RNG: ana to stand in for Ghost at Dota 2 PGL Arlington Major
Anathan “ana” Pham will be replacing Daniel “Ghost” Chan Kok Hong to play for the Chinese esports team Royals Never Give Up or RNG in the PGL Arlington Major after the latter was unable to secure a visa to enter the United States.
RNG is under pressure to perform as its players come off their win in the Spring Tour regional league as they triumphed over other top Chinese teams like Invictus Gaming.
As a region, China historically has been a powerhouse in the game, but RNG hasn’t been performing spectacularly as of late, save for its Spring Tour victory. The Arlington major will be the organization’s first major in the past two years, and only by ranking highly in the tournament could it secure a direct invitation to 2022’s The International, the biggest yearly Dota 2 tournament.
RNG is currently 15th in the Dota Pro Circuit with 738.2 points, which means the team is a long way off from achieving the current cutoff of 1,296 points for the direct invite. RNG would need to place within the top 4 of the tournament to get the 590 points required, and the team will need to play at its best to do so, as various top teams such as PSG.LGD, Fnatic and Evil Geniuses are also attending the tournament.
ana, formerly of Team OG, is a two-time champion of The International with back-to-back wins in 2018 and 2019. Following his retirement in 2021, he had largely been absent from the competitive scene. However, in July 2022, he made a return while participating in Riyadh Masters 2022 as a substitute player for Team Liquid.
While Team Liquid was not the most outstanding team in the tournament, tying for fourth place, ana showed off his versatility in his hero pool and playmaking ability. He was able to play a fragile, damage-focused carry such as Juggernaut while also performing on the durable, hyper-carry Spectre.
Despite ana’s skills, RNG will likely still be at a disadvantage due to the lack of preparation in teamwork and synergy. As Dota 2 is a game that focuses heavily on team-play, the lack of practice together will be detrimental to any strategies the team has come up with.
Reportedly, RNG is not the only team facing difficulties with visas. Xtreme Gaming has withdrawn from the Arlington Major as one of its players was denied a visa multiple times, and its slot will remain vacant. The team has said it will instead focus on qualifiers for The International as it would need to earn third place or higher in the Arlington Major to get a direct invitation.
Fnatic, meanwhile, is participating with three substitute players whose names have not been announced yet. Besides RNG and Fnatic, OG, Talon Esports, Thunder Awakens, beastcoast and Enitity will all be bringing in substitute players. This brings the total substitute player count to 10, including Fnatic’s unannounced players.
The tournament will start on August 4 and end on August 14. Only the 1st to 8th teams will receive any rewards, with the 1st place winner receiving $200,000 and 820 Dota Pro Circuit points and the 8th place receiving $12,500 and 360 points. RNG will play its first PGL Arlington Major match against the Outsiders.