Survivor Winners at War: How Sandra Diaz-Twine can win a third time

Photo: Timothy Kuratek/CBS Entertainment ©2019 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Photo: Timothy Kuratek/CBS Entertainment ©2019 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved. /

We explain how the Queen of Survivor can stay Queen as she is set to play against the toughest competition yet in Winners at War.

Prior to season 40, ten different Sole Survivor’s returned for another try. Only one of those were able to pull off a second win. For the longest time, that one fact put Sandra Diaz-Twine in a league of her own, but that league might have an additional member in a few months. Sandra has the immeasurable task of trying to prevent the other nineteen castaways from capturing a second title.

Sandra certainly has the experience and the skill set to win a third time but she’ll have to pull off her best performance yet to even get close to the end. When you look back at her two wins, she played very similar games. She stayed under the radar and rarely had control over Tribal Councils, but she did just enough to make her way through the game and shine when she needed to.

However, that style of gameplay only works if you can start the season without having a massive target on your back. Sandra was forced to dramatically alter her strategy when she returned for the third time in Game Changers, intentionally playing herself up as a target. Although the cards were stacked against her, Sandra proved she could adapt her game and pulled off a couple of big moves before she was ultimately taken out.

Having two rings still makes Sandra a huge threat, but being on the same island with 19 other winners will lighten her load. That said, she won’t get very far if she doesn’t adapt her game once again, and Sandra knows that. In her CBS bio, she answered every question in ten words or less except for one surprising response. When asked about changing her gameplay, she wrote that she would be moving on from her classic philosophy of “I’m down as long as it’s not me.”

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In addition to trying out a new gameplan, Sandra also learned a ton from Boston Rob during Island of the Idols. In her interview with ET Canada, she raved about everything she took away from spending that time with Rob. Besides improving much-needed survival skills including making fire and opening coconuts, Sandra learned so much about the game itself. It was hard for her to expand on specific strategic lessons she took away from Rob, but she intentionally spent that time watching and listening to him to better understand his ways.

She might be a major target in Winners at War, but this time, Sandra is more prepared than ever. Even with the new techniques she learned and the different strategies she wants to implement, she’s still going to be Sandra. When players try to dramatically change their gameplay, it doesn’t always work out. However, Sandra professed that she’s still going to bring her same old straight-up no-nonsense personality. She’s not changing who she is, she’s simply adapting how she will play.

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Being a target didn’t serve her well in Game Changers, but this might be a good season to be seen as a massive threat. The innovator of the “meat shield”, Jeremy Collins is back wanting to use that same strategy. On her own tribe, Sandra will play along with huge targets, namely Tony, Tyson, Kim, and Amber. These savvy players might see the benefit of keeping an even bigger target like Sandra around to protect themselves. All the Queen needs is a little wiggle room, and if she’s given the opportunity to survive the early phase of the game, then watch out.