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What Cook Island Survivors Should Have LearnedPage 7
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We saw this several times in the first three editions of Survivor. And we saw how Ogakor's vote to eliminate a fairly strong Kel contributed to them losing future challenges. They went against this advice and suffered for it. But Boran got rid of their weak – Diane and Jessie – immediately and were able to gain relative strength from it.
Meanwhile, in Thailand the first to go was John, who seemed strong, but was causing divisions in the group. Tanya, who was ill, was next. Then Ghandia, who, as already discussed, caused huge problems in the tribe. After those first three cuts, Chuay Gahn stuck together while Sook Jai, which had its own internal problems, fell apart. In Pearl Islands, Drake made the fatal error of throwing a challenge and then got rid of one of their strongest members. Morgan rallied from the depths of despair and beat them time and time again.
What about cases like Survivor: Marquesas, Vanuatu, and Exile Island? In the former, Maraamu definitely went against this advice with the vote against Hunter. Why? Because Rob figured it was better to have people who would listen to him (and "fear" him) rather than strong people in the tribe. Frankly, there is something to be said for not worrying about voting off the weak early on if you know that tribe-swapping will occur at some point. If you don't know whose tribe somebody will be on, why should you care if you keep the strong? He may be on your tribe or he may become your opponent. Instead, keep an alliance partner. Such was the case with Hunter. At the time, it sure seemed stupid because Maraamu was on such a losing streak – and sometimes it may still be pretty stupid; they could have voted off Gina instead and kept the stronger guy for physical challenges.
This is not something you generally want to do as the first or second vote, because odds are against a swap happening so quickly (though Guatemala and Exile Island showed us it can happen pretty early). But that’s exactly what the men did on Vanuatu, apparently figuring that a team of men was strong enough no matter who was booted, and that having a strongly allied core was more important than having some strong young muscles around. That’s also what Cirie convinced her fellow “older women” to do in voting out Tina. Alliances have to hold supreme. But never assume a swap/merge/twist will happen – the producers love to take your assumptions and turn them upside down.
Later, though, when the tribes merge and it's every man, woman, and voting bloc for him/her/itself, it's definitely time to vote off the strong who are not part of your alliance. If they are allowed to stick around, they will hurt your chances at the big money.
Here, "strong" has varied meanings. It can mean those who are literally strong and thus able to win the physical reward and immunity challenges. If you boot them when they are vulnerable, you won't have to worry about them later. We saw this with Clarence – he was kept around until the tribes merged and he went from being helpful to being dangerous. And we didn’t see it happen to Tom in Palau. His tribemates kept him around until there was nothing stopping him from collecting a million dollars.
"Strong" also means those who can organize others. The former Pagong tribe members almost managed to boot Richard, the glue of Tagi's alliance. They missed by a vote because they didn't catch on until it was too late. If they had moved a little sooner, things would have been much different. I doubt Rudy would have allied with Susan and Kelly had it not been for Richard. The Tagi alliance, however, knew they needed to do this and took out Gretchen, a leader, as soon as the tribes merged. Greg, one of the most well-liked amongst his Pagong cohorts, immediately followed. In a post-show interview, Sue explained that they were going to vote off Greg first, but he won immunity, so they went with Gretchen first instead. She noted, "They were all different kinds of leaders – either emotional or physical."
Both Kucha and Ogakor realized the need to vote off the strong in Australia. Unfortunately, that was not necessarily the right strategy for their particular situation. Obviously, you need to be flexible. Kucha voted as a bloc to try to get rid of Colby, Ogakor's strongest member. But because they went into the merge with equal numbers, they should have instead been looking for the weak link. But they didn't pick up on Jerri's problems with several other tribe members.
As we have seen in Vanuatu and a few previous seasons, some players have been thinking ahead and deciding to vote off the strong before the merge. It’s not necessarily a bad plan, as long as you have enough people in your tribe but outside your alliance to survive another vote if you are forced to have one before the merge. However, if it means you could end up cutting yourself down another person before the merge because you’re weaker for the next competition, you could put yourself in a dangerous position. Think long and hard before doing something like this.
You need to go back to voting off the weak again after the unallied strong are gone. In this case, "weak" means the stragglers. These are the members of the herd who are left over with nobody to protect them. Gervase and Colleen were absolutely right to call themselves a target and a sitting duck, respectively. They had no protection, and they knew it. They were weak, and they were removed by the alliance.
In Survivor: Africa, Teresa knew she was in trouble and did everything she could to try to convince others – especially Kim J. – to ally with her. It didn't work, as we know, but it illustrates how the others were correctly following this at the time. Similarly, Shii Ann on All-Stars pleaded her case but was summarily voted off (after a stay of execution due to an immunity challenge win). In her case, some of the others should have listened to her about switching sides, but nobody was willing to make that leap. In the Marquesas, after John, the head of the Rotu 4 alliance, was cut off, the remaining three were picked off one by one, and they knew it was coming, even though they begged for their game lives.
One group that failed to properly cut out the stragglers was the women on Vanuatu. As we’ve already discussed, rather than getting rid of the last man standing, Chris, they turned on their own and several of them decided to target Eliza. This gave Twila and Scout – who had been looking for a way to turn the tables, the opportunity they needed as they joined with Chris and Eliza to turn the game completely around. Danni managed to pull off a similar win after getting herself an immunity win and stay of execution on Guatemala, and then getting the majority alliance to turn inwards on itself rather than targeting her.
Once the stragglers are properly disposed of, the next step should be to remove the "weak" members of your own alliance – those who can be plucked out without completely fracturing it apart. In a way, it's like pulling cards out of a card house. Some can be removed without causing much of a problem. Others cause the whole thing to collapse like, well, a house of cards. This is not always an option.
After the various weak members are gone, you need to refocus on the strong. In this case, the strong are those who are members of your own alliance but threaten your chance in the end, either because they can win the immunity challenges or because they are popular with the future jury. This is where the rule, above, about being too much of a threat comes into play. Unfortunately, this is not an easy task because the fact that they will be popular with the jury may mean they are popular with the rest of your alliance. You need to be careful or else a suggestion like this could rebound and you could be the one voted out. See Deena’s attempt to oust Alex too early in Amazon. Still, it is in everybody else's best interest to get rid of such people.
One of the most important points to remember is that you want to be better thought of than the person left with you in the final two. If the jury compares you and somebody they like more, you're going to lose. You want to look like an angel by comparison. If that’s not possible, you want to look like the best player.<--Previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Next-->
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