9. Sophie Clarke
Perhaps one of the least understood Survivor winners by the fandom at large, Sophie Clarke’s win might be the best preparation for a season like Winners at War. Her game was about mitigating risks with a strong alliance of powderkeg personalities and playing off their egos while still managing to corral them together in voting off an opposing alliance.
Playing against 19 other winners, she isn’t going to be able to hunker down with a Day 1 group that powers through Day 39. She might be able to work with those powderkeg personalities on Dakal, such as Tony, Sandra, and Tyson, in order to further her game early. Plus, her stealth connections with the likes of Parvati and other NY-based winners might be a sheathed dagger at the opportune time.
8. Denise Stapley
Despite being the oldest player competing this season, Denise is coming into the game with a battle-tested game strategy. She always went to Tribal Council whenever it occurred in her original season, so she knows what to do in assuaging the concerns of others, folding into a group, and making sure others are being targeted over her.
Plus, for being the most senior of winners, she looks like she could hold her own against anybody while still holding out in dextrous and puzzle-solving aspects of challenges.
7. Tyson Apostol
Tyson might be one of the most well-connected players heading into the game, even if he insists he hasn’t been building alliances pre-game. He shouldn’t have to, as his sarcastic wit, professional cyclist physique, and rogueish social game makes him a potential fan-favorite narrator. He also has plenty of shields in front of him from a physical and threat-level standpoint and should be primed for a deep run if he isn’t outrageously blindsided (or votes himself out, basically).