Survivor Strategiser – Finale

Well, here we are, the final edition of Survivor Strategiser for this year. All Stars has been one hell of a season. We’ve seen some of the greatest moves of all time & some truly amazing moments. On Monday night, we witnessed the epic finale, with David, Moana & Sharn battling it out to take out the title of Sole Survivor & the half million-dollar prize that goes with it.

The episode began with the Final 3 setting out from camp for one final challenge, each of their stories being shown to us as they progressed. After arriving at the challenge, each of the three were treated to visits from their families, an emotional part of the journey for all of them. It was after their reunions that the challenge began, with their families cheering on from the benches. As is typically the case with Survivor, the final challenge is always the toughest. With everything riding on success in gaining that final individual immunity, everyone has their eyes on the prize & no-one wants to bow out early. The challenge consisted of two pegs on which the contestants would have to stand, with one hand placed on an idol in front of them, & the other holding on to a rope attached to a rock behind them. If your hand came off the idol, or you let go of the rope, or you took a foot off the pegs, you were out of the challenge.

After some time, Moana was the first out, leaving Dave & Sharn to battle it out for final immunity. Both were doing their best to endure the pain, with a number of adjustments along the way. Dave, being the cunning individual that he is, began conversing with Sharn, promising her he would take her to Final 2, & confirming with her that she would do the same. Around two hours in, the rain came in, causing trouble for the remaining castaways, & it was not too long after this that Sharn dropped out, leaving Dave to take back the all important immunity necklace for a third & final time, guaranteeing him a spot in the Final 2, & giving him the all-important decision of who would go with him to that Final Tribal Council.

At the penultimate tribal council, both Sharn & Moana made their final pitches to Dave, who possessed the single vote that would decide who gets to make their pitch to the Jury & who becomes the last member of it. Both pitched that Dave had made them a promise to take them to Final 2. Moana made a slightly stronger pitch in that she would likely be his toughest opponent, & so it would make more sense to take her to put on a show of strength to the Jury. In the end, it was Sharn who would progress, with Moana voted out, becoming the final member of the Jury.

Day 50, & after a reward feast for making it to the end, & a day to construct their pitches & arguments as to why they should be Sole Survivor, David & Sharn headed to the Final Tribal Council. This being Sharn’s second time at the end, she claimed to have learned from her last experience & was ready to take on the Jury all over again. Once the Jury had been brought in, it was time for the show to begin. Sharn was up first, pitching that she was the only player in Survivor history to reach 100 days in the game, & the only player in Australian Survivor history to make it to the end twice. Her pitch consisted of this, & her making moves from the shadows, playing both sides, being a part of both alliances at any one time, & being the swing vote at tribals. The central theme to her whole argument as to why she should win was her so-termed ‘aggressively covert’ game. It wasn’t a particularly strong pitch compared to what Dave served up.

Once Sharn had completed her pitch, it was David’s turn to shine. Dave went through all the moves he made & spoke directly to specific members of the Jury. He revealed himself to be the mole. He spoke about how he obtained two hidden immunity idols & possessed them simultaneously, mentioning how he put Phoebe off the scent of the idol she was looking for in order to obtain it for himself. He brought up how he flushed Brooke’s idol, aligned himself with the two major alliances in the game, had a hand in the eliminations of each of the members of the Jury, his blindsides of Locky, Phoebe & Daisy, & his correct plays of his own idols, going on to add that he never needed an idol to protect himself. Dave revealed his entire game & all the ways he had thought & schemed in order to get to where he was, at the very end. It was one hell of a pitch.

It was then over to the Jury to pose questions. There were a few questions for each of the Final 2, but there were two key moments which blew the Final Tribal up. The first came courtesy of AK. AK’s question was for Sharn, & went back to the tribal that almost went to rocks. AK spoke to how he never wanted to have any regrets in playing this game, however he regretted the decision he made to trust Sharn at that tribal instead of going to rocks. And so, he pulled out a bag containing four rocks; three black, one white. He told Sharn she could either back her game & potentially get his vote, or she could go to rocks & if she pulled the white rock, she would have his vote. After some consideration, Sharn decided to back her own game, not taking a chance on a guaranteed vote.

The second pivotal question came, lo & behold, from Tarzan. Tarzan had not talked much strategy this season, being more of the loyal gentleman type, but it seemed that he was saving it for this moment. Tarzan’s question was directed to Sharn: why did she tell him to vote Moana on the revote at that same tribal council AK had just brought up? Sharn’s answer: it was a strategic move to test his loyalty. Moana, however was not satisfied with that response, knowing that Tarzan had more than proven his loyalty by then. She went on to tell Sharn that she had done nothing on one of the biggest moves she was claiming she made. And with that, the tribal was shaken up.

But it was Dave’s final conversation with the Jury that really hit home. Dave, being the smart, clear thinking player that he is, addressed each member of the Jury personally, thanking them for the game, & appealing to their styles of play & thinking. He went to Brooke’s strength, Shonee’s social game, AK’s numbers game, Tarzan’s loyalty, & so on & so forth, & to the overall friendship he had with each member of the Jury. It was this that really showed Dave to be one of the greatest Survivor players of all time.


And so, the Jury voted, this time for a winner. Once the votes were counted & collected by JLP, he continued tradition, thanking everyone, & taking the votes with him to read back in Sydney. As fate would have it, he would end up reading them via satellite from LA thanks to coronavirus. After Osher Gunsberg did the introductions in Sydney & with most of the players, & David & Sharn & their families in attendance (Sharn via satellite as well), it was over to JLP to read the votes. A couple votes for David, then a vote for Sharn. Another two for Dave, making it four to one. And with a fifth, David was crowned the winner of All Stars, taking his rightful place as Sole Survivor. The final vote count, 8-1 for David, a clear & convincing winner.


In my analysis of the final episode of All Stars, I want to begin by looking at Dave’s decision in the penultimate tribal. For a few weeks now, I’ve been saying Dave would take Sharn to the Final 2. Even though he knew Sharn wasn’t trustworthy, & wanted to blindside him, he also knew her goal was to get to the end, & so she wasn’t considering the impact her playing of both sides would have. By extension, he’d figured Sharn couldn’t manage the Jury. Thereby, adversely to how he’d taken out revenge on all others who had betrayed him, he wanted to keep Sharn in the game because he knew she was his ticket to win. Dave was always three steps ahead.

Sharn had clearly only ever really thought about getting to the end again, so that she could redeem herself & win the All Stars season. The problem for Sharn was a simple one, Jury Management. When it comes to Survivor, sure you can employ the strategy of playing the middle ground & switching sides, not tying yourself down to one alliance. But there’s a major problem with playing that way. You can never afford to be detected. Sharn was detected back on the Phoebe vote, where she switched her vote at the second round. Dave picked up on it straight away, questioning her about it back at camp. From that point forward, she was detected multiple times, to the point where she basically put it all out there in front of everyone when she begged the Vakama 3 not to go to rocks. The key point is this: you can only play both sides for so long until it blows up in your face. Usually, you’ll end up becoming a mutual target of both sides, & thus an easy vote. In Sharn’s case, she was lucky she wasn’t voted out. However, the fate in store for her could likely be considered much worse. Dave kept her in the game to take her to Final 2, & put her in the unenviable position of placing 2nd again.

Ultimately, the Jury vote was always going to go in David’s favour. He had made major moves, moves which were well-respected by those sitting on the Jury. Those on the Jury, when voted out by Dave’s hand, respected the move. This was what it was all about. This was an All Stars season, so big moves were a must in your resume. Dave was the biggest player in the game, with major moves to his name, & so was bound to win provided he got to the end. In fact, so long as his opponent at Final 2 wasn’t part of the Vakama 5, Dave was guaranteed to win. And it was highly unlikely that a combination of Dave & a Vakama 5 member would be sitting next to each other at Final Tribal, given they each knew the other had a good chance of taking votes from them. So, it was always either going to be Dave or Brooke. There was no scenario in which both of them would sit next to each other at the end. Sharn’s choice to vote Shonee out over Dave did not go down well with the Jury at all. It wasn’t a respected move, likely for two reasons. First, it was a straight up betrayal of her promise to the Vakama 3 at the previous tribal. Second, when she had the chance to blindside Dave with an idol in his pocket, she backed down. That alone would have sealed her fate.

Falling out of favour with the Jury due to that choice, Sharn had already lost. In fact, after Shonee’s elimination, Dave already had enough Jury votes to win the entire game. Going to the Final 9-person Jury however, it was clear where people’s votes were going before the Final Tribal even took place. Zach & Tarzan, being David’s right-hand men, were always going to have his back at the end. AK, Shonee & Brooke had made up their minds from the night Sharn chose to betray them & eliminate Shonee over Dave. By extension, Locky, Harry & Jacqui were always likely to side with the Vakama 3 & David on this vote. Personally, I always thought Moana might be a wild card in the final vote, & that she might vote for Sharn. As it so happened, I was proven right again, with the one vote that Sharn received being Moana’s.

Unfortunately for Sharn, she is now the first player in Australian Survivor history to place 2nd twice, an unenviable position. But she is also the first to last 100 days, which is no mean feat. So all credit to her for using her skills to get to the end twice.

What I really loved about this Season is that a big player in the game, arguably the biggest player, won. Typically, the biggest players are eliminated along the way, being major targets in the game. However, Dave managed to get by, winning individual immunity when he absolutely needed to, & working his magic to just get into people’s heads & use their ways of thinking to his advantage. David managed to make some of the biggest moves this season without becoming the target himself. He engineered alliances & votes that no one saw coming. He became the first player in Australian Survivor history & the seventh player in Survivor history to possess two hidden immunity idols simultaneously. He used players as shields, his alliance members always being targeted before him. And it worked, with only 5 votes counting against him the entire season. His clever manipulation, opportunistic strength, & multiple level forward thinking was a true testament to the ultimate Survivor player that David is. David played this game better than many ever have & ever will. He was the Golden god, & the Idol King. He lived up to the motto of the game: Outwit, Outplay, & Outlast. And in doing so, Dave earned a new title to add to his collection, the ultimate title that any Survivor player plays to earn: Sole Survivor.

Congratulations to David on a stellar season, a game well & truly played, & a well-deserved title.

And so, that’s a wrap on Survivor Strategiser for this year. We were supposed to get another season of Australian Survivor in the second half of this year, however, with the outbreak of the coronavirus, that season has been postponed for now. So stay safe, stay healthy, & here’s to All Stars & its Sole Survivor, David Genat.

Bryan – Repost

It was a fairly warm day in the forest. The trees rustled in the slight wind that was creating a nice soft breeze for all the inhabitants of this dense space of living. This was one of those somewhat rare days in which the sun would come up and spread some warmth through the tall thick of the trees, warming up those who lived in this vast habitat. And one of those individuals was Bryan.

Bryan had lived in the forest for pretty much his entire life so far. His parents had raised him here, he had learnt how to hunt, how to fish, how to swim, how to behave, all the things that came with growing up. Despite the forest being somewhat dreary and a bit of a dull place to live, he didn’t mind it, because it was home, and that’s what really mattered after all.

The only thing that wasn’t the greatest about living in the forest was the somewhat intense fluctuations in the weather. Sometimes it was nice and warm, but at others, in particular in the winter, it was just really cold. In fact, some days it was beyond freezing. It was tough when it was cold, because it was quite difficult to maintain any warmth, most of which was dispelled by the biting winds, and the frosty chill of the night. That was the other thing. It was at night when the forest was at its worst. It was comparable to living in ice, and you’d do anything you could to conserve any shred of heat that was left, to let that heat, that feeling of warmth, spread over yourself so that you could protect yourself from the bone-chilling cold that spread out, possessing the pitch black that surrounded the dense woodlands in their deepest, darkest hours. But realistically, Bryan had no issue with it.

Bryan enjoyed his life. He loved going swimming, particularly on the more heat intensive days of the year, although he wouldn’t stray from a good swim even on some of the more frigid days in the forest. He loved fishing in the rivers that ran through the woods, and the Great Lake that covered a large portion of the centre of the dense thickets. Bryan was particularly jovial when he caught a fish or maybe even a few. He would be particularly pleased with his catches, even the smallest ones, consuming anything he caught.

Hunting was, however, what Bryan enjoyed most about his life. He loved hunting. There was something about the thrill of searching and chasing that made life so much more enjoyable. Wandering through his own homeland, his own neck of the woods per say, scavenging for something to kill and eat. It could be a deer, or a moose. Sometimes he would be quiet and sneak up on his prey, others he would go all guns blazing chasing after it to kill it. Although stealth was often favoured over brazen charging. But his parents, particularly his father, had taught him well, and he had killed many a deer in his time. He really did enjoy venison. It was one of the finest meats in his opinion. It was always a special treat for Bryan when he managed to successfully hunt and kill a deer, and he really did enjoy the meal he had shortly afterwards. But on from that.

This particular day, Bryan had been walking through the woods, his homeland, when he picked up a strange sound in the distance. He was currently on a hunt, and thought it may be a stray deer wandering through the forest. It would make his day if he could track it and successfully locate and kill it. He decided to be stealthy, and tread carefully through the thickets so as to not scare off this potential catch. He needed to be cautious that the deer, if it even was a deer, did not hear him coming and run away before he reached it. It would be a terrible shame if he was to lose out to a special meal of venison tonight. He thoroughly enjoyed it when the meat reached his mouth, and it really satisfied his hunger come meal time. So it would be a very special day if he could succeed in this mission now.

Continuing on his way, tracking his hunt through the woods, Bryan finally came to somewhat of a clearing, where he sighted a deer standing rigid directly across from his own position. He made sure to tread very carefully now, making sure not to alert the deer to his presence. He was hidden just behind a few bushes, so he was out of sight, invisible to the deer that was grazing in the forest green across the way. He was so close now, so close to a successful hunt. He made a decision, and began to move slowly and quietly, edging silently through the trees and the bushes, on his way to achieving yet another kill, and bringing home with him a delectable meal. He was now in prime position, in a bush just behind where the deer was. He could see it clearly now, with its head down in the lush green grass of the forest. This was when Bryan was in his element, heart racing, adrenaline pumping around his body, the thrill of the hunt taking him over, possessing him. He was filled with excitement at this moment, ready to make the kill. But then, almost out of nowhere, he heard a loud bang, his head jerking around to try to detect where it came from. Unable to ascertain its location, Bryan returned his vision to the deer to find it lying on the soft grass, bright red blood trickling from its side into the blades of grass it had fallen onto. Bryan couldn’t believe what he was seeing. His hunt had been plucked from his own hands just as he had been about to take his opportunity. He had now lost that, the deer lying dead with a bullet in its side, and so he decided to wait until the bullet’s owner came forward before he made any sudden move, lest he take a bullet himself attempting to take the deer before its killer arrived.

He stayed hidden in the bushes, and saw someone appear in the distance, coming forward to claim their kill, to take the deer away, probably to have a spectacular meal of venison themselves. He watched and waited, saw the killer getting closer, rifle slung over his shoulder, the gun now behind him, resting on his back. Bryan took a moment to consider who this man was, why he was here. He now turned his attention back to the man, saw he was now standing over the deer. He had pulled some ropes out of a bag he had been carrying with him, ready to tie the deer up so he could drag it along with him better. As he bent and began threading and tying the ropes, Bryan decided to take his opportunity to take this meal from the unidentified man. So Bryan walked out of the bushes he had been hiding in for the last few minutes, and made his way over to the deer and the man. The man noticed him coming and a look of deep, immense fear presented itself on his face. He dropped the ropes and began to fumble for his hunting rifle, but Bryan was already close, close enough to at least swat the hunting rifle far away from him. Bryan took a moment to look the man up and down, considering what he was about to do. But this was for a meal of succulent venison, and he wasn’t about to allow this man to pry his food away from him. So Bryan, being unrelenting in his nature, and doing what his father had taught him to do in these situations, pounced onto the man and began attacking him, leaving him lying lifeless on the soft, dewy emerald grass. Then he turned and grabbed the deer, dragging it away with him out of the clearing and all the way back to his neck of the woods. Why, you may ask? Because Bryan wasn’t an innocent human being. Bryan was a bear, and that’s what bears do.

Survivor Strategiser – Final 4

And we’re back. Tonight, we saw the second to last episode of Australian Survivor All Stars, & we were all on the edge of our seats as we watched the Final 4 battle it out for a spot in the Final 3. Let’s get right into it.

The episode began with a clear rivalry marked out. Brooke was out to win another immunity challenge & see Dave out of the game, knowing he was the biggest threat remaining. She also thought Sharn & Moana were missing the mark in not voting for Dave. Meanwhile, David was reflecting on what the game & winning sole survivor means to him, talking about his family & how important it was for him to win individual immunity at the next challenge. Ultimately, the battle lines were drawn, with Brooke on one side, Dave on the other, & Sharn & Moana firmly in the middle. And I think we’d all agree it was quite different without the kind-spirited Tarzan at camp.

To the immunity challenge, & we bore witness to what appeared to be multiple challenges we’ve previously seen, or at least elements of those challenges, all rolled into one. First, rolling a ball down a ramp & navigating quickly through an obstacle course to catch it in time. Second, shooting the ball into a hoop of sorts netball style. Third, throwing coconuts at two targets to break them. Fourth grabbing a puzzle bag & dragging it under an obstacle to get to a ladder template. Fifth, putting the puzzle pieces in place correctly to build the ladder & climb over the top. And finally, grabbing a bag containing three balls, which would be navigated up a hole-filled wall one at a time to be deposited in three correctly shaped holes at the top, using a pulley-based mechanism. A grueling challenge. Brooke & David were well out the gate at the start, with Brooke gaining the lead for a short time. She was soon overtaken by David, however caught up once again, & took the lead again for a very short time. David was right on her tail though, catching up & overtaking her, gaining a bit of a lead on the puzzle. Meanwhile, Moana & Sharn were left behind, still attempting to get through the first obstacle. Dave & Brooke were now on level pegging yet again, however, Dave managed to get through the puzzle & onto the final part of the challenge first. Brooke was right behind him. After both dropped their first ball, it was anyone’s game. Both got their first in place, however, Brooke fell behind after dropping her second. This gave Dave the opportunity he needed, allowing him to gain a good lead after securing his second ball. With everyone on the edge of their seats, we watched as Dave shakily progressed, getting his ball higher & higher up the wall, Brooke still on her second. And while Brooke came close, David managed to pull through, winning a second individual immunity this season, & securing his place in the Final 3.

After the challenge, Brooke knew she was likely to go. Dave was understandably emotional, given he had needed to win this challenge & did. Back at camp, Brooke came up with a pitch, & put it to Sharn, telling her that she couldn’t beat Dave at the end, & questioning whether Dave would even take Sharn to the end. Sharn was wary, however, Moana was also wary of Sharn, knowing she could easily flip. Dave & Moana seemed solid, & even though Brooke made an effort to sow seeds of doubt in Moana’s mind, it seemed Moana was set on voting for Brooke. Brooke obviously wasn’t going down without a fight.

The same was evident at tribal council, where Brooke put her strong social game on full display. After a she said-she said situation between Brooke & Sharn, with both pointing fingers at the other, denying they said certain things themselves, Brooke put it out there that Dave was a strong challenge competitor & would be most likely to win the final immunity challenge, & likely the game, if she went home. Yet her pitch clearly wasn’t enough, as all three of the remaining Mokuta alliance put their votes on Brooke, sending her to the Jury Villa. And so, we have our Final 3.

Analysis & Predictions

Tonight was a fairly straightforward one as soon as Dave won individual immunity. Brooke was obviously in the firing line, & Dave knew he had to ensure her elimination from the game so as to ensure he could win. Brooke was the only other player who could beat Dave, & likely would have if she got to the end, with the majority of the jury being her friends. She also would have likely voted him out at the next tribal provided she won the final immunity challenge, & taken Moana to the end. Brooke played a strong social game, & her attempt to turn Moana & Sharn against each other was a testament to the player she was. However, it seemed that remarks made at tribal & the argument that ensued between herself & Sharn cemented Sharn’s vote for her, & Moana was always likely to stick with Dave on this vote, likely knowing Brooke would easily beat her at Final Tribal.

Dave is now in the best position to win. Depending on the final immunity challenge, Dave has a very good chance of taking it out, particularly if it is endurance based. He’s been a strong competitor this season. If he wins the final individual immunity, Dave is likely to win, with one of the greatest resumes I’ve ever seen. I’ve been compiling that resume for weeks now, & so, seeing as we’re down to Final 3, here it is:

  • Vote Count: 5 (for a big player like Dave, that’s extremely impressive)
  • Engineered Jericho vote
  • Secret alliance with Mat
  • Engineered major tribal with Daisy vote, Mat’s correct idol play, the flushing of Brooke’s idol (without suggesting to her to play the idol. AK actually suggested it), & put on a very good act of surprise when the votes fell on Daisy
  • Played from the bottom & survived after tribe swap
  • Made a fake idol
  • Found an idol
  • Found a second idol using the clue Phoebe found & told him, putting her off the scent in order to secure it
  • First player in Australian Survivor history to possess two idols simultaneously
  • Engineered Phoebe blindside
  • Wore an idol at tribal council
  • Engineered the elimination of the original snake, Nick
  • Still possessed two idols going into merge, & all the way up to Final 8
  • Created a strategic narrative for the Mokuta 7 going into merge
  • Made Locky think he was safe & that the Vakama 5 had his & Zach’s votes, constructing & engineering his blindside
  • Engineered the vote on Harry, thereby eliminating all those that he played with in Season 4, leaving himself as the sole remaining S4 castaway
  • Elimination of Harry allows Dave to make the claim of most consecutive days on Survivor provided he makes it to the end
  • Eliminating those he previously played with means all those who knows how he plays are out of the game, giving him better odds of making it to the end
  • Ensured his safety from the Exile twist by manipulating Zach into voluntarily going
  • Played idol for Tarzan, protecting him from a potential rock draw so as to keep his most loyal ally in the game
  • Showed the second idol to Sharn to sow doubt in her mind about moving forward with the Vakama 3 à got her to vote against the V3
  • Getting Sharn to vote against the V3 allowed Dave to take out one of the only other players who could beat him at the end, & ensure Sharn falls out of favour with the Jury
  • Took a massive risk in not playing the idol, even though he knew he’d catch votes, which ultimately paid off with a 4-3 vote against Shonee
  • Didn’t turn on Sharn when he had the chance, knowing she’s his ticket to win the game
  • Voted out his right-hand man to gain the trust of Moana & Sharn & give himself a chance should he have lost immunity
  • Ensured Brooke’s elimination, ultimately resulting in all the players that could beat him being out of the game
  • Thinks about the game on all levels
  • Has won 2 individual immunity challenges


Dave’s resume is surely the most impressive of the remaining three. He could beat either one of Sharn or Moana, but if he wins the final immunity challenge, it’s likely he’d take Sharn with him to Final 2, knowing she’s fallen out of favour with the majority of the Jury after voting Shonee out. She will not garner votes from Shonee, AK & Brooke, & is also highly unlikely to garner votes from Harry, Locky, & Jacqui. Zach & Tarzan are guaranteed votes for Dave. If Dave was to go the other way & take Moana, it would be an interesting one, & would likely come down to how the two present their case to the Jury. Ultimately, I think Dave has it either way, so long as he wins that all-important final immunity challenge.


And so with that, we look forward to the Season Finale of Australian Survivor: All Stars on Monday night, & wait in great anticipation of who will be the Sole Survivor of an amazing season. Make sure to stick around for the Reunion Special after the winner is announced too. They’re always good fun. And if you aren’t onto it already, also make sure to check out Talking Tribal with Luke Toki, Shannon Gaitz & James Mathieson. There’s a new episode out right now.

I’ll be back with the final piece of this Series after the Finale. Enjoy!

Survivor Strategiser – Final 5

Hey everyone, as promised, I’m back for the final few episodes of Australian Survivor. We’re well within the pointy end of the All Stars season now, with only four remaining after tonight’s episode. It was a surprising one to say the least, so let’s get right into it.

The episode began with 5 players remaining in the game, the Mokuta 4 consisting of Moana, Sharn, David & Tarzan, & Brooke, the last remaining member of her Vakama alliance. The next vote seemed simple for the Mokuta 4, provided Brooke didn’t win immunity.  Brooke, knowing full well she was on the outer & the obvious target, knew she had to reclaim the immunity necklace come next challenge. But she also knew she needed a backup just in case she wasn’t able to. And so, she struck up a conversation with Moana, one of the two from the Mokuta 4 who were most likely to flip. However, Moana was uncertain as to whether Brooke could be trusted. Meanwhile, it was clear that Dave & Tarzan were thick as thieves, & whilst Tarzan knew he was unlikely to win if he got to Final 2 with Dave, he was still willing to go all the way to the end with him being the genuine & trustworthy guy that he is. As to Sharn, she was thinking about how her endgame would play out, seriously considering taking Dave to the end with her so as to sit next to a big player at the Final Tribal, even though she had been talking up blindsiding him for a while.

Come immunity challenge, Brooke was ready to win & secure her place in the game. The Mokuta 4 knew that so long as one of them won immunity, they could just vote out Brooke. With Brooke getting an early lead on the others, & with Tarzan & Moana dropping their letters, & David still a fair few behind, it was down to Sharn to keep her from winning. Yet as it would happen, Sharn was just too far behind, & Brooke took out yet another individual immunity win, equaling the record for most individual immunity wins in a season. But with Brooke’s win the Mokuta 4 were thrust into an extremely difficult situation.

Back at camp, the Mokuta 4 knew their unbreakable alliance was about to come to an end. With a discussion ensuing between Moana, Sharn, & Dave, it was agreed that Tarzan would be the best option for them, so they could keep their stronger players in the game to beat Brooke & take her out of the game. However, it seemed Dave was unwilling to vote out his right-hand man, & so he began to consider other options. After a conversation with Tarzan, who had walked off to search for an idol to save himself, Dave knew Tarzan was the man he could trust, & resolved to put votes on Sharn. Meanwhile, Sharn knew nothing was ever simple with Dave & that he was clearly thinking things through. So Moana & Sharn had a conversation with Brooke, telling her to vote for Dave, however withholding the detail of Dave’s remaining idol. They also considered putting votes on Dave themselves, however, were uncertain as to whether it was a good idea.

Come tribal council, & Brooke was grinning as the Jury entered, the vast majority of them overjoyed that Brooke had taken out immunity once again. From strategizing & discussions, it seemed either Tarzan or Sharn would be leaving for the Jury Villa. After voting, JLP asked if anyone had a hidden immunity for the final time this season, &, after some contemplation, Dave decided to play the idol just in case, knowing it was the final tribal it could be played at this season. Playing the idol for himself, Dave became immune from the vote, guaranteeing himself a spot in the Final 4 with Brooke. Brooke’s vote for Dave was thereby discounted. However, after a vote for Sharn, all three of the remaining votes were on Tarzan, seeing him receive his first & final votes this season, & thus his elimination from the game. Dave had turned on his most trustworthy alliance member, & many of us were left wondering what had happened.


Tonight’s vote seemed simple, until of course Brooke won immunity. Brooke is currently in a very similar position to the one she was in back in Season 1. At this point in the game then, she was a noted challenge beast on everyone’s radar, & had to win immunity or face certain elimination from the game. Back then, one slip up at a challenge resulted in her losing her spot in the game. In order for Brooke to progress from here, she knows she has to continue winning immunity, considering if she gets to the end she’s practically guaranteed to win, with the Jury mainly consisting of her friends.

But with Brooke winning immunity, the Mokuta 4 ended up having to split, & it went down in an odd way. Dave seemed set on keeping Tarzan in the game, which would have been a move that almost guaranteed his safety at the next tribal council if he was to lose the immunity challenge, getting him to Final 3. It appeared Dave was going to vote for Sharn with Tarzan, which would have split the vote 2-2-1, with an equal number of votes on Sharn & Tarzan, & 1 insignificant vote on Dave. If that had occurred, it would have been likely that Brooke & Sharn would vote for Tarzan in the second round, eliminating him anyway. However, Dave could have played the idol for Tarzan & saved him, securing his loyalty & taking out Sharn all in one brilliant idol play. But Dave actually voted for Tarzan, eliminating his right-hand man & a guaranteed number for him in the game, a surprising move even from David. The only explanation for his turning against Tarzan is that he wanted to show Sharn & Moana that he could be trusted to stick with them, & thus give him a little more leverage if he loses the next immunity challenge, & a way to potentially keep himself in the game.

Now, with no idols in play, it seems as if immunity is a must win for both Brooke & David, both of them the major targets, having the best resumes in game. If Dave wins immunity, it seems a sure bet that Brooke will be sent to the Jury Villa. If Brooke wins, Dave’s game may be over. However, if Sharn or Moana were to win immunity, what would ensue would be interesting to observe. The three remaining Mokuta alliance members may stick to their plan to vote out Brooke in either of these scenarios. Alternatively, they could flip on Dave & stick with Brooke. But I think that at the very least Sharn will realise that Brooke is practically guaranteed to win if she gets to the end, & of David & Brooke, Sharn would likely prefer to go to the end with Dave. Whether or not Moana comes to this realization is questionable, & yet to be seen. If one of these scenarios were to happen, there could be a 2-2 split, Sharn siding with Dave & Moana siding with Brooke. If a split was to happen, we may see another fire making challenge at tribal, one between David & Brooke. If that were to happen, either one of them could win it, considering they both have good experience in making fire, Brooke making fire to save herself in the first exile challenge, & Dave making fire with Locky without using a flint at the beginning of the season.

The next episode is sure to be a thrilling one. Moana & Sharn appear to be in safe positions. The true battle will ensue between Brooke & David, the two biggest players in this game. Both will be ready & raring to go, knowing their place in the game depends on it.

See you tomorrow night.

Survivor Strategiser – 2nd Edition

Hello & welcome back to Survivor Strategiser, the series where we look at the week’s events in the world of Australian Survivor, & analyse the gameplay & strategy that went down. This week, All Stars continued to impress with some major moves, & an Australian Survivor first. We’ve got a fair bit to get through, so let’s get right into it.

On Monday night, we bore witness to one hell of an episode, more so once we got to tribal. After last week’s blindside of Zach, Jacqui was celebrating & flaunting it like there was no tomorrow. After nicknaming herself the ‘Golden Goddess’, Jacqui began to plot her next blindside, this time on David. Meanwhile, Dave was back on the warpath with Jacqui in his sights & revenge on his mind. And after the reward challenge came to its completion, it was clear where the lines had been drawn, after Dave chose to take Tarzan, Moana & Sharn to the reward with him. Dave knew he had Tarzan & Moana on his side, but Sharn’s loyalties were still in question, and he knew he had to get her on side. Taking Sharn to the reward was his chance to do so. Sharn, however, was wary of Dave, & still had a blindside on her mind. Back at camp, Jacqui, AK, Brooke & Shonee began discussing their next move, one on Dave. They thought Dave had made a mistake leaving Jacqui at camp rather than attempting to get her back onside at the reward, but it didn’t appear to be, as Jacqui seemed to be gunning for Dave regardless. Come immunity challenge time, Dave, Tarzan, Sharn & Moana were looking clean & fresh, ready to take out the immunity necklace. A staggered immunity challenge saw 3 knocked out in Sharn, Shonee & Moana knocked out in the first stage, & Jacqui & AK knocked out in the second, leaving Dave, Tarzan & Brooke to puzzle it out. And while it came down to the last few pieces, Dave just managed to edge Brooke to win out & take the all-important immunity necklace.

After the immunity challenge, we saw a flurry back at camp. With Dave now immune from the vote, the Vakama 3 & Jacqui changed tack, deciding to put their votes on Moana. Meanwhile, the Mokuta 4 came to a decision to put their votes on Jacqui. The problem: it would be a 4-4 split, likely tying again in the second round of voting. With this in mind, Brooke, AK & Shonee were all too happy to take the risk & go to rocks. Yet AK knew that Sharn would be nervous about going to rocks, something that he could use to his advantage. After a conversation between AK & Sharn about the situation at hand, Sharn began to ponder once again flipping, ensuring her safety in the game. Tribal that night was one of the best we’ve seen this season. With conversations occurring between both alliances during the tribal, it was bound to be explosive. Dave, knowing something was up, decided to play one of his idols for Tarzan. After the first round of voting, the votes were split evenly on Jacqui & Moana. In the second round, Sharn told Tarzan to vote for Moana, something the most loyal player in the game refused to do. This ensured another even split on Jacqui & Moana, with no one changing their votes. And thus, Australian Survivor history was made, with the tribe being told they must either come to a unanimous decision or go to rocks. It was now that Dave’s idol wasn’t wasted on Tarzan, saving him from a potential rock draw. Dave & Tarzan were unwilling to budge. AK, Brooke & Shonee were willing to go to rocks. However, Sharn was not, & was willing to do practically anything to save herself. And so, Sharn pleaded with the Vakama 3, telling them she would work with them if they all unanimously decided to send Jacqui to the Jury Villa. And once JLP called time on discussion, the Vakama 3 agreed, & Jacqui was sent packing, with a rock draw narrowly avoided.

Tuesday night’s episode saw Dave attempting to bring Sharn back onside yet again. Sharn was still trying to figure out who she was going to move forward with, even though she had promised the Vakama 3 her loyalty. Meanwhile, Tarzan alerted Dave & Moana to the fact that Sharn had told him to switch his vote to Moana at the previous night’s tribal, something that Moana did not believe, putting blind faith in Sharn. After an appearance from a rogue cow, & conversations ensuing about a blindside on Dave, the immunity challenge was upon us. Again, the challenge, one of endurance, came down to Brooke & Dave, this time Brooke taking out the challenge. Back at camp, The Vakama 3, alongside Sharn, were seriously discussing a blindside on Dave. Yet Dave had an insurance policy, his second idol. Presenting the idol to Tarzan & Moana, they were enthralled. After discussing whether or not he should show it to Sharn, they left it up to him. Dave, knowing it would likely sow seeds of doubt in Sharn’s mind, pulled her aside, showing her the idol, & telling her he wasn’t going home at the upcoming tribal. Sharn began thinking about how amazing it would be to blindside Dave with an idol in his pocket. And so, tribal was upon us. With Sharn being the deciding vote, both sides were doing all they could to ensure she would vote with them. The Vakama 3 checked in with her during the tribal, & she guaranteed them her vote. After the vote, it seemed like Dave would have to play his idol. Yet he took a major risk, & decided not to. With 3 votes on Dave & 3 votes on Shonee, it all came down to Sharn’s vote. And just like that, Shonee was sent to the Jury Villa, Dave’s risk having paid off, leaving everyone wondering what Sharn was thinking.

Wednesday night saw AK & Brooke reeling from Shonee’s elimination, knowing they were next. Knowing Sharn had turned against them & couldn’t be trusted, they knew winning immunity was a must. The Mokuta 4 were fairly solid, knowing their next moves were simple ones, setting their sights on Brooke & AK. Going into the immunity challenge, Brooke & AK were ready to win, with immunity being their only guaranteed method of moving forward in the game. Dave had an early lead, however, Brooke managed to catch up. With the puzzle proving a challenge for everyone to hook with the monkey fist, it was anyone’s game. Yet AK had come to a halt, feeling nervous about jumping from a high point into the water. With encouragement from Brooke, he overcame his fear, putting him back in the challenge. Yet those minutes were costly. With almost everyone on the puzzle, Tarzan & Dave were piecing together the word puzzle, attempting to make sense of it. However, Brooke managed to come from behind yet again, figuring out the puzzle & winning immunity. After returning to camp, the Mokuta 4 were in agreeance that they’d vote for AK. But AK wasn’t going down without a fight. Searching for an idol, Moana tailed him just in case he was lucky. In order to lose the tail, he pushed over the well. Despite his best efforts, no idol was found, but after Dave followed him & Brooke into the jungle, it seemed that he might have another shot, with Dave seemingly agreeing to vote for Sharn. Although to me at least, it didn’t seem likely that Dave would vote for Sharn (something I’ll discuss in the analysis section). At tribal, AK was practically in tears, knowing it was likely he would be leaving for the Jury Villa. But the game of Survivor is never that simple, & after the vote was complete, JLP pulled another twist from his sleeves. This time, the tribe had a choice. If one of them knew they were on the chopping block, they could stop the votes from being read, & instead go to a fire making challenge which they would have to win to stay in the game. AK, knowing his game was almost up, jumped at the chance to save himself, putting his hand up to go to fire. The remainder of the tribe had to come to a unanimous decision as to who to put up against him or go to rocks to decide. Whoever competed against him would remain safe no matter what happened. After talking it over, it was decided Moana would compete. And so, after an intense fire-making challenge, Moana came through victorious, ending AK’s game, leaving Brooke on the outer as the last remaining member of the Vakama alliance.


Now to the analysis of this week’s episodes of Australian Survivor. There’s a fair bit to unpack, but it’s worth it, so please bear with me. First, let’s look at Monday night’s explosive tribal council. Some would say that Dave’s idol play on Tarzan was a waste of an idol considering he didn’t receive a single vote. As I’ve said before though, Dave thinks about this game on multiple levels. He knows Tarzan is the only player there that’s completely loyal to him, & he didn’t want to risk having him taken out like Zach. Playing the idol for Tarzan ultimately saved him from a potential rock draw. Had Tarzan still been vulnerable, things may have gone differently after the second round of voting. But sticking to what actually happened, it’s questionable as to whether or not AK made the right decision in trusting Sharn, something which did come back to haunt him. However, if they had gone to rocks, there was a 75% chance one of the Vakama 3 would be evicted, the odds in Sharn’s favour.

Tuesday’s tribal was more of a pivotal one. First & foremost, Tarzan’s warning to Moana should have alerted her to be cautious of Sharn. However, she put blind faith in Sharn, & whilst it paid off this time, it may just be her downfall. But Sharn’s decision at tribal council that night was the pivotal moment of her game. This was the choice which would decide the remainder of her game. Ultimately, she turned on the Vakama 3, voting for Shonee, rather than blindsiding Dave, the biggest player in this game. It left everyone scratching their heads, wondering what she was thinking. Her reasoning: she was using Dave as a shield. But that can’t be right, because Dave is actually using her as a shield. Yet one thing was clear: That vote ended her game. Here’s why.

Sharn had been talking up a blindside on David. She was ready to send him packing. And when he showed her the idol, she was presented with the opportunity to send him to the Jury Villa with an idol in his pocket once again. Yet when the perfect opportunity for a blindside on the Golden god presented itself, Sharn backed down from the chance, opting instead to vote for Shonee. Sharn had promised the Vakama 3 her loyalty & vote at the previous tribal. This in effect forced her into a position where she had to vote with them, or lose their votes should she make it to Final 2. In voting for Shonee, Sharn has now lost a minimum of three votes should she make F2: Shonee, AK, & Brooke (likely to be the next eliminated). She has also likely lost the votes of Harry, Jacqui & Locky, who were supportive of the Vakama alliance & friends with the Vakama 3 that Sharn betrayed immediately. Whether Sharn gets to F2 is questionable, given even if she makes Final 4, she’ll be sitting at the bottom of the Mokuta 4 alliance. But if you ask me, she’s Dave’s best bet of winning this whole thing.

On the other side of the tribal was Dave. Dave played it brilliantly. Dave knew Sharn questions everything, & that she herself is never really all that certain of where she’s going to land. Some would say showing Sharn the idol was a terrible move. I’d say it worked out perfectly. Knowing Sharn could flip after heeding Tarzan’s warning, Dave knew showing Sharn the idol would make her doubt the move she was about to make & the people she was going to make it with. Reaffirming that he would use the idol if he had to, & that he wasn’t going home at the tribal to follow, Dave affirmed his place in the game. So once they came to the point at tribal where the votes were to be read, Dave figured Sharn would be unwilling to risk voting him out that night, & thus took the risk of not playing his idol, knowing he would catch votes. It paid off, & added another major move to Dave’s resume. If he makes it to F2, & mentions that he had the idol in his pocket & didn’t play it, knowing full well he was catching votes & at risk of going home, that’s sure to gain respect from the jury.

As to the twist that presented itself on Wednesday night’s episode, it was an odd one. At best, AK would remain in the game for one more day, likely to leave at the next tribal council. Otherwise, AK would go home as was going to happen anyway on the votes. What it did put on display, however, was Moana’s fire making ability. Moana was the best choice to ensure AK was eliminated, given she had just made fire recently at the exile challenge. Which made Brooke’s decision to support the unanimous agreement all the stranger. If Brooke had disagreed, it would have forced a rock draw, whereby AK’s competitor may have been easier to beat. Or, Brooke may have been drawn as his competitor, allowing AK to win out. Either way, it seemed AK’s time in the game was coming to a close no matter the outcome.

And just a final point of analysis from this week on Dave. By now, most would have noticed that Dave keeps going back to Sharn, trying to pull her back in every time she flips or tries to flip on his alliance. To any other Survivor fan or viewer, this may seem futile. It would make much more sense to burn someone after they’ve proven disloyal on more than one occasion. Dave was already wary of Sharn after the tribal where the votes fell between Phoebe & Moana. But even when she flipped again, & then made a deal with the Vakama 3 right in front of him, he still went to pull her back in. And even when Dave was presented with the chance to blindside Sharn on Wednesday night, he still didn’t flip on her. After Tuesday night’s episode, it became clear to me as to why Dave, who has been fairly unforgiving to others who have turned on him, would keep Sharn around. And it went back to something he said at Tuesday’s tribal council. He knew who he wanted to take to the end with him, to the Final 2. That person he wants to be sitting next to at the end is Sharn.


There are three reasons Dave would want to take Sharn to the end:

  1. Brooke could beat Dave. She has many friends on the jury who would be rooting for her to get to the end & beat Dave. She would garner votes from AK, Shonee, Harry, Locky & Jacqui, enough to win a majority & thereby win the game.
  2. Tarzan & Moana are unpredictable in terms of a final tribal. Moana has made some decent moves throughout the game, & if she could convince the jury she’s been manipulating everyone from the shadows, it could get her the votes. Although, it would be tricky to substantiate that quiet game unless she actually gets her hands dirty. Tarzan also seems easy to beat, however he still has the unique claim of being the only player not to receive a single vote to date, & has played a loyal game with Dave, helping take out some of the other big players. He could play the final tribal like Shane Gould, the quiet achiever way.
  3. Sharn has fallen out of favour with the majority of the Jury. In voting for Shonee, she has guaranteed a loss of votes from Shonee, AK & Brooke. Harry & Locky have also said they want to see big moves & were aligned with the Vakama alliance, & would likely vote for Dave over Sharn. Jacqui was eliminated because of Sharn’s broken promise to the Vakama 3, so would be unlikely to vote for her. And Zach & Tarzan are loyal to Dave. In a Final 2 consisting of David & Sharn, Moana may be the only vote that Sharn gets, leaving Dave with an 8-1 majority & the win.

And just back to that move Dave made in showing Sharn the idol. Putting Sharn off voting for him ensured she would vote for Shonee, & by extension fall completely out of favour with the Jury, making her his ticket to winning this whole game. It just shows again how Dave thinks about this game on all levels, right to the end, & is always three steps ahead of the rest.

Going into what is likely to be the final week, we are left with 5 survivors battling it out for the title of Sole Survivor & the $500,000 prize that goes with it. Here’s a quick rundown of the remaining players & their chances:

Brooke: There’s no doubt Brooke is in the worst position in the tribe. She’s on her own, with no alliance, & a very easy target for the Mokuta 4 to take out. However, if she can win individual immunity, or flip Sharn & Moana, she might be able to find a new path to the end. Personally, I think she’ll be next out.

Moana: One of the quiet players. Moana has the potential to flip on her alliance, particularly Dave, knowing he has the best resume out of the entire alliance by far. But it may prove too late to do so, with Dave still possessing an idol. Her only shot to get rid of him may come from a fire making challenge or at the final immunity challenge.

Tarzan: The loyal quiet achiever. Tarzan’s been loyal to Dave for a long time, & there’s no indication of that changing. If Tarzan wants to win, his best move would be to blindside Dave. Dave wouldn’t expect it coming from him, & it would likely be a game winning move for Tarz. He could yet make the Final 2.

Sharn: The indecisive one. Sharn could really go either way. She claims to be using Dave as a shield, but it’s quite the opposite. Sharn could be an easy flip vote for Brooke, but she could just as easily stick with the Mokuta alliance. Either way, it’s hard to see how she wins it from here. In my analysis, her game is over no matter what happens.

David: The big player. Dave has made the greatest moves this season. He has pulled off some amazing feats, & has only 4 votes to his name. With an idol still in his pocket, he is practically guaranteed Final 4. If he can somehow hold on to that idol (which is rendered powerless after the next tribal), then he has something he can show to the Jury at the Final Tribal which would just add to his already incredible resume. Taking Sharn to the end is his best bet, however he would likely beat Tarzan & Moana as well. Brooke is the only one who can beat him. Taking her out would practically win him the game. Additionally, Dave must win the final immunity challenge. If he doesn’t, he will likely be the final member of the Jury. The only player who may take him to the end is Tarzan.


And so, we await the final week. Unfortunately, the Finale will have no live audience due to the coronavirus, something which is disappointing. I would have loved to have attended & seen it play out live for myself, but alas, it’s cannot be. There will also be a change in the hosting, given JLP is still in LA & so will be joining via Skype, while Osher Gunsberg guest MCs from the studio. From what I’ve seen on social media, many of the All Stars castaways are already in Sydney for the Finale, along with a few others from previous seasons, like the King of the Jungle himself, Luke Toki. I’m sure it’ll be an amazing Finale.

And that’s it for another edition of Survivor Strategiser. As the final episodes are upon us, I’ll be doing one of these for each episode next week, to be released the following day. So Monday night’s episode’s analysis will come out on Tuesday, Tuesday night’s on Wednesday & so on & so forth.

Looking forward to next week. If I had to pick a winner, I’d put my money on Dave to take this thing out. One of the greatest players the game has ever seen.

See y’all next week.