2. Russell Hantz
Back-to-Back Seasons: Samoa, Heroes vs Villains
People are probably going to be mad that Russell is second here and not in the top spot, but there’s a reason for that, which I’ll explain in a bit. Russell received over 100 confessionals in Samoa and is responsible for the way Survivor is played now. People didn’t used to easily find Hidden Immunity Idols without clues, but Russell made that the new norm in the game.
Russell was able to swing what was an 8-4 disadvantage to eventually taking control of the game and making it to the end. His problem in both of his seasons was that he ignored jury management. When Russell voted people out, he was cocky and rubbed it in people’s faces. It cost him in Samoa when the jury decided they’d rather see Natalie win, as she won 7-2 over Russell.
Russell was at a huge disadvantage not being able to see his first season play out before he returned for a second time because he made the same mistakes. He played a good game, found idols, and controlled things post-merge in Heroes vs Villains, but it was all for naught because of how he treated people.
No Heroes wanted to vote for Russell because of the way he treated people. Instead, they all voted for Sandra, who had already won the game. Simply being kinder to people would have resulted in Russell being the show’s first ever two-time winner and the greatest player of all-time, but he chose to be a jerk. That’s why he’s never won the game and is second on this list as a result.