Survivor Winners at War: Ranking all 20 performances from season 40

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

12. Boston Rob Mariano

It was neat seeing arguably the most popular Survivor winner of all time return to the island for one more attempt. His performance reminded me of Sandra in Game Changers. They both played very aggressive games, made some dynamic moves but weren’t able to survive the swap.

Rob started the season off by committing to his fellow old-schoolers by forming an alliance with Parvati and Ethan. The one thing Boston Rob reminded us of is his innate ability to erase a name off of the chopping block. It took less than one day for his name to be thrown out by Danni, but it took even less time for Rob to find out.

The way he was able to get Ben to spill the beans was incredible. Once he knew it as Danni, Rob approached her directly and made peace with her, turning an enemy into an ally. He put on a similar act when Parvati’s name was thrown out, but he didn’t account for them blindsiding Ethan instead.

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Rob ran into problems at the tribe swap. He was put on an expansion tribe with four younger players, two of which he didn’t get along with on Sele in the first place. As a result, Rob’s idea of enacting a new form of the buddy system felt too forceful and controlling to his new tribe members. That put an end to Rob’s fifth and likely final season.


– Avoiding an early boot in spite of his insanely large target
– Forming a Survivor fans dream alliance with Parvati
– Making Ben look silly multiple times, including getting him to reveal who threw his name out
– Turning Danni from playing against him to working with him
– Somehow getting everyone on Sele to empty their bags at Tribal Council
– Having a couple of clutch challenge performances


– Finding out that his wife was voted out second overall because of his reputation
– Losing a key member of his alliance in Ethan
– Not being cognizant of how his aggressive approach was affecting the younger players
– Implementing an ineffective version of his infamous buddy system
– Getting so close to winning the first Edge of Extinction return challenge