The tribe was composed of ten previous contestants of Survivor who played valiantly or honestly, or to a degree earning them a "heroic" connotation. The tribe, although physically much stronger on paper, struggled with several injuries, lack of teamwork, and their inability to solve puzzles. Although they merged evenly, the use of Hidden Immunity Idols by the Villains and them not listening to Villain defector Sandra Diaz-Twine destroyed their chance of success. Their tribe color was blue.
Early ConfidenceThe Heroes tribe was initially seen as the physically stronger tribe, compared to the more strategic Villains tribe. Of its ten members, all male members were physically able, in contrast to the older, slower male members of the Villains. The team's females were also more athletic, in comparison to their counterparts. As seen in the first Reward Challenge, the Heroes proved to be a powerhouse, winning the first challenge of the season, but not before leaving the challenge area with injuries and other mishaps, such as Stephenie LaGrossa's shoulder dislocation, Rupert Boneham's fractured toe, and Sugar Kiper's topless finish. Additionally, Colby Donaldson, who historically became one of the show's strongest male contestants, was questioned because of his poor performance, being shamefully defeated by Coach Wade.
In true heroic fashion, the Heroes immediately worked once they arrived at camp, creating a sturdy shelter within hours. Despite this, egos shortly emerged, when Rupert tried to create fire using their flint, only to use up most of its magnesium, while the rest of the males created rules on consuming the tribe's enormous plantain/banana supply. Unknown to many, J.T. Thomas started to work on strategy by making conflicting alliances with James Clement and Tom Westman.
At the Day 3 Immunity Challenge, the Heroes gained a healthy lead but faltered at the puzzle-solving segment. This gave the Villains ample time to catch up, and eventually win the challenge. At their first Tribal Council, Sugar was unanimously voted out for her weak physique and emotional breakdown at the challenge.
Puzzle-solving would become more problematic for the Heroes. At the Day 6 Reward/Immunity Challenge, the tribe collected the giant puzzle cubes first, but James and Stephenie bickered on the puzzle-solving part, unwittingly giving the Villains their second consecutive win. After the loss, James stormed at camp because of communication improprieties, mostly blaming Stephenie for the loss. As Tribal Council loomed, it became apparent that the tribe was torn between three alliances, the alliance of Amanda Kimmel, James, J.T., and Rupert, the alliance of Colby, Stephenie, and Tom, with both groups vying for Candice Woodcock and Cirie Fields' support. After a fiery Tribal Council, Candice and Cirie joined Amanda, James, J.T., and Rupert, sending Stephenie home. After the vote, James apologized for his brutish demeanor, stating that he just wanted the tribe to start winning. After having a bonding moment by catching their escaped chickens, the Heroes' morale was boosted, destroying the Villains in an 8-0 blowout win at the Day 8 Reward/Immunity Challenge, which required pure brawn. Despite this, James was still mean-spirited as ever, hurling his padded bag at Randy Bailey as he plummeted into the mud. This stirred controversy between the two warring tribes.
The Heroes' lack of cohesion caused dissension within the tribe. After learning of the existence of a Hidden Immunity Idol, the tribe scrambled to find it. Ultimately, Tom succeeded, knowing that his possession of the idol might save him and Colby from the majority alliance. With Tom having the idol, the majority agreed to split their votes between Colby and Tom to effectively eliminate one of them and waste whatever advantage the idol could provide.
The tribe's disunity reflected on subsequent challenges, losing at the next two. At their third Tribal Council, on Day 11, even host Jeff Probst castigated the tribe for honoring alliances despite their losing streak. In the end, Tom used his Hidden Immunity Idol, and much to the tribe's surprise, J.T. switched his vote to Cirie (whom Colby and Tom voted, and J.T.'s biggest threat), sending her home. At the Day 13 Reward Challenge, James was badly injured during the infamous Schmergen Brawl Reward Challenge, leaving him with a bad knee. James' injury proved disastrous for the Heroes, losing the next Immunity Challenge that required communication skills and puzzle building. Unfortunately for Tom, his usage of the idol just delayed the inevitable, with him going home next. Isolated from the dominant alliance, Colby was left alone, with little hope, while his challenge performances were not getting any better.
During the Double Tribal Council twist on Day 15, the tribes competed for individual immunity, with Candice being successful. She was pitted against the winner from the Villains, who happened to become the most physically able among them, Rob Mariano, for a feast to be enjoyed at the rival tribe's Tribal Council. She lost by a small amount of time. With their roster about to go down to five, the majority alliance realized that James' injury and rash behavior were too obvious to ignore, and he was unanimously voted out. This somewhat brought an end to the old dominant alliance, instead bringing the focus back to fighting from their 8-5 numbers disadvantage to maybe even the score come the merge.
Knowing that he had to prove that keeping him was not a mistake, Colby led the tribe to a blowout win at the next Reward Challenge, winning them a feast. During the reward, the Heroes discovered a clue to another Hidden Immunity Idol hidden at their camp. Not wanting to ruin momentum, all five members agreed to find it together so they could use it against the Villains after the merge. The Heroes then went on to win the next Immunity Challenge, which ironically had a puzzle component, much to their delight.
While the Heroes continued to win more challenges, J.T. returned to his devious antics, looking for the Hidden Immunity Idol for his own self-interest (in which he was successful). However, Amanda caught him, which forced J.T. to reveal his possession of the idol to the tribe. This gesture irked Amanda and Candice, with both agreeing that the Alabaman was not trustworthy. Despite this, the Heroes won five of the next six challenges.
Helping the Enemy
From this point forward, the five Heroes had noticed that their rival tribe's male members continue to dwindle (Russell Hantz was the only male Villain left), while all five females remained. The Heroes had assumed that the tribe was controlled by an all-female alliance, led by Parvati Shallow (the same strategy which won her Survivor: Micronesia). J.T. even signaled Russell that the Heroes were ready to help him if he needed to (unknown to them, the Villains' majority alliance was actually Parvati, Russell, Danielle DiLorenzo, and Jerri Manthey).
J.T. concocted a bold move that could "save" Russell. He planned to give Russell their tribe's Hidden Immunity Idol at the next Immunity Challenge in order to protect him from the next vote and gain his loyalty post-merger, hoping he would use it to eliminate Parvati. While Amanda and Candice became unsure, the tribe agreed to the plan anyway. After the Heroes won the Day 24 Immunity Challenge, J.T. gave a note (with the idol inside) to Russell, while the rest of the Villains congratulated the Heroes for their win.
On Day 25, the Heroes welcomed the Villains at their camp for the merge. The merged tribe stayed at the Heroes' camp for the duration of the game, on the account of the Heroes camp's abundance of food. Due to J.T.'s idol being used against him on Day 27 and Candice's betrayal on Day 30, the Heroes would be systematically voted out. They caught a temporary break with Jerri and Russell turning on Danielle on Day 33 and Parvati seeming like a potential target on Day 36 (until she won individual immunity), continuing the Pagonging process until Colby was voted out in Day 37.
- The Heroes and Villains are the fourth and fifth tribe names in the U.S. version of Survivor to come from the English language, after Drake, Morgan, and The Outcasts.
- Stephenie LaGrossa had previously competed for a second time on Survivor: Guatemala with a more villainous game. However, the producers judged her Survivor: Palau game to be more memorable and placed her on the Heroes tribe.
- The Heroes, along with the Villains, voted out their representative from Survivor: Gabon first.
- The Heroes tribe is the second blue-colored starting tribe for Rupert Boneham and Candice Woodcock, following Drake (Survivor: Pearl Islands) and Rarotonga (Survivor: Cook Islands) respectively, and the third blue-colored starting tribe for Stephenie, following Ulong (Palau) and Yaxhá (Guatemala).
- Stephenie is the first castaway to start on the same colored tribe three times.
- Host Jeff Probst mistakenly called John Cochran and Phillip Sheppard in "She Annoys Me Greatly" as members of the Heroes tribe instead of the Favorites while running the first Immunity Challenge.