You see Australians take the world stage in video games all the time. We’re a big force in Call of Duty. Two of the bigger teams in North American Counter-Strike are actually made up of Australians. And while Australia hasn’t quite made it to the world stage in League of Legends — the Wildcard tournament aside — the local community is one of the strongest in the country.
But Dota 2 isn’t. Despite having an exceptionally good track record in the first Dota and faded titles like Heroes of Newerth, Australia’s presence is Dota 2 is very, very small. But one player has managed to breakout of the muck after he was picked up by one of the world’s biggest teams.
Teams always end up shuffling their rosters after major international events, and the world of Dota 2 after The International is no exception. But perhaps one of the biggest moves has been the recruitment of Australian teenager Anathan ‘Ana’ Pham to the European outfit OG.
Pham isn’t a complete nobody to the scene. He was picked up as a substitute player for Invictus Gaming, a major Chinese team, earlier this year. He helped Invictus win the National Electronic Arena tournament in June, but for the most part Pham has been spending his time honing his skills on the Chinese Dota 2 servers.
It’s intriguing because esports is a lot more professional than it used to be. But wind the clock back a decade and it wasn’t that uncommon for major teams to recruit players from public servers if they were highly skilled. The young Australian is certainly that: at the time of writing, he has the 14th highest MMR on the entire Chinese server at 8059.
To put that in perspective, consider this. Only one player on the American servers has an MMR over 8000. There are only 15 players in Europe with a better rating, and only two on the South East Asian server.
Given that OG finished 9th-12th at The International this year, it’s safe to say that he’ll be spending some time in the spotlight. Hopefully it helps reinvigorate the local tournament scene as well, but in the interim I’d be happy seeing Pham get a podium finish at the next Major. No pressure, mate.