‘Survivor: Winners at War’ Premiere Sends 2 Vets to Edge of Extinction as New Game-Changing Twists Are Revealed

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Warning: This story contains spoilers from the premiere of Survivor: Winners at War.

History has officially been made. Survivor kicked off its 40th season on Wednesday, February 12, and for the first time ever, all 20 contestants are previous winners. Upon arriving in Fiji, Jeff Probst revealed a few changes. This time, there are “fire tokens” available. With said tokens, contestants can buy coffee beans, rice, or more importantly, advantages in the game. When sent “home,” they must bequeath their tokens to any other player in the game.

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He also revealed that the Edge of Extinction is back, season 38’s twist; when someone gets voted out, they head to another island and will eventually have a chance to fight their way back into the game.

Survivor Winners at War Premiere Boston Rob, Ethan, Parvati
Boston Rob, Parvati and Ethan on ‘Survivor Winners at War.’ Courtesy of CBS

Then, he divided up the tribes:

Dakal (Red tribe)
Tyson Apostol (Season 27, Blood vs. Water)
Sophie Clarke (Season 23, South Pacific)
Sandra Diaz-Twine (Season 7, Pearl Islands and Season 20, Heroes vs. Villains)
Wendell Holland (Season 36, Ghost Island)
Yul Kwon (Season 13, Cook Islands)
Sarah Lacina (Season 34, Game Changers)
Amber Mariano (Season 8, All-Stars)
Kim Spradlin-Wolfe (Season 24, One World)
Tony Vlachos (Season 28, Cagayan)
Nick Wilson (Season 37, David vs. Goliath)

Sele (Blue tribe)
Natalie Anderson (Season 29, San Juan del Sur)
Danni Boatwright (Season 11, Guatemala)
Jeremy Collins (Season 31, Cambodia)
Ben Driebergen (Season 35, Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers)
Michele Fitzgerald (Season 32, Kaôh Rōng)
Adam Klein (Season 33, Millennials vs. Gen X)
Rob Mariano (Season 22, Redemption Island)
Parvati Shallow (Season 16, Micronesia)
Denise Stapley (Season 25, Philippines)
Ethan Zohn (Season 3, Africa)

Moments after the tribes were revealed, the competition began. Immediately, everyone was clawing at each other in the water in an intense, physical tug-of-war-type challenge. While no one on this cast is weak, Dakal took the win. Afterward, Jeff revealed that the first tribal wouldn’t be night 1, but night 2. So, it was time to play the social game.

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After their loss, Sele was torn. Parvati and Rob quickly became an alliance no one saw coming, but he already had a huge target on his back because his wife was in the game — or so he thought. Oddly, no one was really targeting him or Parvati, two of the biggest competitors in the history of the game and they both admitted they were confused by that. Instead, Adam and Denise, who got lost (with the map) while looking for water, looked extremely suspicious to everyone else. When Ben got word that Adam’s name was being thrown out there, he told him. So, Adam brought something else up to everyone: Natalie had a huge past with Jeremy — they both played together on season 29 and had become best friends. While Rob has his wife, she’s on the opposite tribe. Jeremy and Natalie were both on Sele together, making them a huge target too.

Survivor Winners at War Premiere Natalie
Natalie on ‘Survivor: Winners at War.’ Courtesy of CBS

Adam brought up the point again at Tribal — and it worked. Natalie was the first to be sent to the Edge of Extinction. She left her token to Jeremy. While on the other island, Natalie found a “Price List” which revealed that tokens could get her food, drinks or advantages. However, she had no tokens. She found a clue, which told her to go to the last place to watch the sunset. After quite the climb, she found an idol. It had no use on Extinction; she had to choose someone on the losing tribe to try and sell the idol to. She decided to send it to Sandra — who gladly accepted.

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Meanwhile, over at Dakal, Sandra was telling everyone that for the last 36 days when she was on Island of the Idols with Rob, he lied to her and told her he wasn’t playing. It rubbed her the wrong way every time she saw Amber, so was ready to send her to Extinction.

The tribes returned to the beach for the second immunity challenge, a water obstacle course. Dakal kept a strong lead through almost the entire challenge, which included a massive log that Boston Rob managed to throw each member of his tribe over. Sele somehow came back for the final step of the challenge: A ring toss that Jeremy could have done in his sleep.

Survivor Winners at War Premiere Amber
Amber on ‘Survivor: Winners at War.’ Courtesy of CBS

After Dakal’s loss, everyone at camp was running around to figure out who to vote out and there wasn’t one name not thrown out. Sandra “spread truth, lies and rumors” around camp, especially since she had an idol. When Yul told Tyson that his “Poker Alliance” — he played a poker game with Rob, Amber and Kim one year ago — was a big threat, Tyson was shocked. In order to prove his loyalty to Yul, Tyson said he’d vote Amber or Kim to break up their friendship.

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During Tribal, Kim took a page out of Adam’s book, explaining that the “Poker Alliance” did not exist and there are far closer connections. Amber also said that friendships didn’t really matter when $2 was on the line. However, someone still had to get voted out. This week, it was Amber who was sent to Extinction. She left her token to Rob.

Next week, Rob’s reaction will be revealed.

Survivor airs on CBS Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET.


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