‘Survivor: Game Changers’ Power Rankings Round 8: Balance Beaming Edition

QUICK NOTE: XFINITY.com is the place to be for all of your bug-eatin’, back-stabbin’, “Survivor” coverage. During the season we’ll have insightful weekly Power Rankings, exit interviews, and full episode recaps. Follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute updates.

Watch Full Episodes of “Survivor: Game Changers”

The Rules: Each week our two combatants will create separate power rankings. The ranking of the person who is voted out of the next episode will determine the number of points the players will earn. For example, if Sierra is voted out this episode, Adam will receive eight points and Gordon will receive nine points. At the end of the season, the person with the most points will be named the “Survivor: Game Changers” Power Rankings Challenge Champion.

Last Week: Adam Klein had Debbie in spot three, Gordon Holmes had her in spot four. The current score is Team Adam 87, Team Gordon 84.

Quick Note: Rankings are not based on who the player thinks is most likely to win. The smart strategy is to rank the contestants based on who is the most likely to be voted out in the next episode.

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Adam’s Score = 87

Any questions for Adam? Drop him a line on Twitter: @AdamScottKlein

Gordon’s Score = 84

Any questions for Gordon? Drop him a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

1. Troyzan: Didn’t get a chance to watch secret scenes this week so let’s just say that I am giving away my edge on purpose to give Gordon a chance to make up that 3-point deficit! Strangely, even though last week’s vote was a huge blow to my power rankings and a huge shake up in the game, my overall rankings haven’t changed all that much. I should be worried for Troyzan’s side, but it seems like that side has most of the narrative focus for this season, minus Cirie. I can compare it to my season, when even though my side was in the minority after the rock draw, most viewers could tell that somehow we would get back in power, since our edits were way more fleshed out than Sunday’s, Will’s, and Bret’s on the other side, and it wouldn’t have made sense to the story if they became the final four.

Troyzan keeps the top spot once again. He is laying low, has solid relationships, and isn’t anyone’s biggest threat. It also helps that Troyzan and his crew have all of the idols in the game, and so even if the numbers don’t switch up this week, they would likely put one of those idols to good use.
1. Troyzan: Man, Troyzan has lived at the top of these rankings ever since he found that immunity idol. The question now is; how can he win? Who should he be trying to get to sit with him at the end? Resume-wise, he can’t hold a candle to most of the remaining players. Everyone seems to like him, but nobody else is super hated. He’s going to need to up his profile soon if he’s going to take this thing.
2. Tai: Tai did well to lay relatively low in the last episode and I now think he goes from being the most likely of the (former) six to be targeted to now relatively safe. Sierra seems to be the biggest threat in the eyes of the other side, and then if Sierra wins immunity they would probably try to take out her right hand, which the edit is saying is Brad. Ironically, I actually think being on the bottom is a safer place for Tai in terms of not being blindsided with idols in his pocket. Now that he is in the minority, he should rightly be concerned about being voted out, and will be far more likely to plan an idol to keep himself safe. 2. Tai: After last week’s shake-up, everyone who was in trouble last week is still in trouble. (I’m looking at you Andrea, Zeke, and Cirie.) And, some people who felt safe last week are now in trouble. (Yup, that’s you Brad, Sierra, and Sarah.) Oddly enough, that leaves the guys who are packing idols on the outside. There’s no reason to target them at all.
3. Sarah: Sarah, despite flipping away from the six, has seemingly escaped the narrative that normally goes along with a ‘flipper’ such as Kass in Cagayan or Cochran in South Pacific. In those cases, the people that were flipped on were PISSED, and never willing to work with the ‘flipper’ again. And yet, somehow, through a superb social game, Sarah has both sides still wanting to work with her, as least according to what we’ve seen so far. She is keeping herself in a crucial ‘swing vote’ position, almost playing the game Will Wahl intended to play with his ‘pendulum strategy’ last season.

The main reason, though, why I still have Sarah so high is that after finding the vote steal advantage, she emphatically claimed that she would play it correctly. Whether or not it will be true, I have to imagine she will at least play it. So until she does, she most likely will be safe. Then again, Debbie was my number three last week, so what do I know!
3. Aubry: Finally, a little bit of luck for Aubry. Two factions are going to be jockeying for position and you’re not an obvious target for either one. Buuuut…you’re in that Troyzan boat where you don’t have any significant moments on your resume. You’ve gotta be looking for a chance to make yourself heard.
4. Aubry: This shakeup was huge for Aubry. It might just be the opening she needs to get back into the game, and it’s easily the highest I have ever ranked her this season. Maybe, just maybe, people will finally be willing to hitch their wagon to Aubry. What she needs to do is focus all her efforts on keeping the peace between Andrea and Zeke, because if they go at each other again before they take out someone else from the other side, all hell could break lose, as it did when Dave and Zeke went at it at the final 10 last season. With shields in Cirie as the biggest strategic threat and Andrea as the biggest physical threat, even if her side gets hit this week, Aubry should be safe. 4. MichaelaThe people who don’t like Michaela think of her as more of a nuisance than a threat. After last week’s blow-up, threats will be the most popular thing on the menu.
5. Brad: Since the merge, Brad’s edit has shifted, from being the man in charge to being Sierra’s second-in-command. As long as Sierra is in the game, she will likely be targeted first over Brad, unless of course she wins immunity. Brad still seems to have a lot of connections in the game and it will be interesting to see if he can pull anyone over to his side, as I don’t see him or anyone on his side turning on each other just yet. 5. Cirie: That was awesome when Jeff Probst was so supportive of Cirie during last week’s reward challenge. When I struggle in a challenge, all Probst says to me is, “I can’t believe your wife dedicated the rest of her life to a loser like you.” Anywho…I’d really like to see Cirie win this whole thing. I’m just not sure how it’ll happen. People have to know she’s risky to take to the end and it’s doubtful she could go on any kind of challenge run.
6. Michaela: Like Aubry, this shake up is huge for Michaela’s game. It gives her room to move and a chance to play from the top, where she will feel more comfortable both strategically and socially. And still, Michaela is doing a great job of hiding how physically capable she really is. I just hope she lasts long enough to see her go all out and beast some of these individual immunities. 6. Sarah: Welcome to the game, Sarah. You waited for your shot and you took it. I’m still not exactly sure why you targeted Debbie, she seems like one of the people you could have definitely beaten in the end. Now, how do you get to the end with people you can win against? And avoid the target that you’ve just placed on your back? I think you’ll have some room to maneuver these next few votes. You should take this time to start working toward your endgame.
7. Cirie: Cirie is back on top and, somehow, both from an in-game perspective and an edit perspective, actually has a shot to win this game. And yet, the chances that even her own group will allow Cirie to get to the very end of this game are so unfortunately low. She is a massive threat, playing a superb game, with an incredible story, who has now had an inspirational moment to boot. The only thing keeping her from being target number 1 is that others have other issues to see to first, whether it’s going after someone who is coming after you (Zeke/Andrea), someone who is likely to win individual immunities (Andrea), or needing to take out the leader of the other side (Sierra). 7. Brad: Brad is going to reach into the “What Would Monica Do?” gamebook and come out empty handed when he tries to find the “The Dominant Alliance I Was in Charge of Is Now on the Bottom” page. Monica never had to deal with that. Fortunately for Brad, he was kind co-in-charge with Sierra. Maybe it’s time to nudge her under the bus.
8. Sierra: If someone from the current minority is going to go home, it’s almost certain to be Sierra unless she wins immunity. Andrea/Cirie’s side see her as the biggest threat in that group, and even the edit has shown her to be the ‘sheriff’ calling the shots. If nothing changes and the most recent majority stays together, why wouldn’t they target the ringleader? The good news for Sierra is that it’s unclear whether Andrea and Zeke can continue to play nice, and she is tightly aligned with two people that have idols that could use it on her to even out the numbers. 8. Zeke: If I’m part of this season and I know that Zeke and Andrea have been tight since day one, and he turns on her without a really good reason, why would I want to work with him? It feels like this move would have been appreciated in the very strategy-centric “Millennials vs. Gen-X” season, but not in a returnee outing. And for that reason, as long as Andrea is around, Zeke will never be safe.
9. Zeke: Zeke and Andrea need to make up, and quick. At this same point last season, Zeke decided that he could no longer trust his ally Dave anymore, and they immediately went to war, resulting in a rock draw and a massive target on Zeke’s (and Dave’s) backs. Zeke needs to learn from that and be able to smooth things over with members of his (former) alliance. It is too soon to try to turn on your own, and if Zeke goes after Andrea again, he will start a civil war that may just be the end of his side’s chances. Unfortunately for Zeke, almost no one is really watching his back at this point with the exception of Sarah, so he could be a target for either side.  9. Sierra: When you said, “Sierra Dawn Thomas” before this season, the popular response was, “How is she a Game Changer?” Or simply, “Who?” Well, kudos to her for coming out swinging in her second go-around. Now that she’s on the bottom, she’s got to work that Zeke/Andrea rift like it’s her job. She’s got to wrestle it to the ground and tie it up with a rope and then stand with one foot on it. (That’s what rodeo people do, right?)
10. Andrea: Andrea is perennially near the bottom of my power rankings (and in the last spot for the 3rd time), and impressively has managed to survive time and time again. With Zeke and Sarah potentially in the driver’s seat, however, and with the other side interested in knocking out their biggest immunity threat, Andrea is still in hot water. She also has the bottom spot because I still have that scene in the back of my mind where Troyzan talked about not trusting Andrea when they were on Tavua. I feel like that has to matter at some point, unless it’s just like the summit from my season where something happens but there’s no real point. So even if the new majority stays strong, Andrea could still be idoled out. 10. Andrea: Andrea doesn’t have that end-game presence that a lot of “Survivor” legends have, but it’s time for her to start entering that conversation. She has challenge prowess, strategic chops, and a strong social game. The only reason she’s on the bottom of the list is because everyone is scared to death of her.


Any Questions?
Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

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