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Guest Post: Matt Gives His Strategic Thoughts On The First Team Challenge

Matt the Strategos has written another fabulous post on strategy for the team and elimination challenges. And no I am not paying him, in fact I made him vote for me in the Kidspot Top 50 Bloggers competition. Oh and if you like this blog please pop over and vote here.

Here is his guest post:

There’s two particular strategic issues arising from last night – first, what’s the best strategy for challenges, and second, having lost the challenge, what strategy can you use to survive elimination.

Last night’s team pick was done by the judges, so there was zero strategy involved in the picks. I like how the judges have mixed that up a little – keeps the contestants on their toes, and at this point in the competition an “every second person step forward” pick is probably better strategy for the contestants than doing it themselves with incomplete knowledge of other contestants.

I also liked how the contestants had read my rules and knew that Rule Seven, Cut the Red Wire, meant that you are automatically advantaged being on Red, because Blue is cursed. I was more impressed with the fact that they knew this even thought the episode was filmed before I wrote Rule Seven.

It was a fairly simple “follow the recipe” challenge, so there’s only two of my Masterchef rules which need following. First is Rule One – Be Able to Cook. Or, actually read the recipe, and don’t assume that your leftover dough is “pre-fermented”. I was a little annoyed that the Blue team got a helping hand from Sonoma. I know Sonoma has quality to maintain (and it is, for those not in Sydney, awesome bread), but it was unfair. That said, having established that Sonoma was going to help you, I would have used that to my advantage. Ask about pre-fermented dough. Ask how to roll a ciabatta.

Rule Four, Remember Philip, should have come into play when delivering the bread. It’s not, as every contestant seemed to think “all going to come down to taste”. If you think Sonoma simply drops off a pallet by the door every day you’re kidding yourself. This is face-time with your customer, so, as Phillip would have done last season, SELL your bread. Tell them how good it is, how many olives are in it, “never mind the quality feel the width”, whatever works. It’s certainly not going to hurt your case, and it may just tip you over the line.

I certainly wouldn’t have had scruffy Mat with his piercings delivering bread. I would have had Peter, the car salesman, or one of the hot girls. Or even my favourite TV cougar Rachel, although with her, there might have been a danger she would have got a bit too huggy and nipped off into the pantry to snog Armando.

Small awesomeness note: great to see my favourite eatery Bodega in Masterchef. If you’re in Surry Hills, Sydney, make sure you go there for lunch, and sit at the bar in front of the kitchen, not a table.

The good thing about last night is we’ve got the first elimination, and the first real strategy of the season. Sun rose in my estimation when she said it would be great to go to lunch and get a private masterclass, “but what I really want is to be safe”. Because Rule Two states Winning Isn’t Everything – it’s not about the winning, it’s the not losing.

Tonight will see the losing team pick the two people up for elimination. It’s a touch unfair, but great TV. So what’s the best strategy? It isn’t what Marion did last year, and offer yourself up for elimination (burning her immunity in the process). Nor is it to do what Jake did, and meekly wander off lemming-like downstairs to your doom without putting up a fight.

For everyone except ciabatta-folding Kumar, team leader Peter or immunity-holding Hayden, the best strategy is to suggest a secret ballot. Because there are two obvious candidates, you’re almost certain it’s not going to be you.

But the real obvious candidate should be Hayden. As I argued yesterday, immunity means that Hayden – statistically – is all-but guaranteed a Final 12 spot. This is likely to be the only chance contestants will have to force him to give up his immunity by voting for him. It’s an awesome strategic move, if anyone thinks of it. Of course, having thought of it, the trick is then to pull a WWERD (or, What Would Evil Russell Do) and blindside Hayden. Difficult, but not impossible, to do when you’re all sitting round a table together.

If you’re Kumar (who it seems is considering pulling a Marion and offering himself up), or Peter, your best strategy is to argue it out, and hope there is someone else who’ll be your bunny.

Peter was very clever and framed his role as “traffic management” before the votes were read out. Clever because if the team wins, he appears humble. If you lose, well, “it all came down to taste”, and traffic management had nothing to do with that.

 


16 comments

1 Briar { 05.12.11 at 1:16 pm }

“Peter” also cunningly disguised himself as Tom. Strategic win, that.

2 Paul { 05.12.11 at 1:27 pm }

Matt,
Usually in these situations there are about 6 candidates offering themselves up. Surely then, if you feel you are one of the six then its in your best interests not to vote for Hayden as you want a 50/50 chance in the cook-off ?

3 sourkraut { 05.12.11 at 1:56 pm }

Paul
I am of the Raver view. Vote for Hayden and hope he uses up the moo.nitty pin. Even if he doesn’t, I still have not seen anything yet from either he or the other candidates that would indicate he would be a certainty to survive a crock sorry cook-off, and he surely would not defeat Kumar if the ingredient for the cook off is chosen in such a way as to not favour any certain candidate

4 auds { 05.12.11 at 2:01 pm }

I think it will depend on whether they do a secret ballot or do it out in the open . This will make a huge difference to who gets picked.

If its a secret ballot I think Dicky Knee is in trouble.

Otherwise it will be Kumar and Tom

5 sourkraut { 05.12.11 at 2:05 pm }

Rule 2
In a 2 horse race DUH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! talk about a masters degree in the bleeding obvious.
Rule 4
B.S. I hate having some young smartarse in a shop or bank trying to sell me something with their insincere en-blatherments. Maybe the old brown paper bag would be more appropriate

6 Pollywaffle { 05.12.11 at 2:06 pm }

Yep Masterchef execs failed the Psych 101 ‘bread deliverer effect’ – in 1965 it was documented that 30 Standford Uni Graduates were found to vote against the red team’s bread when they noted members of that team avoid regular showers.
If they didnt know which bread was whose would the results would still stand?

7 davsimp { 05.12.11 at 2:10 pm }

So the cook off tonight is between two of them. My understanding of the immunity pin, and please correct me if I am wrong, is that you cannot use it if you are up against just one other person. For example, if it comes down to Hayden and some other peanut, then he cant do the cook off, lose, then say, here is my pin I am not going home. I thought the pin had to be handed in BEFORE the challenge begins, which will automatically mean his opponent goes home.

8 Matt { 05.12.11 at 2:26 pm }

Davsimp – I suspect that if Hayden is one of the two, he plays immunity and they say “who was your next choice”. Because otherwise it’s a boring half hour of TV.
There’s no way they’d make him compete in an elimination even if he’s got immunity. otherwise, it’s not immunity.
And Briar – you’re right, Tom, cunningly disguised as Peter. Hey, I watched this at 6am while feeding a toddler.
Sourkraut – Rule 2 applies BEFORE you get in the two for elimination. Obviously you want to be enough of a bully/silvertongue/luckbox that someone else is in that two.

9 EH { 05.12.11 at 4:02 pm }

If Kumar is eliminated tonight, the season is going from bad to worse.

10 Shelsta78 { 05.12.11 at 4:16 pm }

I’m guessing it will be Kumar & Tom

Matt – has any team used the secret ballot in previous two seasons when faced with the same situation – I can’t remember?

11 Sourkraut { 05.12.11 at 7:02 pm }

On another note.. how did they pick the two captains????
Anyhoo, if Kumar loses tonight i think i’ll hang up my pen…is mightier than the sword

12 davsimp { 05.12.11 at 7:10 pm }

Sourkrout, George just chose them himself, the same as he divided the contestants in half. And I am with you re Kumar, if he goes then I am switching off. I am hoping to see his inner tiger tonight. If someone suggest he go up I want a Kumar tantie, and I want a big one!!

13 AnonyMousse { 05.12.11 at 8:04 pm }

Posting early just to say what a trainwreck of an elimination this one is tonight. Thought they would have learned their lesson with the painful Adam/Aaron version of this – and they were doing normal, mainstream dishes back then!

14 Shelsta78 { 05.12.11 at 8:11 pm }

What a shock no secret ballot

Also no WWERD

FAIL

15 thedude { 05.12.11 at 9:18 pm }

The only reason I’m watching is because of Kumar so hear’s hoping he’s a stayer. Wonder I’d ten realises charm potential in their contestants since the show is pre-taped. Everyone else seems a bit ho hum.

16 littlepetal { 05.12.11 at 9:21 pm }

Where is RR? We want to post on her recap.