This season of Survivor is doing a lot (maybe too much), but between all the twists and changes, there’s a cast of characters whose entertainment value we can’t deny. While there may not be a clear “villain” of the season, there are several savvy players ready to blindside, lie, and manipulate their way to winning the title of Sole Survivor.
So as we inch closer to the big finale of the long-awaited Survivor 41, many of us are wondering who’s in the best position to win the season. While Survivor aficionados debate which player is the best, here’s our ranking of the Survivor 41 players as of Episode 5.
‘Survivor 41’ Player #12 — Erika
Erika's attempt to finally speak up and make a big move completely backfires on her. Danny, Deshawn, and Sydney try to blindside Erika, but can't throw the Episode 4 immunity challenge to send themselves to tribal council.
It's likely that she'll be the first to go once the Luvu tribe does make it to tribal.
‘Survivor 41’ Player #11 — Naseer
Things aren’t looking too good for our guy Naseer on the Luvu tribe. He may have the physical strength and survival prowess, but his social game is next to nothing. And his physical strength will likely make him more of a threat if he does make it to the merge.
‘Survivor 41’ Player #10 — Heather
Nothing against Luvu’s Heather. … We just have not seen her strategize at all. Having said that, she does get some camera time when she pushes through the reward challenge in Episode 4 and seems to be well-liked enough by her fellow players.
‘Survivor 41’ Player #9 — Tiffany
No one loves Tiffany more than we do. She’s a true “survivor” and is clearly resilient. But when she doesn’t bother gelling with the other players she meets during her Beware Advantage tryst, it’s clear she doesn’t have a long-term game in mind. Plus, if Yase loses another immunity challenge because of her, she could definitely be on the chopping block.
‘Survivor 41’ Player #8 — Sydney
Sydney might be entertaining, but she hasn’t made a whole bunch of smart moves. It would have been smarter for her to also risk her vote, putting all three players at a disadvantage, instead of giving Tiffany and Brad an edge.
Even so, she lied about what went down on her Beware Advantage prisoner’s dilemma to her alliance, so she needs to make some better decisions to get further in the game, although her friendship with Deshawn is clearly paying off.
‘Survivor 41’ Player #7 — Ricard
Ricard is probably the most divisive character on Survivor so far. A lot of die-hard fans are still mad at him for speaking up about “Come on in, guys!” and he doesn’t seem to be getting the most favorable edit. Unliked by a few people on his tribe, the only thing that makes us think he’ll get far is his tight alliance with Shan.
‘Survivor 41’ Player #6 — Danny
Right now, Danny seems to be in a strong position on both the Luvu tribe and in the game at large. But as an ex-NFL player, he’s going to be a major threat going forward. Although he’s strategically smart, his physical prowess will likely intimidate other players into voting him out early on after the merge.
‘Survivor 41’ Player #5 — Xander
Xander has all the marks of a great player. He’s physically, strategically, and socially intelligent, and it’s clear the producers like him a lot (as do many young fans).
The 20-year-old, however, is currently in a tough spot with the Beware Advantage that won’t let him vote. But if that turns into an immunity idol, he’ll have a ton more power in the game, and will be in a good position to get to the final three.
‘Survivor 41’ Player #4 — Evvie
One of our favorite Survivor 41 contestants is Evvie — and if they do win, they’ll be the first gender-queer player to win the game. Evvie is clearly in control of their tribe and alliance, and although they had to blindside Xander, he now has no choice but to defer to Evvie and try to get back in their corner.
Evvie may not be the physically strongest player, but strategically and socially, they know what they’re doing — and their lack of physical strength will make them less of a threat once it's time for the merge.
‘Survivor 41’ Player #3 — Deshawn
Like Shan, Deshawn is a leader in the Luvu tribe. The other members of Luvu clearly place a lot of stock in him, and with Danny as a shield and reliable ally, he can ensure that Deshawn goes far in the game. Plus, his strategic game and prisoner’s dilemma alliance with Evvie puts him in a great spot for the merge, along with his knowledge of other players’ advantages.
‘Survivor 41’ Player #2 — Liana
Liana is clearly a strong player, both mentally and physically, and she is always thinking a couple of steps ahead. Although it seems she’s easily swayed by her alliance, we can tell that she’s just waiting until the right time to make her big game-winning move … if she gets that far. Plus, now that she has a special bond with Shan, she's sure to make it far.
‘Survivor 41’ Player #1 — Shan
Shan is definitely in a powerful position in the Ua tribe and clearly has the "winner's edit," especially after Episode 5. Her trustworthy presence and ability to manipulate players while emotionally bonding with them give her the edge she needs to win.
Plus, her knowledge of the other players’ advantages gives her strategic intel on who to vote out. Now that she's made big moves by blindsiding JD and stealing the immunity idol, her prowess knows no bounds. But can she win over the jury in the end after villainous moves?
So that’s our official ranking as of Episode 5 of Survivor 41 … Of course, Survivor is always changing, so every episode could flip this ranking on its head in a major blindside.
Tune into Survivor 41 Wednesdays at 8 p.m. EST on CBS.