Which Challenge Newbie Has The Best Chance Of Taking Home The Gold?

Eighteen win-less contestants are ready to claim first place, but a few are completely unprepared.

When the Challenge returns on February 7 for its 29th season, 18 underdogs will fight for their first-ever wins, but nearly half have yet to even step foot inside the game’s combat-zone kennel. Do any rookies have what it takes to supersede newbie status and come out top dog?

While the eventual invasion of eight proven champions will no doubt be the game’s most pronounced obstacle, eight of the game’s players have the additional handicap of competing for the very first time. But as the game has proven in years past, that is by no means a Challenge death sentence. In fact, more than a few first-timers have pulled out unlikely wins.

So on which Challenge virgins are you placing your bets?

Go Big or Go Home alum Kailah has no doubt got a fighting spirit, and the competition facet of her unusually cutthroat Real World season has given her at least a little taste of what to come. Theo, too, has a proven competitor’s edge, and the Bad Blood export’s collegiate football past will very likely work in his favor. Finally, where proven contenders are concerned, there’s no overlooking Nicole of Skeletons, who could outmuscle the better part of the Equinox circuit on her worst day.

On the other side of the coin, Theo’s former housemate Anika is calm, thoughtful and considerate, qualities that have definitely worked for former first-time winners like Sarah on The Gauntlet and Jamie on Inferno II. And while Anthony might look like just another gym rat, it was his composure and penchant for math and strategy that made him a strong asset on Are You the One?

Then there’s a pair of out-and-out fighters: Nicole’s former housemates, Bruno and Sylvia, both tore their Real World house to shreds during their stays in Chicago, and their tempers spilled over into the city like Lake Michigan overflow. Hot-headedness very frequently gets competitors booted early, but it certainly worked for Wes, whose many Fresh Meat arguments paved his way to the game’s final mission on his first Challenge try.

And then, of course, there’s Hunter, who famously passed the time in the Are You The One? house by trying to prove to the house’s women that he had a big penis. Worthwhile endeavors! Potential underwear-stuffing aside, though, Hunter’s a gentle soul, and sometimes, placid waters have proven to keep Challengers most successfully afloat.

So, when The Challenge: Invasion of the Champions rubber meets the road, which of these novices has a shot at defying expectations and fighting through the barrage of vets? Share your thoughts, make your predictions and be sure to tune in to the brand-new Challenge February 7 at 9/8c!