Survivor Game Changers Cast Assessment: Tony Vlachos


One of the most outspoken ever to play Survivor, Tony Vlachos may need to change up his game plan if he wants to win Survivor Game Changers.

The name of the game in Survivor is to outwit, outplay, and outlast, and few went as hard in all three aspects of the game as Tony Vlachos.

Winner of Survivor Cagayan, his year saw tribes split between brains vs. beauty vs. brawn. Instead of opting to go along tribal lines, Tony utilized deception at every step, making sure to align himself with a few strongly loyal players, developing a core second alliance grouping, and convinced others to believe there was an ever bigger alliance.

Because of this, Tony was able to systematically pick off members of different voting blocs and alliances, including players he perceived would be a threat. In a game where strategy flies at a mile a minute, Tony’s brain ran at two miles a minute.

Whether it was relentlessly hunting for hidden immunity idols, building spy shacks to gather intel, manipulating people into admitting something that can be used as tribal council fodder or talking down to others in llama, Tony played as hard as someone ever could.

However, in a returning season like Survivor Game Changers, everyone else knows your history.

Tony’s brazen gameplay style will need to be tempered in this upcoming season of Survivor if he’s going to make it far. I have no doubts that he would make it to, at the very least, near the end of the merge if he’s in an alliance, but unless he’s the only one to look for hidden immunity idols in a season filled with returning players, they’ll pick him off as quickly as possible.

If Tony was smart (and I bet he is), he would align himself with the strategists of Survivor Game Changers and play into the evolving nature of the game. Instead of him being a meat shield for the strategists, he can plead his case later in the game if he were to align with the likes of Sandra, Cirie, and/or Ciera.

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He can make the brilliant argument that, if it weren’t for Woo dragging him to the final tribal council in a season where others were playing the game as strategically as he was (such as Spencer or Kass), he never would have won based on his personality. From there, he would pivot to voting off members of a strategic alliance instead, effectively creating a brain shield.

Of course, there are plenty of coulds, woulds, and shoulds when discussing how Tony Vlachos could win Survivor Game Changers. In all honesty, he probably has the largest target painted on his back entering the game, outside of Sanda. Repeat winners rarely go far, and in all-returnee seasons, the strongest players (strategically first, strength-based second) usually go out first.

That said, because of Tony’s constant adaptability, he does have the ability to tell people what they want to hear (if they chose to, irresponsibly, believe him). He may prove strong enough a player and a personality that those who are more socially inept in the game might want to partner up with him.

I could totally see Caleb Reynolds or Ozzy Lusth work with Tony in order for them to approach Survivor Game Changers head on. These two could prove their worth through their strength and flexibility in challenges, while Tony offers up what to do on the chessboard. That kind of relationship builds up all players.

However, and it’s my biggest fear for Tony, is that nobody will believe anything he says. He’s infamously broke promises that he swore on his wife, his child, and his badge on to make. He’s obfuscated what people said to use as ammunition that has got voted people off.

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I don’t think Tony Vlachos will be the first out of Survivor Game Changers when the show debuts on March 8, but he has a large uphill battle to overcome.