Survivor winners: Ranking all 45 Sole Survivors by season

Photo: Monty Brinton/CBS ©2019 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Photo: Monty Brinton/CBS ©2019 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved /
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Best Survivor Winners No. 2: Todd Herzog (Survivor China)

While people rightfully talked about Richard Hatch playing the game that nobody knew would be played for years to come, Todd Herzog represented the next evolution. He mastered the new school approach more than a decade ago, working with Amanda Kimmel in plotting every single vote throughout the season.

Whereas most players led an alliance from the front, Todd managed to navigate and hold a strong alliance as a shared front (despite pulling strings from behind). He also orchestrated one of the biggest blindsides of early Survivor play, coaxing James into thinking he’s safe enough not to play one of his two idols.

He owned his cutthroat gameplay style that countered early Survivor traditions with the best final tribal council performance ever on the show. His time playing with others, getting to know them on a personal level, and understanding their fundamental humanity let him provide the perfect answer possible for each player, regardless if they were going to vote for him. He brought his friends to the finals, despite Amanda’s jury threat level, showing that he’s also supportive of his closest allies.

We hope that Todd is in the right place to give this game another shot if he wishes to play again.