Is Ana the HumbleGod making a fifth comeback to pro Dota 2?

Perhaps fifth time is the charm for Anathan “ana” Pham to return to competitive Dota 2 and win his third title. Rumor has it that the two-time champ might be participating in the Dota Pro Circuit 2021-22 very soon.

This came after some leaks revealed both ana’s main and alts account played in a recent pro scrim match; so there’s a likelihood in his return.

Ana Dota 2 Return

Rumor on ana’s return

During Carlo “Kuku” Palad’s stream, the player panned to a post-game screen of a recent practice match, unbeknownst of ana’s account. The T1 captain eventually realized what he leaked, and abruptly closed the screen before clarifying his mistake.

Turns out the carry player on Dire Team, named “man” is ana’s main account, who is participating in organized scrims with T1 players, in Nuengnara “23savage” Teeramahanon’s place.

Post-game page of Kuku’s recent match showing ana’s account

Any news on the richest Dota 2 player in the world is certainly worth a Reddit threat, and frankly, we don’t blame it. After all, it’s been a half-year hiatus since we last heard about ana, whose last retweet is on his departure from OG.

Alongside the announcement, it was made clear that ana is “ready to move on to a new chapter in his life.” Nevertheless, it’s not the first time a player retirement post turned out to be just a short break. For instance, Jesse “JerAx” Vainikka (playing for Evil Geniuses), Peter “ppd” Dager (coaching Alliance), and Zhang “xiao8” Ning (coaching PSG.LGD).

Not that the fans would complain about ana’s return since the wunderkin often entertains with his ludicrous yet viable playstyle.

Will Ana return to OG?

Of course, fans speculate that ana might return to team OG that he considers his second home. Unfortunately, reviewing the fact that OG’s founding roster has gone their separate ways, it’s highly unlikely. JerAx, the former OG support player is currently playing for EG, while Sébastien “Ceb” Debs has retired. However, Topias Miikka “Topson” Taavitsainen and Johan “N0tail” Sundstein are merely taking a break from competitive play, so a reunion in later parts of DPC2021-22 might occur.

Plus, OG made it clear that they are investing in building a new team of young blood. OG’s recent performance in DPC2021-22 wasn’t too shabby either for a revamped roster, so ana is not replacing any OG player slot yet.

Ana potentially joining T1 or other teams

Instead, another popular rumor is that ana could be joining T1, the Southeast Asian powerhouse. Kuku did also say that he might have leaked something big, which gave it away that major news is on the way.

Although it’s mere speculation, here’s what T1’s line-up may look like if ana joins:

  1. Anathan “ana” Pham
  2. Karl “Karl” Baldovino
  3. Carlo “Kuku” Palad
  4. Kenny “Xepher” Deo
  5. Matthew “Whitemon” Filemon

Ana will likely take over 23savage’s role as hard carry, but this prediction might seem unrealistic. T1 replacing 23savage could be the worst roster decision they could pull, considering how highly regarded 23savage is. He’s an important chess piece for Kuku to draft his aggressive hero combos and contributed to T1’s Dota 2 success story at TI10.

Yet, according to a recent interview with Xepher, 23savage gets shut down relatively easy versus seasoned opponents and would tilt. The effort spent for babysitting 23savage oftentimes cost them the match, so perhaps they want a self-sustaining carry player, such as ana.

Road to becoming a three-time champion

Regardless of which team ana joins, ana’s goal is beyond most pro players, that is to win the International for the third time.

However, considering the various factors that cripple ana’s ideal fantasy team, it will surely be a tough task to accomplish. Plus, it just seems like every region has been flourishing with strong representatives since TI9. Perhaps to name a few gatekeepers that can halt ana’s goal are Team Spirit and PSG.LGD.

These two alone pose a tremendous threat and likely would overwhelm OG today, but certainly not limited to other decent rivals including Team Liquid, Evil Geniuses, and BOOM Esports. That said, ana probably can still make a grand entrance with his new team but expect a longer learning curve. I bet even ana needs to check out the new season’s prodigies before he can rival them.