RETURN: Anathan “Ana” Pham has returned to the starting lineup for OG Esports as the organisation faces missing The International at the end of the 2018/19 Pro Circuit. Image via Valve.
Rumours of Australian Dota star Anathan “Ana” Pham have been swirling for weeks now, with many believing the former champion carry would return ahead of the Disneyland Paris Major.
Pham’s return with OG Esports has now been made official, with the organisation announcing his return on Twitter on Thursday, March 14 AEST.
The 19-year-old superstar announced he would be taking a hiatus from the game after he and the rest of the OG Esports lineup defied expectations and odds to become world champions at The International 2018. His former team replaced the outgoing carry with first Per Anders Alsson “Pajkatt” Lille, and then loan signing Igor “iLTW” Filatov, but neither found major success with the organisation.
After Russian carry iLTW was dropped earlier this week, rumours firmed that Ana would be rejoining his old roster despite leaving the game due to a lack of love for the competitive nature of the title. Now the Australian faces a mountain of a climb to return to The International in 2019.
Since Ana’s departure from the professional Dota scene, OG has slipped to 27th on the DPC rankings, and has collected just 48 points thus far in the circuit. It’s a major problem for the defending TI8 champions, as they sit 15 places outside of the direct invite positions for the upcoming season-ending event.
— OG (@OGesports) March 13, 2019
To secure a valuable invitational, the team may need to score a victory at one of the two remaining majors on the horizon – Disneyland Paris.
It’s set the scene for a massive return for Ana, who intially announced he would be permanently leaving the scene due to needing “more time” to focus on himself. He also revealed four months ago during the step down that “[his] motivation lies elsewhere” in regards to training and playing Dota 2.
Ana returns to the lineup alongside Topias “Topson” Taavitsainen, Sebastian “7ckngMad” Debs, Jesse “JerAx” Vainikka and Johan “n0tail” Sundstein, reuniting the championship winning squad that created a Dota fairytale for the ages in Vancouver in August last year.
OG Esports will now face the run through the qualifying gauntlet ahead of the MDL Disneyland Paris Major, set to begin on May 4. The team can score a maximum of 4,950 points at the French tournament, which could climb them as high as third on the Pro Circuit rankings depending on other results for competing organisations.