Death, taxes and community criticism are three constants that every Dota 2 will have to face at some point in their career, and Anathan "ana" Pham is no exception.
Whether it was about his laning phase or his perceived struggles in winning head-to-head matchups, OG's mid laner came under fire during the StarLadder i-League StarSeries Season 3 LAN even though the team only lost the final two games that they played.
For his part, however, ana doesn't let the criticism get to him.
"I either take it as a joke or as constructive criticism, or don’t look at it at all depending on my mood," ana told theScore esports.
But regardless of what his critics may say, ana's rise to the top of Dota 2 has been meteoric, especially when you consider that the he only began his professional career last March, when he joined Invictus Gaming as a substitute. Since being acquired by OG in the post-TI6 roster shuffle, ana has been a key contributor to OG's success, which includes winning The Boston Major, the biggest tournament of the winter season. .
Looking back on the biggest win of his professional career, ana recalls being so overcome with emotions that he needed to take a few minutes to process it all.
"I went back to the hotel with the team and I went to my room and talked with Seb (7Mad) and was shocked," ana said. "I needed some time to fully understand what happened that night. It was very surreal."
In the time since that win, though, ana has barely had a moment to himself. Though OG did not win either SL i-League Season 3 or Dota Pit League Season 5, they did finish in the Top 4 for both events. And on a more personal level, ana has breached the much coveted 9k MMR barrier, and is currently ranked second on the EU leaderboard with 9144 Solo MMR at the time of publication.
Now, ana is already looking ahead to the Dota 2 Asia Championships 2017 and the Kiev Major, both of which OG will be bootcamping for. But while he and the rest of his team will have the added pressure of defending their Major title once they land in Kiev, ana sounds ready for the challenge ahead.
"[I'm] feeling more challenged," ana said. "I know that there are teams that want to beat us but I’m feeling confident and excited to play in the next Major."
Preston Dozsa is a news editor for theScore esports. You can follow him on Twitter.