Survivor Oz Top 10–Top 10 Returning Player Game Improvements


Hooray! It’s Wednesday! Want another SURVIVOR OZ TOP TEN? Well, you’re in luck! This week, Ozlet Noah Groves  has listed ten of ten returning players he believes have improve their game in their second, third or fourth outing! Overall there have been We have seen 53 different players return to play Survivor; of those 53, 1 has played four times, 12 have played three times and 40 have played twice. But, Which players have returned and improved their game from their first outing earning them a spot in this week’s top ten? Which returning players will miss out and which returning players would make your list? You’ll have to read on to find out!

Returning players are part of Survivor history. Fans of the show look forward to returning player seasons in the hope that their favourites from seasons past will be selected to have another attempt at claiming the million dollar prize and the title of Sole Survivor. However, only some of these returning players improve their game, thus helping them get further to the end of the game. Today, I bring you a list of returning players that I believe have improved their game after their first time playing. These players learnt from their past mistakes to make sure they would advance themselves further in to the game on their second, third or fourth chance; or are players who may have had better luck on their return to the game. Whatever the reason, these ten players are the ten I believe have made the biggest improvement to their game.

(list compiled before Caramoan, therefore no Caramoan returning players have been included)

10. Rupert Boneham – All-Stars


Sure, Rupert didn’t play a perfect game in All-Stars, (underground beach shelters come to mind), but he did manage to make a large improvement from his first game. In the Pearl Islands, Rupert acted as a leader and made himself a target throughout the entire game, which lead to his eventual blind side in 8th place. In All-Stars, Rupert originally started out on the Saboga tribe where he played a somewhat similar game and it was during the tribe dissolve where Rupert’s game changed. After Rupert switched to Mogo Mogo, himself and close Saboga ally Jenna Lewis, joined Boston Rob’s alliance where he sat back and played an under the radar game for his remaining time on the island. He remained a provider but stepped down from a leadership role and stayed loyal to Rob and Jenna. In the end, Rupert just missed out on winning the Final Four Immunity Challenge and was unanimously voted out.

9. Jonathan Penner – Philippines


Possibly the most debatable entry on the list, Penner placed in the exact same place as he did in his first season of the Cook Islands. During his time in the Cook Islands, Penner turned on almost every person of his tribe and struggled to find a stable alliance; on top of that he was often the bud of arguments at camp and Tribal. When he returned for a third time in the Philippines, it seemed as if Penner would repeat past mistakes when he kept to himself and focused his time on finding the Hidden Immunity Idol. When he found the Idol, things changed as he managed to use it as a bargaining item to create an alliance with Jeff and Carter. Penner had a constant target on his back for being a returning player and managed to survive several Tribal Councils after the Merge by using his Idol and by winning his first ever Individual Immunity Challenge. Eventually, Penner became a part of a majority alliance and made his one crucial mistake when he turned down an offer for a Final Four deal and he went on to be voted out in seventh place. Penner by no means played a great game in the Philippines but he did however make a strategical improvement from the Cook Islands.

8. Michael Skupin – Philippines


It is hard to know how well Skupin would have done if he not tragically fallen in the fire way back in The Australian Outback. One thing is certain, in the Philippines he made it nine spots higher than previously, coming in at second place. Skupin initially was in a good spot in the Philippines, forming an alliance early on in the game. That would soon change as Skupin quickly fell out of the majority and struggled with the social aspect of the game; but due to the challenge success of his Tandang tribe, he made it to the Merge. It was here that Skupin kept under the radar, always followed the majority and managed to win three Individual Immunity Challenges along the way. Skupin did not play a fantastic game in the Philippines but deserved the second place spot that he could have been denied of twenty-three seasons earlier.

7. Amber Brkich – All-Stars


Many Survivor fans will say that Amber was an undeserving winner and that Boston Rob should have won All-Stars; but there is no denying the facts that Amber came in first place in All-Stars compared to sixth place in The Australian Outback. In All-Stars, Amber made all the right moves by aligning with her future husband, Boston Rob Mariano; with the pair managed to control the entire game together. She managed to survive the Tribe Switch that saw her at the bottom of the tribe and win an Individual Challenge after the Merge. Boston Rob would then go on to take her to the Final Two where she won the game in a four-three vote. Amber makes it to seventh place on this list due to the fact that it appeared much of her success in making it to the end comes down to the work of Rob; however, there is an absolute clear improvement from her first time nonetheless.

6. Stephenie LaGrossa – Guatemala


Stephenie is another one of those who had potential to do well in her original season of Palau had she not been on the tribe that sucked – lets not even try and think of a better word than suck because that really sums up the Ulong tribe! During her time in Guatemala, Stephenie was constantly in control and in the majority of her tribe. She had a close bond with Rafe and together the pair made it deep in to the game. Stephenie managed to avoid any target of being a returning player and was very persuasive in gaining new alliances, notably with Judd who she later blindsided. Stephenie played a much more aggressive game the second time around which attributed to her making it to the end. However, it could also be said to be the reason she ultimately lost the game. Guatemala would end up being Stephenie’s peak as when she returned for Heroes vs. Villains she was voted out second.

5. Cirie Fields – Micronesia


Cirie played a fantastic game in Panama and when she returned in Micronesia, she showed an improvement, displaying to us that she deserves the respect she gets as a great player. Cirie came in to the game with the target of being an extremely good social and strategic player but managed to avoid all of this as she became a part of the majority alliance. For many of the votes, Cirie had control over who went home and went on to join the infamous ‘Black Widow Brigade’ alliance and continued to have control of the game. Cirie was never really on the chopping block and made it to the Final Three with ease; however, she went onto lose the Final Immunity Challenge and was voted out. Many agree that if Micronesia had been a Final Three then Cirie would have been a winner. Cirie is a great example of how she managed to look back on an already great game and improve on it when she returned.

4. Jenna Lewis – All-Stars


When Jenna Lewis returned for All-Stars she had a new outlook on playing Survivor and proved to be a worthy all star. Originally in Borneo, Jenna was a part of the group who were against creating alliances, this saw her to be eventually ‘Pagonged’ out of the game. When she returned, she took charge of her Saboga tribe and made it her mission to eliminate the winners from the game. Jenna aligned closely with Rupert and eventually Boston Rob’s alliance in the absorbed Mogo Mogo tribe. From then on in, Jenna was never really on the chopping block throughout the game and voted out Rupert to insure her spot in the Final Three. She was unable to win the Final Immunity Challenge and became the last member of the Jury. It is generally considered that Jenna would have won the season had she made it to the Final Tribal Council. Jenna proved that she could adapt to a more modern style of playing at the time and made a huge improvement from her original game play.

3. Boston Rob Mariano – All-Stars & Redemption Island

Boston Rob makes an entry for two of his seasons. When Rob returned for All-Stars he had made a huge improvement from Marquesas where even he admits his head wasn’t fully in the game. He controlled the game throughout All-Stars and made the final with ease; with of course angering the Jury along the way. While Boston Rob did lose out to Amber, his game play in All-Stars was magnificent compared to Marquesas. Rob returned for Heroes vs. Villains where he failed to make it deep into the game and was voted out before the Merge. He returned for a fourth time where he improved on all his past games in both game play and placing. He managed to take control of almost everyone on his Ometepe tribe, initiated the buddy system strategy, found the Hidden Immunity Idol and won several Individual Immunities. Despite being a returning player, Rob was never really under a threat to go home and although some may argue that he was playing with players who did not know what they were doing, there is no denying that he won the game fair and square; showing that even though it may have taken him four times, he was able to improve his game to finally win.

2. Coach Wade – South Pacific

The first time Coach Wade appeared on Tocantins he was all about taking the strongest players to the end and told absurd, (possibly untrue), stories. The second time he appeared on Heroes vs. Villains he was all about showmance’s, flip flopping and praying for the Merge. It wasn’t until his third time that Coach really put his head into gear and started to play the game. Coach started off on a rocky start but was able to solidify a five person alliance on the first night of the game; with Edna being his backup vote by his side. Coach controlled the game along the way and was a key figure in persuading Cochran to flip. He seemed to make it to the Final Three with ease, alongside his allies Albert and Sophie, where he received three votes from the Jury. It was here that Coach crumbled and was unable to own up to his actions and lost respect from the Jury. However, if there was one person who showed a huge development in game play and showed that he had learnt from his past mistakes, it would be Coach.

1. Parvati Shallow – Micronesia


When thinking way back to ‘Survivor: Micronesia – Fans vs. Favourites’, Parvati is certainly not one person everyone was expecting to see return. In Cook Islands, Parvati didn’t show her strong strategic side and despite coming in sixth place, she arguing rode coat tails and used her flirtatious personality to get her further in the game. When she first returned to the game, Parvati was almost voted out first but was able to become a part of a strong majority alliance. Even after a Tribe Switch, Parvati wasn’t in any danger and after the Merge became a key figure in the infamous ‘Black Widow Brigade’ alliance, where she and the four other women controlled the game. Parvati was both a strong physical player, an ultimate social player and dominated at the Final Tribal Council. Parvati showed a huge improvement in game play from her initial Cook Islands game and therefore has the best transformation of all returning players. She would later go on to play a similar game in Heroes vs. Villains where she came in second place.


What do you think of the top 10? Do you agree? Disagree? Is it in the wrong order or are there ones that didn’t make the top 10 that you feel should’ve? Leave a comment below to let us know your thoughts!

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16 Comments on Survivor Oz Top 10–Top 10 Returning Player Game Improvements

  1. Hahaha Rob not being first shows how shit this list is?! Also Skupin? The whole jury called him Stupin and he had no chance to win. Rupert? Played such an average game.


    • Ozlet Nick // May 8, 2013 at 12:01 pm // Reply

      Harry, there is no need to be quite so nasty. Your list includes 3 people that are disqualified due to the reason stated at the top of the list – Caramoan players were not included. Rob the biggest improver? I question that due to circumstance – both seasons where he got to the finals, he had a healthy dose of luck which Parvarti and many others on this list didnt. Also hard to see how you would include Ozzy given that on a results basis, his first game was his best finish. But his next two games were also hindered by poor decision making and a lack of social skills.

      • Fairplay quitting saved Parv at the first vote in FvF’s and Tysons dumb vote saved her alliance in HvV’s. those 2 are bigger pieces of luck than BRob ever had. Ozzy’s social game got a lot better in SP, he was 1 puzzle away from $1 mill. Andrea should count as she is out of the game and Cochran and Dawn are obv playing better atm. Like the other post said… add Jerri for sure! Jenna could go 10 I suppose.

      • Not sure if I totally agree with this. Parvati also had a lot of luck, if nit more. Fairplay quitting saved her at the first vote in FvF’s and Tyson’s dumb vote saved her alliance in HvV’s. BR owned All Stars and this was during a time where hidden immunity idols didn’t exist. Where would Parv be without these?

      • In defense to Ozzy, yes his first season was the best, but what you are seeming to forget is that Ozzy in Micronesia did play the social card with Parvati, James, Amanda, Alexis, Erik, Joel. He ultimately got blindsided for one reason; He was unstoppable in most challenges and no one could beat him in the final or at least that’s what people thought. In SP he took a ballsy move to put himself and his tribe in a good position. He wouldn’t of been voted out if it wasn’t for the bullying that happened to Cochran. Also how do you break a rock hard christian group? You can’t. In all honesty Ozzy played a good game in all three seasons but I agree CI was his best.

    • Obviously, Harry fails to understand what no Caramoan players means. Boston Rob played 4 times before he could win and BR had plenty of luck: Lex not voting out Amber, terrible competition against him in All-Stars and happened to be on the Zapatera tribe vs. the one Russell was put on. Also Ozzy finished worse in both returning seasons.

      • CLAYBO // May 8, 2013 at 3:28 pm //

        And when I say competition in All-Stars I’m referring to the challenges.

      • Ozlet Nick // May 8, 2013 at 8:46 pm //

        Rob’s biggest pieces of luck were that in both seasons he did well, he was playing with unmotivated players. In All-Stars, the prize money for all placings was elevated to a point that just lasting 3 more days carried an unusually large financial incentive, meaning players didnt want to jepaordise their chance of staying in the game by making a “risky” move, even if it mean the million if they were successful. this left anyone who wanted to take control a much simpler path to do so. In RI, most of the cast were recruits and saw Rb as a hero who was screwed over by Russell in HvV. Yes, Rob used this well but he had a huge advantage going in. Compare this to Parvarti who was targetted early in FvF and then the person everyone viewed as a threat pre-game in HvV. And of course Ozzy’s social game was better in SP – pretty easy to do when you sit on redemption island and dont have to vote anyone out! His social game pre-merge looked pretty average to me!

      • verbumreale // July 24, 2013 at 11:54 pm //

        Yep. I will never understand the Boston Rob loyalists. The fact is every winner has has had luck that helped them get to the the end. What makes them great players is what they do with that luck. Whether Parvati would have been voted out first in Micronesia if Fairplay is irrelevant (and I am not convinced she would have been). The reason she was so impressive in that win was what she did with the opportunities she had. After the tribal shake up she could have just laid low and strung Natalie and Alexis along until the merge and then blindsided them, but instead she went with the new alliance and formed the now imfamous “Black Widow Brigade” and syematically voted out every male player and in the end stayed loyal to Amanda. Rob’s one win came in his 4th try which was set up at the HVV reunion show as a battlle between him and Russell, so right from the beginning his tribe was established as the Boston Rob tribe with him as the leader. He had some of the most mindless players who willingly allowed him to exert a cult-like control over them-even going so far as to not allow them to talk to players who were not a part of his alliance, and in the end he still felt the need to gutlessly blindiside Grant because he was not sure he could beat him. Take his one win away and he is average at best.

    • This is 8 months late but in rob’s first 3 seasons, he went from 10th place to 2nd place then dropped to 13th place, when parvati got 6th place 1st place 2nd place, so how df can you say rob is #1?

  2. I would honorably mention Jerri Manthey for being the only returning Survivor contestant to place higher in HvV than in her previous seasons.

  3. I think the list is great, but agree that Jerri should be in there somewhere. not only did she improve her position greatly, but she went from being one of the biggest villains in the game to being one of the most loved players at the end of HvV. Surely thats deserving of a top 5 spot on your list??

  4. Rupert and Jenna were absorbed to Chapera, not Mogo Mogo.

  5. Johnson88 // May 9, 2013 at 11:28 pm // Reply

    Boston Rob didn´t improve that much. He pretty much always plays the same game. The only thing that was different in RI was that he finally had a cast that would fall for his approach. Rob deserves less credit for that than CBS.

  6. Stephenie LaGrossa played a terrible game during Guatemala, a terrible combination of bad strategy and bad social game.

  7. I would’ve loved to see this list after blood vs water aired because Tyson would’ve made the perfect # 1 or 2 on this list

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