Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Survivor Heroes vs. Villans Preview: Pre Show Power Rankings 11-20

bWe are less than 24 hours ay from the East Coast debut of Survivor: Heroes vs. Villans, and I thought I would do something different and provide power rankings that would also serve as a preview of the season. What makes this season so intriguing is that we know the participants and what they are capable of. Throw in that they did a good job of combining different types of players, and you have the makings of a great season.

One thing that I think is clear (and Rob Cesterino agrees with) is the Heroes tribe is much stronger than the Villans tribe. Cirie and Sugar are the weak links, and even at that Cirie is a plus player when it comes to solving puzzles. The villans have Randy, Jerri and Courtney as definite liabilities, along with Coach, Sandra and even Parvati who could falter in a variety of challenges.

It will be interesting to see how each tribe function when faced with tribal council. My guess (and Rob's - I swear I listened after coming to these conclusions!) is that the Heroes tribe is going to be straight forward in their votes - vote out the player who seems like the biggest liability to the tribe. When they approach the merge, they might get a bit trickier and vote out a threat for individual immunity, but that will really depend on the lay of the game at that point. The villans, of course, will be much more interesting.

The villans are not likely to stay just on the weakest link plan. You have 1 player who everybody knows dominated his season, even if he wasn't voted winner for his year. Nobody else has the same noteriety on the villans side; the rest have made their name for being pain in the ass and scheming. (This excludes Russell, but we'll get to that later.) This should lead to another season of backstabbing and blindsides; in turn, the strongest are actually in the most danger. How this tribe devolves into small alliances and ultimately chaos will be the storyline that carries this show for the first 6 or 7 episodes, and will please the Survivor fanboys and girls. From there, we will watch to see if the Villans can come back from being behind in numbers (and possibly turn to heroes.)

Without any further ado, players 20-11 in my power rankings:

20. Jerri Manthey (Australia, All-Stars) - Villans

Jerri is on record as wanting to use her feminine charms to get her way around camp. The problem is there is no obvious player who would fall for her charms. Most of the other players are either (a) married, (b) not interested in girls or (c) too self absorbed to realize that somebody is trying to manipulate them. When this is added to the fact that she is not exactly a master Survivor strategist, along with her tendency to whine, complain and generally act very negatively, you are left with a player who is looking for a miracle to remain in the game for a long period of time. I don't think she will get that miracle.

19. Cirie Fields (Panama, Micronesia: Fans vs. Favorites) - Heroes

I feel bad for putting Cirie so low, but she got a bad draw. Being the worst physical player on a tribe of alpha dogs is a bad start, but also being known as a "brilliant strategica player" will seal your fate. She is going to have to get into a strong alliance early on and/or hope that the Heroes tribe comes close to running the table on tribal immunity. The earlier the Heroes go to tribal council, the more likely they are to try to strengthen the tribe by the "addition via subtraction" theory, which leaves her as the obvious targe.

18. Danielle DiLorenzo (Panama) - Villans

It's the return of Danielle's cleavage everybody! I have her this low because I remember her as not having a set alliance, instead choosin to float from situaton to situation. Whomever ends up running the Villans tribe will not want to risk carrying an unaffiliated floater any further than is absolutely necessary. Barring her making an alliance quickly, I can see a future where Danielle ends up isolated from her own tribe and thus an easy target for a "compromise' vote.

17. Sandra Diaz-Twine (Pearl Islands) - Villans

Sandra suffers from the same problem as Cirie - strong tactical player, weak challenge player. One thing that worked out well for her is that she is on the villans, where her challenge weakness will be less of a hinderance. Unfortunately, winning a season based on your manipulations is not going to endear her to the rest of her tribe. I can see her making a move against somebody early on, and then making herself a target.

16. Jessica "Sugar" Kiper (Gabon) - Heroes

If only Bob was a woman. He could then have taken this spot and I would be happier. Sugar made it to the final 3 and voted to enable Bob to have a shot to win the game out of fairness. But she is a hottible tactical player - by moving against Kenny and friends she basically threw away any chance to win the game. She definitely a weak link on the Heroes side, which makes her a large target early on. I don't see her lasting long, unless the Heroes absolutely dominate all challenges.

15. Rob "Boston Rob" Mariano (Marquesas, All-Stars) - Villans

It's a shame to have him so low. But in the intro, when I was discussing the Villans tribe, I was describing Boston Rob. He's been chosen onto a team who has no player with the reputation as he does (save Russell; more about him later) However, this tribe he is on is very sneaky. They look for their edge and then they use it swiftly. Throw in Russell - aka Boston Rob v 2.0 - not caring for Boston Rob and I would expect that Boston Rob will be blindsided early on. If he lasts long enough, he might be able to make it again I doubt it though

14. Courtney Yates (China) - Villans

Courtney is in a good position to become Russell's right hand person, so long as she can keep her thoughts to herself. Of course, that is much more difficult for her to do. OTOH, in China she managed to carry that attitude to second place. She sits this low because if she does not find an alliance (which is likely) she is going to end up being viewed as too much of a wildcard and voted out around episode 5 or 6.

13. Randy Bailey (Gabon) - Villans

Randy is an interesting case - he's been chosen specifically because of his personality, not his skills as a player. This could be a good thing; he certainly won't be targetted for his skills. If he keeps his, uh, unique personaliy in check he could end up making it far.

12. Ben "Coach" Wade (Tocantins) - Villans

Coach is similar to Randy in that his tactical skills are not what brought him back. However, he also has physical skills which might make him useful to keep around for a while, especially since he's not a tactical threat. He's also a straight forward player, making him easy to predict and control.

11. Candice Woodcock (Cook Islands) - Heroes

Candice and Danielle were the most puzzling players brought back. While Danielle at least finished second in her season (besting Cirie). Candicee? She shook up the game and let the Yul/Ozzie combo run the game. That isn't enough to be deserving to be an all-star, no matter how often that gets pointed to as a major move. With that said, she is strong enough in challenges to not be targetted as a weak link and she is willing to make a bold move to theoretically get herself ahead in the game. A definite sleeper if she can clean up her act when a hope seems lost.

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