‘Survivor 44’ Tika power rankings: Yam Yam Arocho leads a small tribe away from chaos

After three episodes of “Survivor 44,” 14 castaways remain standing in the 26-day adventure to claim the million dollar prize and the title of “Sole Survivor.” By now, all three of the original tribes (Ratu in orange, Soka in green, and Tika in purple) have gone to Tribal Council once, leaving us with a good impression of who is aligned with who and in whose pockets the idols and power rest.

At Tika, Yamil “Yam Yam” Arocho is firmly planted at the top of a tribe desperately trying to hang on to their numbers. Can Yam Yam keep the small tribe in tact to go into the merge without a numbers disadvantage? Let’s take a look at how the tribe stacks up in our first power rankings of the season. Also check out the rankings for the Ratu tribe and Soka tribe.

SEE ‘Survivor’ winners list: All seasons

1. Yamil “Yam Yam” Arocho

Tika had the roughest start to the game, losing their patriarch and brute strength in challenges with the medevac of Bruce Perreault on night 1 and going to Tribal Council just four days later where they sent Helen Li home. Despite the chaos of being two down so early, Yam Yam was able to build on a personal connection to Carolyn, saving her from elimination and bringing Carson in to form a majority of three. If Tika returns to TC in the next few weeks, Yam Yam and Carolyn are likely to stick together, but losing another player would put Tika at a severe disadvantage going into a merge. How a lack of numbers plays out for the remaining Tika players is a guess, but Yam Yam and Carolyn could very well be the best equipped to socially navigate the game from that position.

2. Carolyn Wiger

Aside from her connection to Yam Yam, Carolyn wields a lot of power because of the Birdcage Idol she has that no one even suspects is in her possession. As far as we know she has not told Yam Yam about it, giving Carolyn the opportunity to use it as a trust-building tool with someone from another tribe at the merge. She’ll need to be careful about how and when Yam Yam finds out about it because she doesn’t want to lose his trust, but based on how well the two seem to get along that probably won’t be a problem. If Carolyn gets to the merge, and we suspect she will, she probably won’t be an early target in the same way that the large personality winners Mike Gabler and Maryanne Oketch weren’t. Perhaps she should be?!

3. Carson Garrett

In the Helen vote, Carson was positioned in the swing position, but because of Sarah’s lost vote he had to go in the direction that Yam Yam and Carolyn were going. That placed them in the power position and left him one step behind as a pawn in their move. The pawn position is likely to be a short-lived one for Carson, if he makes it to merge. Already he’s shown to be a thoughtful strategist, having prepared at home for many of the challenges and being keenly aware of what personal information to keep secret. While he could be dangerous in the wider web of a larger tribe, he is also the type of player that could very easily tip the scale into overplaying. He’ll need to be watchful of his moves for that reason.

4. Sarah Wade

As it stands, Sarah is holding on to the hope that Tika avoids returning to Tribal Council altogether. Though she has the power of the new Inheritance Advantage, it would be useless at a Tribal Council where no one else feels threatened enough to play anything. It would be great to see how the new advantage plays out on a larger tribe so we’re crossing our fingers that Tika can continue to compete at a high level in the next few challenges.

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