Swaney Strategy Blog – Kaôh Rōng Pre-Finale Edition

In a “Season of Death”, medevacs of all shapes and sizes have reigned supreme. From lingering infections to heat stroke, medevacs have had a pronounced impact on how the game has played out. With Joe “meating” his unfortunate end in the game, the remaining four need to move quickly from emotional distress to the cold and calculated gameplay that is required to win. Yes, I did say “meating.”

Survivor: Caramoan lived up to few of its expectations: for the most part, actual “Fans”, actual “Favorites”, and a Hantz that stood a chance of being somewhat sane. But, if it fulfilled anything, it was the overarching John Cochran winner edit. Entering into the finale, we knew the game was his to lose, but the path from five to three was still unclear. Clarity would quickly be provided, as Erik Reichenbach would be pulled from the game almost immediately after the tribal council in which Brenda Lowe was voted out. With only one tribal council left, the writing was on the wall – Eddie, the odd man out, was the obvious target due to his ties on the jury and lack of blood on his hands. While I’m not going to say how things would have worked out with an extra tribal (if the medevac had not occurred), I do firmly believe that Cochran would have at least been considered as a potential target.

This season echoes Caramoan in that a medevac will expedite the final days of the game, leaving the remaining castaways scrambling to make a move that overly caters to jury management. The next question is, then, who is this season’s Cochran? Luckily, I don’t think anyone has received anything near his winner’s edit, nor controlled the game in the same way.

In Caramoan, the Erik medevac left Eddie as the obvious boot and created a clear “Eddie vs. Everyone else” situation. In Kaôh Rōng, Joe’s medevac resulted in the goat being removed from the equation, leaving four players that have worked together previously, forcing some alliance cannibalization. Now I pay particular attention to the events before the medevac in the previous episode, namely Aubry’s “Cydney has played a good game, let’s vote her out” confessional, and Michele/Tai realigning. Excluding an incredibly important immunity challenge, I think that either Cydney or Aubry is likely to be voted out – both can point to a strong game supplemented by subtle, yet jury-pleasing big moves.

However the final episode shakes down, one thing is clear – it would take a massive miracle for this season to fall to the negative reception to Caramoan. Kaôh Rōng has been an underhyped, yet fantastic season and either of the four remaining players should be deemed a good winner.


For the final state of the union address in Survivor: Kaôh Rōng, I’ve decided to discuss directly how each remaining castaway can get to the final tribal council with an actual shot of winning.

Aubry’s strength in this game has been the ability to create genuine connections with those she is working with. In pleading her case to the jury, Aubry needs to be able to point towards moves rather than relationships. The best way to enter the final tribal would be for Aubry to turn on Cydney, the next biggest threat. While she could lose Cydney’s jury vote, she wins far more by doing so.

Cydney’s strength in the game has been her ability to remain constant and play the game that she wants to play. While many of the jury members were voted out as a direct result of Cydney’s tenacity, she must continue to play the game that got her this far. Following this, I believe that Cydney must strive for an immunity win to prove her strength, but more importantly, she must target Aubry, who has been targeting her behind the scenes. Cydney will do better with the last laugh.

Michele’s game has been under the radar this entire season. With the end in sight, Michele needs to be able to point to one, big move as her own. There’s no better way for her to achieve this than to use Tai to get one of the other girls out. She can’t get them both out, but removing one from the equation, particularly Aubry, will free up the jury to see Michele as the subtle mastermind that she needs to prove she can be.

Tai has seen his fair share of ups and downs this season. While many view Tai as a massive jury threat, his inability to take a stance and keep it has slighted many of the jury members. There’s nothing that Tai can do about this now, so he needs to own his specific brand of gameplay. Nothing would set Tai up better than for him to champion an Aubry boot. If Tai can articulate his “wishy-washy-ness” as strategy, he could likely gain favor on the jury.

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If I had to guess, I’d say that this game is a girl’s to win. Debbie Wanner-stradamus would be proud. More specifically, I think that either Cydney or Aubry will win. If they are together, Aubry wins. If either can get the other out, then they will win. Selfishly, I’m hoping for Cydney, my preseason winner pick, to win the final immunity challenge and then vote out Aubry, so she can win and finally make me look like I know what I’m talking about.


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.

  • Skyler

    Hoping for a Cydney win as well!

  • Ryan

    Love the breakdown, and the analysis – I’m also rooting for a big Cydney win, with a move like booting Aubry at F4. Even going to the end next to Tai, she stands a big chance with that move, plus her prior in taking Nick out.

    I won’t be disappointed with an Aubry win, another notch in narrowing the gap between the male/female overall winners tally and also a great strategic/social force, who wasn’t too bad in challenges either!

  • Shawn Swaney

    Thanks to everyone who has read the Swaney Strategy Blog this season. Its been a pleasure for me to write; hope you have enjoyed. Keep an eye out for some off season articles and I hope to continue on with this for the next season and on!

  • Ben

    I had Cydney as my winner pick too and I’ve been a fan of hers since the start! Hope she wins it!!!

  • taya

    Hoping for a Cydney win too – have been so impressed by how she controlled so many votes. Good pick!