You can’t make it far in “Survivor” without a strong alliance. Since the first season of CBS’s reality TV show, alliances have been an important part of the game. Some have been glorious, others have imploded spectacularly. Here is our list of the Top 10 most successful alliances of all time. All had at least three members, all had iconic characters, all went the distance and all produced a winner. These 10 are simply the best.
10. Coconut Bandits + Monica
“Survivor: Blood vs. Water”
Tyson and Gervase were the “Coconut Bandits,” and their alliance with Monica gave all three the upper hand. In a season that saw castaways compete with loved ones, this trio was forged by all of theirs being voted out early. From the massive blindside of past winner Aras, these three controlled the game from the merge. Tyson also drew a rock to protect their numbers. They all made it to the end where Tyson took the win.
9. Todd, Amanda and Courtney
One of the great Survivor trios. Todd had the smarts, Amanda had the charm and Courtney had the humor. These three controlled most of the game and in a big move blindsided James with two idols in his pocket. They all made it to the end of the game and all received votes to win, with Todd ultimately proving victorious.
8. Ethan, Lex and Tom
It was the third season and these three guys made one of the strongest bonds in the show’s history. When the game saw its first ever tribe swap, Ethan threw a challenge for the first time in the series to save Lex and Tom. Because Kim won the final two immunity challenges, only Ethan was able to make it to the end — that’s where Lex and Tom returned the favor and voted him the winner.
7. ‘One World’ Women
“Survivor: One World”
The fear of an all women’s alliance often looms in “Survivor.” And in “Island of the Idols” it was noted that this perception could be grounded in sexism, as it rarely eventuates. But this was one of the two times when an all women alliance proved successful. It’s also the only time in the show’s history where the entire final five were from one gender. Those five were Alicia, Christina, Chelsea, Sabrina and winner Kim. They controlled the game and never really looked in danger. Although, they did have to cut Kat loose when she tried targeting Sabrina.
6. Foa Foa Four
It is a particularly precarious challenge when an alliance goes into the merge down in numbers. In Samoa, you had a merge which saw Foa Foa’s four members go up against an alliance twice their size. And through the social maneuvering of Natalie on the merge vote and the idol plays of Russell Hantz they were able to all make the final five, with only Brett’s immunity wins breaking them up. The alliance also included Jaison and Mick, with Natalie being the eventual winner.
5. The Family
“Survivor: South Pacific”
In the first episode of “South Pacific,” returning player Coach formed an alliance with Sophie, Albert, Brandon and Rick. Aside from immunity wins propelling Ozzy into the final four, these five went all the way. Coach was able to use prayer and faith to bond the group, which was mostly Christian. In the finale Coach’s breaking of trust caught up with him, and the strategic force of Sophie was able to win.
4. Stealth R Us
“Survivor: Redemption Island”
Boston Rob’s tribe entered the merge with numbers and then always stayed in control. This is arguably the most dominant alliance in the show’s history. Boston Rob employed a “buddy system” where members could not be alone when talking with people from the other alliance. He also created division by not allowing the other alliance to sleep in the nice part of the shelter. The alliance went all the way to the final five with Boston Rob, Phillip and Natalie being the final three. In his fourth time playing, Rob was able to finally win the game through the strength of this alliance, earning a place among the game’s greats. Other members of the alliance were Andrea, Ashley and Grant.
3. Original Tagi Alliance
Where it all began. The OG alliance. Richard, Rudy, Sue and Kelly. It was these four that figured out voting as an alliance was the best way to win the game. And these were the final four. It set the stage for how this game would be played, placing strategy at the show’s heart. Richard won and the rest is history.
2. The Black Widow Brigade
“Survivor: Micronesia – Fans vs. Favorites”
The most iconic alliance in Survivor history. Cirie, Amanda and Parvati formed bonds early on in the “Favorites” camp, with Alexa and Natalie doing the same with the “Fans.” When tribes merged they all came together and these five women spun the men in their webs. They blindsided an idol wielding Ozzy. They were forced to turn on each other in at the final six because Erik won immunity. But at the final five in one of the biggest moves in “Survivor” history they convinced Erik to give up his immunity necklace so they could vote him out of the game. Parvati and Amanda made it to the end, where Parvati won. The only reason this is not number one on the list is because they had to keep Amanda out of the loop to execute the Ozzy blindside.
1. Aitu Four
“Survivor: Cook Islands”
In Cook Islands a “mutiny” twist was introduced where any player could swap tribes. When Jonathan and Candice jumped ship, the Aitukai tribe had only four remaining members: Yul, Ozzy, Sundra and Becky. They were able to win all remaining immunity challenges that kept them intact. And despite going into the merge at a numbers disadvantage, Ozzy was able to dominate the immunity challenges and Yul was able to strategically strong arm the castaways. They were the final four and Yul beat Ozzy by one vote to take out the title of Sole Survivor. More than any other alliance this group was able to outwit, outplay and outlast to the very end.