Survivor Oz Top 10 – Top 10 Strategic Moves Without Idols In The Past 5 Seasons


In the last five seasons, idols have run rampant in Survivor. Regular idols and super idols alike have been coveted by every player, with many used to their full effect. Some of the biggest moves have involved idols from Natalie saving Jaclyn in San Juan del Sur to Tyler's blindside in Worlds Apart and perhaps most memorably Kelly Wentworth and Jeremy cancelling out all the votes at the final 6 in Cambodia. While these flashy idol plays may have dazzled us, let’s not forget the equally brilliant moves that did not require an idol play. In today's top 10, American Ozlet Ivan Ornelas counts down the best moves sans idols from Cagayan to Kaoh Rong. Read on to find out which memorable moments make the list.

10. Tony and Trish flip on Cliff – Cagayan


When you have a 5-2 advantage, when does it make sense to flip with the 2 on the bottom? When 3 of those 5 are super close, that’s when. Cliff, Woo, and Lindsey, despite not being Survivor royalty, had a firm grip on Brawn beach and Trish was in trouble. After the swap, they tried to pull Trish in to keep the numbers but at that point the damage is done. If you treat people outside of your alliance poorly, you pay the price, and this would be the start of Tony and Trish’s Deep run in the game.

9. Mike and Shirin cause the alliance to crack – Worlds Apart


Despite Shirin going home that night, Mike did what he needed to do. He didn’t burn his idol, but he did cause tension. Being the physical threat that he was, I don’t think there’s anything Mike could’ve done to avoid being voted out if he lost immunity. But this move did allow him to control the remaining votes, with every person whose name he wrote down from Tyler to Rodney seeing their torches snuffed from that point on.

8. Jeff taking out Vytas and Shirin in successive votes – Cambodia


Varner came out swinging in his second chance. First he had the decisive vote in eliminating Vytas, one dangerous player. And then he managed to convince the entire tribe to turn on Shirin and Spencer. The swap prevented him from causing further damage but for 6 short days and 2 shorter episodes we saw Jeff, despite being an old school player, take pages out of the new school playbook and play very well.

7. Tony blindsides Jefra – Cagayan

Chaos Is My Friend

Jefra was not the most threatening player, but she was an obstacle that could’ve caused problems for Tony in the end game. Tony figured that out and in Survivor, it’s all about taking people out before they have a chance to take you out. Not only did voting out Jefra put Tony in a much better position to get to the end, it meant that with his idols and Spencer and Tasha still in the game his chances of surviving the next few votes were very high.

6.Natalie Anderson “accidentally” voting out Alec – San Juan del Sur


Much like Tony turning on his alliance and voting out Jefra gave him the extra bit of power he needed late in the game, this move served another eventually New Jersey Sole Survivor a similar purpose. The alliance of five consisting of Natalie and two loved one pairs planned to split the votes 3 on Keith and 2 on Alec in order to take out the bigger challenge threat. However, having Alec around one more vote suited Jon as Alec was closer to him than he was to Natalie. In addition, Natalie still wanted to get rid of Jon at the next available opportunity and she would need 4 votes to do it. Seeing as Keith would be more loyal to her than Alec, she went against the alliance and voted out Alec. The genius (albeit fortuitous) part of it was Natalie got no heat for doing so. Jon legitimately thought Natalie made a mistake. That would be his undoing.

5. Stephen Fishbach’s blindside – Cambodia


Not since Ozzy had the game seen such a powerful physical player like Joe, so if he isn’t immune during the merge, logic suggests you need to get rid of him. But sometimes the easy vote isn’t always the right vote. After seeing Jeremy, Spencer, and Tasha make it to the end in Cambodia, it gets lost in history that Stephen was originally intended to be in Spencer’s position. Even though Spencer got zero votes, he does deserve credit for taking the opportunity to blindside Fishbach and cement his position for the next several votes.

4. Cydney flips on Kyle and Scot, takes out Nick – Kaoh Rong


In the first half of the game, it looked like Cydney was the third wheel in the Brawn trio. But once she has an opportunity to play for herself and carve her own destiny, she took it. She managed to get the women and Joe to vote Nick and from that point on despite receiving votes at final 9 she was in a good spot and played very well, only to be eliminated via fire tiebreaker. It seemed like a risky move at the time because Cydney was already in a good position, but to have any chance of winning she had to begin to make moves for herself. We’ve seen many big moves and many good moves in recent Survivor season, but rarely did they ever overlap so perfectly like this one.

3. Voting out Abi, removing the jury goat – Cambodia


At this point, the only thing that could derail final 3 scenarios would be the temptation of taking Abi to the final 3 assuming she couldn’t get any jury votes. Don’t get me wrong, Abi played well this season and deserves credit, especially considering how many votes she survived and being many people’s pick for first or second boot. This was a good move for Jeremy, Tasha, and Spencer because it made their path to the end a little easier aside from the idol stalemate at final 6. However, it might have been a fatal move for Kimmi. It’s hard to find yourself in a good position in the final 8 or 7 but it’s even harder to close the game out from there. Voting out Abi effectively did that for the season’s finalists.

2. Blindsiding Jeremy – San Juan del Sur


Timing is everything in taking out a big threat. You have to do it when they least expect it. We saw Cirie and Parvati do that to perfection back in season 16 Micronesia, voting out Ozzy when all signs pointed to Jason. This felt similar to me because Jeremy had built such a strong alliance, had just gotten rid of Josh and Reed seemed like the undoubted next target, and Baylor and Missy had their reservations towards turning on Jeremy so soon. Not only that, but from an audience perspective the edit provided very few clues that Jeremy was in danger. He gave up his reward and got exiled? No biggie. Narrowly losing an immunity challenge to Baylor? I suppose it happens. But turned out it was a vital loss for Jeremy. It’s hard to feel bad for him now not only because he presumably was saved at final 12 that season and now is the Sole Survivor of Cambodia on top of that, but it was a clever move and a big blindside.

1. Scot’s boot, super idol disarmed – Kaoh Rong


Out of all the anti-idol activity, I have to put Aubry, Cydney, and Joe bringing in Tai to vote out Scot and prevent the super idol from being activated. After Debbie’s blindside, it seemed like the Brawn alliance remnants had enough votes and idols to force their way into power through their super idol. But Aubry had a conversation with Tai and effectively brought him back from the dark side. It also established some sub alliances that would be key for Aubry to get to the end. This move helped Tai get to the end, and despite not getting any jury votes, to be fair Tai likely had no business getting to the end. Just when it seemed like for the first time since this overpowered idol’s introduction in Season 12 Panama we would see it activated, a brilliant move prevented it from happening.

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!



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15 Comments on Survivor Oz Top 10 – Top 10 Strategic Moves Without Idols In The Past 5 Seasons

  1. to be completely honest, Tony wouln’t have won if trish wasn’t there.
    she was so right in her jury speech, she controlled, clamed and talked to their allaince to trust them to trust Tony, she kept everything in tact. And yet she is underrated, i hope she plays again. Skeletor should play again aggressively this time i would love to see Trish again/

  2. I think Tasha and Savage flipping Abi to take out Varner and PG should he on here.

    • Ivan Ornelas // July 4, 2016 at 12:54 pm // Reply

      That was also a good move, sorry I couldn’t find space for it on this list but good mention.

  3. RB Liljestrom // June 23, 2016 at 5:26 am // Reply

    Really? Fucking SJDS gets 2 in the top 10? The Natalie dupe just accentuated the stupidity and gullibility of one of the main players on that shit season. Jeremy’s vote out was an obvious choice because he was the biggest threat to John. I can’t believe Jeremy couldn’t see that being he was the biggest threat left in the game. I liked some of the cast on that season but as game play goes it sucked major ass. Thanks for the article Ivan I’m sending you the bill for my high blood pressure medication for making me rehash that deplorable season.

    • Yup. I too, am not a fan of the blood vs. water seasons. Really hate ’em. But Jeremy is kinda awesome sauce. Glad that he got to come back and do it for reals…because, yup.

      But yeah…my blood pressure went up on that season. So, nope nope nope nope nope….

  4. ladundercover22 // June 26, 2016 at 6:26 am // Reply

    6 should be higher because Natalie sold it SO WELL but yep correct choice for #1 on this list – who says these last few seasons have lame??

  5. Responsible driver // June 26, 2016 at 1:16 pm // Reply

    Recommendation: 10 players that were closer to win than what we tend to think. People like Ozzy or Colby that lost for one vote, Erik when he gave away his necklace and many other examples.

  6. torchsandaardvarks // June 28, 2016 at 12:25 am // Reply

    Scot’s blindside is correctly no. 1.

  7. Natalie voting Jon out not being in the top 3, let alone on the whole list, is a travesty. And yet we have something like number 9 which didn’t achieve anything, since Mike would have gone home anyway hadn’t he been immune for the rest of the season.

    • Ivan Ornelas // July 4, 2016 at 12:53 pm // Reply

      In a way Alec’s vote implied Jon’s vote. By getting rid of Alec she was able to get rid of Jon next, if she didn’t get rid of Alec she couldn’t get rid of Jon. I didn’t forget about that move but both moves were linked and happened in back to back Tribals. I wanted to give credit to the lesser mentioned move.

  8. #9 indirectly involved idols, because Mike’s idol was the major reason the alliance cracked.

  9. What about Michelle voting Neil off of the jury

  10. Jaclyn R Boser // August 20, 2016 at 8:23 pm // Reply

    There is absolutely no way that blindsiding Cliff deserves a spot here. What moron allows such a beloved NBA player to make it to the merge? If anyone was shocked by that move, they clearly haven’t been watching the show long enough. And Lindsay quitting immediately afterward proved only that she clearly hadn’t planned for any aspect of the game sans Cliff. Pure thoughtlessness and naivette on her part, and only simply awareness from those behind the move.

    • Ivan Ornelas // September 6, 2016 at 4:21 am // Reply

      It’s a numbers game, and for Tony and Trish to take the risk to take out one of their own members early in the game more often than not is a gamble that doesn’t pay off. However, they were able to recognize that it would be a beneficial move that would help them get as far as they did. Plus, Tony would be able to do damage control with Woo and Woo and Tony would be as tight as Woo and Cliff were, and Tony used Woo to get him to the end and win.

  11. Christina Bruce // September 2, 2016 at 11:29 am // Reply

    I’m really surprised that Cirie telling Natalie to convince Erik to give Natalie the immunity necklace isn’t even on here. That was one of the most iconic moves ever. Also you have the Abi vote out on there (removing the goat) but Cirie did that with Courtney and created the 3-2-1 vote.

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