the 2019 Epicenter Major. This narrowly earned the team a direct invitation to The International 2019.

OG once again entered the event as an afterthought, but was utterly dominant en route to another first-place finish at The International. This established ana and the rest of his returning teammates as the first players to earn two The International championships.

ana retires after TI9, but comes back

Following TI9, ana took another break from the game while Jerax and Ceb also stepped away. ana didn’t make another appearance in pro Dota 2 until March, playing as a substitute for TNC Predator in WeSave! Charity Play’s Southeast Asia tournament.

As 2020 started going awry, his break lingered longer than had been anticipated. He largely walked away from Dota 2 even at the casual level, not playing the game for months.

In early 2021 he was spotted playing games on his main account once again. Rumors swirled that he was set to return to OG for the second tour of the 2021 Dota Pro Circuit season, and this was confirmed after the departure of Yeik “MidOne” Nai Zheng from OG.

Though ana had historically had no trouble shaking off rust and returning to form, he struggled in DreamLeague Season 15. OG failed to keep up with its opponents, which led to a sixth-place performance at the event. 

Following the tour, ana once again stepped away from professional Dota 2 and was replaced with Syed “SumaiL” Hassan for the qualifiers to The International 2021. Rumors swirled following the event that he was seeking to return to action by reuniting with Invictus Gaming, but this was never confirmed and ana ultimately did not return to Chinese Dota 2 at the start of the new season.