Swaney Strategy Blog – Kaôh Rōng Episode 8

After a short hiatus, the Swaney Strategy Blog is back! With a larger amount of time to catch up on, we have the liberty to view the merge phase of the game from afar and see how this quarter of the game has impacted the season on the whole.

I’ll open this week’s blog with a quick game of winners and losers:

Winner – The Oregon Trail

Seriously, how can you not love a dysentery reference? Aubry is quickly becoming one of the best narrators we’ve had in a long time.

Loser then Winner – Dr. Peter Baggenstos and Liz Markham

Your first reaction is likely to be outrage at this one until you think it through. Both Liz and Peter were harboring severe infections in the game that eventually required evacuation and surgery after they were voted out. If I were a betting man, I would guess that Dr. Rupert’s trip to the beach was partially prompted by a second person getting evacuated due to infections. So, in a way, Liz and Peter got the last laugh, aiding in Neal’s eventual evacuation.

Winner – Tai’s pet chicken, Mark

Seriously, if they don’t start targeting this chicken, it will outlast just about every contestant out in Kaôh Rōng.

Winner then Loser – Nick Maiorano

Not since Tyson’s first season have we seen a fall from grace, in my opinion, that has shown a contestant at such opposites of the totem pole. Nick’s strength and hubris, while initially a great tool for him after the swap and merge, quickly became his downfall.

Loser – Neal Gottlieb

No amount of organic ice cream could have saved Neal from being on the losing end of a battle with Mount Saint Neal. We rarely (in comparison) got to hear from Neal during his medevac episode, leaving a very sour taste in my mouth as to what kind of game Neal could have played had he stayed.

First, let’s remind us that Kaôh Rōng was filmed and concluded before the Second Chancers had even been voted onto the cast, departed for Cambodia, or Jeremy was crowned the winner.

Pun definitely intended here, but Nick had it pretty: he was on the Beauty tribe which hadn’t lost an immunity challenge, had yet to see a tribal council until the merge, won the first individual immunity challenge, and was in an excellent position in the majority alliance.

So, I was incredibly surprised that it was a very “voting bloc” move and not an idol or new alliance that was responsible for Nick’s ousting. After stumbling ass backward into the concept of a voting bloc, the real question left for the rest of Survivor: Kaôh Rōng is “will this idea become the trend or is this just a temporary arrangement?”


Cydney Gillon on Survivor: Kaôh Rōng.

Without having Second Chance to base off of, last week’s move has massive consequences, either positive or negative, for Cydney.

The positive:

If Cydney can run enough damage control, she can regain the trust of Scot and Jason, while gaining the Brains tribe and Beauty girls as potential long-term allies. Larger targets remain, so it is unlikely that she will be on the chopping block anytime soon. If she makes it as far, she can use this move as a building block for a final tribal council strategy.

The negative:

To be frank, Kaôh Rōng might not be ready for a voting bloc mentality to play a part in their decision-making. Cydney has just made a massive move and turned on her alliance to vote out Nick. Scot was not receptive to Aubry’s cross out vote and wishy-washy loyalty, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see Scot go and target Cydney in retaliation.

Cydney’s fate in the game indicates how the rest of Kaôh Rōng is going to play out. This season has promised big moves and drama, which doesn’t happen if the Brains and Beauty rejoin and Pagong the Brains. I believe that chaos is afoot, and we are in store for an episode that is equally as chaotic as the one we just saw.

Debbie – She was quick to vote out her wannabe snuggle buddy, Nick. Honestly, Debbie’s approach to being in the minority was incredibly effective and played out very well for her. Her next big move has to be making sure that the majority that voted out Nick was not a temporary group.

Aubry- After being labeled as the next to go, Aubry’s calm presence under fire paid off. The target, however, will not likely go away anytime soon. Aubry must remain on the offensive.

Julia – While she has been under the radar, I love how Julia is playing so far. Her willingness to flip to the majority and lay low will prove useful for her down the line as bigger people are targeted. Julia should be alright with keeping the status quo.

Michele – Michele seemed to be the person that ultimately decided that Nick was the right move. She can point towards this in terms of her making a move, but remain under the radar. Continuing to make moves like this is a nice way to build a FTC resume

Tai – Tai’s position in the game has never truly been in jeopardy. After the merge, he has larger targets like Jason, Scot, and Aubry in front of him. The only thing that could prove harmful for Tai is the knowledge of his idol in the wrong hands.

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Scot – Scot is the most apparent target if the minority can take over. After not being receptive to Aubry’s crossed out vote, Scot seems like he could be a “fool me once” type person. Scot needs to be overly welcoming to Cydney and play more damage control than be on the offensive.

Cydney – While in a decent position, Cydney chose to break the status quo and spearhead the charge against her alliance. After slighting those closest to her, Cydney must simultaneously own her move while being in damage control mode. With those as mentioned above being a tough task, she might want to entertain the idea of sticking with the Brains.

Jason – The bully got one pulled over on him. Jason needs to have a short memory and be all right with lying low for a bit while the dust settles.

(Intentionally leaving out Joe because is he still playing?)


Shawn is 24 years old and lives in Virginia. After catching the first season by accident, Survivor has become his passion. A graduate of Washington and Lee University, Shawn has worked in many different jobs, including college volleyball coach, bakery assistant, organic farmer, bartender, and non-profit assistant. Above all, he is eagerly waiting for the day he can play the game he has loved since he was 8 years old.