Last month, during the finale of Island of the Idols, the next season of Survivor was announced! And, as we reported, it was confirmed to be an all-winners season, entitled Winners at War! Twenty former champions, ten female and ten male, will duke it out for the largest prize in Survivor history, two million dollars, and the title of Sole Survivor.
We’ve looked at the women on the cast, but what about the men? Which of these ten former champions has the best shot at adding another crown to their mantle? It’s time to find out! Remember, this isn’t a ranking of who will make it far, but rather who will win. And twists, such as the returning Edge of Extinction, will not be factored in, because most of these players will probably stick around.
Men on Survivor: Winners at War
#10: Tony Vlachos – Winner of Cagayan
While I’ve previously said that this isn’t a ranking of who will make it far, if Tony makes the merge, I’ll be shocked. Tony is a very smart player, but his biggest weakness is his visibility. In a season like an all-winners season, the biggest goal should be to blend into the pack early on. And Tony sticks out in a major way.
For example, look at his time on Game Changers. Tony was quickly put into a bad position by being a former winner, and was ultimately the second player voted out. The only way I can see Tony being successful is if he finds immunity idols early, a specialty of his. Otherwise, he’s got the worst chance of any male player this season. Check out his time on Cagayan here.
#9: Ben Driebergen – Winner of Heroes vs Healers vs Hustlers
Ben is actually a pretty special case when it comes to the winners in this season. In that, if twists hadn’t occurred at certain times, I don’t believe he would’ve won. HvHvH was the first season where the Final Four Fire-Making Challenge happened, and it absolutely saved his game.
So, knowing that, he’s not in the best position coming into Winners at War. Not to downplay how good of a player he is, Ben is great at strategy and idol finding. However, in a season full of AMAZING players, Ben just feels a bit out of his league. And while I think the former Marine has a great chance of making the merge, I don’t feel so good about his chances to win.
#8: Wendell Holland – Winner of Ghost Island
Wendell comes into season forty in probably the toughest spot. He has zero connections to other players, along with players like Ben and few later mentioned names. However, Wendell is a very smart player, and won purely based on his merit. Wendell’s biggest weakness, however, is his recency.
Other than Nick Wilson, Wendell is the most recent winner competing on Winners at War. And, while Nick played extremely well, I feel like most of the winners will see Wendell as a bigger threat due to his dominant gameplay. Wendell also won a few challenges, which could see him become a bigger threat in the merge. Check out his best moments here.
#7: ‘Boston’ Rob Mariano – Winner of Redemption Island
Hear me out. Rob is amazing, there’s no denying that. But if you think he’s gonna dominate this season, then you don’t see the caliber of players against him. Rob does have a big advantage coming in, as he is the most well-connected player in the cast. He’s played with Ethan, Sandra, Parvati and Tyson, not to mention his marriage to Amber.
However, that might be a bit of a detriment to him. Parvati voted him out in Heroes vs Villains, and Ethan was voted out by Rob in All Stars. And I guarantee that every player on Winners at War is aware of his gameplay. Going back to what I said about Tony, he needs to blend in. And I don’t see a way for him to.
#6: Ethan Zohn – Winner of Africa
Ethan is in a very similar situation to Danni Boatwright. Both played in a season a long time ago, only Ethan’s was further back then Danni’s. Africa was nineteen years ago, and Ethan’s most recent season, All-Stars, was in 2004. In fact, Ethan has the biggest gap in appearances on Survivor out of the entire cast, tied with Amber.
So, similarly to Danni, his biggest weakness will be the gap between his seasons. Will he be able to adjust to the new gameplay on Winners at War? Idols weren’t even a thing when he played! I think he’ll be in a good spot early, but the gameplay might be too fast for him to keep up with. Check out his cast interview with ET Canada here.
#5: Tyson Apostol – Winner of Blood vs Water
Unquestionably, Tyson is one of the most entertaining players ever. However, his biggest weakness is his ability to be manipulated. While he was fantastic on BvW, the one instance that sticks in my mind was his elimination on Heroes vs Villains, where he essentially voted himself out due to Russell Hantz’ influence.
If he plays like he did on Blood vs Water, he has a great shot. But, seeing as how the player caliber is much stronger on Winners at War, I’m worried. However, I still think he could prove me wrong, so I hold him at #5.
#4: Nick Wilson – Winner of David vs Goliath
Nick is a great player. Honestly, in my top ten all time. He executed so many ground-breaking moves during his season, including things like a MINORITY SPLIT VOTE! However, Nick has to make sure he doesn’t become an obvious early out for his previous gameplay.
Also, as mentioned with Wendell, he’s the most recent winner competing on Winners at War. That could either hurt or help him, and I see it as a benefit. Nick can play up that he’s new to the game, and it might work against some players. Check out his best moments here.
#3: Adam Klein – Winner of Millenials vs Gen X
Again, hear me out. Adam may not have the best reputation in the community, but he honestly is a great player. And, he will probably come in as one of the more under-the-radar players this season. So, I see him as my dark horse to win.
Adam has won challenges, found idols, and planned votes. The difference, between Adam and most players though, is he did that without making himself a target. And that bodes great for Winners at War.
#2: Yul Kwon – Winner of Cook Islands
Yul is perhaps the best strategist in the history of Survivor. He managed to help his tribe overcome being down in the numbers. And he didn’t give the other tribe an option, he forced a flip with an Immunity Idol. The guy is crazy good.
Yul’s biggest weakness will be that he hasn’t played in quite some times. Cook Islands was over ten years ago, and the game has changed a bunch since then. However, I feel like Yul is always actively studying in the event that something like this happens. He’s got a good shot. Check out his best moments here.
#1: Jeremy Collins – Winner of Cambodia
Jeremy is phenomenal player. Quite honestly, I think his biggest strength will come from being with fellow San Juan Del Sur castaway Natalie Anderson. They played together on that season, and while Natalie ultimately won, they stayed loyal to each other the entire time.
Jeremy’s biggest weakness will be if he is targeted to early. But honestly, in this field, I don’t think he has to worry about that. Jeremy has a very good shot, and if he makes the merge, I think he could win.
So, which of these guys do you think has the best chance to win Winners at War? Let us know! And be sure to watch the premiere of Survivor: Winners at War in February on CBS!