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twist refers to certain game-changing alterations to the game's original format seen in Survivor: Borneo. Twists have been a part of Survivor since Survivor: The Australian Outback, helping the contestants learn that the game of Survivor is ever-changing. Several twists have been devised to keep contestants on their toes, as well as keep the game interesting to viewers.

The twists are normally pre-planned before the actual filming, although some unintended twists happen in certain seasons, such as the lack of a merge in Survivor: Palau.

List of Twists by season

This table enumerates the twists to appear in Survivor seasons to mix up the classic game of Survivor. Bold signifies the first time the twist occurred.

Cast size is only mentioned if it is the first time that size occurred.

Season Twists/Changes
Borneo
  • Original Format
SurvivorAustraliaLogo
  • Extended Game (42 Days instead of 39)
  • Introduction of past votes tiebreaker
  • Jury votes revealed at Reunion Show
Africa NB
Marquesas NB
  • Marooning without food supplies
  • Tribe Switch
  • Right to pass the Immunity Necklace to another player
  • Rock-drawing tiebreaker introduced
ThailandTransparentLogo
Amazon NB
  • Tribal Separation by Gender
  • Tribe Switch
SurvivorPearlIslandsLogo
SurvivorAllStarsLogo
  • 18 Contestants
  • Returning Players
  • Three Initial Tribes
  • No supplies given (except a machete and a pot)
  • Tribe Absorption*
  • Kidnapping
  • Tribe Switch
  • Pre-merge Individual Reward Challenge
  • Delayed Merge
Vanuatu NB
  • Tribal Separation by Gender
  • Double Tribal Council*
    • Pre-merge Individual Immunity Challenge
    • Individual immunity winner gives an extra immunity to a member of the other tribe
  • Tribe Switch
Palau NB
  • 20 Contestants
  • Schoolyard Pick (Contestants choose their own tribe members)
    • Contestants Eliminated without a Tribe
  • Double Tribal Council
    • Pre-merge Individual Immunity Challenge
    • Tribe votes to give a member of the other tribe individual immunity
  • Fire-making tiebreaker first used
  • No Merge/Tribe Absorption
  • Exile Island (temporary; one time only)
GuatemalaLogo
  • 2 Returning Players (initially referred to as "Additional Tools")
  • Tribe Switch
  • Double Tribal Council
    • Pre-merge Individual Immunity Challenge
  • Hidden Immunity Idol
PanamaLogo
  • Four Initial Tribes
  • Tribal Separation by Gender and Age
  • Exile Island
    • Hidden Immunity Idol played after the votes are read
  • Simultaneous Tribe Dissolve and Switch (Schoolyard Pick)
SurvivorCookIslandsLogo
SurvivorFijiLogo
  • Tribes divided by one contestant
  • Haves vs. Have Nots
  • 19 Contestants
  • Exile Island
    • Hidden Immunity Idol played after votes are cast*
  • Tribe Switch
  • Post-merge Team Immunity Challenge
  • Final Three
  • Jury of Nine
  • Pre-merge Jury Members
ChinaLogo
  • Tribe Switch
  • Hidden Immunity Idol hidden in plain sight
  • Kidnapping
    • Kidnapped contestant giving a Hidden Immunity Idol clue to a member of the rival tribe
  • Final Three*
MicronesiaLogo
  • Returning Contestants
    • Fans vs. Favorites
  • Exile Island
    • Hidden Immunity Idol
    • Two contestants simultaneously exiled pre-merge
    • Contestants exiled before Immunity Challenge and given individual immunity for the round
  • Tribe Switch
  • Jury of Eight
GabonLogo
  • Schoolyard Pick (Contestant choose their own tribe members)
  • Exile Island
    • Hidden Immunity Idol
    • Luxury Choice on Exile
  • Tribe Switch
  • Double Tribal Council
    • Pre-merge Individual Immunity Challenge
  • Fake Merge with Second Tribe Switch*
  • Delayed Merge
  • Pre-merge Jury Members
  • Final Three
TocantinsLogo
  • Exile Island
    • Two contestants simultaneously exiled pre-merge
    • Hidden Immunity Idol
    • Mutiny offered to one of the two exiled contestants
  • First Impressions
  • One-Time Use Hidden Immunity Idols
SamoaLogo
HvVLogo
  • Returning Players
    • 3-Time Returning Players
  • Tribal Separation by Notoriety
  • Hidden Immunity Idol
  • Double Tribal Council
    • Pre-merge Individual Immunity Challenge
  • Pre-merge Jury Members
  • Final Three
  • Jury of Nine
NicaraguaLogo
  • Tribal Separation by Age*
  • Medallion of Power
  • Hidden Immunity Idol
  • Tribe Switch
  • Double Tribal Council
    • Pre-merge Individual Immunity Challenge
  • Twelve-Person Merged Tribe
  • Jury of Nine
  • Final Three
RedemptionIslandLogo
SouthPacificLogo
  • Redemption Island
  • Returning Contestants as Unofficial Leaders
  • Double Elimination
  • Hidden Immunity Idol
  • Twelve-Person Merged Tribe
  • Jury of Nine
  • Final Three
OneWorldLogo
  • 18 Contestants
  • Tribes living together on one camp for a limited time*
  • Tribal Separation by Gender
  • Tribe Switch
  • Joint Tribal Council
  • Twelve-Person Merged Tribe
  • "Do-It-Yourself" Challenges
  • 2 Hidden Immunity Idols at one camp (one for each tribe); if one tribe member finds the other tribe's idol, he/she must hand the idol to a member of the other tribe before the next Tribal Council
  • Jury of Nine
  • Final Three
  • No clues to the Hidden Immunity Idol
PhilippinesLogo
  • Three Initial Tribes
  • Returning Players as Unofficial Leaders
  • Hidden Immunity Idol hidden in plain sight
  • Eleven-Person Merged Tribe
  • Tribe Absorption
  • Final Three
  • Jury of Eight
CaramoanLogo
  • Returning Players
    • Fans vs. Favorites
  • Hidden Immunity Idol
  • Tribe Switch
  • Twelve-Person Merged Tribe
  • Final Three
  • Jury of Eight
BvWLogo
CagayanLogo
  • Three Initial Tribes
  • Official Tribe Leaders
  • First Impressions
  • Hidden Immunity Idol
    • Merged tribe's Hidden Immunity Idol can be played after the votes are read*
  • Tribe Dissolve
  • Eleven-Person Merged Tribe
  • Jury of Nine*
SJDSLogo
  • Blood vs. Water
    • Day Zero
  • Hero Arena
  • Exile Island
  • Hidden Immunity Idol
  • Tribe Switch
  • Twelve-Person Merged Tribe
  • Final Three
  • Jury of Eight
WALogo
  • Three Initial Tribes
    • Tribe Division by Profession
  • Hidden Immunity Idol
  • Tribe Leaders
  • Tribe Dissolve
  • Twelve-Person Merged Tribe
  • Extra Vote
  • Final Three
  • Jury of Eight
Survivor31logo
Survivor kaoh rong logo
  • Three Initial Tribes
    • Brains vs. Brawn vs. Beauty
  • Hidden Immunity Idols can be combined to form an idol playable after the votes are revealed
  • Tribe Switch
    • One-time Exile
  • Eleven-Person Merged Tribe
  • Juror Removal
  • Final Three
Survivor 33 Logo
Survivor 34 Logo
Survivor 35 Logo

Controversy

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References


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