Top 100 Survivor Players Power Rankings (#40-31)
Nov 10, 2020
- Last time, we ranked the top 41-50 contestants (Jerri, Rupert, Tommy, Brian, Jonathan Penner, Aras, FairPlay, Kass, Colby, and Terry) and you had to guess for the next batch. Today, we’re gonna look at the 31-40 ranked contestants on my list. I said it once, I’ll say it again, this is COMPLETELY subjective, but being on the list in any facet is an honor and I made sure to include the people I thought shaped the game’s history best. You will disagree, and that’s okay, just be polite, kind, and respectful in your comments and healthy discussion. I cannot wait to hear what you think. Here we go! We’re gonna finish this list by next week.
*Number 40: Mike Holloway (Winner of Worlds Apart)- I can see where the criticisms begin with Mike’s game. He had to win out. But when someone has to win out, it’s because they’re normally put themselves in the best winning position and people want to take you out. That’s exactly what happened with Mike, and why he had to play such a dominant way in the end stretch of the game. I know I had Ben MUCH lower on the list, and that’s because I think Ben had lots of help with that fire-making twist. Mike didn’t have a fire making twist to keep him in. He had to win immunity. And he did. The thing about Mike’s game is that it is very scrappy. Very few could go out and do what Mike did, and I feel like that works for and against his placement. Mike shouldn’t have won his season, but that’s because he struggled so much in the merge phase, but he earned his spot in the end, and I don’t see how you could vote for anyone else in the end. I think Mike is also a really fun character. He’s got a much different outlook on life than most, and it made him an interesting scrappy player for most of the season. On a season full of villains, Mike was the good guy who came out on top, and he did everything in his power to make that happen.
*Number 39: Spencer Bledsoe (Cagayan; Cambodia)- I know people think this is way too low for Spencer, but I do think Spencer plays most of the game from the bottom. The problem with Spencer is that he really connects to the audience, but he doesn’t seem to have the best social game on the island. Is he one of the best modern strategists this game has ever seen? Absolutely, that’s why he’s on this list. But I think it’s a testament to his social game that he received no votes while sitting in final tribal council. Even though Jeremy was amazing, Spencer could’ve gotten a vote or two, and simply didn’t. Those are my qualms with Spencer, but outside of that, he’s a very entertaining and impressive character. He knows how to scrap from the bottom, and plays the perfect underdog role in his first season. His best move was playing off of Tony’s paranoia and pitting him against people like LJ, Jefra, and Trish, who probably would’ve lasted longer than Spencer had he not planted seeds in Tony’s brain. I think he has lots of growth to do if he wants to win this game, should he ever come back, but his track record shows that he can go deep in the game every time, and I think that deserves a spot this high on the rankings.
*Number 38: Stephen Fishbach (Tocantins; Cambodia)- Another person who had an interesting two season arc, but rather than Spencer, who was always an underdog, Stephen had lots of control both his times playing, especially Tocantins. I think his Cambodia game is much worse, as he struggles to find his footing, but once he clicks with Jeremy, he sails through a majority of the game before ultimately screwing himself over in his own blindside. His tribe went to tribal ONCE before the merge which was incredibly impressive. Had he put both his votes on Abi or Joe, it would be a tie, but he split his stolen votes, and thus resulting in sending himself home when Spencer flipped to vote with Keith, Abi, and Kelley. Anyway, his game on Tocantins is truly what puts him so high on this list. He and JT ran the season, but while JT carried a lot of the social burden, Stephen was always the one strategizing. I’d argue Stephen was the better strategist, but JT just had the social and physical aspects over Stephen. Getting no votes in the end was a travesty, and I think it’s because he tried going after JT too late. If Stephen wins final immunity, he may be the greatest of all time. Truly. He took the three Jalapao members (him, JT, and Taj), and managed to pick off Timbira in the merge, to the point where they were never even considered underdogs despite only having three numbers headed into the merge. He’s a great player, and so deserving of a spot in the top 40.
*Number 37: Ozzy Lusth (Cook Islands; Micronesia; South Pacific; Game Changers)- From a sheer iconography standpoint, Ozzy is as iconic as they come. But what’s great about Ozzy is, he plays four completely different games, despite being regarded as strictly “the challenge beast.” Yes, he’s a beast, but he has an interesting social approach to each season. On his first season, he’s very quiet, and plays a very loyal alliance game, winning those record-breaking challenges, and sitting in the end against his ally, the overall better strategist. His second time around, he plays much harder with the strategy, running the alliances himself, but also pulling off a few of his own blindsides in the process. He almost gets so power hungry that he gets blindsided himself. In South Pacific, he is the leader once again, but takes a much more hands off approach, to the point where he volunteers to take one for the team and go to Redemption Island in hopes of returning. He plays the season to his advantage, and returns from Redemption twice, a mere immunity challenge away from the win. Game Changers, we see Ozzy as a fully established vet, fading into the background once again, but ultimately getting blindsided, not because of his strength, but because of his social game and allegiances to his friends. It’s quite an interesting arc we’ve seen Ozzy go on, and it’s fun to watch. He’s a much better player than people give him credit for. He always makes the merge, in every scenario, because he’s so good in challenges, but as we saw in Micronesia, he can be pretty cutthroat too. Particularly with Ami’s vote-off, he really shows no remorse with that, which doesn’t necessarily help his game, but shows him to be a much more dynamic personality. He’s one of Survivor’s most iconic personalities and an underrated player that was one vote away from winning his first time around (AND had Cook Islands been a final two, it’s likely Ozzy wins final immunity and brings Becky, winning in a landslide). Jusssayin.
*Number 36: Kelley Wentworth (San Juan del Sur; Cambodia; Edge of Extinction)- The reason Wentworth isn’t higher is because her first game is merely unrecognizable. There simply isn’t anything to say. How she made it onto a second chance ballot, I’ll never understand, but once she was ON the season, she dominated. She was never on the right side of the numbers, but she knew how to maneuver and get the numbers when she needed them. She ran a fun little trio with Abi and Ciera, blindsiding Andrew Savage with a huge idol play, cementing her legend status on the spot. Sure, she was an underdog, but she did what she could to get ALL the way to final four, where she is ONE immunity challenge away from going toe-to-toe with Jeremy for the win. It’s likely she still loses, but she is sure to get some votes if she’s sitting in the end. There’s also an argument that it would be her, Spencer, and Tasha, and I think she easily wins then. Her third go is interesting. While I don’t think she played a great game, she played amazing considering how big her target was. Of all the four returnees, Joe wasn’t a strategic threat, Aubry was almost invisible in Game Changers, and David only played once. Kelley was THE threat of the season, and managed to make it as far as she did. When people targeted her, they went home (a la Chris Underwood, the first time). She was able to use her icon status to get a close bunch of allies in Lauren and Wardog, who really helped her out along the way. There’s no reason Kelley should outlast Aubry, Joe, or David in a season, yet she did, and that’s a testament to how good of a player she is!
*Number 35: Denise Stapley (Winner of Philippines; Winners at War)- Denise is a gem. I absolutely love watching her, even if her run on Winners at War was a tad anti-climactic. Her first game is so impressive. She’s on a tribe with Zane (who is relatively strong), Roxy and Angie (who are younger), and Russell (a returning vet), and is able to outlast them all, creating a strong bond with Malcolm that really helped her throughout the season. She attended every single tribal and still came out alive each and every time. Even on Winners at War, she flew under the radar for a while, only being targeted when she was the last outsider left. That week, Sandra approached her with the golden plan to save Denise, and Denise used it to backfire on Sandra. In retrospect was it the best move? Maybe not, as she could’ve used that one vote to take out Tony or Jeremy, and could’ve dealt with Sandra later, but for the sake of making a HUGE Survivor move, it was pretty dope. She’s a solid player, even if she didn’t have the most exciting final run in Winners at War.
*Number 34: Aubry Bracco (Kaoh Rong; Game Changers; Edge of Extinction)- I think Aubry’s biggest downfall is that she played three times. If Kaoh Rong was her only appearance, she may be a top 20 player, but I think seeing her play two more seasons really exposed some of her game flaws. I do think it’s clear now that Michele probably always deserved to beat Aubry, though I have to commend Aubry on a great runner-up game. She went from almost quitting the game to truly bouncing back and really running the game. Kaoh Rong looked like there were two separate sides competing for the control, and Aubry had Joe and Neal in her corner, only for them both to be medevaced. She had to face those obstacles, but was still able to form the close bond with Tai that would not only carry her through the rest of Kaoh Rong, but Game Changers as well. I think her social game is truly what hurt her almost-perfect Kaoh Rong game, but in Game Changers, she faded almost TOO much into the background. She was never able to gain control at ALL, which made her a very boring character on the season, and showed that she really can’t top her first time playing. On Extinction, she didn’t want to fade into the background, but in doing so, she came out WAY too strong out the gate. It sent her quickly to the edge. I do think her GC and EoE games are just so disappointing, otherwise, like I said, she’d be a top 20 player. She really had one of the most amazing one-season arcs on Kaoh Rong, going from zero to hero to robbed goddess. I just wish she was able to capitalize on her gameplay and come back stronger, which she unfortunately did not. Still deserving of such a high spot on the list.
*Number 33: Jenna Morasca (Winner of The Amazon; All-Stars)- Jenna Morasca is probably the most underrated WINNER of Survivor. If a player on ANY other season played the way Jenna played, there’s no way they win. But Jenna knew which season she was playing and really utilized it to her advantage. From the get-go, Jenna knew the flirt game was going to be the main crux of her game, as this was a Boys vs. Girls season. Rob, the best player of the season, had one weakness, and it was probably his lust for the women on the season. And she ultimately took out Rob in the end, getting the last laugh after playing scrappily until then, relying on charm to maneuver throughout the game. It was entertaining to see, a bit confusing, but ultimately a great pay-off. If you look at her stats purely on paper, she won FOUR immunities (tied for the most for one woman on a single season) and she was the first person to win 6 of the 7 jury votes. More than Hatch, more than Tina, more than Ethan, more than Brian. Sure, Matthew wasn’t much competition, but Jenna is the one who chose to sit next to him, and she did what she had to do to make sure it wouldn’t be Rob sitting in the end. Her best strategy wasn’t even strategy at all, and it’s that everyone underestimated her. But unlike some duds of Survivor history, Jenna was conscious of it the whole time and utilized it, knowing exactly when to zig and zag. Sure, she voted incorrectly several times, but ultimately that only made her look like more of a “deer in headlights” to the point where bigger threats like Dave, Deena, Alex, and Heidi were taken out before her. On All-Stars, she didn’t do a ton, except for trying to start an all girls alliance with Shii-Ann and Kathy, thinking big from the get-go. She had to leave because her mother was sick, and I totally respect that. I do think, should Jenna ever return, she’ll always have a good shot because nobody ever considers her to be this brilliant player. But I think you can still be an amazing player even if you don’t wear it on your sleeve. Sometimes those are the best types of players. She won by a huge margin, won 4 immunities, and created the social bonds needed to GIVE UP IMMUNITY AND STAY SAFE! She’s a legend, I won’t hear otherwise.
*Number 32: JT Thomas (Winner of Tocantins; Heroes vs. Villains; Game Changers)- JT is an excellent Survivor player that got unlucky once, and played rough a third time. If we judge on just his first game, he’s a top 10, maybe top 5 player. He had complete control all season, having Stephen and Taj in his back pocket to do all his dirty work, while everyone else worshiped the ground he walked on. There was no way JT wasn’t winning Tocantins, even if Stephen had a better final tribal performance. It’s funny, because his most interesting performances to talk about are his two worse ones. HvV and Game Changers. On HvV, I truly think JT wins the game and becomes the first two time winner if his intuition was correct. The problem is, nobody had seen Russell play prior to HvV, so it was a crapshoot, and JT truly believed Russell was on his own. If his move works, he gets Russell on his side, and then he, Russell, Amanda, Colby, Rupert, and Candace get rid of Sandra, Jerri, and Courtney (assuming Parv goes home with JT’s idol). Then, Russell and Candace are taken out, and we’re looking at JT sitting next to either Amanda, Colby, or Rupert, and likely beating all of them as A) Amanda didn’t have good friends with the villains, B) Colby wasn’t impressive in challenges and C) Rupert wasn’t too well liked as much as he was by America. I do think JT wins as the first two-time winner if his intuition is correct. Luck wasn’t on his side, and it led to his demise, but I do think he showed that he was a Game Changer for attempting the move and having the balls to do it in the first place. On Game Changers, he just underestimated Sandra for some reason , and felt way too secure with his idol. He should’ve at least brought it to tribal! He let himself get too cocky, but when you’ve never been a pre-merge target, you don’t necessarily feel like you’re going home anytime soon. I do think his Game Changers game is so bad, I had to put him all the way at 32, but his first two games are impressive. The HvV move is a great one if it works, and I’ll die on that hill.
*Number 31: Ethan Zohn (Winner of Africa; All-Stars; Winners at War)- What a great journey for Ethan. Ethan is purely one of the most likable people to ever play the game. We saw his comedic chops grow with time, but he was always lovable from the get-go. He was rather quiet on his first season, letting Lex run away with the strategic prowess and Big Tom take care of huge character moments, but it didn’t matter, as Ethan is the one who outlasted both of them. He also blindsided Silas at the tribe swap, which was one of the first times we saw someone truly take the reins and use a game twist to their advantage. On All-Stars, he is the last remaining winner, after being talked about on day one from Jenna Lewis as being a huge target. He’s able to take himself off people’s radars and get his tribe to target Rudy instead of him, which buys him many more weeks in the game. Ethan maneuvered as best as he could for a winner, and ultimately, he went home SIMPLY for being a winner, but outlasted some non-winners, which is impressive. On Winners at War, he just wasn’t up to speed with the modern strategy, though his elimination wasn’t even his own doing, as people took him out to take a strike at Rob and Parvati. Ethan actually sat pretty for the first two episodes, being loved by all, and having a solid Old Schoolers alliance. If only their tribe won more, or Ethan wasn’t the sacrifice that Michele and Jeremy targeted. I think his most powerful moments come from the Edge, where we hear his moving cancer battle stories. It’s no doubt he’s one of the most inspirational players, if not THE most. He didn’t play amazingly on All-Stars or Winners at War, but nothing can take away his first game, where he became one of THE most popular men in America, and perfectly approached the first ever tribe swap to become a real contender before eventually taking it all the way. I love Ethan and think he is a solid player, and one of the greatest icons the show has seen. And I have his autograph, which is one of my coolest, most prized possessions.
That was my top 40-31. So here are some clues for the next batch of contestants on the list. Let’s see if you can guess.
30. This player was given an offer he very much could have refused…but in accepting it, it got him sent home the very next week in one of the series’ most infamous moments.
29. This player didn’t win any of their seasons, but played with winners like Denise, JT, and Cochran, ultimately getting eliminated because of them.
28. This player voted out her MOM! Yeah, no kidding, it’s Ciera.
27. The most recent player left on the list, this player was SUPER alright. If anyone scrolls back through some of my recent season power rankings, you’ll know exactly who I’m referencing.
26. An underrated winner for sure, this player was involved in a rock draw that ultimately sealed another player’s fate, and made up the show’s first all female final three because of it.
25. This player has been a winner, a runner-up, and a first boot. Who could it be?
24. While portrayed as a villain in Winners at War, this player had a heroic win in their first season, in a record-breaking Survivor first in a historical final tribal council.
23. This player’s resume is rather impressive: winning a unanimous game of Survivor and voting off the one and only Boston Rob.
22. While Ciera voted out her mom, this player voted out CIERA, and even voted himself off in a prior season.
21. This player starred in a movie with the person they lost to, titled “Into the Blue 2: The Reef.”
If you have any guesses for the next installment of the list, please drop them below. What do you think of numbers 31-40 on the list? Looking forward to sharing 21-30 next time.
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