‘Survivor 40’ power rankings: Tony Vlachos leads the charge, but Sarah Lacina will win the war

After 11 episodes of “Survivor: Winners at War” only eight former champions remain in the main game while 11 others inhabit the Edge of Extinction awaiting their last chance to leave the jury and re-enter the competition. Last week, “Cagayan” winner Tony Vlachos dominated the game from all angles, putting him in a power position as the game nears its close, but placing an even bigger target on his back as he remains only one of two players in the game without a vote cast against them.

In the coming weeks Tony’s biggest job will be keeping the eyes off of him and on other players, but that may prove difficult now that he’s betrayed the trust of his closest ally, Sarah Lacina. Tony successfully maneuvered a vote to narrowly oust Sarah’s righthand woman, Sophie Clarke, without telling her. The move promises to fracture the cop alliance, possibly pushing Sarah to finally cut Tony loose.

But for now, as we assemble our power rankings of the top 8, Tony and Sarah remain perched at the top of the game together. They both have a ton of options on the table, including maintaining their own alliance, and the best chance at winning over the current jury. Below check out our reasons why and what we think of the other six players, then sound off in the comments with your own thoughts on how the rest of the game will play out!

1. Sarah Lacina
2. Tony Vlachos

What has made Tony and Sarah so strong in the game so far is that they’ve remained loyal to each other while convincingly playing such different games. Sarah built strong bonds with Sophie and Ben during their time on the Yara tribe, working together to eliminate Rob Mariano. Sarah has been tight-lipped and loyal, playing an honorable game that a few weeks ago caught the attention of some players as potentially dangerous. Meanwhile Tony was sitting back and playing the role of soldier, following in the decisions of others while touching base with everyone across the game and constantly weighing his options. As a pair those distinct strategies provided them all the intel they needed in order to stay in the majority together. Now, Tony has made the conscious decision to play the more frenetic game he’s known for and though he’s the most powerful in the game (he has an idol no one knows about) he also has the biggest target on his back. Sarah could easily use Tony’s betrayal as a reason to rally others against him and at the same time bring others closer to her to form a solid end-game alliance.

3. Denise Stapley
4. Kim Spradlin-Wolfe

Denise’s resume-building move to play an idol and take out Sandra Diaz-Twine put a huge target on her back, but it’s so far gone now that it seems everyone has mostly forgotten about how big of a threat she is. She very smartly cut ties with Adam Klein when it was clear that alliance was doing her no favors and in the process picked up Kim as a new partner. Together the two women joined with what was the majority voting block to make a move against Jeremy, someone else Denise had been working with, which until Tony put his own plans into motion was actually a smart play to ingratiate themselves with the power players. The best thing that Denise and Kim could do going forward is play it under-the-radar for another vote or two and make sure that they’re not the targets because together they could become the strongest pair that no one has their eyes on.

5. Michele Fitzgerald
6. Jeremy Collins

Like Tony, Jeremy is one of the biggest targets in the game and his strategy of keeping “shields” in the game has come to be mostly fruitless. That strategy is what allowed him to divert attention away from himself throughout “Second Chances,” but in this season of all winners the gameplay has been frustratingly chaotic. In that chaos he hasn’t been able to manipulate the votes to his advantage as readily as he’d hoped. As such, both he and Michele, one of his closets allies from the beginning, have been left on the losing end of multiple blindsides already. In taking out Sophie they gained some power back, but that is a tick on Tony’s resume not their own so they’re still climbing an uphill battle when it comes to having something in their pocket to prove to the eventual jury that they deserve to win.

7. Ben Driebergen
8. Nick Wilson

Despite a lot of screen time between the two of them, Ben and Nick have failed to make any lasting strategic impression on the game. Nick, bless his heart, has tried his best to make moves but keeps coming on short in a game that is increasingly dominated by last minute decisions and chaotic tribal councils. Ben has been much better at making himself a part of the important conversations back at camp, but nothing that’s happened so far is something he’ll be able to claim as his orchestration so his pitch to the jury is still too thin to win.

SEE exclusive predictions: Who will win ‘Survivor’?

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