Survivor: Winners of War cast names the best players to never win
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The players competing on season 40 of Survivor are there for a reason: They won it all. Hence the title, Survivor: Winners at War. There has been a lot of debate and discussion about who is the best Survivor winner ever. And we even had the winners themselves weigh in on that by having them reveal their personal picks for the best champion of all time. But what are their feelings about all the folks who didn't win? We asked the Survivor: Winners at War cast out in Fiji the day before filming began to share their selections for the best player to never take home the crown, and now, their answers magically appear before you!
"Probably Cirie [Fields]. Cirie may very well have won Survivor: Micronesia if it were a typical final three. And so, you know, you can't really fault her for that there. And then she came in fourth place [on] Panama. She came in sixth place and only went out because everybody else had an idol [on] Game Changers. I think it has to be Cirie."
"There's a few out there. I'm a fan of Aubry [Bracco]. I think she was nice player. Just recently, [Rick] Devens was a really good player. He went out of the game, got back in the game. He really played his heart out. He was entertaining. He was funny. I'm a big fan of his."
"The best player to never win this game? I'm going to say Ryan Ulrich. He made it to the end. I did not want him there at the end. Sitting next to him was the last thing I wanted to do. He was a talker. I knew that he played a great game under the radar. He just got caught up with Chrissy [Hofbeck], and then couldn't break the ties. Chrissy is another great one to never win it. I'm being biased, because I'm going to my season. But I think those who are both great players, I really do. And I think that if they could've broken away from each other, and then spat their game out differently, it maybe would've ended different. But both of them are great players, especially Ryan."
"Oh gosh, there's a lot of them. Russell [Hantz] — no just kidding, totally joking. No, he's not. Social game is a big part of it. You did not have that, so sorry. I'm going to say like Joe [Anglim], Malcolm [Freberg] — really nice guys, too, and just good people and challenge beasts and their survival skills were top notch. Joe made it like a resort for everyone."
"I got to say my buddy Malcolm, just because I love him to death. I do. And I still feel a little sense of guilt, but, you know, it had to be done. He's one of those players that comes out, and when he comes out, he's coming out to play, and he's out here to win. And he's incredibly smart and strategic."
"I'm going to give a shout out to Rob Cesternino. I think he got a raw end of the stick [on] Survivor: All-Stars, but he kind of opened the door to this really strategic kind of sarcastic, funny, but smart game back in the day."
"The best player to never win the game? I'm going to be making some people mad. I'm going to say Spencer Bledsoe. Spencer has all the tools. He's smart, he's strategic, and he's more athletic than you think. And he has what it takes to win the game. He doesn't have the social aspect, he can't relate to people, connecting like I do. I connect with people a lot better than him, but [on] Cambodia — Second Chance, he did a really good job at that. So, I think he probably has all the tools to pull it off."
"Devens. Poor Devens. Sheesh. Just because that's fresh on my mind. Stephen Fishbach. God, there's been so many people. Malcolm was a great player. It's hard for really good players to make it to the end anymore, and I would love to see that happen this season. I think that could be really fun if some of the bigger players would get together and say, 'The only way we're going to do this is to change it.'"
"The more recent seasons tend to always overshadow, but I have to say, when I think back, I always really loved Colby [Donaldson], and I always kind of wished that he won his season. And then when he came back, he was not the most strategic or the best, but I really always wanted him to win. Maybe that's just like me being sentimental and going back to my roots of beginner old school Survivor, but I loved Colby."
"I think the best player to never win would probably be Cirie. She was an awesome representative to a demographic that sometimes isn't represented out here on Survivor. I just like the fact that she never gave up and she was so proud of who she was and hung with people that in her real life she would never be able to interact with or have these crazy bonds with. I think that she is the best player to never win."
"The best player to never win? Ozzy [Lusth] is actually pretty good, but, I mean, it's probably Cirie. She's incredible. She has the social and the strategy. I mean, Ozzy is just the physical beast, of course, but Cirie is so likable, she's so strategically sound, and I think that two out of four times, she could have had it if it just wasn't for something out of her own control. And sometimes that happens in Survivor. Sometimes you get an unlucky break. It's a final two instead of a final three. Or you're the only one without immunity. And who knows? In Parvati [Shallow]'s season, she could have definitely won if it was a final three. And maybe [on] Game Changers, too."
"Cirie. Oh, man. Hands down, 100 percent Cirie. If I could give her a crown and a sash, I would. She deserves it."
"Yeah, it's tough. It's probably Cirie. Sandra hates Cirie."
"The best player to never win this game, in my opinion, would be Aubry. Hands down. I was so scared of Aubry [on] Game Changers. And I've always said that I would never say no to any alliance. You know, you never say no when someone extends you an olive branch and says, "Hey, let's work together." You never say no. But with Aubry, she just knew it. She would say, "Why don't you want to work with me?" I'm like, "No, Aubry, you're too good, you're dangerous." It's a compliment, but hindsight too, I guess. It wasn't hurtful for her, because she made it way further than me. I don't think it would've helped me either, because it was like we were both on separate sides all the time. But Aubry, I think by far, she has it all. She has it all."
"I'm going to say Aubry. Aubry is a phenomenal player. Kaôh Rōng, her first season, she makes it to the end. The reason she didn't win is because two guys sat on the jury with egos and because she got them, they were going to get the last laugh. They punished Aubry for being that good. She should have won that season. She should be out here right now, and then she comes back [on] Game Changers, she's on the bottom from the beginning, she makes it all the way to the final five. The only reason she didn't make it further is because I had locked Brad and Troy down so solid, but Aubry had a shot at winning that, too. I realize she just played 38, but it's hard to come in to a season with all newbies and having four returning players, you've got huge targets on your back, especially it seemed like a lot of them were bitter about, 'They've already had their chance.' So it had nothing to do with maybe they didn't like the players. It had everything to do with, 'Give us a chance to play.' So, I would say Aubry, hands down."
"I think Stephen was a great Survivor player. A lot of the people who might come to mind, people like, Malcolm and Aubry, I'm not sure I would say them. I think they're great television characters, but I imagine the real answer is somebody who maybe even hasn't come back a second time."
"Man, I hate to give the guy credit, man, but I have to say Russell. He played a great game, but he just let his ego get in the way — both times, actually. He played a great game. Dom is another one that played a great game that didn't win. Wendell's here instead, but yeah, them two, I guess."
"The best player to never win the game? That's tricky. Rick Devens put on a show last season. Recently, I would have to say him. I think he had it stolen, but he also made a fatal misstep and that's part of the learning curve. If he comes out again, he won't make that same mistake."
"Best player to never win this game? Domenick Abbate. We know that. Dom's the best. Dom is one of the best players to ever play the game. Unfortunately, for him, he was [in] a season with me. But Dom is phenomenal, and he's going to have his time."
"I'd go with Cirie. I think Cirie has played a masterful, social game. On Micronesia, if it hadn't been for the fact that things kind of changed at the last minute, then I think she probably would've won that season. So, that'd be my pick."
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