Survivor Winners at War: Breaking Down The Fire Token Economy

Fire Tokens are the newest Survivor twist, and I wanted to break down the usage of Fire Tokens. Fire Tokens have allowed players to purchase significant advantages for microtransactions, and also been the downfall for individual players. Sandra traded the idol, which guaranteed she would get voted out of the game for 2 of Denise’s fire tokens. Nick and Michelle turned on Yul once Yul started mentioning a way to vote Wendell off while keeping his fire tokens (obviously, the vote might have been because of a Michelle/Wendell pregame alliance, but I’m going off the edit we got). Wendell’s overall villain edit began once he began bartering the potential safety of Parvati for her fire tokens. Fire Tokens are an added element to the game that can get used skillfully, or disastrously, depending on the holder(s).

I wanted to break down how the fire tokens have been used in this game thus far. I’m going to analyze the fairness of the purchase for both the buyers and the game itself.

Advantage #1 Immunity Idol for a Fire Token

Buyer Fairness: 11/10

Game Fairness: 2/10

The first advantage found on the Edge was an immunity idol. Natalie was able to sell this idol to Sandra for 1 Fire Token. 1 Fire Token for something as powerful as an immunity idol seems wildly unfair, but CBS did it so that fans will understand the power of Edge and the Fire Tokens from the jump. Also, an early game idol is less deadly than a late-game idol, maybe?

Advantage #2 Ability to Leave Tribal Council for a Fire Token

Buyer Fairness: 10/10

Game Fairness: 3/10

Jeremy’s immunity advantage is a much more balanced advantage in comparison to a typical idol. The individual can only use the immunity power with the advantage, and the player does not get a vote at tribal. It’s a fair trade-off since leaving the tribal council should inherently put a target on your back for future tribal councils and the game as a whole. I think the advantage is worth more than one fire token, but it is far more fair than one fire token for an idol from a game perspective.

Advantage #3 Steal a Vote for a Fire Token

Buyer Fairness: 8/10

Game Fairness: 10/10

Forcing a player to threaten their safety by sneaking onto the other camp to gain the steal a vote advantage for a fire token is a fair use of EOE advantages. The player isn’t merely gifted an overpowered advantage like an immunity idol for one fire token straight up, but they are given a slight advantage for a small risk. Sarah Lacina will be pissed to find out that Jeremy and Sandra had to do nothing to gain their advantages besides spending a fire token, but in terms of fairness to the overall game of Survivor itself, this made the most sense. Natalie also smartly picked Sarah as the person who would take the risk for the steal a vote advantage as she used that advantage to perfection on Survivor Game Changers.

Advantage #4 Idol Nullifier for a Fire Token

Buyer Fairness: 10/10

Game Fairness: 9/10

I don’t mind selling an Idol Nullifier for 1 Fire Token because an Idol Nullifier is a very specific advantage that does not have a 100% hit rate. It is the type of advantage they should be selling for a fire token, similar to the steal a vote.

Advantage #5 The 50–50 coin for 4 Fire Tokens

Buyer Fairness: 5/10

Game Fairness: 9/10

Considering Jeremy got a similar version of an advantage for one fire token, Michelle must feel a bit ripped off to have to give up all 4 of her fire tokens for this reward. However, considering the game was down to only ten people (meaning only 6–8 more Tribals left), having the potential for 50/50 immunity at any point is huge.

Fire Token Purchases: 1 Fire Token for an EOE Return Challenge Advantage

Buyer Fairness: 10/10

Game Fairness: 8/10

The reason I mark it as game fairness of 8 out of 10 is that Parvati and Yul got penalized for appearing too late on the EOE itself. Not to mention, there was no extra added advantage for potentially paying 3–5 fire tokens (something, someone like Natalie could have done). For the buyers, we saw that Yul was ever so close to winning the EOE return challenge despite not having an advantage, so players like Tyson and Rob should be thankful for their advantage purchase.

Fire Token Purchases: 1 Fire Token for a Mason Jar of Peanut Butter

Buyer Fairness: 10/10

Game Fairness: 10/10

Peanut butter is delicious no matter the occasion. It is an excellent source of fuel, and considering the food situation on the EOE, it is a worthwhile purchase. You can’t convince me that Tyson wouldn’t have won the EOE challenge had his belly not be full of yummy peanut buttery goodness.

Conclusion: Fire Tokens for Advantages is overpowered and is a bit too much interference by production, but it’s a reasonable market/system in comparison to other Survivor twists.

25 years old. I blog about MTV's the Challenge and will dabble into other subjects occasionally. Follow me on Twitter for the occasional bad joke.