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A Fake Merge is a game-changing twist, where the remaining contestants are led to believe they are merging tribes, however, in reality, they are not.


In the first four seasons of Survivor, a merge happened when there were only ten contestants remaining. In the fifth season, Survivor: Thailand, this fact left contestants assuming of its advent and prematurely devising strategies and schemes they would use once they merge, completely forgetting that the game of Survivor is always in a state of change. Introduced after two consecutive seasons with tribe switches, the fake merge became a key plot in its debut season.

Twist History


The fake merge twist originated in Survivor: Thailand. On Day 19, the contestants met the host Jeff Probst, who divided the ten remaining contestants into five pairs, each having one member from Chuay Gahn and one member from  Sook Jai. One pair was instructed to visit both tribe camps and decide which one was better. The contestants were then instructed to migrate to the Chuay Gahn camp. The ten remaining castaways were under the assumption that the tribes had merged, and immediately created their tribe name "Chuay Jai". One Sook Jai member, Shii Ann Huang even went far as plotting with the Chuay Gahn members. Two days later, the tribes met Jeff at the following Immunity Challenge, where he stated that the tribes were not yet merged. The two tribes were merely living in co-existence, but had yet to officially merge. Sook Jai lost, and they immediately disposed of Huang for her premature scheming.

The tribes eventually merged with eight castaways remaining: five from Chuay Gahn and three from Sook Jai.


Though this was possibly unintentional, at the final 10, everyone was expecting a merge. Instead, a tribe switch occurred. The merge came three days later.


In Survivor: Fiji, the ten remaining contestants met on Exile Island and found a box containing ten purple buffs and a note telling them that they were merged into one tribe. They all subsequently returned to the Moto camp.

At the following challenge, they drew rocks to divide into two teams for the challenge. The winning team would win a barbecue feast back at camp and be exempt from attending Tribal Council. After the challenge, the losing team of Dreamz Herd, Mookie Lee, Stacy Kimball, Alex Angarita, and Michelle Yi went to Tribal Council where Michelle was voted off and became the third member of the jury.

Unlike the other seasons on this list, the tribes actually did merge, but played the following round as if they had not merged.


In Survivor: Gabon, the tribes convened for what they thought was a merge. They were treated to a feast which included a clue to an Idol. Marcus Lehman convinced everyone to dig up the idol and throw it into the ocean. After the feast they read a note which revealed that there would be no merge; instead, there would be a second tribe switch.

The tribes merged on Day 27.

Heroes vs. Villains

In Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains, there was no intention for an early merge or fake merge. However, the Villains tribe misunderstood their Tree Mail and thought that the Reward Challenge on Day 19 was a merge feast. The Villains even packed their whole camp to the challenge, thinking that they would merge and move to a new beach. At the Reward Challenge, Jeff Probst clarified that the tribes were not to be merged and would compete against each other as a normal challenge with the pizza feast being the reward, which was ultimately won by the Heroes.

The tribes merged on Day 25.

Other Fake Merges

In seasons subsequent to Thailand, the possibility of a merge has occasionally led to late tribe switches as a twist, thus delaying the actual merger.

Related Twists

The concept of two tribes living together on the same beach was later used for Survivor: One World, as the One World twist.

See also


Survivor Gameplay
Challenge Advantage · Do-It-Yourself Challenge · Duel · Family Visit · Immunity Challenge (Final Immunity Challenge) · Immunity Idol · Immunity Necklace · Medallion of Power · Reward Challenge · Survivor Auction
Edge of Extinction · Ejection · Evacuation · Final Tribal Council · Jury · Quit · Redemption Island · Snuffer · Sole Survivor · Tiebreaker · Torch · Tribal Council · Urn
Alliance · Pagonging · Split Vote (Strategy)
Social Dynamics
Final Two · Final Three · Merge · Tribe

Battle of the Sexes · Blood vs. Water · Brawn vs. Brains vs. Beauty · Old vs. Young · Returning Players · Schoolyard Pick · Tribes Divided by Ethnicity

Tribal Council-Related

Double Elimination · Double Tribal Council · Extra Vote · Hidden Immunity Idol (History) · Idol Nullifier · Joint Tribal Council · Juror Removal · Shot in the Dark · Vote Blocker · Vote Steal


Advantage Menu · Buried Treasure · Day Zero · Exile Island · Fake Merge · Fire Token · First Impressions · Ghost Island · Haves vs. Have Nots · Island of the Idols · Kidnapping · Legacy Advantage · Looting · Mutiny · One World · Reward Steal · Summit · The Outcasts · Tribe Leader · Tribe Switch

Fan Favorite Award · Lawsuits and Legal Action · Ponderosa · Reunion Show
Buff · Confessional · Luxury Item · Rites of Passage · Survivor Rulebook · Ulonging