00NATION will field former Young Gods player Leonardo “n9xtz” Santos in ESL Pro League Season 17 in place of team captain Epitacio “TACO” de Melo, who will be absent due to personal reasons.
While n9xtz will even out the players in TACO’s absence, Marcelo “coldzera” David will presumably take over the leadership reins. In a statement to Dust2.com.br, 00NATION confirmed the news and promised to “clarify the matter soon”.
N9xtz took time off professional gaming in November 2022 and has no record of playing in an official match since October last year. In 2022, he averaged a 0.94 impact and 0.98 rating over 39 maps.
TACO is not expected to stay off the competitive scene for long and will likely return to 00NATION’s lineup after the conclusion of the ESL Pro League.
Fernando “fer” Alvarenga and Ricardo “fox” Pacheco were also registered as reserves in addition to n9xtz. While fer is a substitute, it is unlikely that the former Imperial player will feature for 00NATION in any CS:GO tournament anytime soon.
The Brazilian lineup now consists of Bruno “latto” Ribeiro, Lucas “nqz” Soares, Eduardo “dumau” Dolkmer, Marcelo “coldzera” David, n9xtz, and Olavo “chucky” Napoleão as head coach.
00NATION were placed in Group C of ESL Pro League Season 17 with teams like Ninjas in Pyjamas, FaZe Clan, and Team Vitality. The team’s first match in the tournament will be against OG and is slated for March 8.