updated 05/22/2014 AT 1:00 AM ET
•originally published 05/22/2014 AT 11:25 AM ET
Stephen Fishbach was the runner-up on Survivor: Tocantins and has been blogging about Survivor strategy for PEOPLE since 2009. Follow him on Twitter @stephenfishbach. Erik Reichenbach is a Survivor fan-turned-favorite, a comic book author and artist. He placed fifth on both Survivor: Micronesia and Survivor: Caramoan. Follow him on Twitter @BloodyAmer1can.
“I don’t have any regrets.”
– Colby Donaldson, Survivor: Australia
Tony Vlachos won the million dollars on the finale of Survivor Wednesday, along with the title of Sole Survivor, and most importantly – the final Fishy. His victory capped off a season he dominated with big moves and flashy gameplay. Thanks to Tony, Survivor: Cagayan will go down as one of the top seasons in the history of the show.
Tony may be the best combined character/player ever. He has more theatrical scheming than Russell Hantz, and all the strategic chops of Boston Rob. Whether he was handing a fake idol clue to Jeremiah, building his spy shack, or turning Sarah against Cliff, at every moment Tony was both advancing his game and having fun.
He was both impulsive and strategic. “I dug myself a hole during the day,” he said at the finale, “and at night dug myself out of the hole.”
What makes Tony’s win even more impressive is the field he was playing against. “I cannot think of another season where more people came to play,” Jeff Probst said.
Tony Made All the Right Moves
Spencer, Tasha, Kass, LJ and Trish were all first-rank Survivors – not the brain-dead zombies of Redemption Island or the math-starved goofballs of One World. Tony outsmarted them all, reading them like they were the morning paper and blindsiding them before they could make their moves against him.