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Outwit, Outplay, Outlast

Gaby Brennan, Staff Writer

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Survivor fans, rejoice! The first episode of the newest season of the popular reality TV show Survivor aired last Wednesday, March 8. The theme for the whopping 34th season was ultimately “Game Changers”- where previous contestants who had made a significant impact during their season were all put together in the Mamanuca Islands to fight for victory.

As previously mentioned above, each contestant in this season of the show was handpicked based on actions and risks they took in order to progress in the game. Granted, not every risk taker got to where they were expecting to but overall were remembered for their courage and strategy. In the group of contestants there were a mix of winners and people who ended up getting voted out during tribal council; it is exciting to see familiar faces back in the game.

The two tribes – Mana and Nuku- are placed in different locations throughout the island where they to fend for themselves. And with no further ado, here is the lineup of the contestants for the season, as well as what makes them a Survivor gamechanger.

Mana Tribe:

Ciera Eastin – Most notably known for voting out her own mother Laura, as well as breaking up alliances to get the furthest she could in her season, Survivor: Blood vs Water.

Tony Vlachos – Holding a strong role as a leader around camp, Tony used strategies such as building “spy shacks” in order to listen into tribe mates conversations, and turning on allies to snag first place on his season, Survivor: Cagayan.

Aubry Bracco – Previously played on: Season 32: Brains Vs. Brawn Vs. Beauty, and impressively made it to Runner Up, Aubry says she aims to choose allies carefully, after having her 2 closest allies in the last season be taken off the game due to medical reasons.

Michaela Bradshaw – Proved herself to be a physically strong during challenges, as well as undeniably sharp. “She played the first time as a really young person who’s volatile, but so clearly gifted in so many ways. Not just physically, but she had strategy nailed,” notes Jeff Probst. However, her mistake was to reveal her strategy to a few fellow tribe members, who quickly recognized her as a threat and voted her out quickly.

Sandra Diaz-Twine – Played on Survivor: Pearl Islands and Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains, and is the only 2-time winner on the show’s history thanks to her undeniable grasp of the game’s strategies.

Hali Ford – Although seemingly somewhat aloof, Jeff Probst revealed that “Hali’s one of the most deceptive players ever,” and continued to describe her tactic of pretending to not know what’s going on while already being one step ahead of her tribe mates.

Malcolm Freberg – Having been voted out in both Survivor: Caramoan and Survivor: Philippines, Jeff Probst believes that “Malcolm has a lot to prove. He’s got all the skills, he just hasn’t closed the deal yet.”

Caleb Reynolds – “I was really happy Caleb said yes, because of anybody whose game has been interrupted unfairly, it’s him,” Jeff Probst shared. “Here’s a guy who was doing everything right. He was literally willing to almost die for his tribe. That is a game changer.” Caleb is here to prove that he can make it past Day 9 and that he has what it takes to be the next Survivor.

Troy “Troyzan” Robertson – Being a self-proclaimed a Survivor “super fan”, he was remembered as a competitive player, as well as breaking a few alliances, mainly with fellow contestant Kim Spradlin.

Jeff Varner – During his first season in Survivor: The Australian Outback, Jeff notably stepped down at an Immunity Challenge for peanut butter, only to be voted out at the next tribal council. He appeared again in Survivor: Cambodia, but lost his second chance of winning due to a foot injury.

Nuku Tribe:

Andrea Boehlke – With an impressive title of being the only female contestant to win a Redemption Island Duel, Andrea is remembered for making use of her wits to form strategies, as well as being an extremely dynamic contestant.

Brad Culpepper – Was a strong physical contestant, but managed to rub many of his tribe mates the wrong way by voting off them or their loved ones. This time he’s back on Survivor but with a different goal: to get further in the game than his wife did (who played in Survivor twice and made it to the final tribal council in one season).

Cirie Fields – Known as “The Woman Who Got off the Couch and Played Survivor”, Cirie made strong alliances and gained other’s trust to make up for her lack of physical strength during challenges. Survivor: Game Changers is to be her 4th time in the show since the first time she played.

Sarah Lacina – Is most remembered for being blind sided by tribe mate Kass Mcquillen after she expressed her opinion about her being the one with the most control.

Oscar “Ozzy” Lusth – Having won the title of the Sole Survivor, Ozzy is regarded as one of the most physically able contestants in the show’s history, particularly at swimming. Ozzy has also been able to form bonds and alliances which have led him to make a name for himself in each season of Survivor he has participated in.

Zeke Smith – Zeke played in the previous season, Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X, where he proved his wits by making it to the Final 9 using his likeability and his strategy. His time in Millennials vs. Gen X came to an end however, when he was blindsided by fellow Millennial, Will Wahl.

Sierra Dawn Thomas – Sierra was invited to Survivor: Game Changers as another opportunity to play to her full potential, which she didn’t get the chance to do on her last season. “What I saw was a woman who was playing a game, and never kicked it into the next gear — but left the game … with another gear ready to go,” Jeff Probst says.

James “J.T.” Thomas Jr. – Won the first season he played in, and returned in Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains, J.T.’s downfall was when he made the mistake of trusting his hidden immunity idol with Russell Hantz, who executed his blindsiding flawlessly.

Tai Trang – Being loved by both viewers and tribe mates alike, Tai’s known for being especially kind, and very caring about the flora and fauna of the islands. “Tai knows this game. And Tai is really good. … If anything, I think he probably realized last time, if the criticism was anything about me it was that I was too nice.”, Jeff Probst reveals.

Debbie Wanner – Remembered as a generally eccentric contestant, Debbie Wanner used her brains to form alliances on her last season. However, some trust was broken, namely with fellow Game Changer Aubry Bracco, and Wanner is prepared to fight dirtier this time around.

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Outwit, Outplay, Outlast