I wrote many preseason articles review all the players, and had one major preseason power ranking.
I was not aware of the format, I assumed that once the Champions invaded the game that it would be a format like the Duel or Free Agents. If I had that knowledge, I would have drastically altered the rankings, and maybe made two separate brackets for Champs and Underdogs.
Here is the link if you want to read of my last power ranking before the season: https://medium.com/@allanaguirre_19131/last-minute-challenge-invasion-power-rankings-4003ba7e6798
For those of you that do not want to read, here is how it went for the guys and gals:
2 Darrell/Cara Maria
6 Cory/Ashley K
7 Hunter/Ashley M
#1’s Bananas and Laurel: This was chalk. Their history as competitors got them that placing. What I thought at the time was that Bananas would play the political game, create a stronghold on the game with his pawns, and he’d skate to a final where he would be the favorite to win, as that is what Bananas does in finals. If I knew he would have to face the likes of CT, Darrell, and Zach in a physical elimination, probably would have put him 3rd or 4th.
Laurel was her same dominant self, and eventually you have to lose. I’d still put her #1.
#2’s Darrell and Cara Maria: Darrell was better than I expected for some reason, even though I had him second. I thought he would have struggled in a political game, and he avoided that with the game format. While many of you are mad he missed the final, I truly believe this was the best format for him to win another Challenge. I might have put Cara Maria 3rd if I knew the format, knowing that in order for her to make the final that she would have to beat Laurel in elimination. I still believe her and Laurel were above the other girls by a good amount physically.
#3’s CT and Jenna: Just like I would have moved Bananas down if I had known the format, I think I would have moved up CT or kept him in the 2 or 3 slot. I put Jenna 3rd for her uncanny ability to stay in the game and win weird eliminations. Had I known the format, I might have put her second. Knowing what I know now about the female Underdogs, I really did not expect Ashley, Kailah, Nicole, and Amanda to be that good. 5 out of the 6 girls to make the Oasis were legit competitors, some of the best recruits in recent years. Don’t know how that would have altered my placement of Jenna. I stand by putting her 3rd.
#4’s Zach and Nicole: If I knew the format, Zach would be lower. I would have fully expected that Zach would need to win 3 eliminations to make the final, and I knew that wasn’t happening. I had Nicole ranked pretty highly in her player preview, and she ended doing really well this season. Her spot in these rankings seemed perfect, except I am very disappointed by her performance, still, and I don’t understand why..
#5’s Nelson and Camila: So I was both totally wrong, but also correct when it came to Nelson. Nelson is a good athlete with a passion for the Challenge, he was great in eliminations, and played the game well with his AYTO family. I was wrong in thinking that he’d be a great force in daily challenges, instead he’s been kind of a bust in those. He made the final though, so me putting him as the highest rated Underdog looks pretty good.
Complete honesty, if I knew the format, I would have put Camila way lower. Imagining her outlasting Laurel and Cara Maria seemed a bit far-fetched based on her recent performances, and for a quick second I thought Ashley K might be better than her. And if you told me to re-rank it today, I still would have her in this 4–6 area, it feels crazy to say that she would beat Laurel in an elimination, even after it’s happened.
#6’s Cory and Ashley K: Fell in love with Ashley K’s Instagram workouts, and I still believe that she could be a great competitor. I also know that I would have put her last knowing that she would be competing with vets like Laurel, Cara Maria, and Camila.
I had Cory around the 8 slot, but I moved him up last minute due to the response of fans who loved him before the season. Most of my precautions of Cory came to be true, and he became a worse figure over the season. I do not like that he made the final, but at least it makes my preseason rankings look good.
#7’s Hunter and Ashley M: Ashley did well this season, was middle of the pack, and a little bit of luck/politics got her to the final. Good job, Ashley. Hunter was the same beast from his workout videos, he killed it on the season, the only problem being he was dumber than a stump.
#8’s Dario and Marie: He played the game I expected, he finished 8th overall on the dot. I thought Dario was better than Cory this season, but his finish did not show it. Marie had high expectations from her one prior appearance in 2012 on Battle of the Seasons. She flopped hard, she could have chose to face someone weaker in elimination, but she got caught up in the divide and wanted to take out Kailah.
#9’s Shane and Amanda: I had good feelings about both of these two. Was not expecting Amanda’s social game to be that strong, she led the big alliance in the house against Tony and Kailah apparently. Makes sense, as Nelson isn’t really a brain at all. I thought Shane was a good athlete, but he was better than I expected after a 10 year lay-off.
#10’s Anthony and Kailah: Was not expecting Kailah to be so strong physically. I truly thought she would play the game with relationships, and instead was a bad social player while being good physically. Anthony did nothing wrong, he just lost the final elimination before the Oasis.
#11’s Theo and LaToya: In my preview, I complained that Theo seemed to whine too much in his RW season, and he had quitter vibes. Theo absolutely did that. My expectations were not high for LaToya, and she disappointed me still.
#12’s Tony and Sylvia: Skeltons! My caveat when putting Tony at 12 was mostly due to him never seeing an elimination before. He played the game poorly, however his behaviour improved a ton. It was nice to see Tony sober. Sylvia won two eliminations, and I still would rate her below everyone except for Anika and LaToya.
#13’s Bruno and Anika: Bruno was the first eliminated, while Anika was the second. Vindicated on these at least.
It was fun to look back at what I got wrong and right, and it will be even more fun to forecast season 30, now that I have all this experience.