Dalton Ross has many times called throwing a challenge terrible by default. Most fans agree, but there is bound to be a time when it is okay. I do not think it has ever worked to great success, but it is possible.
Never Throw a Challenge when…
- There has not been a merge yet. This game is about numbers.
- You are in the minority or potential minority.
- The other tribe is full of allies and can hold their own without you.
Any challenge thrown should be after the tribe swap, and with so many happening lately I think there have been some good times for thrown challenges lately.
In One World Rodney and Mike threw a challenge. I think Mike made the good move, since it would most likely remove one of his major physical threats, Joe and Joaquin. Since it got rid of the best player at challenges there I think it somewhat worked. The problem is it made Rodney, a potential ally angry, but he would have gotten angry at something later anyway. On the plus side for the Blue Collars it very likely kept Kelly from getting voted off. If she was not around when Jenn pulled out her idol one of them would have been voted off.
San Juan Del Sur had an ideal set up. In tribe one it was Josh, Alec, Reed, and Wess vs. Jeremy, Natalie, and Julie. Josh’s alliance had a 4-3 edge, but on the other tribe his old allies were getting voted off. If they would have thrown one challenge then they would almost certainly have voted out Jeremy. They would go into the merge with Josh, Reed, Wess, Keith, Alec, and Dale against Natalie, Baylor, Missy, and Julie (6-4) with Jon and Jaclyn in the middle. Julie would still have quit giving them the majority. Not throwing a challenge was not taking advantage of an opportunity.
In Survivor Cagayan it would not have been good, as three tribes make this too unpredictable.
In Blood vs. Water I see value in throwing a challenge to vote out Aras, but they had unpredictability going for them, and they might as well not blow it in case he had an idol.
Caramoan had a major opportunity. The Cool Kids Alliance had the advantage 4-3. Potential allies were being voted off in the other tribe. It seems ideal to throw except Erik was really a wild card. I think it was the right move to wait, but I have never seen an alliance give up such an advantage like they did, except maybe in Samoa. I think if they would have thrown it Erik would have blindsided Malcolm sending him home with an immunity idol. That would have left it as Eddie, Reynold, Michael, and Julia vs. an alliance of 7, but the minority had the idol. Another possibility is Erik sticks with the alliance in these different circumstances and they vote out Andrea. That would make the merged tribes an alliance of 7 plus two idols vs. 5. Still it was poor performance later than undid all Malcolm and Reynold’s great planning. If there was an extra challenge they threw after Colton was eliminated it probably would have been 6-5 plus Troyzan’s idol, which would have been less secure then 6- an ununited group. Earlier If the Men did not give up immunity they would have gone with a 4-3 advantage in both tribes.
One World has a possibility. The alliance of Kim, Chelsea, Sabrina, and Kat could have done it to have their choice of Mike, Troyzan, or Jay out. Instead (thanks to Kim) they were able to align with them and keep their options open. They realized they were not aligned anymore with their former tribe mates and took advantage of it.
There are rare times when it is okay to throw a challenge, but they are rare. It is saver to win whenever possible.