Everything You Need to Know About Survivor: Winners at War

Who will come out on top?

The game show to end all game shows. The super bowl of reality television. The culmination of forty seasons of Survivor. Survivor: Winners at War is here. Featuring twenty returning castaways, this season will be the most complex and exciting installment of the series thus far. Below, we opine on the survivors, their strategies, and the relationships between them. So, keep reading to learn all the secrets of the show and who we think has a good shot to take home the two million dollar prize.

*Spoiler alert for the first two episodes of the season*


Season 33: Millennials vs. Gen X (1/20)

From what we know of Adam and his gameplay in Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X, we expect Adam to have a big mouth, big ego, and strategic gameplay. He is not a physical threat, but he definitely seeks to forge strong alliance members and play a social game. Coming into Survivor: Winners at War, Adam will most likely fly under the radar, pulling strings wherever possible.


Season 2: The Australian Outback (6/16) and Season 8: All-Stars (1/18)

Notable for meeting her husband, Rob (also playing this season), on the TV show in season eight, Amber has admittedly been out of the game for a long time. She is far removed from the Survivor that we know today. As a result, Amber was the second player voted out by her tribe in episode one of this season.


Season 35: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers (1/18)

In my mind, Ben and Mike [Season 30: Worlds Apart (1/18)] are the same person. Their strategies were so similar, considering they were an alliance of one relying on immunities and idols to make it to the end. If you swapped the two, I probably would not notice. I do not see him doing much this season strategically, maybe physically he will though. 


Season 11: Guatemala (1/18)

In Danni’s pre-season interview, she said that she plans to play as the “sweet Midwest girl that I am… with a bit of edge.” If you ask me, it sounds like smoke and mirrors. I expect Danni to float for the first half of the season and make some alliances that will carry her to the end because of a lack of target on her back. RIP Danni because she was voted out third. 

I’m going to pick my winners pick, Danni. I saw something at the marooning, and it was just a quiet confidence.”

— Jeff Probst


Season 25: Philippines (1/18)

One of the most drastically underrated Survivor players, I think Denise will do really well this season. The only player to attend and survive every tribal council in a season and win, Denise skillfully dealt with Abi Maria’s [Season 25: Philippines (5/18) and Season 31: Cambodia (7/20)] erratic gameplay and used her agnostic beliefs to stay calm and focused. Russell Hantz [Season 19: Samoa (2/20), Season 20: Heroes vs. Villains (3/20), and Season 22: Redemption Island (17/18)] stated on his Youtube channel stated she would try to play the “mother hen” role, which traditionally has worked well for older women to make it to the end with younger guys. 


Season 3: Africa (1/16) and Season 8: All-Stars (11/18)

I have heard that Ethan will be a villain this season, and the game will definitely be a culture shock for him, as he has not played in almost twenty years and has been on his deathbed multiple times. Apparently he dated Jenna Morasca [Season 6: The Amazon (1/16) and Season 8: All-Stars (16/18)], and possibly created some bad blood in the Survivor community. It will be interesting to see if anyone has a personal vendetta against him, and I prophesize that he will ally with Amber and Rob, considering he played two seasons with Amber and will be an old school player like them. 


Season 29: San Juan del Sur (10/18) and Season 31: Cambodia (1/20)

Honestly, a king. Most players on Survivor are one dimensional. They are either social, strategic, or physical threats. Jeremy has the whole package. Naturally, this will place a large target on his back in the early game, but I hope he will be smart enough to fly under the radar until he can secure immunity for himself. Admittedly, season forty came to a rocky start when his closest trustee, Natalie, was voted out first. Jeremy still plans to play a smart game for his wife and kids back home. 


Season 24: One World (1/18)

Touted as the most dominant player to ever win a season, Jeff said that her “name comes up more than any other” in casting. Most of the players this season said she was the biggest threat going into the game, so Kim is at a definite disadvantage if her tribe decides to keep the big threats and eliminate her out of fear. Kim plans to navigate the game in “the messy middle,” which should be easy for her, as she puppeteered two opposing alliances on One World and made it to the end with no one the wiser. Fun fact, Kim’s closest ally in her winning season, Chelsea Meissner [Season 24: One World (3/18)] lives in Charleston and is on the tv show Southern Charm.


Season 32: Kaôh Rōng (1/18)

Arguably the least deserving sole survivor in the series, Michele feels like she has a lot to prove going into season forty. I, for one, would love to see her make it to the end and win just to trigger Jeff, and she very likely will make it far because of her low threat level. Russell Hantz seems to think that Parvarti will take Michele under her wing and keep her as her closest ally, like her strategy with Amanda Kimmel [Season 15: China (3/16), Season 16: Micronesia (2/20), and Season 20: Heroes vs. Villains (9/20)] and Danielle DiLorenzo [Season 12: Panama (2/16) and Season 20: Heroes vs. Villains (7/20)].


Season 29: San Juan del Sur (1/18)

I hate to see such a strong player get voted out in the first tribal council, but episode one brought the end to Natalie’s second season of Survivor. She left her sole fire token to Jeremy, giving him an early advantage.


Season 37: David vs. Goliath (1/20)

Nick is your classic southern archetype of a survivor player. He chooses moral gameplay and strong relationships as his strategy to win. I imagine that his southern charm will end his journey, however, because of the large social threat that he will become. Needless to say, he is a fan favorite.


Season 13: Cook Islands (6/20), Season 16: Micronesia (1/20), and Season 20: Heroes vs. Villains (2/20)

Parvarti is the best Survivor player ever, in my opinion. Do I see her winning? No. Her competition knows much better than to let her get to the final tribal council. I see many similarities between her and Kim’s strategies, so I foresee them either being close allies or enemies, probably the latter. Parvarti has a masterful social game, making it to the end in multiple seasons and Jeff likening her to a surgeon, with her seemingly effortless and cutthroat gameplay. Parvarti is not scared to make risks, like playing two idols for Sandra and Jerri Manthey [Season 2: The Australian Outback (8/16), Season 8: All-Stars (10/18), and Season 20: Heroes vs. Villains (4/20)] during one tribal council to give her loose alliance the upper hand at the merge. Despite her celebrity, she floats under the radar with her effervescent personality to pull off big moves like making it to the final six in Micronesia with the unbreakable Aitu Four, led by Yul. She also spearheaded the most famous and intricate Survivor social move of all time by getting Erik Reichenbach [Season 16: Micronesia (5/20), Season 26: Caramoan (5/20)] to give his immunity necklace away to Natalie Bolton [Season 16: Micronesia (4/16)] with Amanda and Cirie Fields [Season 12: Panama (4/16), Season 16: Micronesia (3/20), Season 20: Heroes vs. Villains (17/20), and Season 34: Game Changers (6/20)].

Why do they always want to vote me out? I don’t know. I’m just a sweet, innocent, little girl, really. *Laughs maniacally*”

— Parvati Shallow


Season 4: Marquesas (10/16), Season 8: All-Stars (2/18), Season 20: Heroes vs. Villains (13/20), and Season 22: Redemption Island (1/18) *Mentor on Season 39: Island of the Idols

Known for wearing his Red Sox hat, meeting his wife in season eight, and playing an honest game, Rob is certainly a fan favorite. So much so, in fact, that he was selected as a mentor in Season 39: Island of the Idols. Rob is hailed for playing one of the most dominant games in history during Survivor: Redemption Island, spearheading the “Stealth R Us” alliance that led him to victory. It’s hard to say whether or not he will continue to dominate in Winners at War, but one thing is certain: Sandra will not be happy to see him on the island.


Season 7: Pearl Islands (1/16), Season 20: Heroes vs. Villains (1/20), and Season 34: Game Changers (15/20) *Mentor on Season 39: Island of the Idols

Sandra is an agent of chaos. She will spread distrust and disinformation like no other. If you tell her anything, you better believe everyone on the tribe will have heard some twisted version of the story in less than thirty minutes. The only two time winner, I hope she is ready to give up her crown because the winner of this season will be the true king or queen of the game. She would do well to work with Tony because they are both so deceitful and chaotic. Unfortunately, Sandra’s famous and widely replicated “anyone but me” strategy only worked when she was viewed as an underdog, allowing her to use her personal strength and acumen of the game to win. Now, everyone wants her out, and it is not likely she will win any immunities to save herself. 

Last time I was mean, and this time I’m meaner. You know, I’ll lie, I don’t care. But, I’ll make up a good lie”

— Sandra Diaz-Twine


Season 28: Cagayan (11/18) and Season 34: Game Changers (1/20)

Sarah played in two notable seasons, Cagayan and Game Changers, to cement her status in the Survivor hall of fame. She is one of the most dominant female players to date, and I expect her to play an aggressive game post-merge. Not only is she a competitor when it comes to challenges, but she also has grown to become more of a social player with planned “psychological warfare” and “paranoia” in Winners at War.


Season 23: South Pacific (1/18)

Another winner who many believe should not have won, I see Sophie being the underdog of the season. Her strategic game is really strong, and I feel as though she will be better at adapting to the high level of gameplay this season than most of the old school players. I see her going really far by floating under the radar and then cutting her allies’ throats to advance. I think she will handle the new twists well and get many allies to bequeath her fire tokens. 


Season 28: Cagayan (1/18) and Season 34: Game Changers (19/20)

GOAT. Tony is known for his humor as well as his physical and social domination of the game. This will be his third time playing Survivor after winning in Season 28 and placing poorly in Season 34 with a large target on his back. After being asked how Survivor has changed his life, Tony stated that it put him in a higher tax bracket. Savage. He is also known for flagrant idol hunting and engineering structures such as his “spy shack” in Season 28 and, most recently, a coconut ladder in Season 40. He is definitely a wild card, fan favorite, and a player that I hope so see winning this season.


Season 18: Tocantins (8/16), Season 20: Heroes vs. Villains (15/20), and Season 27: Blood vs. Water (1/20)

Undoubtedly, one of the best Survivor players ever, Tyson will do well if his hubris does not get the best of him this season. A true strategic mastermind, he has no qualms about voting off close allies and thrives on chaos. He is really close to Rob and Amber outside of the game and likely has set up many alliances with winners going into the game. Many pundits speculate that Tyson will win, as he is in the best position going into the game, but only time will tell.


Season 36: Ghost Island (1/20)

Wendell presents a strong showing for the new breed of Survivor players: cunning, social, and innovative. In the last season that he played, Wendell played to represent his family and community back home. This time around, he plans to loosen up and enjoy the game. No matter what, I am sure that he will remain a competitive threat. 


Season 13: Cook Islands (1/20)

Yul is one of Survivor‘s premier strategic minds, and I am shocked that no one thinks he is much of a threat. I could easily see him winning, and I hope he does. He breaks the game down into such a science, and he knows the numbers better than anyone. As long as his body can keep up, which I think it will, it is all but a bona fide certainty that he will do well this season.

Who do you think will win Survivor: Winners at War?


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