Ultimate Survivor Winners Bracket – Elite Eight

Click to see a full size version.

Time to decide the Ultimate Winner of Survivor. For the few weeks, we’ll have weekly polls pitting former winners in head-to-head match-ups until we get from 32 down to 1. While we cannot tell you how to vote, the intention of this tournament is to judge winners by the season in which they won, not their collected body of work. You decide what that means to you and what the Ultimate Survivor Win looks like.

Click to see a full size version.

We continue with the elite eight round of the bracket.

Voting ends Tuesday, March 7

1. Richard Hatch (Borneo) vs 14. Earl Cole (Fiji)

After a close battle, we have a matchup between two guys who had never heard of Survivor before they were shipped out to the Pacific. In Richard Hatch’s case, that’s because there wasn’t a Survivor until he barnstormed his way onto our TV screens. He’s a screen legend, and he doesn’t even have an Emmy. Hatch wrote the rules to the game, and everyone else has been following since. But does being the first always mean being the best? He had to beat a guy voting alphabetically and a 70-year old Marine.

Hatch knew he was going to lose the final vote to that Marine, a more lovable contestant, if he didn’t do something. Earl Cole was in the same boat with the fan favorite Yau Man in Fiji. But both men maneuvered their way to the end using their wits. Ultimately this matchup comes out to who was the best schemer, and how much importance you put at being first.

1. Richard Hatch (Borneo) vs 14. Earl Cole (Fiji)

  • 1. Richard Hatch (Borneo) (59% Votes)
  • 14. Earl Cole (Fiji) (41% Votes)

Total Voters: 167

Loading ... Loading ...

14. Parvati Shallow (Micronesia – Fans vs Favorites) vs 13. Yul Kwon (Cook Islands)

How do you win the game? Is it a social game you can flirt and friend your way to the end? Or is strategy king? This matchup of the middle seasons puts one of the best winners ever next one of the prettiest.  (Who’s who depends on your predispositions.) Yul’s ability to utilize his idol to get what he wanted rivaled Parvati’s (and Cirie’s) infamous gambit to get Erik to give up his immunity. And while Parvati is a great social player, let’s be real: she won because of a Final 2 twist that knocked Cirie out of contention while Amanda performed like a 5th grader in mock debate. Yul had to beat his rival Ozzy, and he did it by a close vote.  Give Cook Islands the respect it often doesn’t get because of the season’s controversial concept.

14. Parvati Shallow (Micronesia - Fans vs Favorites) vs 13. Yul Kwon (Cook Islands)

  • 13. Yul Kwon (Cook Islands) (60% Votes)
  • 14. Parvati Shallow (Micronesia - Fans vs Favorites) (40% Votes)

Total Voters: 179

Loading ... Loading ...

Click to see a full size version.

18. J.T. Thomas (Tocantins) vs 24. Kim Spradlin (One World)

Two of the most dominant winners the game has ever seen. Or at least one of them and some lady. JT may be more recently remembered for messing with Texas’ hometown troll, but he played a good game the first time around. Even if he outsourced a lot of the heat and strategy to ol’ Fishbach, JT stuck out a numbers disadvantage to win lots of challenges with a smile on his face, and then pulled off the first perfect win. Kim had to beat a dwarf, a poster child for Betsy DeVos’ America named Kat, and…Troyzan. She’s such an overrated player that even—

…OK, I’m just messing with you guys. Kim showed that #NotAllMen can win Survivor and dominated a cast of idiots to win by default—ugh, sorry, this is hard. Just vote for Kim. You know you’re going to anyways.

18. J.T. Thomas (Tocantins) vs 24. Kim Spradlin (One World)

  • 24. Kim Spradlin (One World) (72% Votes)
  • 18. J.T. Thomas (Tocantins) (28% Votes)

Total Voters: 169

Loading ... Loading ...

28. Tony Vlachos (Cagayan) vs 31. Jeremy Collins (Cambodia – Second Chance)

Just look at all those muscles. Those biceps, that cerebellum…those balls to the wall. The last few years have had its share of controversial or milquetoast winners, but this matchup pits two of the best of the 2010’s against each other. Tony…well, if you’re reading this site, you probably know why Tony is a master player of Survivor. (If not, I have some reading material for you.) Meanwhile, Jeremy came roaring back from a disappointing performance in San Juan del Sur to own his fellow Second Chance-ers. When one targeted ally fell, he got another. He found idols. He played them correctly. Oh, and he was half of the reason for the craziest Tribal in Survivor history. So who comes out of top? We might just have them arm wrestle for it…

28. Tony Vlachos (Cagayan) vs 31. Jeremy Collins (Cambodia - Second Chance)

  • 28. Tony Vlachos (Cagayan) (72% Votes)
  • 31. Jeremy Collins (Cambodia - Second Chance) (28% Votes)

Total Voters: 175

Loading ... Loading ...

Mark
Follow me

Mark

A Survivor fan since the end of season one, Mark hasn’t finished One World, but still thinks Kim is overhyped.

Top 5, Baby: Cambodia, Cagayan, Heroes vs. Villains, Pearl Islands, and Palau.
Mark
Follow me
  • purplerockandy

    YUL! YUL! YUL! YUL!

    • corndogshuffle

      Looking forward to watching Kim beat Yul in the Championship round!

      • Super duper fan
        • gouis

          Why does this keep happening.

          • Super duper fan

            What exactly? I don’t understand. If you mean why I put the same screenshot twice, I just love this screenshot, plus one picture is worth 1000 words to show how I feel.

          • gouis

            I am just being old and crotchety. I am pretty well versed in ‘internetese’ but I have not seen this mem/picture before so I was confused. Don’t mind the old man.

          • Super duper fan

            Oh, don’t worry, this screenshot probably saw like only 100 people, it’s not at all weird that you don’t know this picture. I would probably be MORE surprised if you knew from where did it come from.

          • Diego Armando

            I know.

          • Super duper fan

            Yeah, I know that, and you’re awesome thanks to this.

      • Diego Armando

        Yul should beat Parvati.

    • Hornacek

      Who is Yuli?

  • Adam B.

    In-game, I am one of Hatch’s biggest boosters for the historical nature of his game strategy. I’ve talked about it at length as a guest on the podcast, not only about his recognition of the potential for voting alliances but that he defined strategic skill — not challenge success or helpfulness in camp — as the key metric for determining Sole Survivor.

    But you ask me to vote for him here, and I just think about Sue Hawk in All-Stars. One of the most disgusting acts in the history of the show, and handled so poorly by Probst and the producers and most of the fellow contestants.

    Last round, I had no problem justifying Tom Westman over Hatch on the merits. This week, I can’t as easily do that with Earl and the nature of his win. So given what qualities you want people to be voting on — in-that-season-only — my only choice is to abstain.

    • Kemper Boyd

      Frankly the Sue Hawk moment in All-Stars may only be below Ted grinding on Ghandia in Thailand, Will saying Shirin doesn’t have a soul and Dan saying that him being adopted is the same as Shirin having an abusive father and not having contact with her family on World’s Apart for worst on-screen moment in the show’s history.
      I assume that the show and contestants would deal with the first two much differently than they did 15 years ago but it’s still awful.

  • Mike Hirsch

    Going with Earl, because Earl is the best, Yul, Kim, and Tony. And I am fine with my choices.

  • Maritimer

    Back to back multi-post days. Are you trying to keep me from doing any work?

    • purplerockandy

      To be honest, we’d prefer not to. But we’re running out of time.

      • Maritimer

        Oh, I understand why and I’m not really complaining. Mostly just a crack about how much time I spend here procrastinating

        • purplerockandy

          I get it. Although comments tend to die down the later a tournament goes. We come out hard in the first round and then shout ourselves hoarse.

      • Adam B.

        that does answer the question of why do you write like you’re running out of time? why do you write like tomorrow won’t arrive?

        • Assistant Dragon Slayer

          Hamilton wrote the other 51!

  • SpicyMayoJaySimpson

    There should be a post-polling poll for which of these matchups was the hardest to decide. For my money, it’s JT v. Kim, even if the results don’t bear that out. It could be any of them really, except for Jeremy and Tony.

    • purplerockandy

      Hatch vs Earl.

    • JT vs Kim was hard because I hate not voting for JT because this guy has been through the wringer.

      • SpicyMayoJaySimpson

        I’ve said enough unpopular opinions in this tournament (and on this site overall), that I think I can say this: I voted for JT over Kim. I didn’t like doing it, but it happened. I see JT v. Kim similar to Hatch v. Earl in that one winner clowned a bunch of players playing checkers with chess pieces. The other had a superbly strong game, but that may or may not be due to the close allies they had alongside them.

        • Sylvisual

          I like this guy.

          • SpicyMayoJaySimpson

            Aw, shucks

    • Purple Rock Emma

      Parvati and Yul are two of my all-time favorite players, so that was tough for me.

      • SpicyMayoJaySimpson

        I was trying to find ways to figure out who to vote for, and I was like “Well Yul actually beat Parvati,” but that doesn’t count for anything here

        • Purple Rock Emma

          I picked Parvati, but mostly because I saw Yul was already winning by a good amount and the writeup didn’t do her any favors.

          • Crappy

            Highly sexist write up.

      • EmAndScoutInBK

        Same. That’s my hardest match-up

    • EmAndScoutInBK

      See, that one didn’t even take a second for me – Kim, by a mile. Parvati v. Yul was the hardest for me, for sure.

      • Purplerockmatt

        yeah that was the hardest for me too. But its Yul.

  • I am still flabbergasted that Jeremy beat Rob.

    • Sylvisual

      It’s about time the shine came off. He would have lost to Tony anyways.

      • Let’s hope. Tony already has direct descendants to his game with Mike and Natalie Anderson.

    • PurpleTally

      I’m still flabbergasted he beat Sandra.

      • That one didn’t shock me as much, even though I stumped hard for Sandra.

      • EmAndScoutInBK

        I’M STILL VERY UPSET ABOUT IT

    • Crappy

      Rob should have never beaten Natalie Anderson in the first place. Andy bullied people into voting for Rob.

      • purplerockandy

        It has been proven that people around here really love proving me right, so you’re probably right.

      • I had a hard time between Natalie and Rob.

      • Diego Armando

        Rob’s Redemption Island game was flawless.

    • Other Scott

      I feel like I’ve been the only one really clamouring for Jeremy wins, which surprises me because right after Cambodia I was like “Hmmm…pretty nice win”. Now I’m like, “that might be the greatest win we’ve ever seen.” I don’t know what exactly changed when this bracket started.

      • As you can gather, I went the reverse way. I don’t know why.

  • gouis

    Looks like it’s time to proclaim PRP as the official headquarters of the Yul (and Cook Islands) fan club.

    • purplerockandy

      Our pro-Cook, anti-Nica stance is a good way to weed out undesirables.

      • Super duper fan

        I agree, James Cook was pretty awesome

      • I agree too. David Cook is the second best American Idol winner, behind Kelly Clarkson.

  • SpicyMayoJaySimpson

    Ok, apologies again; this will be the last one of these until next Wednesday (the only reason I’m doing this again today is in case the tournament and the profiles draw different crowds). But I’m looking for @corndogshuffle:disqus @KemperBoyd and @HankScorpio to DM me on Twitter (I’m @BradleyDer) about the PRP Fantasy Baseball League.

    And if this is the first you’ve heard about the PRP Fantasy Baseball League (I don’t know how that’s possible, but if it is…) and are interested, well good news! There are two spots left, and one of them could be yours! Don’t wait to jump onboard because those spots could be gone by then. Also, us reaching 12 means I can stop bothering the nice PRP commenters with comments about a fantasy league they do not care about. Wins all around!

    • corndogshuffle

      I’m in, trying to send the message right now.

    • corndogshuffle

      Apparently I can only send a DM to someone who follows me? That’s what twitter just told me.

      • SpicyMayoJaySimpson

        Follow me, and I’ll follow you, and we can dm

        • corndogshuffle

          Followed!

          • SpicyMayoJaySimpson

            Nothing on my end yet, but I’m sure it’ll pop up in a minute

          • SpicyMayoJaySimpson

            Is that Will Wahl in your profile pic?

          • corndogshuffle

            Oh God, does 19 year old me look like Will Wahl?

          • SpicyMayoJaySimpson

            It might be the lighting, might be the angle. But kinda.

      • Kemper Boyd

        follow and I’ll follow back.

        • corndogshuffle

          Followed!

  • Super duper fan

    I voted for Earl, Parvati, Kim and Tony.

    I think Earl played both a) a game which he didn’t know anything about, and b) with more difficult set of players and more difficult obstacles so just his win on that alone is more impressive for me.

    I voted for Parvati cause she is gorgeous. But for real I think they are pretty equal winners and just voted for whom I like more, and cause I thought Yul would still beat her.

    I voted for Kim cause she is the best player of all time.

    And I voted for Tony simply cause I was more impressed with him and how he won despite it being presumably impossible for him

    All the the winners that I voted against though are all great, but still, there can only be one winner.

  • Black Dynamite

    Tom losing last round really hurt. I really pictured a Finals matchup between him and Kim. I voted for Earl, Yul, Kim and Tony for this round.

    • Tom just had a rough draw. Had Pearl Islands Sandra won, I think he has an easier go of it. Man, Kim vs. Tony next round (as it is looking right now) is going to be tough.

      • purplerockandy

        Jeremy has had Sandra, Rob, Tony.

        • Remind me, if Pearl Islands Sandra won, who would be against Jeremy in the first round?

          • purplerockandy

            Natalie White

          • Oh, duh. But that match-up could have been interesting. In my opinion, Jeremy wins it but by how much?

          • purplerockandy

            All of it. He wins it by all of it.

          • I mean, I like Natalie’s game but yeah, Jeremy wins that pretty handily.

          • Black Dynamite

            We talked about Jeremy’s game at length in last week’s post so we don’t have to rehash that, but I’m curious, where would you rank him among winners? I know you haven’t seen all the seasons, so the overall list may be shorter.

          • That is the million dollar question. I have ranked seasons, but I have not ranked winners before. I probably should have done that. I know he is going to be higher than Aras, Michele, Fabio, and Adam and lower than Hatch, and Tony.

          • Black Dynamite

            Despite being the person who has made ranking my thing, I’ve never planned to rank winners. I have thought about it before but can never pinpoint my own criteria. Ranking seasons and episodes (working on it) was a lot easier for me to figure out what appeals to me the most. With winners, they are such a wide range of ways to victory. Some of those lanes are impossible for certain winners to travel. It feels a little unfair to discredit someone for not playing my ideal game when they couldn’t and still win. I’m not even fully comfortable putting them in tiers. Part of me does want to do it, just to put it out there in the universe and out of my own head. I find it very fascinating in the same way I’ve talked about which athletes are the best in their respective sports and positions. Sorry for the rambling. I actually forgot the question I originally asked. If i had to rank Jeremy right now, I say he’s top ten (out of 33).I get the vibe that you are much lower on him, which I’m fascinated by.

          • I actually love his game, but I didn’t realize how much the fact that he didn’t have to vote out any close allies would bother me until this championship.

          • Black Dynamite

            This tournament made me realize some things as well. Before this, I think I may have been giving extra credit to winners that i liked. Likability makes it easier to overlook flaws. Really having to think about games forced me to consider all the aspects. Especially in matchups where I like both players.

          • I absolutely agree about how likability makes you overlook the flaws. I think if Aubry had won, we would be majorly overlooking the pre-merge game.

          • purplerockandy

            The Modern Bracket stays the same if PI Sandra wins except for Bob vs Adam, JT vs Michele and Natalie W vs Jeremy.

            The Classic Bracket is completely different. Hatch vs Parvati is a first round matchup rather than possibly being the semi-finals.

          • Hatch vs. Parvati would have been fascinating. So would Bob vs. Adam

      • Black Dynamite

        It will be an intriguing matchup. I think it comes down to what people prioritize in voting. I say Kim’s win is more impressive while Tony’s may have a bigger overall impact in Survivor.

        • PREFACE: I have not finished One World
          I actually think Tony’s win may be more impressive when you remember who Tony faced in that merge and how he maneuvered around them. He also openly manipulated Woo into giving him a win. If that couldn’t sway people to vote Tina in Round 1, it should sway them in the F4.

          • Black Dynamite

            Tony’s win is super impressive. I’ve never seen anyone absolutely control every facet of Survivor as well and definitively as Kim. She played the blueprint game.

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            There was some discussion a while back about the point at which each win became inevitable, and which winners locked it up the earliest and the latest. I don’t remember enough of the details about One World, but surely Kim was one of the earliest to lock up a win, and Tony one of the latest. Does Tony deserve more credit for talking Woo into doing something crazy, or should the quality of his win (ignoring entertainment level) be discounted for hinging on something so improbable? I still haven’t made up my mind.

          • Black Dynamite

            I remember that conversation. i even did a ranking of that. To answer the question, I give credit to Tony for doing that while acknowledging that it was such a dumb move by woo that even depending on him doing it in the first place is crazy.

  • Max_Jets

    I’m apparently voting in the minority for everything, except Perfect Kim of course. I’m very surprised that Tom fell to Hatch.

    This Parvati/Yul write up is rough. How do you hold the surprise final 2 against Parvati when Yul had it even easier? A surprise final 3 and a super idol. He was guaranteed a spot in the finals due in large part to the season’s twists, Parvati was guaranteed a spot in the finals because she put in work. Parvati had an alliance with every one to make the merge other than Eliza and was one of the closest alliance partners of 6 of those people. Yul flipping Penner was great, but he didn’t have to do much after that.

    • Roswulf

      Well, he also had to flip ON Penner, thus solidifying the key votes from Candace and Adam.

      But yes, it was clear sailing from that point on.

    • Sylvisual

      My reasoning there was that the game was always heading towards a Yul-Ozzy showdown. And finding and playing an idol is impressive, regardless. (Personally I think Parv’s HvV game is better, but she’s still a great winner. Tough battle.)

      • Max_Jets

        Counterpoint: Ozzy wins final immunity, votes off Yul and wins the game against Becky.

    • Diego Armando

      Adam offered Ozzy and Sandra a chance to vote for Yul and remove his idol. They did not take it,

      • Max_Jets

        Yeah, I’ve heard that, but ignored it to stump for my girl due to the disproportionate credit given in the write up. The final 3 twist still hadn’t been revealed yet, but it’s very impressive on Yul’s part.

      • Kemper Boyd

        But this is a function of the intense bond the mutiny formed in the 4. They are probably the strongest alliance ever because why would you turn on each other to vote with Adam, Parvarti even to get rid of the idol, as the idol is what allowed them to advance.

    • Crappy

      Yup, love Yul but F3 helped him as much as F2 helped Parv. Ozzy has since said that he would have voted off Yul if he had won the F3 challenge (this could be false, Ozzy at that time could have made a Colby like decision)

  • Diego Armando

    I legitimately believe that JT should beat Kim. They both dominated their seasons as well as possible. He literally could not have fared better in Tocantins. Kim dominated her season also. So for this tiebreaker, I am going with strength of competition. JT wins this hands down. Tocantins cast is legendarily fantastic and included a future dominant winner. Aside from Sabrina and Chelsea, Kim arguably faced the most incompetent group of opponents ever.

    Kim will win this matchup, but this should not be the curb stomp the description makes it out to be.

    • Max_Jets

      JT was the best player of Tocantins, but he also dominated the season with help. Kim did all of the work by herself, while making her allies feel like strategic partners even when they weren’t. JT also had to win out to get to the end – Stephen would have cut him before the finals if he could.

      • Diego Armando

        Kim also had allies (the only players who actually knew how to play Survivor) and likely needed to win out. JT also swept his tribal and got no votes against him (neither of which Kim was able to do). Coach and Brenden both proclaimed in game that they wanted to give him the million. These are not easily blown over feats.

        • Max_Jets

          Kim had allies but they weren’t as important to her game as Stephen was to JT – Kim even had to clean up Chelsea’s mess on at least one occasion. Good point, I forgot Kim won the last two immunities. I haven’t heard if her allies wanted to turn on her, but I’d believe the non-Chelseas might. I guess I can see the argument for him, even if I don’t agree. He’s a great winner regardless.

    • Other Scott

      I think the Tocantins cast is equally as bad as the One World cast from a gameplay perspective. Like who were the good players on that Timbira tribe?

  • Hornacek

    The way Tony pulled the Jedi mind trick on Woo to convince him to take him to the final two over Kass is all I need to think about when deciding to vote for him over Jeremy/Jeremiah.

  • Diego Armando

    This is not going to win me fans, but I think we have mythologized Kim to a unhealthy degree. She is a fantastic player, but I think we have turned her into something that is way too overblown. I feel like we create stereotypes or flaws for players that massively undervalue them (All Sandra did was flip, Rob played 4 times and was against idiots, all Parvati did was flirt, Yul had a god Idol so his win isn’t great, Stephen did all of JT’s thinking, etc.). We seem to have gone completely in the opposite direction with Kim, in that we have decided that Kim is great because she is Kim. She did bounce strategy off of her allies Sabrina and Chelsea. The rest of her cast was Nicaragua-level incompetent. Her strategy mostly consisted of sticking with a Day 1 alliance. She didn’t add any new strategic verbs. She kept Alecia around for the entire season.

    I will state again that I like Kim a lot and think her game was fantastic. I think it is great that a lot of the women (and men) here find her so inspirational. Survivor does have a sexism problem that is almost to solve and I think it is great that she is popular. I just think we have turned her into something deific.

    • Black Dynamite

      Yeah, she did stick with her day one allies but she was so good at having everyone believe that Kim was their closest ally, why would she have to switch it up? Yeah, her cast did have a lot of incompetent people. But she did have to put out fires that they started to keep her plan on track. She put out fires with such ease that you forgot the smoke alarm even went off in the first place. Yeah, she kept Alecia around but why not keep around the asshole you can beat? She did bounce off ideas with Sabrina and Chelsea because it’s good social play to keep your allies involved. She didn’t add any new strategic verbs, she didn’t have to. Her strategy was simple but so effective and perfectly executed. I think Kim has played the best winning game Survivor has seen. I’m definitely going to give that a lot of praise.

      • Alkanarra

        One of the things that Kim did really well which often gets ignored is how she managed the tribe swap. The women wound up in a 4-3 advantage on the swapped tribe. Many lesser players would have gotten arrogant and isolated the minority. Kim pulled them in and formed a secondary alliance, so that when the merge happened she had options. From this position she was able to play the men against themselves without tipping her hand too soon. That Troyzan is the only person to sniff this out speaks to why he is a “stand out” member of that cast, though it also ignores how badly she played him during the initial post-merge votes. She was also able to orchestrate an “everyone against Troyzan” vibe that all but ensured they wouldn’t take him seriously, though that was largely helped by Troyzan kind of being an asshole.

        I do agree with Diego though that Kim had some truly atrocious players on her merge in Christina, Kat, Tarzan, and Leif, and that they would make many players look good. She gets some credit for setting up a scenario where she could ensure that those players were the ones that stuck around, but I think it’s easy to argue that J.T. had tougher competition. I personally don’t have a problem with people picking J.T. on this one, even though now that Rob is gone, Kim will be my pick every time.

        • Black Dynamite

          The vote out of Mike was a goddamn masterpiece. She played Troy, she covered up Chelsea and Kat’s mistakes while having everyone believe they were in on whatever plan they thought was going on.

          • Alkanarra

            The swap is when she started playing the game and that merge vote is where she got to put it into play. She made the men look like fools… but at the same time, these were the people who willingly went to tribal, so yeah, it wasn’t that difficult.

            I give Rob a lot of credit because he had to play an up-front game from Day 1, but Rob didn’t have to survive a tribe shuffle either. Kim not only did, but she used that time about as well as anyone possibly could.

          • Black Dynamite

            I agree with you about the swap. She made relationships where both the women’s alliance and the Salani alliance felt like equally real options. She had built up so many paths towards an endgame.

        • Kemper Boyd

          I don’t think Tarzan was atrocious, I think he is mad but also knew his only play was being mad and it good him deep.

      • Kemper Boyd

        This is the Sophie argument. All Sophie did was maintain course and slap Albert’s hand form the rudder when he wanted to swing away from that path. But she saw how she wins and she did it perfectly.
        I agree with you on Kim. The big difference is Kim could have taken multiple paths and won, everyone loved her (yes Troy did until she bested him) and everyone trusted her.

      • Mike Hirsch

        Kim is like a shutdown corner in football, or a good film editor: if they’re doing their job well, the audience doesn’t even realize they’re there. Doesn’t mean they aren’t putting in a lot of hard work.

        • Kemper Boyd

          THIS

        • Assistant Dragon Slayer

          I’m trying to save the analogy for the Kim-Tony matchup, but throwing a no-hitter is inherently a better performance than constantly getting out of bases-loaded jams, but the former is boring AF (to a casual fan) and the latter is super exciting.

          • purplerockandy

            The flaw in the analogy is that there actually is a preferred way to succeed while pitching in baseball (avoid runners). There’s a lot of different ways to succeed in Survivor.

            Frankly, Tony was able to succeed in Survivor BECAUSE a lot of the people he was playing against tried to play the more measured, controlled way of Kim. People like LJ, Tasha, Spencer, etc were hoping to sit back and work social bonds, figuring Tony could be a useful distraction. Turns out, he was actually handing them their ass instead.

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            Actually, the point is to avoid runs, not runners. I’m just making a simple argument of logic here: not giving up runs plus completely shutting down the opposition is inherently more difficult than not giving up runs by itself.

            And I’m not trying to discount Tony’s win. Something you said during the podcast (can’t remember what it was), and as a matter of fact this whole winner tournament, crystallized the thought in my head that being a great winner of Survivor (the game) isn’t the same as, and might be diametrically opposed to, being a great winner of Survivor (the TV show).

          • purplerockandy

            You gotta admit, avoiding runners is a pretty effective way to avoid runs.

    • SpicyMayoJaySimpson

      Really, if anyone should be deified (based on just one season of play), it should probably be Tony for pulling off miracle after miracle after miracle. I agree that parts of Kim’s game are overrated while her overall gameplay is fantastic. But the contrarian in me has to point out that both Rob and Kim won against a cast of idiots. Yet we only harp on that for one of them, which speaks to how well Kim played that it doesn’t really matter. Additionally, if Rob deserves more credit despite playing against idiots, it’s hard to argue that the One World cast needs to be considered when evaluating Kim’s win.

      • Kemper Boyd

        Tony’s miracles were fantastic but why did he need miracles? because of his own erratic social play. Kim didn’t need that because Kim never made more than small mistakes. Rob was the same, god even Sophie played a straight line game because it was what was needed.

        • SpicyMayoJaySimpson

          This is fair, but for Tony to do what he did in a cast full of ringers means that there had to have been some divine intervention going on.

          Also, I just followed you on Twitter, and if you could follow back please, I’ll dm you something.

          • Kemper Boyd

            I’ve followed someone back, I hope it’s you!

    • Max_Jets

      I don’t know, but most of the praise comes from what we see on the season. I would suggest watching the final 6 and final 11 episodes again if you haven’t recently. The way she pits her allies against each other and gets them to work the way she wants is amazing and they don’t show players (JT, Jeremy, even Rob) putting in that kind of work in other seasons. Maybe that comes down to how they decided to edit the season, but it’s all on screen.

      • Diego Armando

        I think you are likely right that she did those things fantastically. I think most of my ambivalence comes from the fact that I really hated that season. I found it mean spirited, boring and generally unpleasant. I also did not think Kim did a great job playing to the camera (likely because she was not interested in doing so). I personally thought Sabrina was the more charismatic player.

        I think I conflate the player with the season and the occasional “One World isn’t too bad because of Kim” arguement causes me to buckle down on my opinion. I think this is similar to Andy with Micronesia and Barbara with Cambodia.

        • Max_Jets

          I get that. I go back and forth on One World. There are certain plays by Kim that blow me away and lift the season much higher for me, but it really is shitty and unpleasant for a lot of it and in the least rewarding way.

          Agreed on Sabrina, she was great as a TV presence. Kim’s charms are much clearer out of the game than on TV.

          • Diego Armando

            I do think she is a great player and I truly believe that she just didn’t care about playing for the audience, which I can respect. Ranking winners is really stupid since we only see a small fraction of their game, but the conversations can be fun.

        • Kemper Boyd

          The season is terrible but her actual play is fantastic. Frankly the season has a bad cast of unlikeable people but the reason it sucks so hard (like Redemption Island) is one person is in control ad nothing spectacular happens. One World is awful because of Kim’s control in many ways.

          • Mike Hirsch

            I kind of liked Jonas.

          • Purplerockmatt

            i did too.

        • Ms. Sweaterfan

          This is roughly where I am with Kim (and, incidentally, with Rob in RI too). I’m a serial rewatcher of Survivor seasons, so for me I tend to evaluate the season as a whole based on how entertaining it is plus how I feel about the final result. This makes it hard to completely separate the winner from the season, and tends to mean my faves are a bit more balanced out (unless we’re talking about HvV which has it all).

      • Diego Armando

        I will counter and say that they did show Boston Rob having complete, unbreakible control over his Redemption Island group. I personally consider that the best individual game of all time, because he had that level of control and left his opponents with no hope of breaking in.

        • Max_Jets

          Rob’s is near impossible for me to rank (there’s a reason so many people hate comparing winners) because of the 4th time vs. Newbies factor but if we did ignore that I would still have him 2nd. One reason is because Kim was aligned with damn near anyone, while Rob was only aligned with his tribe. But then that argument could fall apart because Kim only had to align with everyone because of the season’s structure, whereas Rob might have done the same thing had his season had a tribe swap. The second reason (which I think holds) is that Kim brought her biggest competition to the end (even though she could have gone with others) and still beat them. Rob expertly crafted the perfect final 3 for himself, but likely would have lost to Ashley if she won final immunity.

          Now that I think about it though, there would be a good argument that Rob’s dominance is more impressive because the person that was his biggest opposition (Andrea) actually seemed to be a good social player and should have been more effective than Kim’s biggest opposition (Troyzan) who seems like he would turn off anyone. But then we get back into the comparison of competition quality which is hard to do and one of the many complexities that is impossible to analyze when comparing winners. It’s still fun to argue about though.

          • Diego Armando

            I rewatched All Stars a year or two ago and realized Rob’s game there was near identical to his RI game. It was honestly surprising.

          • purplerockandy

            Been saying this for years. The whole “Rob only dominated because he played with idiots playing for their first time” ignores the fact that he ALSO dominated against the greatest assemblage of Survivor talent at the time, while they were all playing for their second time. Just like Kim, they all chose Rob as the most trustworthy person in the “reveal your secrets” challenge.

          • purplerockandy

            I mean, that mother fucker had THE OTHER tribe doing his bidding. How in the fuck?

          • Alycia Swift

            Yes, but he pissed off enough people and brought someone that had not (and there was a final 2) that they could justify voting for someone in All-Stars. He still pissed off people but brought 2 that were not getting voted for in the final 3. That’s where his game was different (and no buddy system either).

          • purplerockandy

            Oh, he definitely improved along the way. I’m just saying that he basically did a refined version of his All-Stars game. (Also learned the importance of idols from HvV).

          • Max_Jets

            I don’t have much love for All Stars, but I do love his game there. His deal with Lex doesn’t get brought up enough as a great move. I think my dislike for Redemption Island’s set up makes it hard for me to enjoy his winning game at all, even if they are so similar.

          • Kemper Boyd

            Kim neutralised her biggest competition by having them as her 2 and 3. Where as Rob took his out. I don’t think Troyzan was really was her biggest competition.

          • EmAndScoutInBK

            This. Her biggest competition was Chelsea and Sabrina. And she neutralized them by making them her allies, by taking credit for the moves. It was brilliant. Hell, I think Sabrina is probably decent at Survivor.

          • Kemper Boyd

            People give Troy credit for noticing her but if I’m not mistaken Sabrina toys with thinking of getting rid of Kim but is screwed by her late immunity run.

  • Other Scott

    These are all pretty easy to me.

    Hatch, Yul, Kim, Jeremy. Done.

    (Yes I’m still not fully on board the Tony bandwagon as one of the best wins ever. Jeremy was just so much cleaner, what can I say?)

    • Max_Jets

      Complete dominance with a Trish vs. 90% dominance but without a Trish? It’s a tough call.

      • purplerockandy

        I think Trish’s role in Tony’s success has been overrated since Cagayan aired. For all the “calming presence” Trish offered, she was the person that aggressively cussed out at least two of the people on that season.

        • Max_Jets

          There’s a good argument there against Trish as a player, but I think Trish flipping Kass and keeping Jefra on board at final 8 are pretty undeniably important contributions to her alliance. The Jefra thing is cancelled out by the super idol a bit. I think he needed Trish OR the super idol (not both), but I choose to focus on the Trish factor because it’s more interesting.

          • purplerockandy

            I’m not saying Trish didn’t have value. I’m saying that her value has probably been overvalued, especially since people at the time were looking for any reason to NOT give credit to Tony. I think most allies had value to the winner of their season. Yes, even people in One World and Redemption Island.

            FWIW, in his post-game interview with us, Tony said the Kass flip was more Jefra’s work than it was Trish’s. If his account is accurate (and who knows if it is, all post-game interviews are suspect), he said that Jefra started the fight between Kass then ghosted, then told the group about the opening (one reason I’m willing to believe it is that the story illustrates someone other than Tony doing well).

          • Max_Jets

            Yeah, the flip is more of a two person move. Trish’s role is pivotal, but I wish they had shown Jefra’s role in it so we could have been impressed with the entire final 7 of the season rather than only having an impressive final 6 (god, Cagayan is so good).

            I agree that Tony’s win shouldn’t be discredited by Trish’s help, but while some people give Tony too little credit others don’t give Trish enough. I think of them as more of a partnership like Parvati/Cirie, JT/Stephen, or Parvati/Russell. I probably don’t give enough credit to some allies in other seasons, but there doesn’t seem to be a comparable person for Jeremy in Cambodia. That said, Cambodia was nuts so it’s possible we just didn’t get to see it.

          • purplerockandy

            Spencer and Tasha sniffed out Kimmi’s flip when Jeremy refused to see it.

          • Max_Jets

            Ah, great point!

        • Ms. Sweaterfan

          I love Trish, but I have to think Tony would have found a path to the end on that season even if she hadn’t been there. His win wasn’t really built on one lucky break the way some others are (except, I guess, for the Woo/final two situation) so if a couple votes went down differently here or there, I don’t think it would have been game ruining, given the way he was playing.

        • Alycia Swift

          But he actually has credited her. So have others.

          • purplerockandy

            I’m not saying she had no role in her success. I’m saying the role has become overrated. Largely by people who would prefer to not give Tony credit. A smart player uses the skills of the other players to their benefit.

            But it should also be noted that while Trish did help smooth out Tony’s edges, she had a LOT of edges herself. One player quit to avoid getting it a fist fight with her. Kass gave her the finger after (reportedly from post-gaem interviews) Trish called her kid retrarded. Trish and Tasha aren’t exactly friendly.

      • Other Scott

        I prefer 90% dominance to complete dominance anyways because it shows you have the flexibility to recover if something doesn’t go as planned – and further it shows that when things aren’t perfect you aren’t the target

    • Ms. Sweaterfan

      I voted almost exactly the same way, except I picked Earl over Hatch (but that was definitely the decision I felt least confident in). And I agree about Tony vs. Jeremy – I tend to value Jeremy’s calm and precision over a ‘WTF how did he do that?’ win like Tony’s. I know they said we could use whichever criteria we want in our decision making, but I just couldn’t choose entertainment value over what I view as superior strategic skill.

    • Alycia Swift

      I agree. Jeremy had Tasha who was not a help (and Spencer or Fishbach).

      Tony had Trish who cleaned up his messes.

      • Other Scott

        Why do you say Tasha wasn’t a help? I think Tasha in Cambodia is like the greatest ally you can have: strategically smart, fiercely loyal, and very easy to beat in the Final Tribal Council.

        • Alycia Swift

          Because she ticked people off and did not talk to those outside her alliance. Also, Jeremy didn’t seem to make messes like Tony did, so she did not have to clean them up.

  • sharculese

    Still Todd.

  • Jim

    Hatch, Yul (although I think he’s vastly overrated, still less overrated than Parvati, haven’t voted either of them once so far), JT, Tony.