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Merge

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Merge
Merge tocantinsThe newly merged Forza tribe feast upon the news that the game has changed.
Survivor Gameplay
Description The coming together of two rival tribes
Appearance(s) Every season (sans Palau)

A merge (referred to as a merger in early seasons) is the coming together of the two or more competing tribes into a single tribe. This means that the tribes will now live as one in one camp until the end of the game (Day 39 in most seasons and Day 42 in The Australian Outback). This also signals the game's halfway point and typically is near the start of the jury phase.

The initial merged tribe can contain anywhere from 8 to 13 members. Since Survivor: Nicaragua, there has been a clear tendency to merge with at least 11 castaways remaining, as opposed to the first twenty seasons which did so only once.

The merge serves as a halfway point of the game, where the castaways will live as one new tribe until the final day of the competition. Once merged, they will receive a blank tribe banner (with a new color), new buffs and poster paint (as they will be painting their banner). They would also have to christen a name for the new tribe. From this point forward, the game shifts from a team-effort competition into a individual game, although some challenges would still be team challenges. The final two or three would then face the jury on the last day of the competition at the Final Tribal Council, where the jury decides who will be the Sole Survivor.

Determining the Camp

Determining the merged tribe campsite varies almost each season. While the tribes convene for the merge, the migrating tribe will immediately relocate to the chosen tribe's camp, while their personal items, such as rewards, luxury items and remaining supplies are moved to the new camp. This happens when the tribes compete in a challenge, where the production crew ships the items of the tribe who will move to the new camp. Sometimes, it appeared that the camp of the starting tribe that was more dominant in challenges became the merged tribe camp, though this is not always the case.

In most seasons, the tribes pick which camp they would like to live in. This decision mostly depends on tribes' living conditions (e.g. having more food sources, more livable shelter etc.). For example, during Survivor: Thailand, the Sook Jai tribe, who created their own shelter, moved to the Chuay Gahn campsite, because they have a cave as their natural shelter.

In other cases, the producers determines the campsite, either from one of the two existing camps, usually the tribe with more members at the time of the merge (as seen in Survivor: Gabon, where the host told the new tribe to move to the old Fang camp) without any input from the contestants, or a totally new one (as seen in Survivor: The Australian Outback, Survivor: The Amazon, and Survivor: Redemption Island, where the new tribe moved to an untouched beach).

In Survivor: All-Stars, the Chapera and Mogo Mogo tribes merged at the old Saboga camp (which was dismantled long before the merger). The items they have left at the old Chapera and Mogo Mogo camp are not moved to the new camp. This style also occurred in Survivor: Philippines, when the Kalabaw and Tandang tribes merged and moved to the dismantled Matsing camp.

Challenges

Due to the nature of the merge, the game shifts from a team effort to an individual affair. Certain post-merge challenges, usually for reward, may see the tribe divided up into two or more teams, with one of these teams winning the challenge.

Immunity

See Individual Immunity

Reward

See Individual Reward

Do-It-Yourself chalenge

See Do-It-Yourself Challenge

Loved Ones Challenge

See Loved Ones Challenge

Strategy

Strategy on the merged tribe differs from pre-merge strategy, as jury management and strategic voting start to take hold around this point.

  • The pagonging strategy is where the majority tribe comes together as one alliance and systematically votes out each member of the minority tribe. This strategy is named after the Pagong tribe from Survivor: Borneo, the first victim of the strategy.

Ways of Merging

Over the years, there have been several ways of merging the two tribes:

  • "Summits:" In Survivor: Borneo and Survivor: Marquesas, one member from both tribes will convene for a "summit," where they enjoy a feast, while discussing the pros and cons of both tribe camps, under the premise that they will decide which of the two camps will they reside for the rest of the game. The two would also receive a new tribe banner, some poster paint and new buffs. After deciding the tribe camp they felt was the more livable one, the two representatives will then proceed to the tribe whose camp was not chosen, where they will fetch the contestants who live there, after which, they will proceed to the other tribe's camp.
  • Night-Out: In Survivor: The Australian Outback, the remaining players were segregated by gender, with the males staying at the Kucha camp, while the females spent a day at the Ogakor camp. The two groups then convened at a new camp, where their new supplies await.
  • Before A Challenge: The host signals a merge right before the contestants were subjected to their first post-merger challenge.
  • Immediate Migration: In a more straightforward way of merging, one tribe will receive a Tree Mail that instructs them to move to the other tribe's camp. In Survivor: Guatemala, after a Yaxhá Tribal Council they were instructed to go to the Nakúm beach for the remainder of the game. In Survivor: One World, they had both tribes go to Tribal Council where both tribes merged at the end of the Tribal Council, and were instructed go to the original One World beach for the remainder of the game.
  • After a Redemption Island duel: This type of merge happens in seasons with the Redemption Island twist. The person voted off who wins that duel when the merge is announced gets to go back in the game. This has happened in every season containing the Redemption Island twist: Survivor: Redemption Island, Survivor: South Pacific, and Survivor: Blood vs. Water.

Fake Merge

See Fake Merge.

No Merge

There was one instance where no merge occurred due to a tribe being reduced to one member. In Survivor: Palau, Koror completely dominated and never lost an Immunity Challenge, devastating the Ulong tribe until one sole member remained on that tribe. Stephenie was absorbed by Koror, after which the individual portion of the game commenced. Therefore, no merge occurred at all this season.

Merged Tribes

Trivia

  • Nobag is the merged tribe that existed for the shortest amount of time, lasting from Day 27 until Day 39.
  • The members of the Rattana tribe painted the Survivor: Borneo logo on their flag.
  • On the merge flag, members usually put the tribe name and names of the members and sometimes a picture.
  • The most frequent merged tribe color is black with 10 seasons featuring this color.
  • Gitanos was the first and only Merged tribe to paint their flag in a portrait type fashion.
  • Chuay Jai had the least amount of tribe members with 8.
  • Chaboga Mogo, Aitutonga, and Nobag are the only tribes to merge with 9 tribe members.
  • Orkun is the largest merged tribe, and largest tribe in general, with 13 members.
  • The merge at the final ten is the most common, appearing in 14 seasons.
  • Seasons shot in the Philippines are currently the only seasons to merge with 11 members, with Survivor: Caramoan being the exception with 12.
  • Survivor: Palau is the only season to have no Merge.
  • In Survivor: Borneo, the tribe members that went to the summit were Sean Kenniff for Tagi and Jenna Lewis for Pagong, while in Marquesas, the representatives were Rotu's Rob Mariano and Maraamu's Kathy Vavrick-O'Brien.
    • Oddly enough, Rob and Kathy would be, thus far, the only representatives of Survivor: Marquesas to return for a future season.
  • Black is the only color that has been used as a merged tribe color two times consecutively. Panama had Gitanos as the merged tribe and Cook Islands had Aitutonga as the merged tribe, while One World had Tikiano as the merged tribe and Philippines had Dangrayne as the merged tribe.

References

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