Survivor Oz Top 10-Top 10 Triple Threats

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It’s Wednesday, which means another Survivor Oz Top Ten is coming your way! This week, Ozlet Rileigh Marshall counts down ten of the biggest triple threats to have ever played Survivor. We all know that there are three core aspects to the game of Survivor: strategy, social game and physical ability. A triple threat is that rare player who excels in not one, not two, but all three of these aspects. We have seen a number of triple threats emerge over the years, but which of them has played the best game overall? You’ll have to read on to find out, and make sure you leave your comments in the space below!

Outwit, outplay, outlast. These are the three words that represent Survivor. They also represent the three pillars that make up basic Survivor game play: strategic game, social game and physical game. Strength in all three aspects is not necessary to win Survivor. Take, for example, two-time winner Sandra Diaz-Twine. Her physical game may be considered to be one of the worst in Survivor history, having sat out of countless challenges and never winning a single individual Immunity over her two seasons; however, she is still considered by many to be the greatest player of all time. Nonetheless, there are those rare few Survivors who have demonstrated strength across the board. These players are known as “triple threats”. But who has played the best all-round game over all twenty-seven seasons of Survivor? Although there are a number of constants who didn’t go on to win that could still be described as triple threats (e.g. Malcolm, Amanda, Lex), I consider those that have won the game to be the most deserving of a spot on this list. Here are ten of the best all-round winners, whose Survivor games epitomise the meaning of outwit, outplay and outlast.

10. Aras Baskauskas – Panama & Blood Vs. Water


Aras may not be considered to be one of the greatest ever Survivor winners, but there is no arguing that he played a solid all-round game in Panama and is demonstrating similar potential as a triple threat in this season of Blood Vs. Water. His physical and social ability is obvious, as he has proven to be a dominant force in challenges and a well-liked tribe member and leader around camp. Although his strategic game may have been overshadowed by Cirie’s in Panama, he always seemed to be in a position of control, staying cool, calm and collected amidst the constant dysfunction of the Casaya tribe. Until recently, this strategy appeared to be working well in his current season of Blood Vs. Water, in which he once again found himself at the forefront of making decisions within a strong majority alliance. However, he was soon targeted as a threat and unfortunately voted out. Only time will tell whether he will be able to get himself back into the game and potentially make it all the way to the end for a second time.

9. Danni Boatwright – Guatemala


Again, like Aras, Danni often goes unrecognised as a deserving winner of Survivor, but she is one of the most underrated winners in terms of playing a really well-rounded game. Danni was the underdog of the season, using an under-the-radar strategy to move herself further in the game. Though her moves were subtle, they were effective. She formed connections and gained the trust of people in positions of power, and she was not afraid to cut them loose when the time was right, as was the case with Gary and Rafe. She was a strong physical competitor, but managed to remain a non-threat until the later stages of the game when winning Immunity was crucial. She was also great social player, reflected in her 6-1 win against Stephenie. With her subtle strategic mind, physical prowess and excellent social ability, Danni can definitely be regarded as a triple threat and would be someone to look out for if she was brought back for a second season.

8. John Cochran – South Pacific & Caramoan


Although his first game in the South Pacific left much to be desired, Cochran turned it up a notch in Caramoan to show just how much a student of the game he really is. He dominated the game strategically, socially and physically – okay, the word physically is a bit of a stretch, but winning a total of four individual challenges whilst up against the likes of the three strong Amigos is an impressive feat in itself, and certainly qualifies him as a triple threat in my eyes. Sure, he had advantages for two of these challenges, but an advantage does not always guarantee a win (take Malcolm in Survivor: Philippines for example). Where Cochran really excelled, however, was in his social and strategic game. Socially, Cochran considered himself to be awkward and anxious, but he ultimately found himself in the role of “therapist” on the emotional islands of Caramoan, particularly to his closest ally Dawn. His self-depreciating humour also worked a charm on his fellow tribe mates, and his story-telling ability and absolute love for the game helped him secure a unanimous victory at the Final Tribal Council. Finally, Cochran’s strategic game was masterful, playing second-in-command to the outspoken leader, Phillip, whilst letting Dawn build and subsequently burn relationships, allowing them to take the heat while he sat comfortably in the control position. Cochran accredited his success to timing, knowing when to take out the threats before the threats took out him. With these accomplishments, and no votes cast against him during the season, Cochran truly played a perfect game.

7. J.T. Thomas – Tocantins & Heroes Vs. Villains


Another winner who played a perfect game, but on their first try rather than their second, was J.T. Not only did he dominate in challenges, but he also played a brilliant social and strategic game. Despite being a huge threat from the beginning, he managed to get away with it due to his Southern charm and natural charisma. He was well-liked and trusted by his tribe mates, and he formed a strong bond with Stephen, whom he would strategize with constantly throughout the game. Although he came into the Merge without the numbers, he managed to form the “Warrior Alliance” as a guise to unify the strong contestants and avoid being picked off by the majority Timbera members. He eventually turned on this alliance but stayed true to his partnership with Stephen, and he ultimately took control of the end-game after winning consecutive Immunities and securing his place in the finals. It was an easy vote for the Jury at the end. Even though J.T.’s game was already highly respected, his stellar Final Tribal Council performance, including purposefully playing up his emotions to make Stephen look like the bad guy, almost guaranteed him a unanimous win. This, and the fact that he never received a vote against him during the season, is a testament to J.T.’s status as a triple threat and his extraordinarily well-rounded game in Tocantins.

6. Rob Mariano – Marquesas, All-Stars, Heroes Vs. Villains & Redemption Island


Boston Rob has always had the triple threat potential. In All-Stars, he had the physical ability and strategy, but let himself down socially. In Heroes Vs. Villains, he had the social and physical game, but his strategy fell short at the hand of Russell. He finally got it right in Redemption Island, and although it took him four tries, Boston Rob truly showed us the meaning of outwit, outplay and outlast in one of the most dominant all-round games ever seen. Despite coming into the game as a returning player with an immediate target on his back, Rob made himself an asset to his tribe by working hard around camp, performing well in challenges, and making strong alliances with his tribe mates. He asserted himself as a leader and took control of the game from day one, developing an almost cult-like following from his alliance, who looked up to him as an experienced veteran of the game. They all believed he could take them to the end, and, of course, he used this to his full advantage. His strategic game was incredible to watch, from organising “beach days” so that he could look for the Hidden Immunity Idol, to implementing the “buddy system” to avoid unwanted conversations from happening in his absence. He mastered all aspects of the game and made it seem easy, and although his win could be predicted a mile away, there is no denying how deserving he was of finally earning the title of Sole Survivor and the recognition as a triple threat.

5. Brian Heidik – Thailand


It is unfortunate that Brian’s win in Thailand is often overlooked due to the season being poorly received, because he happened to have played one of the best all-round games in Survivor history. When it comes to triple threats, Brian was one of the first. Although his social game could have been stronger – bonding with the remaining members of Sook Jai may have secured him more votes at the Final Tribal Council – the total control he had over the Chuay Gahn members, all of whom believed they had a Final Two alliance with him, speaks for itself. Post-game interviews reveal just how different the Brian they had come to know on the island was from the Brian in real life, demonstrating his extraordinary manipulative ability and determination to “fake it to make it”, as they say. The fact that he was able to gain the utmost trust of his fellow tribe members, despite them knowing his occupation as a used car salesman, also highlights his superlative social ability in the game. He was a strong competitor in challenges, winning the last three Immunities in a row, and was a solid worker around camp, which helped his case at the Final Tribal Council opposite the notoriously lazy Clay. Strategically, Brian’s multiple alliances allowed him to keep his options open and ultimately left him in control of the end-game as he saw fit; though to further his credit, he never made this outright control apparent to his fellow tribe mates. His decision to take Clay to the end as a “goat” was unprecedented and has been adopted as a commonplace strategy in subsequent seasons, as a way of tilting the odds at the Final Tribal Council. For these reasons, Brian can definitely be regarded as not only a triple threat, but as one of the top players ever to win Survivor.

4. Yul Kwon – Cook Islands


Yul is another triple threat whose game is often underappreciated. He was a physical force from the start in the Cook Islands, though competing next to Ozzy may have made this less apparent. Socially, he was able to form genuine bonds and remain loyal to the members of his alliance, but he was also extremely articulate and persuasive, which helped him to pull off key moves in the game, such as convincing Jonathon to vote with the Aitu Four against his original tribe members. Yul is also considered by many to be one of the smartest strategic minds to have played Survivor. He was viewed as the puppet master, as he was essentially in control throughout the entire game. The Hidden Immunity Idol was certainly instrumental to his success, but principally because of the manner in which he used it; that is, by making it known to his fellow competitors and thus using it  as a tool to intimidate them and deter votes away from himself. It ultimately secured his place in the finals alongside his long-term allies, Becky and Ozzy. He played one of the cleanest games ever, as all of his decisions were made based on logic and calculated risk, allowing him to avoid bitterness from the Jury. These factors combined explain why Yul was able to claim victory over an extremely tough competitor, Ozzy, and highlights why his all-round game was one of the best the show has ever seen.

3. Tom Westman – Palau & Heroes Vs. Villains


When you think of the term triple threat, how can you not think of Tom Westman? Not only did he play one of the best physical games ever in his first season in Palau, but he also played an excellent social and strategic game and is still regarded as one of the most likeable winners in Survivor history. Abandoning his initial strategy of hiding his physical strength from his tribe mates, he was forced to compete to his full potential after finding himself on an altogether weaker tribe. As a result, he became the inadvertent leader of what is arguably the most successful tribe ever to be seen in Survivor. Although this exposed him as a huge threat, he solidified a strong majority alliance, as well as a sub-alliance with Ian and Katie, and this secured him in a position of power within the tribe. After the Merge, knowing he could be a target if he didn’t win Immunity, he decided to turn on his biggest competition, Gregg, before Gregg turned on him. He went on to win five out of seven Individual Immunities, including the Final Immunity Challenge, which lasted for nearly twelve hours. Not only did Tom play a fantastic all-round game, he managed to play it with a sense of honesty and integrity, an extremely difficult feat in Survivor, and this earned him immense respect from the Jury who ultimately decided that he was most deserving of the title and million dollar prize that goes with it.

2. Parvati Shallow – Cook Islands, Micronesia & Heroes Vs. Villains


After showing minimal strategy in the Cook Islands, Parvati surprised everyone when she played two of the best all-rounded games in Micronesia and Heroes Vs. Villains, proving that she was so much more than just a “flirt”. One thing that separates Parvati from others on this list is the fact that she was a target from day one in her second and third seasons, yet she still managed to make it all the way to the end both times; a testament to her incredible aptitude for the game. Socially, Parvati is a force to be reckoned with, using her undeniable charm and looks to win over allies and advance herself further in the game. Her strategic play definitely improved after the Cook Islands and she wasn’t afraid to make big moves in order to gain control, from blindsiding Ozzy and leading an all-female alliance in Micronesia, to handing out two Hidden Immunity Idols to her “villainesses” in Heroes Vs. Villains and blindsiding one of the biggest threats in the game, J.T. She is also one of the physically strongest female contestants to have played Survivor, competing well in challenges and winning a handful of Immunities over her Survivor run. Just a few votes away from being a two-time winner, Parvati is indisputably a triple threat and it comes as no surprise that she was voted the greatest player of all time in this year’s Survivor Oz ‘Ozcars’.

1. Kim Spradlin – One World


Personally, I don’t believe any Survivor contestant has encompassed the qualities of a triple threat to the extent that Kim Spradlin did in One World. Though everyone on this list displayed strength in the three main aspects of the game – physical, social and strategic – I think Kim is the only one who seemed to be equally strong in all three. She played her season like she was a veteran of the game, even though it was only her first try. Her social game was impeccable. She was able to gain the trust of not only her tribe of women, but also the men after the Tribe Switch. This allowed her to exploit her fellow castaways and control the game as she saw fit; for example, manipulating Troyzan into voting for Michael and enabling the women to take the majority after the Merge. She was careful to never assert her dominance and avoided any involvement in conflict (an impressive feat considering the amount seen this season), which facilitated her coming across as the voice of reason and a source of guidance to her tribe mates. In terms of her physical game, she owned the Immunity challenges, winning four in total, which is the record for most Immunity wins in a single season by a female competitor (this record is also held by Kelly Wigglesworth and Jenna Morasca). Last but not least, Kim was a master strategist, who constantly planned several steps ahead and ensured that she had back-up plans in place; for example, forming a second alliance with Jay, Troyzan and Michael in case her original women’s alliance fell through. She was calculating and logical, weighing up her options and choosing the best one for her game, even if it meant blindsiding a friend, such as with Jay and Kat. She took responsibility for her actions at the end of the game and was respected for it by the majority of the Jury. Her game play was so flawless that she didn’t even have to rely on taking “goats” to the end, and took instead the people who she had been most loyal to since the start of the game. So there you have it, the best of the best, the top triple threat in Survivor history.


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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46 Comments on Survivor Oz Top 10-Top 10 Triple Threats

  1. Honorable mentions. Ethan Zohn, an overall likable guy. Chris Daughtry, who did what Kim Spradlin with no help from other men. And Denise Stapley. She is the only one in the history of Survivor to go to every tribal council in a season.

  2. Just gonna say it: Cochran should not be on this list. He’s nowhere near the challenge threat everyone thinks he is. He won a gross food eating challenge, that rope challenge which is impossible to lose when you have a knot to hold on to and no one else does, a card stacking challenge, and a small obstacle course with an advantage on the puzzle bit. In no way should he even be close to the top 10 for this list.

  3. Triple threats are an interesting area and limiting it to winners is fair enough.
    I would include Fabio on the list though as I think he gets hugely underrated. Socially he was friendly with everyone and despite not being able to infiltrate the majority, he was able to read the game with the bonds he made and strategy to come off as non threatening helped him get further. Finally he went on an immunity run against some pretty tough competition to secure his spot at FTC

  4. Ethan should be on here if we’re simply counting winners. Other triple threats that chould be included are Colby (only for australia), Lex, Kathy, Ian, Rafe, and Amanda

  5. Honestly, Cochran should be last in ranking winners for triple threats. Yes he won challenges, but he had advantages in most. Advantages are not really fair for challenges personally, unless they are bought at auctions.

    Some snubs

    Earl (overshadowded by Yau-Man and Boo physically, but he and Yul are in same boat)

    Basically everyone except Sandra (no offesnive Queen Bee)

    When I first saw this list, I thought Heidik would be number one. Great list, other than Cochran.

    • // November 13, 2013 at 10:07 pm // Reply

      Fabio is absolutely not a triple threat

      • He has a better social game and physical game than almost any winner. He was the most likeable guy to ever play the game. Yes, he did not make any strategic moves, but he had a sense where he was on the totem pole, and he was able to get Benry out instead of him at F7 before going on an immunity run.

    • Fabio and Jenna are not strategic threats.

  6. So much Cochran hate, ouch! But I see your points.

  7. Sonika Ritter // November 13, 2013 at 4:03 pm // Reply

    Love the list!! I love Cochrane and see ur point. I would put Parvati at nr 1 though as her season she won was more challenging than 1 World with returning players.

    Good one Rileigh

  8. Malcolm?

  9. Yul, Parvati, Tom and Mariano

  10. I like this article although as stated above I am a little uncertain about Chochran. Although he did do well in challenges in Caramoan just don’t see him doing well in any other season. The other people on this list would do well in challenges no matter the season. Anyways that is just my opinion. Personally I would agree with whoever said that Sophie deserved to be on this list as well.

  11. I like Kim but Parvati deserves the top spot since she has proven a great improvement over her 3 seasons. 🙂

  12. although i agree with majority of the list, nobody can take it seriously when you include cochran on a list like this. it is obvious how bias this site is towards him, it’s crazy. social game, yes he has it. strategic? you have to remember his first season where he turned his back on his tribe. even if by some miracle he made it to the end, he wouldn’t have got a single vote (maybe edna lol). the only good move he pulled was andrea to save brenda, who he betrayed the episode after. and don’t even get me started on physical game (again did you even watch his first season?!)

    • This site isn’t ‘bias’ towards any player. We are made up of a variety of people who all have different opinions. If it was bias then every list would include Russell, Brian H, Richard, Todd & Kim among others just to please my fandoms of these people and not keep them ‘fair’. Rileigh has put forward her ten people on this list she believes to be triple threats. You have ten spots on these lists and it isn’t going to please everyone. In the end, Cochran won the game. You can’t win Survivor without having to have some elements of all three ‘threats’ of the game. To claim we have a bias towards him just because you don’t agree with him being on this list is absurd. – Ben

      • You are right. I think this site’s view point is very fair.

        if any thing some survivor fan are very baiased.
        for example
        I think only people who don’t understand what is the survivor, only these people underestimate Sandra and overestimate Russell, it is absolutely right. They might never know what is survivor like Russell doesn’t understand it.

    • may be this list’s Cochran is in season 26, not season 23. Cochran and Parvati and Coach and BostonRob really improved their game play compared with previous seasons.

    • I definitely understand where you are coming from, but these lists are all opinion-based, and no-one is ever going to agree completely. In my view, Cochran’s improvement in his game from South Pacific to Caramoan was undeniable. I mean, no one wins a perfect game without being a great all-round player. In terms of his physical game, Cochran won more challenges in that season than a number of people on this list. Yes he had advantages for 2, but would you take away Danni’s Immunity win in Guatemala because she had an advantage? Cochran had the smarts to buy an advantage at the Auction, and he actually had to win a challenge to get the advantage at the last Reward. In terms of the Final Immunity Challenge, he really didn’t get much of a head start. And in terms of the food eating challenge, that takes extreme mental determination to do, and I don’t think it’s fair to discount that as a worthy Immunity win. Either way, I’m sure I’m not going to change your mind, but I just wanted to better explain my decision for including Cochran as a triple threat. 🙂

  13. Great article, but I’m shocked not to see Earl crack the top 10

  14. Please, could you do one day a top 10 of the Survivors who need to be subtitled while on screen, because we don’t understand anything of what they say? I’d love to see that one! 😀

  15. Cochran included here is BS. Sophie deserves the spot more #justsaying

    • Her social game was not up to par with her strategic and psychical game play. She was considered bitchy by a lot of her competitors, no?

  16. the list would be better if Parvati is on top of the list. That is all. LOL. P.S. i agree that Cochran should not be here in the 1st place, even Earl or Amanda is a good choice! Good list all in all though so kudos!

  17. i love that the ladies are on top but Parv proved being a triple threat twice compared to Kim! & Parvati faced veterans as well with having targets from the start, so that’s totally deserving of top 1. 😉

  18. So why is Sophie not included here?! she mastered the game the 1st try same as Kim! She even won a lot of more puzzle/physical challenges over Cochran. Hah.

  19. I understand this list is subjective but c’mon Cochran, really? His 1st season was pathetic LOL. Heck even Boston Rob and Parvati have decent a 1st season at least! So i totally understand the frustration of the rest on why he’s included on this elite list simply because he’s not. I wanna see him play again to prove his win is not a fluke! 😉

    • Haha yeah now I REALLY want to see him play again, cause if he goes on to win another whole bunch of challenges, I’ll feel so much better about my list. 😛

  20. Danni being lower than Cochran and Brian pains me. Brian’s social game was pretty poor. He had relationships with Helen, Ted, and Clay. He basically ignored Sook Jai members, and the effects of this are reflected in the fact that 3/4 of them voted for Clay, and could have decided the game. Remember his answer to Penny’s jury question? Definitely not a good social player. And considering how angry Helen and Ted were, he was quite close to losing, as Helen said she almost voted for a man she hated. And I don’t know that he had a relationship with Jan. He made sure this wouldn’t cost him by taking a more unlikable person to the end, but that doesn’t make up for the fact that his social game with 5/7 was either non-existent or very limited. People have summed up Cochran pretty well so I’ll move onto why Danni should be higher. On her original tribe, she was in somewhat of a leader position and had finals deals with several people. After the swap, she made a smart move to win over 3 allies by sacrificing one. Good strategy, and everyone on that tribe liked her. She was very strong in challenges and went into the merge despite her strength. At the merge she then downplayed her strength to put the target more on the other members of her alliance. She used that time to make her way into the opposing alliance, something not many people have successfully done. She went from the minority to having finals deals. She was liked by everyone on the jury, and only lost one vote due to the necessary move of taking out Rafe who was upset she didn’t fall for his attempt to look like a good guy to the jury, so, best move possible and 6/7 votes is great. Danni was one of the most adaptable winners and had some of the worst luck and was able to come back from it. She was well liked the entire time, made great decisions to enhance her position and gain the most allies possible, and was a big asset in the tribal challenges, then was smart enough to downplay it at a critical time and come back from a dire situation, and then kicked ass again when she needed to. Danni played the best game in my opinion, so I think at the very least she deserves to be higher than Brian who had a poor social game with half the jury, and Cochran who isn’t great in challenges when you compare him to the other people on the list. He was better in a few challenges than the people on his season, but I think what matters is the comparison to other winners’ challenge ability when ranking them.

  21. Thanks so much for the feedback guys, both good and bad! Definitely a good discussion. Just to keep the debate going, who does everyone think would fit best in Cochran’s spot? Earl, Sophie, Fabio or Chris?

  22. Malcolm should be on Cochran position. Cochran is not a triple threat

  23. There should be a survivor season of only returning triple threat players.

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