Top Ten’s are back for 2014 to once again spice up your Wednesday! This week, Ozlet Jimmy Kurniawan kicks things off in 2014 as he counts down ten of the top tribes in Survivor history. We have seen almost a hundred tribes come and go since the beginning of the show. Some tribes have performed well in challenges, some have performed abysmally in challenges. Some have entertained us, some have bored us, and some have merely baffled us. But which tribes are considered to be the ‘best’ by Jimmy’s standards? You’ll have to read on to find out, and remember to let us know your thoughts on today’s top ten in the comments box below.
10. Moto – Fiji
Although Survivor: Fiji isn’t one of my favourite seasons, I had to find a place for the Moto tribe in my Top Ten.
Fiji is the only Survivor season that started off with an odd number of players, with nineteen. After arriving at their beach as one group, instructions and materials for building a camp dropped from a plane. But before the first Reward Challenge, Sylvia Kwan, who was seen as their ‘leader’, divided up the group into two tribes: Moto and Ravu. The Moto tribe consisted of Alex Angarita, Boo Bernis, Cassandra Franklin, Dreamz Herd, Edgardo Rivera, Gary Stritesky, Liliana Gomez, Lisi Linares and Stacy Kimball.
The winning tribe at the first Reward Challenge would have the right to live at a camp filled with luxury items (i.e. a ready-made shelter, cutlery and crockery, a sofa, a king-sized bed). Moto won the first challenge and got to live it up in the life of luxury. From then on in, the Moto tribe won challenge after challenge. In fact, they won every Immunity Challenge and all but one Reward Challenge.
The Moto tribe has won the most number of Reward and Immunity Challenges in the history of Survivor, winning twelve of thirteen challenges. The previous record was held by Koror, who had eleven challenge wins.
Moto is a Fijian word meaning ‘Spear’.
9. Ometepe – Redemption Island
Another season that is not among my favourites. The Ometepe tribe consisted of Andrea Boehlke, Ashley Underwood, Francesca Hogi, Grant Mattos, Kristina Kell, Matt Elrod, Natalie Tenerelli, Phillip Shepherd and returning player, Rob Mariano. Even though he was a known threat to his tribe, Rob charmed his way and quickly proved himself to be the leader of the Ometepe tribe.
After a slow start to the game, losing three of the four Immunity Challenges in a row, it didn’t look good for the Ometepe tribe. The Ometepe tribe slowly started to build a little momentum in the game and won three Immunity Challenges in a row. They had a seven to five numbers advantage going into the Merge and had a very tight alliance controlled by Rob. They eliminated all of the former Zapatera tribe members until they had to turn on themselves. It was quite frustrating to watch as it seemed that everyone in the Ometepe tribe was under Rob’s spell and were too afraid to make a move and vote him out. They were strong as a tribe but were full of puppets controlled by one puppet master. Perhaps they should have been called ‘Zombie-tepe?’
Ometepe is named after an island in Nicaragua.
8. Chuay Gahn – Thailand
For the first time in the history of Survivor, the tribes in Survivor: Thailand were not preselected. That task was left up to the two oldest contestants in that season: Jake Billingsley (Sook Jai) and Jan Gentry (Chuay Gahn). Jan Gentry, for some unknown reason, chose people who looked much older and weaker, whereas Jake Billingsley chose the younger, more athletic castaways. The Chuay Gahn tribe consisted of Brian Heidk, Ghandia Johnson, Clay Jordan, Jan Gentry, Helen Glover, John Raymond, Tanya Vance and Ted Rogers Jr.
The Chuay Gahn tribe started somewhat ‘slow’ in the game. They lost the first two Immunity Challenges, which led them to vote out John Raymond and Tanya Vance. It looked as though it was the beginning of the end Chuay Gahn. But much to our surprise, they did manage to pull off a win and figured out the puzzle in the third Immunity Challenge.
I believe the key moment for the Chuay Gahn tribe was after losing the fourth Immunity Challenge. There was a conflict brewing between Ghandia Johnson and Ted Rogers Jr. Ghandia accused Ted of making unwanted sexual advances towards her. Ted apologised and thought that the matter was resolved. But it wasn’t and Ghandia Johnson was voted out. The Chuay Gahn tribe realised that they had to stick together, and they formed a tight alliance in order to move themselves further in the game. Incredibly, they won the next four Immunity Challenges.
With a large five to three majority at the Merge, the Chuay Gahn tribe had complete control of the game. The remaining Sook Jai members were voted out one by one. The Final Five consisted of all Chuay Gahn members, with Brian Heidk and Clay Jordan reaching the Final Tribal Council. Brian Heidk was voted the Sole Survivor after beating Clay Jordan in a close four to three vote.
Chuay Gahn is a Thai word meaning ‘To help one another’.
7. Kota – Gabon
The Kota tribe consisted of Ace Gordon, Bob Crowley, Charlie Herschel, Corrine Kaplan, Jacquie Berg, Kelly Czarnecki, Marcus Lehman, Paloma Soto-Castillo and Sugar Kiper. They were very dominant in all the challenges they competed in. In fact, they won five of the six Reward Challenges and five of the six Immunity Challenges. Their opposing tribe, Fang, continued to do badly in challenges as the season progressed. They simple didn’t work well together as a team and only won four of the thirteen challenges in the season.
Things were looking very good and comfortable for the Kota tribe. But after a surprise twist to the game, the Kota tribe lost almost all its original members due to two Tribe Switches on Day Ten and the other on Day Twenty-Two.
Kota is named after a Gabonese ethnic group.
6. Galu – Samoa
The Galu tribe was seen as the stronger of the two tribes in Survivor: Samoa. The tribe consisted of Brett Clouser, Dave Ball, John Fincher, Kelly Sharbaugh, Laura Morett, Monica Padilla, Russell Swan, Shambo Waters and Yasmin Giles. Prior to the Merge, the Galu tribe won the first five of the six Immunity Challenges. The only time that they had to go to Tribal Council, they voted out Yasmin Giles on Day Twelve.
The second tribe member they lost was Russell Swan, who had to be evacuated out of the game due to medical reasons. I believe that was a key moment in the game. Russell Swan was seen as the leader of the Galu tribe, but once he was out of the game, the momentum shifted towards their opponents: the Foa Foa tribe.
At the Merge, they held a large eight to four majority. They potentially had the game won, but disagreements and a lot of in-fighting between Laura and Shambo, plus the bad decisions that were made due to giving in to the suggestions of the Foa Foa tribe, ruined any hope of any Galu tribe member furthering themselves in the game.
Galu is a Samoan word meaning ‘Ocean Wave’.
5. Kucha – The Australian Outback
The Kucha tribe consisted of Alicia Calaway, Debb Eaton, Elisabeth Filarski, Jeff Varner, Kimmi Kappenberg, Michael Skupin, Nick Brown and Rodger Bingham. The tribe worked well together and dominated in the challenges they participated in. They won three Reward Challenges and three Immunity Challenges in a row.
It wasn’t all peace and harmony in the early days for the Kucha tribe. During the hike to camp, all of the Kucha tribe members were annoyed with Debb due to her outspoken personality. Others were also wary of Michael’s almost dictator-like leadership style. While some did have a resentment towards him, he did take on the role of the tribe’s leader and provider.
After being badly beaten in the first Immunity Challenge, the Kucha tribe regrouped and won the next three Immunity Challenges. They were in a dominant position as their opposing tribe, Ogakor, were seen as the slightly weaker of the two tribes. After five Tribal Councils, Kucha had the numbers advantage with six to five, with a possible Merge coming up. Then the unexpected happened. Michael, who was tending to the fire, breathed in a little too much smoke, which made him unconscious and he fell into the fire.
Kucha is the Aboriginal word meaning ‘Kangaroo’.
4. Tandang – Philippines
The Tandang tribe was one of the most dominant and the strongest tribes in Survivor: Philippines. They are just one of six tribes in the history of Survivor to never lose an Immunity Challenge they have competed in. They also have never had to go to Tribal Council before the Merge. The Tandang tribe consisted of Abi-Maria Gomes, Artis Silvester, Lisa Whelchel, Michael Skupin, Pete Yukowski and RC Saint-Amour.
On Day Eleven, with the destruction of the Matsing tribe, Tandang acquired Malcolm Freberg. This made the Tandang tribe even stronger, as Malcolm was seen as a tough competitor and always did well in the challenges. He was popular among his tribe and quickly established himself in the dominant alliance.
At the Merge, they held a seven to four numbers advantage, but they just couldn’t work well together. There was a division and some in-fighting between people within the tribe. After finding a clue to the Hidden Immunity Idol, RC shared it with Abi-Maria. However, their alliance could be best described as ‘uneasy’, as Abi-Maria was suspicious and thought that RC was making side alliances with Michael. In turn, Abi-Maria retaliated, and she ostracized RC and made alliances with Pete and Artis.
Tandang is a Filippino word meaning ‘Rooster’.
3. Foa Foa Four – Samoa
The original Foa Foa tribe had a slow start in Survivor: Samoa. They only won two challenges prior to the Merge, winning only one Reward Challenge and one Immunity Challenge. It looked as though all hope was lost for Foa Foa at the Merge, as they were severely outnumbered four to eight. The ‘Foa Foa Four’ consisted of Russell Hantz, Natalie White, Mick Trimming and Jaison Robinson. It was just a matter of time until they would be voted off one by one by the Galu tribe.
With a little luck on his side, Russell Hantz found several Hidden Immunity Idols and used them strategically throughout the game. At the Merge, Natalie was able to convince the women of the Galu tribe to vote out Erik as he wasn’t trustworthy and was over-strategizing. Even though Russell played his Hidden Immunity Idol, Natalie’s suggestion was successful and Erik was blindsided. Later on, Russell found his second Hidden Immunity Idol before the next Tribal Council. Knowing he was in trouble, Russell played his Hidden Immunity Idol as he was targeted by every single Galu member. The Foa Foa Four targeted Laura Morrett’s closest ally, Kelly Sharbaugh, and she too was blindsided out of the game. Knowing she was at the bottom of the Galu alliance, Shambo Waters decided to team up with the Foa Foa Four and Laura Morrett was voted out at the next Tribal Council.
The Foa Foa Four had control of the game up until the Final Five. Brett Clouser was regarded as the biggest threat on the Galu tribe, as he had won three Individual Immunity Challenges in a row. The Foa Foa Four had no choice but to vote out one of their own and Jaison Robinson was voted out. At the Final Immunity Challenge, Brett’s winning run came to an end as Russell won the challenge. Brett’s number was up and he was voted out and was the last Jury member. Had Brett won, he would have won the game unanimously, as all the Jury members except for one were his former Galu tribe mates.
At the Final Tribal Council, Mick Trimming was completed ignored by the Jury as he was perceived as having no leadership qualities when he was assigned that role on Day One. Russell Hantz was confident that he played the game well and admitted that Natalie was a coattail rider. The majority of the Jury didn’t like his arrogant, unsympathetic and non-social gameplay. The Jury agreed that Natalie, who was praised for her social game, deserved to be the Sole Survivor of Samoa.
Foa Foa is a Samoan word meaning ‘Trumpet Shell’.
2. Aitu Four – Cook Islands
The ‘Aitu Four’ is without a doubt one of the greatest ‘underdog’ tribes to have competed in any season of Survivor. On Day Twenty, host Jeff Probst offered both tribes the chance to ‘mutiny’ and join the other tribe. Without hesitation, Candice Woodcock took up the offer, followed shortly after by Jonathan Penner, both of whom joined the Rarotonga tribe. That left the remaining members of the Aitu tribe – Yul Kwon, Ozzy Lusth, Becky Lee and Sundra Oakley – at a huge eight to four numbers disadvantage. Knowing that a loss in the next Immunity Challenges would be the beginning of the end for the Aitu tribe, they didn’t lose any hope in themselves. Against the odds, they somehow won the following two Reward and Immunity Challenges prior to the Merge.
The Aitu tribe caught a lucky break by winning the second Immunity Challenge. There was a twist at the end of that particular challenge, where the losing tribe would receive a clue after having voted off one of their tribe members at Tribal Council. The clue had instructed them to vote off a second member at the same Tribal Council. At the Merge, the Aitu tribe were still outnumbered five to four. Recognising this, Yul campaigned for Jonathan to realign with him and the rest of Aitu by showing him the Hidden Immunity Idol. It was a good move on Yul’s part as Jonathan had no choice but to take his advice, as the rest of the Raro tribe were trying to vote him out at the next Tribal Council. Once Jonathan realigned himself with Yul, the remaining Raro tribe members were voted off one by one in succession.
With strong teamwork, combined with Yul’s intelligence and Ozzy’s superior swimming skills, the Aitu Four took control of the game. Ozzy dominated by winning five of the six Individual Immunity Challenges, while Yul was making all the tribe’s decisions. This kept the members of the Aitu Four safe from the vote. The Aitu tribe made it all the way to the Final Four, with Yul claiming the title of Sole Survivor with a close five to four vote in the Final Tribal Council over Ozzy.
Aitutaki is named after an atoll in the Cook Islands.
1. Koror – Palau
The Koror tribe will forever be regarded as one of the most dominant tribes to have ever competed in Survivor. They won all but three of the eight Reward Challenges in Survivor: Palau, but most importantly, they won every Immunity Challenge in their season. They absolutely dominated, decimated and destroyed the Ulong tribe.
The Koror tribe consisted of Caryn Groedel, Coby Archa, Gregg Carey, Ian Rosenberger, Janu Tornell, Jenn Lyon, Katie Gallagher, Tom Westman and Willard Smith. In the beginning, they were seen as the weaker of the two tribes. The Koror tribe had an average age of 36 compared to the much younger and fitter Ulong tribe, whose average age was 26. But looks can be deceiving, as the Koror tribe won Immunity Challenge after Immunity Challenge. With strong leadership shown by Tom and Ian, they didn’t need to strategise or go to Tribal Council as the Koror tribe was kept intact without losing a tribe member. As the days wore on, a core alliance of five, which consisted of Tom, Ian, Gregg, Jenn and Katie, took control of the game.
With Koror continuing on its winning ways, it wasn’t until Day Twelve that they had to vote out a tribe member. They voted out Willard as he was seen as having a poor work ethic around camp as well as voluntarily sitting out at the majority of the challenges. On Day Twenty-Two, Stephenie LaGrossa became the last member of the Ulong tribe and was absorbed into the Koror tribe.
Koror is named after an island in the Republic of Palau.
Here’s a little bit of trivia… one of the two worst tribes in Survivor history are Ulong (Survivor: Palau) and Matsing (Survivor: Philippines). Both tribes wore blue buffs and both tribes had an Angie on their tribe.
There has been six tribes to never lose in all Immunity Challenges they have competed in. They are: Tandang (Survivor: Philippines), Koror (Survivor: Palau), Viveros (Survivor: Panama), Bayoneta (Survivor: Panama), Puka Puka (Survivor: Cook Islands) and Moto (Survivor: Fiji).
What do you think of the top 10? Do you agree? Disagree? Is it in the wrong order or are there ones that didn’t make the top 10 that you feel should’ve? Leave a comment below to let us know your thoughts!