Survivor 2020 premiered last night, and the 20 past winners really came to play. Some came to play a bit harder than others, but basically everyone was off and running from the start.
So let’s take a look at our first Survivor player rankings of the season. I’ll be keeping the rankings separated by tribes until they’re merge.
(Editor’s note: Keep in mind these rankings are based on what we saw this week, not who we think could win the season. No. 1 this week could easily be voted out next week)
Survivor 2020 Power Rankings Week 1
1. Yul Kwon. It was definitely Team Old School for the win on both tribes this week. Yul hasn’t played the game in so long and has no outside connections to anyone, and used that perfectly to his advantage. And the way he used the possible Poker Alliance to help break up the most solid bond in the game was very impressive.
2. Sandra Diaz-Twine. Two-time winner Sandra seemed like the most obvious choice to vote out first, right? Nah, not when she can plant seeds against Amber to break up the actual married couple. Sandra can be brass and demanding and not even participate in the challenge and still end up safe and with an idol in her hand at the end of the night.
3. Wendell Holland. Even though he’s a “new school” winner, Wendell found himself in with the people who don’t have any strong bonds in the game. His name never came up at all for the first vote.
4. Sophie Clarke. Sophie has secured herself in a strong alliance early. And since she’s so unassuming, she should be able to maneuver her way through the game for quite a bit.
5. Nick Wilson. Another “new school” winner how has been able to use his newness to his advantage. He hasn’t had time to make other bonds, so he found himself aligning with the old school bondless.
6. Tony Vlachos. Tony is another one I thought would be targeted early, but he was on his best behavior and didn’t go idol hunting, so he shows that he has learned something from his last time playing.
7. Sarah Lacina. We didn’t get a lot from Sarah this week, but I learned after the show she didn’t vote in the majority, so who knows what that means. That’s why she lands here at No. 7.
8. Tyson Apostol. I wasn’t sure where to put Tyson because on one hand, he switched to survival mode when he learned he was in trouble and did what he had to do. But on the other hand, he was actually in trouble and had to give up his entire strategy. So I think he can adapt, but for now, he lands at the bottom of the heap.
9. Kim Spradlin-Wolfe. I never thought I’d ever have to rank Kim so low, but it was either her or Amber this week. And Kim just seemed so out of sorts and scared. She’s not used to being on the bottom as she steam-rolled her entire last season. I think this has all really made me re-evaluate Kim’s win. Maybe she’s not as strong a player when faced with actually strong players? She has a lot to make up for after the first episode. Needless to say, I’m super bummed it played out that way as she is one of my favorite winners.
Voted out: Amber Mariano.
1. Rob Mariano. I was convinced Rob was going to be the first boot. But he knew right out of the gate that he was in danger. So he just turned on that charm and was running the show in no time. I was actually amazed at how easy he made it seem. And also, he now has two tokens after Amber left hers for him. And we can probably expect her to send him an idol or some kind of advantage if she is given the same task as Natalie.
2. Parvati Shallow. Like Rob, I thought she was sure to be in danger, but within the first 20 minutes she had surprisingly aligned with Rob and Team Old School was calling the shots. Incredible.
3. Ethan Zohn. Having played so long ago, Ethan probably impressed me the most. Rob and Parvati have played so many times, it’s not that surprising they were able to steer the game in their favor. But Ethan was kind of a fish out of water and he ended up positioning himself in the right spot with the right people. He was never a target and was definitely instrumental in their challenge performances.
4. Danni Boatwright. Right away, Danni was ready to go after Rob. But after Rob found out and confronted her, she came clean and Rob trusted her enough to offer her an alliance. Of course, this was all more of a smooth Rob move, but the fact that she knew how to play that was impressive. Not nearly as impressive as Rob turning that whole thing around, but it worked out for both of them in the end.
5. Michele Fitzgerald. Michele was very under the radar, and even though she wasn’t in on the vote, she managed to stay undetected and we know how dangerous that can be in Survivor.
6. Adam Klein. He was in really deep water, but he was able to get on the right side of the vote and help shift the target from himself and Denise. This wasn’t a great showing for Adam, but there were a few players who had it a bit worse this first week.
7. Denise Stapley. Like Adam, she was in danger (all because they allegedly got lost together), but she landed on the right side of the vote.
8. Jeremy Collins. I hate to have to rank Jeremy this low. Especially since he’s a Top 3 kind of player, but unfortunately his relationship with Natalie made him a target and that overshadowed everything else he did and has to offer. Hopefully he can move up next week, especially now that he has that extra token left for him by Natalie.
9. Ben Driebergen. Ben wasn’t a target, and the way he played, it shows he has potential to make it far in the game (because I could see people dragging him along). So it might seem shocking to rank him so low, but I never reward goat/snake behavior. It was embarrassing the way he just fell at Rob’s feet and spilled his guts to him. And after that it was just dumb move after dumb move. It worked out for him, but I’m not about to rank that kind of gameplay any higher than last place.
Voted out: Natalie Anderson
How would you rank the players after the season premiere of Survivor 40 Winners at War?