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Tiebreaker
S32 Ep14 SG 0104b
Survivor Gameplay
Description: A contingency plan in the event of a tie vote at Tribal Council
Appearances: Every season

A tiebreaker is a situation where two or more individuals share the same amount of votes at Tribal Council, with no other person receiving a higher amount. In this event, several instances may occur and have occurred over the course of the series.

Current Rules

Pre-Final Four

Rocks Draw S33

Unable to make a unanimous decision to break the tie, the Vinaka tribe is forced to take part in a lottery. The player that draws the odd-colored rock is sent home (Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X).

In the event of a tie prior to the final four Tribal Council, all tied contestants will not vote, and the non-tied contestants will have to vote again, but may only choose between the tied contestants. Whoever receives the highest amount of votes will be voted out. Hidden Immunity Idols and Extra Vote advantages cannot be played at revotes, but depending on the specifics of the advantage, their effects may carry over into the revote.

If the revote does not break the tie, the host may declare a deadlock vote, after which he will allow the non-tied players to openly discuss who should be eliminated in front of the tied players and the jury. The decision has to be unanimous; otherwise, the tied players will be rendered immune, subjecting the non-immune, non-tied contestants to a lottery of rocks. The contestant with the odd-colored rock will be eliminated from the game instead.

If the revote breaks only part of the tie and the host declares a deadlock vote, only those contestants tied at the revote are considered to be tied. However, in practice, a deadlock will not be declared in this scenario.

It is unknown what the rule is for the extreme case where every non-immune contestant is tied before the final four, as no one would normally be eligible to draw rocks.

Final Four

If a 2-2 tie vote occurs at the final four Tribal Council, there will be no official revote and the two tied contestants will compete in a fire-making challenge, where the winner stays and the loser is eliminated. If there are multiple final four Tribal Councils because of re-entry from Redemption Island, this rule applies to all such Tribal Councils.

Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers modified the final four Tribal Council to automatically advance to fire-making without a vote. In seasons in which this twist is in play, the fire-making challenge is not considered a tiebreaker.

Two-Person Tribe

If a pre-merge tribe enters Tribal Council with only two members, as happened to the Ulong tribe in Survivor: Palau, no official vote is held and the tribe goes straight to fire-making. In this challenge, Stephenie LaGrossa defeated Bobby Jon Drinkard, sending the latter home.

It is unknown how this interacts with Hidden Immunity Idols or other advantages, as Palau predates the introduction of idols.

Null Votes

If a null vote (i.e. a vote where none of the votes cast count, possibly due to multiple Hidden Immunity Idols negating all votes) occurs, a vote restart would occur.

All of those who had gained individual immunity (e.g. those with the Immunity Necklace and the ones who played a Hidden Immunity Idol) during the regular vote are individually immune; this immunity cannot be passed before the restarted vote. This is a fully restarted vote with the non-immune contestants not considered "tied", so the non-immune contestants would remain eligible to vote; however, idols and advantages cannot be played at a restarted vote. In the event that a restarted vote ties, it is treated the same as any other tie, even if everyone eligible to receive votes at the restart is part of the tie.

The first case of a null vote occurred in Survivor: Cambodia where Jeremy Collins and Kelley Wentworth each negated three votes against them with Hidden Immunity Idols. The vote was restarted, but yet another tie occurred, this time between Kimmi Kappenberg and Tasha Fox. The contestants declined to revote when offered, confirming that their votes would stay the same, prompting the host to declare a deadlock and start an open discussion. The situation was complicated by the potential elimination by default of Keith Nale, the only person who would be left without immunity at a rock draw. After discussion, the tribe unanimously decided to eliminate Kimmi, who became the eighth member of the jury.

The second null vote happened in Survivor: Game Changers, where three Hidden Immunity Idols and a Legacy Advantage (which also functions as an idol) were played; and with five players immune (including the wearer of the Immunity Necklace, Brad Culpepper), the only remaining person eligible to receive votes, Cirie Fields, was eliminated by default without the need to cast further votes. Cirie became the eighth member of the jury.

Jury Vote Tiebreaker

At the Survivor: Micronesia Reunion, host Jeff Probst confirmed that a tiebreaker rule is in place for a two-person Final Tribal Council, though he did not reveal to the audience what the tiebreaker was.

Prior to the Survivor: One World finale, Probst confirmed that in the scenario of a two-person tie in a three-person Final Tribal Council, the jury would revote between the two tied contestants.[1] He was also asked what would happen in the scenario of a three-person tie, but chose not to reveal this information. One World is the most recent season in which a three-person tie could occur at the Final Tribal Council.

During the Survivor: Game Changers Reunion, it was further revealed that if the jury cannot break a two-person tie at a three-person Final Tribal Council, the second runner-up would join the jury to break the tie. Immediately after the votes are cast at the Final Tribal Council, the host would proceed to read the votes to reveal that a tie between the other two finalists had occurred, after which the second runner-up, now officially a member of the jury, will cast an impromptu deciding vote.[2] This rule was exercised in Survivor: Ghost Island, where Jeff Probst revealed the results of the vote on location instead of live. The second runner-up, Laurel Johnson, cast the deciding vote to break the 5-5-0 tie between Domenick Abbate and Wendell Holland, with the said vote being the only one kept as a secret and read live.

Former Rules

In Survivor: Borneo, there would have been a tiebreaker challenge to break deadlock ties. It is unknown what the challenge would have been, as the only tie that occurred was broken on the revote.[3]

In Survivor: The Australian Outback and Survivor: Africa, if there is a deadlock tie, the castaway with more previous votes against them is eliminated. Votes cast at revotes are not counted as part of the previous votes tiebreaker. If none of those who are tied have previous votes against them, or if all of those who are tied have the same number of previous votes against them, the players concerned will partake in a tiebreaker challenge. It is presumed that this tiebreaker was in effect throughout the entire game, including the final four Tribal Council.

In Survivor: Marquesas, the rock drawing tiebreaker was in effect even at the final four Tribal Council. A final-four tie did occur in that season, with Kathy Vavrick-O'Brien and Neleh Dennis tied and Paschal English untied and not immune. To avoid automatically eliminating Paschal, production forced Kathy and Neleh to also draw rocks, but Paschal was ultimately eliminated despite never receiving votes throughout the entire game. After the season, the producers admitted that they made a mistake, as the tiebreaker was impossible to be applied fairly with only four contestants left.[4] Paschal's abrupt exit influenced how contestants voted in subsequent seasons, with contestants trying their best not to resort to a rock draw.

Prior to Survivor: Panama, with the exception of Marquesas, the revote stage took place even at the final four Tribal Council.

In Game Changers, the revote stage was removed as a one-season twist, immediately subjecting the contestants to the open discussion stage. However, this never came into play. Had there been a null vote under this rule with multiple non-immune contestants, the vote restart would still have occurred.

Tiebreaker History

Trivia

See also

References