Survivor Winners at War: Just one player has a perfect challenge record through 5 episodes

Photo: Robert Voets/CBS Entertainment ©2020 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Photo: Robert Voets/CBS Entertainment ©2020 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved /

Through six out of a possible seven tribal challenges (maybe eight) in Survivor: Winners at War, only one has been undefeated when they participate.

Even though Outwit, Outplay, and Outlast are the three sections in which the jury breaks down each player’s case to win Survivor each season, challenge performance has been an increasingly unimportant statistic in determining winners. Only three women have gone on to become Sole Survivor while having more individual immunity wins than a male sitting at the Final Tribal Council; Jenna Morasca, Sophie Clarke, and Michele Fitzgerald.

Most important to winning the game is to have a jury on it with people who would rather vote for you to win than anyone else. It’s not like Mike Holloway was a runaway candidate; he needed to go on an immunity-winning streak because he screwed up his social game so badly. It’s why Brad Culpepper being a challenge beast and a strong leader didn’t help him win over Sarah Lacina in Game Changers, as she managed to outmaneuver everyone in the game.

My point here is that being good at challenges might be the least important aspect of playing Survivor. However, there’s a lot of talk about challenges in Winners at War because of who’s sitting out, as many people believe that Sandra Diaz-Twine should be voted out because “she does nothing” or “this whole season is scripted” because she can sit out so many times.

It got me thinking about who’s been the best in challenges throughout the season. Sure, we know that Joe Anglim is the Golden God and that Kama never went to Tribal Council in Island of the Idols due to his abilities, but how do the stats look so far through tribal challenges seen in episode 5? Who’s been the least responsible for their tribe losing?

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Here are the best challenge records so far through six challenges in Survivor: Winners at War, starting at the worst, and ending with the best record. Remember, there were two Immunity challenges in the premiere, making there be six challenges through the first five episodes. We’re only counting players still in the game through the Final 14.

  • Adam Klein (2/6 record, 33% win percentage)
  • Ben Driebergen (2/6 record, 33% win percentage)
  • Sarah Lacina (3/6 record, 50% win percentage)
  • Sophie Clarke (3/6 record, 50% win percentage)
  • Denise Stapley (3/6 record, 50% win percentage)
  • Jeremy Collins (3/6 record, 50% win percentage)
  • Michele Fitzgerald (3/6 record, 50% win percentage)
  • Nick Wilson (3/6 record, 50% win percentage)
  • Parvati Shallow (3/6 record, 50% win percentage)
  • Kim Spradlin (4/6 record, 66% win percentage)
  • Wendell Holland (4/6 record, 66% win percentage)
  • Yul Kwon (4/6 record, 66% win percentage)
  • Tony Vlachos (4/5 record, 80% win percentage)
  • Sandra Diaz-Twine (3/3 record, 100% win percentage)

That’s right, Sandra has never lost a challenge she participated in throughout the entirety of Survivor: Winners at War. In the Day 1 Immunity Challenge, she helped Dakal in a blowout over Sele. Though her participation in the challenge was edited out, there is photographic proof in the episode 1 press photos. She and Sophie demolished Boston Rob and Michele in the puzzle portion of the challenge seen in episode 2. Finally, Sandra was the first of her tribe to go over the A-Frame and made up for Jeremy, Kim, and Tony’s poor sandbag-throwing with a come-from-behind puzzle solve for Dakal in episode 5.

No player has won three-straight challenges other than Sandra, as well, meaning that even with her repeated visits to the Sandra Sit-Out Bench™, nobody has had the opportunity to go 3/3 in any stretch this season. With puzzles being the great equalizer in most challenges, there might not be a more important tribal challenge participant than Sandra.

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With Sandra set to sit out next week’s challenge as seen in the Survivor: Winners at War episode 6 press photos, her tribes are currently 1/3 when she sits out. As it currently stands, Dakal might be in a sore spot, as their chances to win drastically dwindle without the current challenge taking part. It’s even entirely possible that people aren’t making a big enough deal when Sandra sits out of challenges, seeing how well she has competed in them this season!