Survivor Winners at War premiere power rankings: Champs in contention

Photo: Robert Voets/CBS Entertainment ©2020 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Photo: Robert Voets/CBS Entertainment ©2020 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved /
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Tony Vlachos Kim Spradlin Survivor Winners at War episode 1
Photo: Timothy Kuratek/CBS Entertainment ©2020 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved /

3. Ben Driebergen

Despite having a Ben Bomb-like approach from the Final Seven onward in his winning season, I feel like Ben’s abilities as a gameplayer beyond trinkets are often overlooked. The only reason he had to go into a one-man mode is that he was able to overhear his alliance take him out for being a threat as a military vet, yet he was strategizing, socializing, and actually being a double agent to high effectiveness.

If he can cross over to Sandra’s side, he has more alliance options than his fellow recent winners, as they can bond over the military connections. He’s needed in the tribal stages for his strength. He has doubters from inside and outside the game’s social circles. Despite being an endgame threat, he’s likely not targeted before the merge and has proven himself capable of getting out of any bucket of syrup thrown on top of him.

2. Wendell Holland

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Perhaps the most socially dominant winner of the Fijian era, Wendell was able to win against someone who would have been an outright winner in most other seasons through his social connections, strategic dominance, and likeability. He respects the game more than most and can downplay his threat level by repeating the fact he’s the only player who required a third-place tiebreaker to overcome a tied vote.

Wendell knows a hell of a lot of people from both modern and classic seasons and is purely one of the most middle-ground levels of winners. In an all-returnee season, you want to be the person right in the middle of the pack when it comes to his threat level, as you can turn it on when it’s too late to counter.

1. Kim Spradlin

Kim played the best individual game of Survivor, period. She also did it on her first season in a format where she was living on the same island as all the players in the game before the tribe swap, yet nobody is seemingly targeting her out of the gate. Most of the players have pointed to Kim as the best winning game, yet many want to work with her. It’s insanity!

Dakal is set up for success, and Kim might have the best chance to thrive no matter how early or late she turns up the heat. She’s likely one of the best prepared in skills and physicality to return from the Edge of Extinction, she has a fluid sense of loyalty that many overlooked as strictly pro-women only in her first run, and she has found advantages she didn’t even need to use.

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I honestly think that of all the big threats that should be targeted first, Kim might make it the farthest in Winners at War.