Seventeen years ago, we were introduced to a reality TV show that most would consider a game changer for television. The show unquestionably endured and is still standing, but what made Survivor the show that it is are the wide variety of contestants which come to play for every season.
In every season of Survivor, we see people establish archetypes, factions, and different strategies that would give them the million. From over the top performances to under the radar gameplays, we see players break the mold and it helped the game evolve through the years making Survivor one of the most unpredictable shows on television.
For its 34th season, in honor of all the people who were willing to make big moves and sacrifices to change the game, Survivor brought together the players who changed the game and have potential to change the game to compete for the title of Sole Survivor.
With the cast finally revealed by CBS, I will be ranking the players of Game Changers based on how I think they changed the game in their previous seasons. This week, I will be listing the castaways on the bottom of my list, the 20th to the 16th spot.
20. Hali Ford
Worlds Apart (11th Place)
When the theme and the cast of the season were spoiled last year, I was very much surprised that Hali made it. I really don’t have anything against her because she was very likable in Worlds Apart. Being at a numbers disadvantage in her season definitely prevented her from making game changing moves, but I believe that she has what it takes to be a game changer, and I think that might be one of the reason why she was cast.
This season, I think people will not see Hali as a threat because of her performance in Worlds Apart and therefore, will not target her. She has the potential to make a good UTR game, and she’s going to make it to the merge, but as they get closer to the end, people will start noticing her as a threat for the fact that everyone would want to take her to the end, and that would become the reason for her ouster.
19. Caleb Reynolds
Kaoh Rong – Brains vs Brawn vs Beauty (15th Place)
We only got to see one side of Caleb’s game in his first Survivor run because he was medically evacuated on the fourth episode of Kaoh Rong. His challenge performances definitely helped the beauty tribe dominate during the pre-swap stage of the game, and it was his evacuation that changed the dynamics and the decisions made by the beauty tribe. With that, he partly changed how the season could have went, because had he made it further, I feel like he would have been a force to be reckoned with.
Unfortunately for Caleb, I don’t think he’s going to go far in the game. Kaoh Rong recently aired when they filmed Game Changers. The fact that he pushed to win the challenge for his tribe before being evacuated is already reason enough for people to not let him go deep into the game. People will use his strength and likability against him. If this was a season filled with newbies, maybe he will survive the pre-merge stage, but these are veterans, and they will definitely rely more on strategy than strength alone. Add the fact that he’s going into the game with three other people from Kaoh Rong, total nightmare.
18. Jeff Varner
The Australian Outback (10th Place); Cambodia (17th Place)
We don’t even have to talk about Varner’s journey in The Australian Outback to say that there’s a lot of errors in the way he played the game. He was given another chance in Cambodia, but because I feel like he played too hard early on, he was also voted out early. I don’t really see anything game-changing about his moves because he only changed a few votes, and was the one responsible for showing the old-schoolers how the game has changed.
During his second chance, he only had to deal with Abi-Maria and Tasha, and they’re not even strategic geniuses. This season, he’s on a starting tribe with strategic geniuses like Aubry, Sandra, Ciera, and Michaela. The future isn’t really bright for this old-school-almost-turned-new-school player who will probably annoy the hell out of people – and viewers.
17. Brad Culpepper
Blood vs. Water (15th Place)
Brad has made a mark on Survivor as the guy whose name perfectly fits with an expletive – the Redemption Island duel arena of Blood vs. Water was witness to all the verbal abuse that “F*ck you Brad Culpepper” got from the players there. In his debut season, where he played with his wife Monica Culpepper, Brad was the one calling the shots in his alliance before he was ousted by his own alliance after failing to strategize with them.
The greatest thing for Brad coming into this season is that he won’t be seen as a threat, and because of that, he has a really huge chance of making it to the end. With the number of strategists and great physical players this season, I think Brad is going to sit back and breeze through the season, and will be a pawn to the ladies. Brad will be so under-the-radar that he’s not going to do anything at all, because of this, he will be considered as a goat, and they would all want to take him to Day 39.
16. Sierra Dawn Thomas
Worlds Apart (5th Place)
Sierra was in a very divisive season that featured people like Rodney, Will, and Dan. Because of the number of really OTTN people from her season, she stood out as one of the more likable players that you would want to root for. There were multiple times when she could have changed the game for everyone, but the fact that she didn’t jump on those opportunities already makes her a potential game changer.
With a lot of missed opportunities from her debut season, I believe that Sierra will use that experience as a lesson to make her game better. Her failure in the game is going to help her be more open to change the way she plays the game, and maybe, how the game is played. Looking at everyone in the cast, I feel like Sierra is one of the underrated players who have the biggest potential to actually make this season worthy of its title. I also think she’s brawny enough to stay longer in the game, giving her more time to strategize.
NEXT WEEK: The second part of the rankings where I will be listing the players who make up the 15th to 11th spot.
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Header Image: CBS