It was established in the very first season of “Survivor” in 2000 that playing the game as a winking devil was a viable way to win. Richard Hatch made an alliance and voted out everyone not in that alliance, which was considered taboo at a time when viewers and Richard’s fellow castaways were still trying to figure out the true nature of the show. He also employed a cocky attitude, which naturally led to other villainous winners playing the game with swagger. That was certainly true of Brian Heidik in “Survivor: Thailand” and Todd Herzog in “Survivor: China,” who played their respective castmates like a fiddle. Tour our “Survivor” gallery above featuring nine of the most diabolical winners in the show’s history.
Several of the most crafty villains to ever play “Survivor” are doing battle on the current 40th season of the series, “Winners at War.” Playing in this all-winner season are Parvati Shallow (“Micronesia”), Sandra Diaz-Twine (“Pearl Islands” and “Heroes vs. Villains”), Rob Mariano (“Redemption Island”), Tyson Apostol (“Blood vs. Water”), Tony Vlachos (“Cagayan”) and Sarah Lacina (“Game Changers”), all of whom did whatever it took to get to the end and win. That involved breaking promises, risking friendships and playing selfishly in the hunt for $1 million. While each winner shared villainous tendencies, they each had a unique way of maneuvering through the game, from Tony’s erratic chaos to Sarah playing like a criminal to Sandra’s “anybody but me” strategy.
For some players, it took a few tries to finally win “Survivor.” Parvati initially placed sixth in “Cook Islands” but returned with manipulative strength to win “Micronesia,” and came close to winning again in “Heroes vs. Villains.” Rob had to play the game four times but was able to win on “Redemption Island,” against mostly new players. Tyson played three times, finally winning for “Blood vs. Water.”