Who are the best contestants to ever play Survivor? Russell Hantz of Survivor: Samoa, along with several other former players, have compiled a list of the greatest to ever play the game.
Survivor has been on for 20 years and has had 40 seasons during that time. That’s introduced us to over 500 contestants and while some have been better than others, it’s time to narrow it down to the 100 best ever.
Russell Hantz, who is likely to appear on his own list at some point, has teamed up with former players, to compile the list of best players ever.
In the first episode, which can be watched on Russell Hantz’s YouTube channel, Kelley Wentworth opens things up by mentioning just how hard it would be to make such a list. Russell then introduces the concept of the countdown and on we go.
Let’s take a look at the first ten players to appear on Russell’s list.
100. Troyzan Robertson (One World, Game Changers)
A lot of people comment on how dominant Kim Spradlin was in Survivor: One World, but there was one person who was onto her once the two teams merged into one and that was Troyzan. He was the only person to really try to take out Kim and while it backfired on him, it can’t go unnoticed.
There have been a lot of jokes on Survivor Reddit about how Troyzan wasn’t really on Game Changers due to how invisible he was at the end (despite making the final three), but he did find an idol and was asked to return for a reason.
99. Laura Morett (Samoa, Blood vs Water)
Before she was voted off by her daughter on Survivor: Blood vs Water, Laura Morett appeared on Survivor: Samoa and was a victim of Russell and the Foa Foa’s turnaround. Russell even notes on his video that had he not voted her out, she’d have won the whole thing.
Laura proved how athletic she was in both seasons she appeared in and that’s why she was such a threat. I’d love to see her come back and play for a third time. Plus, without her, Survivor fans would have never been introduced to Ciera, another top player in the show’s history.
98. Bobby Jon Drinkard (Palau, Guatemala)
Poor Bobby Jon. He was a part of the decimated Ulong tribe and didn’t end up making the merge in Palau. He was one of two returnees in Guatemala and was on the wrong side of the numbers when the two tribes merged.
He wasn’t necessarily a great player in the strategic aspect, but he was a likable player and was athletic. Someone in Russell’s video mentions that Bobby Jon is one of the forgotten players in the show’s history and they’re absolutely right. He’s disappeared since Guatemala and it’d have been nice to see him come back again, maybe as a hero on Heroes vs Villains.
97. Boo Bernis (Fiji)
Boo was fortunate to be a member of the Moto tribe, which was the Haves tribe in Fiji. They had everything provided to them and that led to them dominating in all of the challenges. There was a trivia section that popped up before Boo’s segment and it noted that he had the most challenge wins in a season with 17 (tribal and immunity).
Landing on Moto was a nice draw, but Boo won individual immunities when he needed them most. He wasn’t able to save himself at final five and was voted out, but had a shot to make it to the end for sure.
96. Burton Roberts (Pearl Islands)
For those who watch Pearl Islands but already know the placings, they might be surprised to see Burton voted out fourth. He ends up returning as part of the Outcasts twist and even though the twist was bad, Burton helped make Pearl Islands what it was.
He and Jonny FairPlay looked to be well on their ways to making it to the top two together, but the other contestants were smart enough to take him out when he didn’t win immunity at final five. Otherwise, there’s a good chance he would have gone on to win the game.
95. Shane Powers (Panama)
One of the biggest travesties in Survivor is that fans haven’t gotten to see Shane return since his initial season in Survivor: Panama. He was supposedly going to be a villain on Heroes vs Villains and was also an option to vote for on Cambodia, but obviously we know he didn’t end up making it on.
Shane was so memorable because of his attitude and his arguments with Courtney were priceless, especially the apartment one (you know what I’m talking about). Shane was blindsided at the final five, but the fact that he made it that far despite driving everyone crazy is insane.
94. Abi-Maria Gomes (Phillipines, Cambodia)
Oh Abi-Maria. Where to start with her?
She’s an incredibly interesting character and even though she drove me downright nuts on Philippines, she was entertaining. Whether it was picking fights or just calling people out on their crap, it was terrific television. Her fights with R.C. in Philippines and with Peih-Gee in Cambodia were fun and we know she’s never afraid to speak her mind.
93. Monica Culpepper (One World, Blood vs Water)
It was a bummer when Monica was voted out pre-merge of One World, but fortunately she got to come back in Blood vs Water and played with her husband. That led Monica all the way to the final three where she ended the season as the runner-up.
She played a much better game the second time around than people give her credit for and as Laura Morett noted in the video, she has been in the shadow of her husband Brad Culpepper and it’s unfortunate. She was a good player and hopefully she comes back again someday.
92. Chris Underwood (Edge of Extinction)
It’s telling that Chris won a season of Survivor and is this low on a list of the show’s top players. That’s because he only played 12 total days, but as we saw in Winners at War, there’s a way to win a season as an Edge returnee and Chris played it perfectly.
He was able to convince Lauren to play her idol on him despite him having his own idol and made the ultimate move by giving his immunity up to make fire against Devens. He knew he wasn’t going to win if he didn’t take out Devens in fire, so he did it and that won him a million bucks.
That, along with the ability to make bonds with the jurors, got him enough votes to win the season. He’ll always be one of the most controversial winners, but hey – He won the game and that’s more than most of the people on this list can say.
91. Kenny Hoang (Gabon)
I’m really sad that Kenny hasn’t come back since his initial season on Gabon because the guy really had a shot at winning that season and he 100% would have deserved it. Kenny was on the doomed Fang tribe, but was able to make it to the merge and take out some of the biggest threats along the way.
He made bold moves when he needed to and if it wasn’t for Bob winning all of the immunity challenges, Kenny would have had a legitimate chance at being the winner of Survivor: Gabon. Who would have thought a professional video gamer would have done so well, but Kenny proved it was possible.
What do you think of the first ten players on Russell’s list?