Ranking every all-returnee season in Survivor history

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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Immunity Challenge lineup Survivor Winners at War episode 9
Photo: Robert Voets/CBS Entertainment ©2020 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved /

All-Returnee Survivor Seasons – Number 3: Winners at War (Season 40, 2020)

For someone who has watched every single episode of Survivor since it first premiered in 2000, when I heard that they’d be doing an all-winners season in celebration of the show’s 20-year anniversary, my excitement level was through the roof.

Finally, we’d get to see the best to ever play the game all on one stage. It was like All-Stars times a million, that was how big Winners at War was going to be.

While the season was exciting and kept us all entertained during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, there were some big issues with season 40. One of the biggest was the editing, which made it very difficult to follow along with who was aligned with who and when that happened.

Another was the Edge of Extinction twist being brought back. Yes, this was used in Winners at War so that we could see our favorite winners for the entire season, but it was widely unpopular with the cast and hopefully it’s not used again in a future season.

Arguably the biggest problem in Winners at War, however, was that the old school “fan favorites” all went out pre-merge. Tyson, Boston Rob, Parvati, Yul, Ethan, and Danni were all taken out early on and while it was still fun to see Tony, Sarah, Kim, and the others, the old school vs new school divide made the boot list an absolutely brutal one.

Winners at War is one of those seasons that was a blast to watch at the time and a lot of that was because it celebrated the first 20 years of the series. It’s very likely that this season won’t hold up down the road on rewatches though and that’s why it lands smack-dab in the middle of these rankings.