On the surface, he appeared to be playing on the wrong battlefield, but in reality, the Wardog was the brains behind the operation in Survivor: Edge of Extinction.
Coming into Survivor: Edge of Extinction, Wardog was labeled as the Tony Vlachos and Joe Mena clone. Although he does look the part, and sometimes acts the part, he clearly distinguished himself with his unique skill set. In fact, Wardog proved to be a strategic mastermind, leaving his mark on this season. Here are a few ways he did so.
Formed one of the strongest alliances
Unfortunately, there weren’t nearly as many creatively named alliances in Edge of Extinction as there were in David vs. Goliath. That said, the Lesu 3 became a dominant trio, which is a rare dynamic to see in Survivor.
They voted together for nine straight Tribal Councils, which is a feat only three other trios have accomplished. More than simply voting with an alliance, Wardog was well aware of the game around him. Not including his elimination, Wardog voted correctly eight times, landing on the wrong side of the votes only twice!
Has the ability to influence votes indirectly
Early on, Wardog made it seem like he wasn’t thinking about the game, as he made it clear that he didn’t want to talk too much strategy. However, that persona lessened as the game went on. A few castaways that played with him into the merge mentioned how much strategizing Wardog actually took part in.
A perfect example is the Eric vote. The Kama crew made it clear that they were in control as they succeeded in making the Lesu members vote for each other at the previous Tribal Council. With confidence brewing in Julia, Wardog found the perfect opportunity to get into her head. He pointed out Eric and Ron’s plans to eventually turn on the young Kama crew.
After thinking it over, Julia, Victoria, and Gavin decided to blindside Eric, fracturing Kama in the process. Victoria mentioned on RHAP that if Wardog didn’t discuss the idea of blindsiding Eric, it probably wouldn’t have happened. It was a masterful way of influencing a vote without having to do the dirty work. Wardog had a similar effect on the vote when Chris first got blindsided on Day 8.
Took out the final returnee in epic fashion
As great as the Wardog was at planting an idea in someone’s head, he also acted on his own bold ideas. When he felt like he could pull it off, Wardog rallied his troops together and blindsided one of his closest allies in Kelley Wentworth. He realized the danger she poses, especially if she can get her hands on an idol.
Not many castaways can execute this precise, secretive blindside without a savvy veteran like Wentworth getting wind of it. Wardog was able to do so, vastly changing the landscape of this game. Who knows what Kelley and Lauren could have accomplished if Wentworth didn’t get the boot at that Tribal?
Unfortunately, that big move raised red flags in the minds of the remaining players, which led to Wardog’s demise. Despite finishing in ninth place, Wardog exhibited a brilliant strategic mind with the guts to pull off the big move.