26. Denise Stapley (Philippines, Winners at War)
When rewatching Survivor: Philippines, Denise Stapley’s winning game isn’t necessarily one that pops off the page. What makes her win impressive is that she went to EVERY single tribal council and was rarely a target.
Denise played a social game unlike anything we’ve seen before. She used her experience as a therapist to bond with people while also performing well in the challenges and aligning with the right people.
Her performance in Winners at War was disappointing, simply because it didn’t feel like she was in it to win it, but she did slay the queen, which was one of the biggest moments of the season. Denise’s win in Philippines cemented her as one of the all-time great Survivor winners.
25. Todd Herzog (China)
This is blasphemous! Todd Herzog should be in the top ten on this list, maybe even in the top five.
These rankings aren’t based on just gameplay though, also revolving around entertainment value, how memorable they are and other things and since we haven’t seen Todd again since his winning season, some might have forgotten about him.
Todd played one of the best games in Survivor history. His move to kidnap James and give him the tribe’s idol so they could end up idoling someone else out of the game would have been brilliant had it panned out. Todd was always in the driver’s seat during the course of China and hid how big of a threat he truly was.
Oh, Todd also had the best tribal council performance ever. It’s a shame he wasn’t on Winners at War because he would have dominated.