Survivor milestone: Alliances were born on this day 19 years ago

Still from Survivor: Borneo (2000). Image via CBS.
Still from Survivor: Borneo (2000). Image via CBS. /

On June 21, 19 years ago, viewers saw the first Survivor alliance graze our tube television screens, changing this game forever.

In modern seasons of Survivor, alliances, voting blocs, trust clusters and more are a common part of this game. Allegiances are all over the place and tribal lines a regularly blurred. It’s hard to imagine Survivor without these attributes, but that’s almost what happened in Borneo.

The original castaways had the mindset that it was too cruel to deliberately get a group together to vote for someone. However, that didn’t stop Richard Hatch, Kelly Wiglesworth, Sue Hawk, and Rudy Boesch from forming the infamous Tagi 4 alliance.

19 years from today, in an entertaining confessional, Hatch said he was planning something sneaky by forming alliances to get further in the game. Kelly and Sue were fully on board with the idea, and at least at that point, they implicitly trusted in the alliance.

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Rudy needed a little more convincing, but he eventually agreed to join the alliance, forming the Tagi 4. They claimed their first victim during the next episode and continued their dominance by having the entire alliance make the Final Four.

The game of Survivor has evolved tremendously since Borneo, but we still see the influence the Tagi 4 has on the game. The value of having a core group of players you can trust and know where they’re voting is still essential, even in this era. Players like Tom Westman, Boston Rob, Tyson Apostol, and Jeremy Collins have all learned from this strategy and adapted it into strong winning games.

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It also showed future players the danger of letting a tight group make it through the merge unscathed. The control a group like that generates can be insurmountable as the number of remaining castaways dwindle. We even saw some glimpses of this power in Edge of Extinction with the Lesu 3, until they went at each other’s throats. In this crazy era of everyone wanting to make big moves, we might never see a dominant group like the Tagi 4 again!