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.