A few months after the shocking Final Reckoning finale, MTV’s competition show The Challenge is back with another season: War of the Worlds, which gives America’s fifth major sport (yeah, that’s right, we dare you to disagree) a global twist as competitors from various reality shows pair with seasoned Challenge veterans for a shot at $1 million (although that changed in the middle of the season). 

Normally, we task resident Challenge expert Charles Curtis with power ranking the teams based on what went down in the latest episode. But this was the first part of the final, so we’ve tweaked the format.

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!

As TJ Lavin said in this episode, this is the hardest final he’s ever seen. And he’s right — in 33 seasons, we’ve never seen competitors struggle like they have.

Here are other reasons why:

1. It takes place in a desert

FEET DON'T FAIL ME NOW 😤 #TheChallenge33 pic.twitter.com/6vfhrBvQf8

— The Challenge (@ChallengeMTV) May 16, 2019

The season was filmed in Namibia, so you knew this one would be based in heat and sand. Obviously, hydration or lack thereof would be a major factor and it was as the competitors cramped up, looked like they could hardly walk, passed out and worse.

2. It’s over 50 miles long

The first day saw the eight finalists run and bike around a six-mile loop four times. So there are 26-plus miles left to go in the hot desert. Insane.

3. The combination of strategy, physicality and mental prowess required is unmatched

In addition to the run/bike, the players also needed to complete five mini-challenges that include puzzles and games in the middle of the loop and do each of those within 20 minutes. So should you alternate one puzzle with one loop? Or, like Ninja Natalie, should you knock out multiple puzzles to rest between runs?

There was also the twist that if one competitor was at a puzzle station another player needed to complete, that second competitor had to wait his or her turn. That ended up costing Hunter — currently in last place — valuable time as Cara Maria was ahead of him.

4. Two competitors bowed out already

Another one bites the dust 👋 #TheChallenge33 pic.twitter.com/WpWcYctdYK

— The Challenge (@ChallengeMTV) May 16, 2019

Georgia was eliminated because she needed medical attention and Mattie called it quits (and was called out by TJ, who told her to quit smoking) because her body couldn’t take it anymore. Ninja Natalie passed out for a few minutes. Turbo battled pain in his left leg and Wes collapsed after he finished. That’s pretty unprecedented.

5. THERE’S A TRIBUNAL IN THE MIDDLE OF THIS THING

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— The Challenge (@ChallengeMTV) May 16, 2019

Half the competitors can’t even walk and now there’s going to be an elimination?! Whaaaaaa?! Cara Maria refused to get an extremely valuable IV of fluids that could cost her if she’s voted in.

6. That was just the first leg of the final

Oof. Best of luck.

A marathon was only the beginning… The hardest Final in Challenge history continues next week 💪 #TheChallenge33 pic.twitter.com/GevNmHhK5J

— The Challenge (@ChallengeMTV) May 16, 2019