In a big weekend for Australian esports, 19-year-old Anathan ‘ana’ Pham carried his team to victory at the Dota2 International 2019 on Sunday night.
Pham’s five-man team, OG, won the week-long tournament in Shanghai, China, and will take home $23 million in prize money.
OG disappointed local fans by beating Chinese team LGD on Saturday before an emphatic 3-1 defeat of 2017 champions, Team Liquid, in the final series.
They won the final game of The International using an unusual strategy revolving around the hero Io, played by Pham, which OG had been perfecting throughout the week.
After the tournament, Pham was asked how he responds to being called ‘the god of Dota’.
“I mean I guess you could re-phrase that to ‘our team is really good and we’re all gods’,” he said.
“Why am I so good? I don’t really know why – I just play.”
Thanks to all the fans that were by our side.. Still cannot comprehend what just happened.. 🙏🙏🙏👨🏿🎤❤️— Anathan Pham (@anadota99) August 25, 2019
Pham moved from Melbourne to Shanghai when he was 16 to pursue his dream of being a professional Dota player.
Pham is now third highest on the esports earnings leaderboard.
After a rift with the management of Invictus Gaming, Pham joined the European team OG.
They were the fairy tale story of the International 2018 – beating LGD in the final series and becoming the first team to have won Dota2’s premier event on more than one occasion.
Since first running in 2011 with a total prize pool of US$1.6 milliion, the International has grown to include a total prize pool – funded by players making in-game purchases – of nearly $50 million.
Dota2 is a PC game developed by Valve and is based on the same Warcraft 3 custom game as League of Legends.