Survivor Island of the Idols: Should the Vote Blocker advantage return?

Photo: Screen Grab/CBS Entertainment ©2019 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Photo: Screen Grab/CBS Entertainment ©2019 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved. /

Survivor: Island of the Idols is the first time we saw this iteration of a Block a Vote advantage. Is it deserving of being used in another season?

Before the tumultuous merge episode, Survivor: Island of the Idols was shaping up to be a solid season. The pre-merge was full of exciting personalities and thrilling Tribal Councils. One of those fun Tribals included Elaine dramatically playing her Block a Vote advantage. This reformatted advantage took the Vokai tribe by storm and proved to be an interesting new addition to the Survivor toolbox.

Technically this isn’t exactly a completely new advantage. Back in Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers Jessica Johnston discovered a Vote Blocker after her tribe won reward. The big difference was that it had to be used during that upcoming Tribal Council regardless of who went. Even though Jessica’s tribe won, she still had to use her advantage by deciding which castaway’s vote she wanted to block from the other tribe.

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Besides the version in Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers, there was another iteration dubbed the Vote Nullifier in Survivor SA: Island of Secrets. The South African version was essentially the same as the one in Island of the Idols. When you really think about it, the Vote Blocker is half of the Vote Steal advantage, as they both prevent someone from voting.

What’s great about this advantage is that it requires a little more skill to play. It isn’t as powerful as a Vote Steal, which makes it a little fairer as opposed to a two-vote swing. On the other, an Extra Vote advantage has the tendency of making less of an impact because it doesn’t force confrontations. So you can see how a Vote Blocker is a perfect balance between power and creating drama. Playing something before the votes are cast is bound to create chaos.

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Ever since Worlds Apart ten seasons ago, Extra Vote and Vote Steal advantages have been commonplace in Survivor. It’s sort of surprising that it has taken production this long to throw in a Vote Blocker! Hopefully the awesome way Elaine played it will convince the producers the need to see more of the Block a Vote advantage in the future.