Survival Tactics – Outfoxed

s28 - logo

This is only my third post about Survivor Cagayan and yet we’ll already have the finale this week! I missed the chance to post this, which was about the episode from two weeks ago, and I unfortunately missed the previous episode, but I think there were two game-changing moves that happened that is still worth discussing, so bear with me.

Despite the outcome being bad for the player that I’m rooting for (Spencer), the episode from two weeks ago was still a good one. Similar to past episodes, there were two that I’d like to talk about. Before we get to the moves, let’s take a look at the players on the board:

  • Majority alliance of Tony, Trish, Kass and Woo
  • Minority alliance of Spencer and Tasha

s28 e11 - final sixFrom left to right: Spencer, Tony, Woo, Trish, Kass, and Tasha.

It’s also important to know that at this point of the game, Tony still has two Hidden Immunity Idols – a normal one that should be played before the votes are read, and a special idol that can be used after the votes are read (but can’t be handed out to other players).

The first move was supposed to be a game-changing move, with Kass attempting to work with Spencer, Woo, and Tasha to flush at least one of Tony’s idol/s. However, this did not pan out due to the second move that was made.

The original deal was discussed between Woo, Kass, and Spencer while they were on reward. Due to some friction between Kass and Tony, Kass decided that she wanted to get rid of him but there was the issue of him having his two Hidden Immunity Idols. So she struck a bargain with Spencer and got Woo to go along with the plan of blindsiding Tony. The plan? Kass and Woo would align themselves with Spencer and Tasha, splitting their four votes between Tony and Trish.

s28 e11 - possible final threeSpencer, Kass, and Woo forming a would-be alliance.

Assuming that Tony and Trish would vote for either Spencer or Tasha, splitting the votes would cause a three-way tie, with Tony, Trish and Spencer/Tasha getting two votes each. If Tony doesn’t play an idol, they would vote him out on the revote and vote Trish out if he does.

I liked the move because it would improve Spencer’s chances of winning the game, but unfortunately, Tasha messed up. Since the merge, Tasha has been in the minority alliance and has been unsuccessful in getting people to flip with her – Tony turned on the majority alliance twice but he did this by dealing with Spencer and not her. So when this opportunity came along, Tasha reconnected with Kass (they were aligned prior to the merge).

I don’t know if it’s because she wanted to reinforce the newly made alliance, but Tasha overplayed and kept telling Kass that Tony needed to be voted out because he was a big bully. She went on to say that Tony was this season’s Russell Hantz. I guess Tasha wanted to take advantage of the conflict between Kass and Tony, but it backfired big time.

Russell Hantz is popular for being an aggressive player who has made it to the end on his first two tries at Survivor, only to lose because he was hated by the jury members of those two seasons. When Tasha told Kass this, Kass realized that Tony could end up in the same position as Russell – a player who made it to the end but could not win due to his offensive gameplay. Terrible move by Tasha because rather than further convincing Kass to vote Tony out, Kass realized that Tony was a player that she could beat in the end.

Winning Survivor is complicated, there’s no simple formula that would guarantee a victory, but there are simple ideas that could help – the first is to get to the end and the second is to be up against players who you can beat. You want to convince people to vote other people out instead of voting you out, but you also have to consider what’s best for the players that you want to work with. Why would Kass take Tasha, a player who is a threat to win the game, instead of Tony who (according to Tasha) would be hated by the jury? The deal was already made, and Tasha should have kept her mouth shut or should have cultivated the seed that Spencer planted a couple of episodes ago when he said that he would vote for Tony to win the game if he makes it to the end. Because of this, Kass changed her mind and both her and Woo stuck with their majority alliance, voting off Tasha.

Did Kass do the right thing? Let’s take a look at both alternatives. She could have turned on the majority and voted off Tony or Trish, but then she would become aligned with Spencer and Tasha, two players who were major threats to win the game. If Kass is at the end with either Spencer or Tasha, she would be hard-pressed to win.

However, the alternative isn’t that much better either. Tony thus far has been more closely aligned with Trish and Woo. Once the majority has voted off Spencer and Tasha, they’ll have to turn on each other. Kass would have to convince both Trish and Woo to take her to the end rather than Tony. And based on what we’ve seen so far, Trish at least would be more loyal to Tony and would be hard to sway. She could stick with the majority for one vote, then flip with Woo and whoever is left between Spencer/Tasha and attempt to vote out Trish or Tony, but Tony would still have the two idols and could use them to deflect the votes. Instead of getting Trish and Woo to vote for Tony, Kass work with Tony and convince him that Woo or Trish are threats to win the game because they haven’t really pissed any of the jury members off.

It’s a very tough call – go against the majority and you end up needing to get rid of two threats (Spencer and Tasha), or go with the majority and risk not making it to the end. It’s easy for me to say now that Kass did the right thing because I already know what happened after (Spencer won immunity and Trish got voted off instead), but there was no way to predict the outcome.

There are merits to both alternatives, but I’ll lean towards sticking to the majority. It’s not necessarily the easier path to victory, but sticking with the majority offers more options for Kass (Trish/Woo, Trish/Tony, Tony/Woo) than if she were to flip with Spencer and Tasha.

*****

It’s been an awesome Survivor season, so good that I decided to start writing about the game. Too bad it’s going to end soon, but I’m really looking forward to the finale. I hope someone deserving wins the game.

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