“Survivor: Winners at War” Power Rankings Round 4 – Buff’n to See Here Edition

“Survivor: Winners at War” (CBS)

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The Rules: Each week Malcolm Freberg and Gordon Holmes will create separate power rankings. The ranking of the person who is voted out of the next episode will determine the number of points the players will earn.  For example, if Denise is voted out, Malcolm will receive one point and Gordon will receive two. The person with the most points at the end of the season will be declared the “Survivor: Winners at War” champion.

Last Week: Malcolm had Tyson in spot fifteen, while Gordon had him in spot fourteen. So, the current score is Team Freberg 29, Team Holmes 27.

Quick Note: The Power Rankings place the players in order of how safe they are heading into the next episode, not how likely they are to win the entire game.

Team Freberg: 29 Team Holmes: 27

Any Questions? Drop Malcolm a line on Twitter: @MalcolmWHW

Any Questions? Drop Gordon a line on Twitter: @GordonHolmes

1. Denise: Fact: Swaps make power rankings super fun and accurate, especially when you have minimal clues as to who’s paired with who. That means both of my favorite mid-forties women get to sit on top of this week’s rankings, because Lil’ D definitely has an idol, and… 1. Sandra: Last week the lower third let us know that Sandra is still packing an idol. And, there’s no way she’s going home with it in her pocket (or wherever she stores it). Also, we might get to see her in a challenge if the tribe swap is even.
2. Sandra: …it’s been brought to my attention that the Queen (of sitting out) still has an idol, per the specific verbiage of the rules. She’s not going home with that in her pocket.

And moving forward, this list shall be an absolute crap shoot:

2. Denise: The only way Denise is going to be a target is if she ends up surrounded by Dakal members, which could absolutely happen. She’s going to have that idol ready to go at a moment’s notice. The Philippine Queen (I’d like that to catch on) will be here next week.
3. Parvati: She and Spradlin are probably the only players relieved by a swap. Chaos is a ladder, according to that jerk from “Game of Thrones,” and no one’s more deft and clever than Parv on a beach. This mix-up might be the boost she needs for a deep run. 3. Kim: Kim has to have a full idol, right? They absolutely would’ve shown it if Sophie was like, “Nah.”
4. Tony: I don’t think anyone will immediately target Tony post-swap. He’s tough in challenges, has miraculously *not* been scrambling around camp, and, if you’re going to take a risky shot at a big target, there are other names to consider. 4. Jeremy: With a fifteen-person swap, I’m betting we’re going to see three tribes. All it takes is a bad division of the buffs and you’re on the bottom. This might be the perfect time to use your duck-out-of-Tribal-free card.
5. Sophie: The swap causes problems for the quiet strategist — but if you’re swapped from the opposite tribe, find yourself with a majority, and have your choice of Dakal targets, are you clamoring to boot Sophie? I wager no. 5. Sophie: OK, now we’re getting into the land of people who don’t have super useful advantages. Sophie’s too smart and savvy to get turned on by former Dakal members. And someone like Kim might even be convinced to play an idol for her if necessary.
6. Kim: DOES. SHE. HAVE. CONTROL. OF HER. IDOL?

Either way, she's getting a fresh lease on life this week. I expect her, no matter the swap dynamics, to pull a Sandra and say, "Anyone but me," until she's blue in the face. Like Parv, this may be exactly what the Survivor God's ordered to facilitate a deep run.

6. Yul: For the first five votes of this season, Yul has been the man. It would be a crime for him to get swap screwed. Hopefully he ends up surrounded by Dakal buddies or Cook Islands enthusiasts.
7. Michele: The only swap dynamic we definitely know, per the ‘next week’ segment, is that Michele is wearing a blue buff, and she’s on that beach with an ex-boyfriend. Google informs me that person is Wendell. I don’t know how that might play out, but I’d argue the same logic as I did for Sophie: If the swap plays in your favor, and you have a shot to take someone out in a twist vote, would you aim for Michele? 7. Sarah: OK, maybe a steal-a-vote isn’t the sexiest advantage, but it could turn a 2-to-3 losing vote into a 3-to-2 winning vote really quickly.
8. Ben: I’ll forever be hung up on Ben’s inability to keep his top and bottom lip together — but that trait might be a positive in a swap boot. He’ll talk to anyone and everyone in a scramble, making sure he’s on the right side of the vote. Long term, it’s a problem; when an alliance is looking for numbers after a swap, it’s an attribute. 8. Tony: I could see a situation where our good friend Mr. Vlachos gets swap screwed. I’m going to pray to the “Survivor” gods that this does not happen though. Things aren’t safe at the Edge of Extinction and Tony doesn’t need the spare time to create any more death traps.
9. Yul: He remains an absolute revelation this season — though that’s mostly carried on the back of his first episode. A swap is worst case scenario for #YulandtheGang, but you have to believe he won’t be the first target, and even if he is, he’ll be clever enough to shift the target. 9. Michele: Michele and Wendell were a couple?! Why is this the first I’m hearing of this? And it didn’t work out?! Is there no justice in this world?!
10. “Boston” Rob: The episode preview says he hates swaps — so do we, Robfather. So do we.

He will never be safe in this game, but cleverness and force of will are paramount in forging safety after a swap. I'm cautiously optimistic about his chances to push through another week.

10. Wendell: …think of the adorable, millionaire, “Survivor” genius babies we’re going to miss out on! C’mon guys…take some time…go for some sunset beach walks. Maybe rekindle that flame.
11. Nick: I’m worried about him. Not just because he received the extra Dakal vote last week, but because we’ve heard so little from him. I don’t usually read into editing, but his only saving grace — a spot in Yul’s Gang — might have just gone up in smoke. 11. Nick:  Nick put his trust in his alliance and it paid off. Yul played Tyson perfectly and there’s no reason to believe that alliance is going to fail each other anytime soon. But, he’s going to have the least ties to the Sele folks…
12. Sarah: She’s done everything right so far, but should she find herself on the wrong side of the numbers in a swap, she’ll be targeted. Sarah’s lacking connections with former Sele and has a fresh-in-player’s-mind reputation for cutthroat play. Stealing a vote might not be enough to swing tribal. 12. Ben: Gah…just when Ben manages to dig himself out of a hole, a swap happens.
13. Wendell: It appears an errant toothpick will not be his demise — will it be Michele? We’ve got little else to go on, and he’s only been slightly more visible than Nick. 13. “Boston” Rob: Why’s Rob still around? Because people aren’t afraid to sit with him at the end. Sadly, I’m not sure if the Dakal folks share that opinion of him.
14. Jeremy: If you swap me onto a tribe with Jeremy, and I have the majority, and I haven’t been working with him during the early game, I’d gun for him. Especially because Rob and Parv, two GOATs, aren’t feeling positive about their future with the firefighter. 14. Adam: Great job getting through the challenge last week, buddy. But, your shady history is keeping you near the bottom of this list once again.
15. Adam: I don’t see how you can lift him off the bottom of the list. He’s swapped with mostly new tribe mates? Adam might work too hard in a panic. He’s swapped with mostly old tribe mates? They remember his shadiness and use him as a sacrificial lamb. He’s either booted soon, or we’re about to witness the greatest redemption arc of all time. 15. Parvati: I’d imagine every time Sele shows up at a challenge with one less person and that person isn’t Parvati, Dakal is asking themselves, “What has she got going on?” I believe she’s going to be in real trouble this week.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @GordonHolmes