Survival Tactics – The All-Women’s Alliance Gambit

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Survivor Cagayan continues to provide opportunities for discussion thanks to amazing moves every episode. Last week’s episode gave us two strategies that I’d like to talk about – Spencer’s and Tasha’s All-Women’s Alliance Gambit, and Tony’s reaction to this move.

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Let me start off by saying that this move by Spencer would never have worked without Tasha. You see, after Jeremiah was voted off at the last tribal council, Tasha started to hang out with the remaining women in the majority alliance (Trish, Jefra, and Kass) and see if there are any openings for her to wiggle through.

Spencer takes advantage and asks Tony if he’s really not worried about an all female alliance forming up. He tells her that Jefra really did intend to blindside him. This sets the wheels inside Tony’s head in motion.

s28 e10 - the underdogsThe underdogs, Tasha and Spencer, survive another Tribal Council.

This might be a simple move by other people’s standards, but it doesn’t always work especially when not properly executed. Spencer’s approach was perfect – he was able to play upon Tony’s paranoia without actually telling what Tony needs to do. He just planted the idea of a female alliance forming and let Tony himself do all the over-thinking.

If you really think about it, there’s not much you can do in terms of Survivor strategy except influence other people’s actions to your benefit. Spencer knew that Tony was the most paranoid out of the remaining players, so “he played” the player in Tony and did what he needed to do to push Tony’s buttons. Had Spencer done this to someone like Woo, he wouldn’t have gotten anywhere.

And again, this wouldn’t have worked without Tasha’s social game and her attempts to get close to the three other players. A perfectly coordinated pair of moves that weren’t necessarily planned together might open the doors for these two underdogs.

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Now let’s go to Tony. With the idea of an all-women’s alliance now growing in his head, Tony decided to turn on his alliance once again. He pulled Woo aside and they talked about voting off Jefra. His justification? If they vote off Spencer now, there will be a total of four women to just two men. If they vote Jefra off, there would still be three men and three women, and their majority (Tony, Trish, Woo, Kass) would still hold at four against two (Spencer and Tasha). Tony then decides to blindside Jefra with the help of Woo, Spencer, and Tasha. Was this a good move?

There are two parts to this move that we need to look at, first is the possibility of an all women’s alliance from forming once Spencer is voted off. Is it really that far-fetched to believe that this wouldn’t have come to fruition?

Let me give you a scenario, let’s say Spencer was voted off. So the field would be down to Tony, Woo, Jefra, Kass, Trish, and Tasha. One fact – Tasha has been on an immunity streak with two immunity challenge wins at the moment that Spencer plants this idea, and three challenge wins two days later. There’s a good chance that Tasha can win the next immunity challenge given her recent performance.

s28 e10 - solarrion tribeWith Spencer voted out, there’d be four women and two men left. It’s plausible for the women to start voting off the rest of the men.

So what’s going to happen if Tasha wins immunity for a fourth time? Does the idea of Jefra, Kass, and Trish voting as a block against either Woo or Tony seem so far-fetched now? If Woo is voted out, Tony will find himself all alone against four women and as we’ve seen in Jefra’s exit interview, she was thinking about getting to the end with Trish and/or Kass. Tony’s paranoia about the women’s alliance was absolutely justified, even if it had yet to form up.

But was Tony’s move a good move? No, it wasn’t, his ends simply do not justify the means. Voting off Jefra was a good idea, but it was poorly executed – he had done so with the help of the opposing minority alliance behind the backs of his current alliance. A lot of people anticipated Tony’s alliance to break up after Tony voted off LJ behind their backs. Tony was very fortunate that Kass and Trish still had it in them to forgive him for making such a move. What makes him think that he’s getting away with doing it twice in three tribal councils? Trust is an important component in Survivor strategy – you need to know when to break it and when to keep it.

s28 e10 - tony explainsTony should have approached Trish about this concept instead of acting behind her back for the second time.

If Tony was really worried about an all-women’s alliance, why didn’t he go to Trish about voting Jefra off? Hasn’t he solidified his final three alliance yet? If Tony has a final three group already set up within their alliance of five, I’m sure it wouldn’t have been hard to approach those people and get them to buy into voting Jefra off. As it stands, Tony only approached Woo, leading me to believe that Tony hasn’t done his due diligence of securing his finals position.

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The game seems to be very wide-open right now. With Jefra voted off, Spencer and Tasha are still in the game. Tony’s alliance should be on shaky ground right now, so there might be weaknesses that are ready to be exploited by the underdogs. Can’t wait to see what happens next.

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