Survivor: Five seasons to watch before the Winners at War premiere


We’re about six weeks away from the Survivor: Winners at War premiere, but that still gives us time to rewatch a few pivotal seasons.

How many Survivor seasons can you binge in a six-week span? Now is the time to find out and use that one month CBS All Access free trial! The eagerly anticipated Winners at War is just 44 days away from grazing our television screens. Since winners are returning from all Survivor eras, it might be hard to remember every castaway’s story as they return for this season. Or perhaps you’re a relatively new Survivor fan who hasn’t seen some of the “Old School” seasons.

Due to the short offseason, it won’t be an easy task to watch all 20 of the winners’ seasons. So which seasons are the most vital ones to revisit in order to be prepared for this landmark season? Here are five of our top picks, along with a few bonus options in case you’ve already seen one of the five recently.

Heroes vs. Villains

Often viewed as the highest standard for returning player seasons, Heroes vs. Villains has to be at the top of this list. Our pick for the best season of all time features the Queen’s second title, as well as a spectacular outing from Parvati. Although he didn’t make the merge, let’s not forget that Boston Rob was on that season as well. Watching these three Villain tribe members interact with each other will refresh our memory on the history these legends shared together. The one performance we can pretend that never happened was Tyson’s!

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Cook Islands

Sometimes Cook Islands can be overlooked since it’s not an HD season and has aired nearly fifteen years ago, but season 13 is an essential one to see again. Even though 27 seasons have gone by, Yul Kwon’s win is still one of the greatest million-dollar performances. Having another look at this season will help viewers to remember Yul’s brilliant strategic gameplay that was certainly ahead of his time.

Cook Islands also introduced us to Parvati Shallow. Although this was Parvati’s weakest performance out of her three outings, she still made it deep into the merge, and you can already see glimpses of her strategically flirtatious charm. Many years have passed, but Yul and Parvati would make for a fun alliance to watch in Winners at War.

Game Changers

Only Heroes vs. Villains features more season 40 contestants than Game Changers. Tony Vlachos’ time in Fiji didn’t last long, but hopefully it’s an experience that he can learn from. Sandra played a very different game in season 34 than her previous two seasons, but it proved that she has the skill to adapt her gameplay and still make moves.

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The most interesting performance to watch from Game Changers sprouts from Sarah Lacina’s impressive outing. Her transition from a passive, one-dimensional player in Cagayan to a sneaky and strategic puppet master is a fun journey to watch. Sarah’s ability to dramatically adjust her approach for Game Changers makes me excited to see how she will adapt for Winners at War.


Speaking of Tony and Sarah, why not rewatch the first season they played together? Their pairing was a really fun one to watch, and it will be interesting to see how they would interact in season 40. Tony’s winning performance is one of the most unorthodox ways of making it to the end. His dynamic personality and revolutionary moves make Cagayan not only a prerequisite for Winners at War but also one of the best seasons of the entire decade.

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This might not be the most enjoyable season to revisit, but it’s still an important one. Watching Boston Rob and Amber’s relationship over the 39 days makes this a legendary season in its own right. It will be a lot of fun seeing them back out there over 15 years later. A highlight from this season is Boston Rob’s complete dominance. As you go through each episode, notice the degree of control Rob and Amber have over every single castaway, especially after the merge.

Bonus season – San Juan del Sur: This is another season that features more than one Winners at War contestant. In addition to Natalie Anderson’s solid winning performance, this is where we first meet Jeremy Collins and understand his inspiration for winning Second Chance.

Bonus season – Guatemala: Danni Boatwright might be the most underrated player coming into season 40. If you don’t remember her at all or forgot how she won season 11, this is a good one to rewatch. It’s also an underrated season in itself that showcased the first Hidden Immunity Idol and several shocking blindsides.

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Bonus season – Cambodia: As the best returnee season since Heroes vs. Villains, Second Chance had more than a great winner in Jeremy Collins. Cambodia might just be the most revolutionary season in the past decade thanks to the emergence of voting blocs. How will Winners at War evolve this great game even further?