Survivor recap: Winners at War gets started with 20 returning champions

Jeff Probst Buffs
Jeff Probst handed out buffs to the Survivor Season 40 cast. Pic credit: Timothy Kuratek/CBS

The first Survivor recap from Winners at War stems from a two-hour season premiere on February 12.

The 20 former winners that make up the Survivor 40 cast were revealed, and host Jeff Probst welcomed them to the game. He had them all draw for tribes, setting things up randomly on Day 1.

Below are two images that show who is on which tribe to provide a visual for everyone. The Red tribe goes by Dakal, and the Blue tribe goes by Sele.

There are a few twists to this season that Jeff also presented. Fire Tokens will serve as a currency, and everyone is playing for a $2 million prize this time.

Immunity Challenge

The first challenge took place as soon as the castaways were marooned, with Jeff letting them know that they were indeed playing for immunity. One of the former winners would be eliminated right out of the gate.

Dakal won the first Immunity Challenge, meaning they would be safe. Since Sele lost, they would soon be facing a Tribal Council. But they would have a day to still try to play the game and put their unique strategies into place.

The Survivor: Winners at War tribes are as follows:

Survivor camps

The tribes got to read what the Fire Tokens could be used for, including purchasing food for the tribe or using them to gain advantages.

It was also impressed upon them that the Fire Tokens cannot be stolen, and if someone is sent home, they must will their Fire Tokens to someone else on the show.

Dakal was pretty relaxed and excited, but that’s not too much of a surprise, as they just won the Immunity Challenge and were feeling pretty good about things. It allowed them a lot of time to reflect and talk positively about family members back home.

Sandra Diaz-Twine spoke about being the queen, Tyson Apostol talked about how life was good because he got to wake up with his daughters every day, and Tony Vlachos forgave Sandra for taking him out on Game Changers.

Sele also seemed a bit relaxed as well, which was surprising, but it showed that these players have all been in tough spots before. Rob Mariano spoke about leaving his four kids behind to compete, Ethan Zohn spoke about being cancer-free, and Parvati Shallow noted how she was no longer playing the game as a single gal.

Denise Stapley and Adam Klein walked off on their own, raising some red flags with the other eight people. Would this make Denise and Adam the immediate targets on Day 1?

First Tribal Council

The Sele Tribe had to go in front of Jeff Probst and it was clear that everyone there was very nervous. There seemed to be no specific plan about what was going to take place, with several different people getting brought up. It led to viewers not knowing exactly what was about to take place.

The votes were read off as follows: Denise, Adam, Denise, Natalie, Natalie, Natalie, Natalie, and Natalie. Natalie Anderson became the first person sent to Edge of Extinction. She then gave Jeremy Collins her Fire Token.

An alliance of Rob and Parvati was born… as they took matters into their own hands when people couldn’t decide who to target.

Edge of Extinction

Natalie got to work right away and found an Immunity Idol on Edge of Extinction. It came with a note stating that she could sell it to someone still in the game to get Fire Tokens. This could serve as a huge advantage to her and to the person who decides to purchase it.

Second Immunity Challenge

Dakal took a huge lead in an intense obstacle challenge on the water. Despite that lead, though, Rob and Jeremy Collins battled their team back into it. Sele pulled out the immunity win and became safe for the night.

Immunity Idol in play

When Sandra got back to camp, she found that the Hidden Immunity Idol was in her bag. She was offered the chance to use one Fire Token to buy it from Natalie. She jumped at the chance to put some safety in her pocket.

Second Tribal Council

It was a much tenser Tribal Council this time, but maybe that was because this group had enjoyed some early safety in the season. It was time for someone from Dakal to be sent to Extinction Island, though.

The votes were read as follows: Nick, Kim, Kim, Kim, Amber, Amber, Amber, Amber, and Amber. The second person voted out was Amber Mariano. When she left the Tribal Council, she gave her Fire Token to her husband, Rob.

Natalie Anderson and Amber Mariano now reside on Extinction Island… waiting for a chance to return to the game.

Survivor: Winners at War airs Wednesday nights at 8/7c on CBS.

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