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Strategic Overview of Survivor, The Finale: Runaway JuryPage 2
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In other words, he read her perfectly in this situation. Just like with getting Jonathan to flip, just like with getting Adam to pledge a vote, just like adopting Ozzy to keep attention away from him and to use his wining abilities to prevent any of the ex-Raro gang from resurrecting their chances in the game. As it was, she made it with him and he won anyway, but if he was thinking along those lines (something our editor needs to ask him some time in the future), it’s another sign of his superior strategic grasp of the game.
There was a large amount of cunning and brilliance to Yul’s play, and very few mistakes. But Ozzy’s should not be underestimated, either. His strategy was simpler, but effective because it played to his strengths. Early on, he realized he was, in the words of Probst, “built” for the physical aspects of the game. As such, he had to find a strategy to shield himself from being ostracized because he would become seen as such a huge threat. He did so, by finding a way into a tight alliance that he provided great assistance to stay together to win challenges when different tribes existed, and which was more than happy for him to eliminate the possibility most of the time of non-alliance members winning when challenges became individual. He kept them on track to boots, while they kept him protected on the occasion he needed it from a boot.
Add to the respect garnered from his challenge winning was his provision ability, which kept him in the game when his position was precarious prior the mutiny (no person benefited more from the mutiny than he, forcing him to become an insider with the remaining Aitu members), and perhaps even after had Aitu ever lost an immunity challenge. In this fashion he played an interesting, even novel game where he somewhat isolated himself exactly to prevent having to be put into a situation to burn people. He could not be blamed for staying alive by winning challenge after challenge, and his other skills also brought admiration. It took him to the brink of victory against one of the most fantastic games ever played.
For this reason, this season brought an abundance of riches to what is now the Top 18 list of all time performances in Survivor. Ozzy slots in at #9 for his simple but effective strategy. Yul goes far higher; his grasp and logic puts him in the stratosphere and requires further explanation:
Yul outranks Brian because Yul faced a number of challenges and practically always made the optimal move. Brian’s game was more one of saying what needed to be said to keep everybody in his core alliance thinking he was their jury partner, and trying to keep conditions so that nobody shared intelligence with each other. While that was an ongoing project, he really only faced one big challenge, when his tribe won immunity (largely through his efforts) at the tipping point that allowed his alliance to take a majority into the merge. By contrast, Yul had to make good choices and perform them excellently at several junctures to maximize his chances of, and then pull off, winning.
However, Yul was threatened when the mutiny occurred which was the one thing jailbird Rich actually never faced. Rich always was in control and had the ability to set up things to keep him from getting threatened the way Yul did when he got blindsided on the mutiny. But #2 isn’t bad at all, and we as viewers can only hope sometime soon we get treated to some performances that at least approximate his.
If you haven’t already done so, make sure to check out the other Finale columns already posted:
Jeffrey D. Sadow is an associate professor of political science at Louisiana State University in Shreveport where he teaches, among other things, classes in international politics, international organizations, and diplomatic history. He has published in the area of gaming simulations in international politics.
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