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Survivor Wiki

Schmergen Brawl is a recurring challenge from Survivor: Samoa and Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains. It was infamously known for being a very physically-punishing Survivor version of basketball, and leaving several injuries among players. It is also the first recurring challenge to be officially banned from reuse.


In a walled-surrounded arena, three members of each tribe would battle for control of three balls. Once a castaway gets control of a ball, they would pass the ball to three other tribe members standing on an elevated platform who would then attempt to throw the ball through the opposing tribe's basket, situated at the opposite end of the arena. One point would be scored when a ball is made in the basket. After every point, the tribes would change who was in the arena and on the platform. The first tribe to score the required number of points, would win the challenge. In Samoa, three points were needed, while in Heroes vs. Villains, two points were required.


In Survivor: Samoa, the challenge was infamously known (Jeff Probst himself declared the challenge as a "classic"), for its dramatic conclusion: one contestant, Ben Browning was disqualified due to unnecessarily tripping Russell Swan, and another, Mike Borassi was evacuated from the game shortly after due to a severely weakened condition. Both Ben and Mike were members of the Foa Foa tribe, who eventually lost the challenge over the Galu tribe.

The challenge was reused in Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains, where it continued its long line of injuries. James Clement, one of the series' most physically strong competitors incurred a knee injury which continued to endure until the Heroes vs. Villains Reunion Show, where he was still seen limping. The Villains ended up winning the challenge.


Episode Challenge Type Winner
"Taking Candy from a Baby"
Tribal Reward/Immunity S19 brett t.pngS19 dave t.pngS19 erik t.png
S19 john t.pngS19 kelly t.pngS19 laura t.pngS19 monica t.png
S19 russells t.pngS19 shambo t.pngS19 yasmin t.png
Heroes vs. Villains
"Knights of the Round Table"
Tribal Reward S20 coach t.pngS20 courtney t.pngS20 danielle t.png
S20 jerri t.pngS20 parvati t.pngS20 rob t.png
S20 russell t.pngS20 sandra t.pngS20 tyson t.png



  • Due to the very physical nature, and the long history of injuries it caused to contestants, CBS deemed the challenge too dangerous to reuse again.[1]
  • Schmergen Brawl is the second challenge in which a contestant was disqualified for violating the rules (following Pilfering Pirates in Thailand).
  • Russell Hantz is the only castaway to compete in this challenge twice. He lost the first time, and won the second time.
  • Both times this challenge was used, a player was removed giving a tribe one less player in the challenge.
    • The tribe that lost a player went on to lose the challenge.
    • One player was removed for breaking the rules of the challenge while the other was removed due to an injury received during the challenge.
      • Both players were men and would be voted out in the next episode after this challenge was used.
  • Both times the challenge was used, the tribe that scored the first point lost the challenge.


Recurring Challenges
A Bit Tipsy · A Crate Idea · A Leg Up · A Numbers Game · Air Raid · Angry Chair · Around the Bend · Balancing Point · Ballin' A Jack · Barrel Bridge · Barrel of Monkeys · Basket Brawl · Better Homes and Island Living · Beyond the Wheel · Blind Leading the Blind · Blue Lagoon Bustle · Blue Plate Special · Boats, Brains & Brawn · Bone to Pick · Boulder Smash · Bow Diddley · Box Your Mind · Braille Maze · Broken China · Buggin' Out · Build It Up, Break It Down · Butch Cassidy · By Any Means Necessary · By the Numbers · Can't Buoy Me Love · Cannonball Run · Caught in the Web · Cell Block Sea · Challenge Pitch · Chief's Choice · Chimney Sweep · Chinese Zodiac Symbols · Choose Your Weapon · Coconut Juice · Crate Escape · Crocodile Rock · Crosswalk · Cube Crisis · Dear Liza · Dive Masters · Domino Effect · Draggin' the Dragon · Dragging the River · Drop A Log · Dulcimer Stomp · End of the Line · Fallen Comrades · Fast Fire · Faulty Towers · Fauxconut Bowling · Fire and Water · Fire Fighter · Float Your Boat · Floating Puzzle · Game of Bridge · Gatecrasher · Get a Grip · Get Barreled · Get Hooked · Get Your Goat · Gimme Three Steps · Great Escape Run · Hands on a Hard Idol · Hear About It Ladder · Hot Pursuit · House of Cards · House of the Holey · Idol Hands · Jail Break · Jump Shot · Jungle Love · Jungle Relay · Kamikaze · Keel Hauling · Keep It Up · Keep on Your Toes · Kicking and Screaming · Kitty Litter · Know Your Loved One · Ladder Tree Golf · Last Gasp · Letter Hunt · Lock, Load and Light · Lock Step · Log Jam · Losing Face · Mask Match · Matchmaker · Matt Finish · Memory · Mud Pack · Mud Slide · Muddy Waters · New School · New Tribe Member · Nut Bucket · O-Black Water · Odd Shaped Bottoms · Operation Balance Build · Out on a Limb · Over-Extended · Paddle Battle · Paddle Out · Perch · Pilfering Pirates · Piranha Feast · Pole Dancing · Pot Head · Push Me, Pull You · Puzzle Dig · Pyramid Scheme · Q and A · Quest for Fire · Race to Shore · Ram-Ball On · Rescue Mission · Rice Race · Rise and Shrine · Rock Bottom · Rock n' Roll · Rod Screw-It · Roll With It · Roller Ball · Running Down a Dream · · Sacrificial Lamb · Schmergen Brawl · Sea Crates · Sea Legs · Sea Salvage · Shipwrecked · Shoot 'n' Shuffle · Shooting Gallery · Shoulder the Load · Simmotion · Slip, Slide & Score · Slither Me Timbers · Smash and Grab · Snag, Drag and Bag · Snake in the Grass · Snake Island Relay · SOS Signal · Spear-it Hunt · Spit It Out · Splash Back · Sprung A Leak · Squared Off · Squatty Probst · Stacked Up · Stairway to Heaven · Stairway to the Stars · Station By Station · Step on Up · Stomp-ede · Strung Out · Sumo at Sea · Survivor Auction · Survivor History · Survivor Pentathlon · Survivor Quiz Show · Swahili Scramble · Swing Break · Temple Transfer · The Ball Drop · The Cruel Sea · The Game is Afoot · The Gauntlet · The Home Stretch · The Maze · The Obstacle Course · This Much · Thrash, Splash & Bash · TLP O-Course · Tomb Raider · Troubled Water · Uncomfortably Numb · United We Stand · Vampire Bats · Vertically Challenged · Vertigo · Wall to Wall · Well Stacked · What-er Drag · When It Rains, It Pours · Wicker Flicker · Will It Go Round · Witch Hunt · Wrist Assured · Yank Your Hank · You Shook Me