“I feel really confident that I’ve been doing an awesome job being the rock of this tribe. Not to tout my own horn but I’m able to catch fish, I’m able to provide a constant source of great protein, if I didn’t bring food in my name would come up a lot more than it does” – Ozzy in Episode 3, “The Tables Have Turned”.
It’s his fourth time playing and it’s his fifth time being voted out. Ozzy Lusth is actually a very decent Survivor player but this was by far his worst outing in all regards and for a man of his caliber to only survive three of the tribal councils he went to, that’s just simply not good enough. Let’s jump right into a discussion of why Ozzy was voted out of Survivor Game Changers.
Not Playing Enough of the Social Game
“If I win I can go fishing today and if not, we’re going to be hungry another day”. Those were the words of Ozzy Lusth 35 minutes before losing the immunity challenge to Tai Trang. Unfortunately that kind of thought was the trend of Ozzy’s entire game in Survivor Game Changers. He got caught up in some strange precept that if he just helped everyone get some food to eat, that he would forever be safe. Some would call that an “Old-School” style of game-play, but I’d argue that’s never been the way Survivor has worked, not even when Ozzy played his first time in Cook Islands. Instead of constantly being in the water and trying to provide, the Californian should have been working harder to build and grow the bonds with the people he was on that island with! Fishing and cooking alone was never going to get him where he needed to go.
Over at Tavua, it seemed like Ozzy was just fishing all day! He said at one point, “If I didn’t bring food in my name would come up a lot more than it does”. That shows that even Ozzy was aware that he hadn’t made enough social bonds to keep himself afloat and was simply just relying on the notion of being the provider. It was great in helping Tavua win challenges and helping them avoid tribal council, but once they went over to Nuku his name instantly started to get thrown around as someone who could go home! Instead of fishing all day, Ozzy should have been working harder to build those bonds. For example, he could have been working harder to try and improve his relationship with Sarah so that she didn’t feel the need to work with Troyzan and then instantly want the four-timer out once they swapped to Nuku.
So his social game was bad, but what about his strategic game?
Not Playing Enough of the Strategic Game
It’s been well documented that Ozzy’s social game isn’t all that great but his strategic ability has never been all that bad. In Cook Islands he threw a challenge to get rid of someone he saw as a liability for his game before teaming up with Yul and taking it to the end, in Micronesia he made a fake immunity idol and positioned himself well enough that he again had solid alliance members in the form of Parvati, Amanada and James. Finally in South Pacific he voted himself out to go to Redemption Island and make the tribes even again while also having solid alliances all throughout the game. On this go-around, it was almost like Ozzy didn’t try to strategize! He maybe had Zeke and Andrea on his side, but I think they would been more than willing to take him out if they had to.
This is actually probably the least strategic incarnation we have seen of Ozzy on the show. His edit this season solely revolved around his desire to get Cirie for little strategic merit before taking a turn to being one only about how he was catching fish and doing well in challenges. Unfortunately, that’s just not what this game is all about. For me, Ozzy was just far too laid back this season and got caught up in some strange doctrine that Survivor has never been about. In the process of this, he forgot what is required to make it to the end of the game. This wasn’t the Ozzy that was making fake immunity idols nor was it the Ozzy that would have been bold enough to vote himself out and go to Redemption Island. This was an Ozzy who more or less seemed to be doing his own thing and not really taking the time to think about what needed to be done to get himself to the end of the game.
I also think that the first time he went to tribal council, he made a poor decision in not trying to keep Sandra around. It’s hard to always have foresight in the game but surely he and the rest of that Nuku group should have been able to recognize that Debbie and Tai were likely going to flip back to Brad’s side. Sandra on the other hand had a real lack of options and was just desperate to work with Ozzy and his group. She could have been essential in pulling in Michaela (which they managed to do in the end anyway), but would have always been a bigger threat than the four-time player and could have been critical in helping aid Ozzy’s strategic game.
Maybe they didn’t anticipate that a war with Brad’s alliance was coming and thought that at the merge everyone would be one big happy family again. But still, keeping Sandra in the game could have been absolutely massive for his long-term game.
Pre-Season Thoughts & Prediction
Shot In The Dark Prediction: 8th place.
Thoughts: I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, Ozzy Lusth is far too arrogant to ever win Survivor. I can’t understand why he deserves a fourth shot at the game when people like Natalie B and Natalie A, who have only played once and are amazing strategists and are amazing TV have been cut from the list. Judging from what I’ve seen, nobody even seems to be particularly happy about his return – that is among the online community. The casual fans will probably freak when they hear his name come out as being a cast member in eight months time. But the casual fan base only makes up a small percentage of people who watch this show. So why does CBS keep bringing him back? Cause they want him to win, which is ridiculous because no matter how many times he plays, he will never win. I really hope this is the last time he plays.
I was pretty harsh on Ozzy back in June. It wasn’t as though I said anything particularly mean-spirited or out of the ordinary as this all falls in line with the general online community consensus of his game, but what I didn’t do was highlight the positives of his game in this pre-season cast assessment. Ozzy definitely had the potential to win this season but it just required him to do one simple thing, play the social game! He didn’t do enough of that and so he was taken out.
Ozzy is obviously egotistical and in his previous seasons often lacked in the social department, but he still came so desperately close to winning the game on two occasions that you can’t discount his efforts. He did in fact have a much improved social game in Survivor South Pacific and due to the sheer amount of times that he’s played this game now he must have figured out one or two tricks to use to his advantage this time around.
Beyond that, he’s coming into this game now without being perceived as too much of a threat while also coming in with a reputation as being a loyal, stand-up guy who people are probably going to want to work with. Should people underestimate Ozzy he will easily go far, especially with his ability in challenges. The hardest part for him will be similar to Joe Anglim in Survivor Cambodia, where if he loses a challenge, how is he going to survive? If he can make enough friends and win over enough allies in the beginning that might not actually be too much of an issue. Ozzy might be a long-shot to win Survivor 34 but you can’t possibly count him out.
My read on Ozzy’s game pre-season was absolutely correct from what I wrote here. He lost one challenge and the question became about ‘how is he going to survive?’. If he had made enough social relationships before the merge, he might have been able to stay safe but he didn’t and so it was easy for Debbie to rally people together to take him out!
Conclusion & An Ozzy Sendoff
This is Ozzy’s fourth time now and as much as I don’t want to see him again, I think it is inevitable that he will return for some kind of future season. Whether it’s Survivor Legends, All Star Brains vs. Brawn vs. Beauty or Challenge Beasts vs. Silky Strategists, I think Ozzy’s return to Survivor is unavoidable. I hope that some of the game’s greatest legends will come back for a second or third time before Ozzy is given his fifth chance to play but even that might be a long-shot. In terms of Ozzy’s game this season on the whole, he was fine and he didn’t do anything for me to say that I wouldn’t want to see him back on my television screen, but he also didn’t do anything for me to say that I needed to see him back on Survivor again. I like Ozzy and appreciate what he brings to the show but I don’t feel as though he brought enough to Survivor Game Changers and I don’t feel like he left it all out on that island. This wasn’t a version of Ozzy that would have been willing to vote himself out and go to Redemption Island, this was just a laid back, roll with the punches kind of Ozzy who didn’t really care all that much about what was going on. That is probably a large reason why he was voted out in 12th place, his lowest finish of his entire Survivor career.