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.

A season's cast size, merged tribe size, and jury configuration are only mentioned if it is the first time it has occurred. Twists that later became permanent elements of the game are only mentioned in their first season.

Season Twists/Changes
Borneo.png
  • Original Format
SurvivorAustraliaLogo.png
  • Game lasted 42 days instead of the typical 39
  • Past votes tiebreaker introduced
  • Jury votes revealed at Reunion Show
Africa NB.png
  • Game reverted to 39-day format
  • Tiebreaker challenge used for the first time
  • Tribe Switch
Marquesas NB.png
  • Marooning without food supplies
  • Rock-drawing tiebreaker introduced
  • Tribe Switch*
  • Right to pass the Immunity Necklace to another player introduced
ThailandTransparentLogo.png
Amazon NB.png
SurvivorPearlIslandsLogo.png
SurvivorAllStarsLogo.png
  • 18 Contestants
  • Returning Players
  • Three Starting Tribes
  • No supplies given (except a machete and a pot)
  • Tribe Absorption*
  • Kidnapping
  • Tribe Switch*
  • Individual challenge held before merge
  • Delayed Merge / 9-person merged tribe
Vanuatu NB.png
  • 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.png
  • 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
  • No Merge / Tribe Absorption
  • Exile Island (one time only)
  • Fire-making tiebreaker first used
GuatemalaLogo.png
  • Returning Players as Unofficial Tribe Leaders
    • Returning players mixed with new players
  • Tribe Switch
  • Double Tribal Council
    • Pre-merge Individual Immunity Challenge
  • Hidden Immunity Idol
PanamaLogo.png
  • Four Starting 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.png
  • Four Starting Tribes
  • Tribes Divided by Ethnicity
  • Simultaneous Tribe Absorption and Switch (Schoolyard Pick)
  • Exile Island
    • Hidden Immunity Idol
  • Mutiny*
  • Double Elimination (Two people voted out by the same tribe on the same day)
  • 9-person merged tribe
  • Final Three with 9-person jury
    • Pre-merge jury members
SurvivorFijiLogo.png
  • 19 Contestants
  • Tribes divided by one contestant
  • Haves vs. Have Nots
  • Exile Island
    • Hidden Immunity Idol played after votes are cast*
  • Tribe Switch
  • Post-Merge Team Immunity Challenge
  • Pre-merge jury members
ChinaLogo.png
  • Tribe Switch
  • Hidden Immunity Idol hidden in plain sight
  • Kidnapping
  • Final Three with 7-person jury
MicronesiaLogo.png
  • Returning Contestants
    • Fans vs. Favorites
  • One-time use Immunity Idols
  • Exile Island
    • Hidden Immunity Idol
    • Two contestants simultaneously exiled pre-merge
    • Contestants exiled before an Immunity Challenge and given individual immunity for the round
  • Tribe Switch
  • Final Two with 8-person jury*
GabonLogo.png
  • Schoolyard Pick (Contestants choose their own tribe members)
  • One-time use Immunity Idols
  • Exile Island
    • Hidden Immunity Idol
    • Luxury Choice on Exile
  • Two Tribe Switches*
  • Double Tribal Council
    • Pre-merge Individual Immunity Challenge
  • Pre-merge jury member
TocantinsLogo.png
  • First Impressions
    • One-time use Immunity Idols
  • Exile Island
    • Two contestants simultaneously exiled pre-merge
    • Hidden Immunity Idol
    • Mutiny offered to one of the two exiled contestants
SamoaLogo.png
HvVLogo.png
  • 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
NicaraguaLogo.png
  • Tribal Separation by Age*
  • Medallion of Power
  • Hidden Immunity Idol
  • Tribe Switch
  • Double Tribal Council
    • Pre-merge Individual Immunity Challenge
RedemptionIslandLogo.png
SouthPacificLogo.png
  • Redemption Island
  • Returning Players as Unofficial Tribe Leaders
  • Double Elimination
  • Hidden Immunity Idol
OneWorldLogo.png
  • Tribal Separation by Gender
  • Tribes living together on one camp for a limited time*
    • 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
    • No clues to the Hidden Immunity Idol
  • "Do-It-Yourself" Challenges
  • Tribe Switch
  • Joint Tribal Council
PhilippinesLogo.png
  • Three Starting Tribes
  • Returning Players as Unofficial Tribe Leaders
  • Hidden Immunity Idol hidden in plain sight
  • Tribe Absorption
  • 11-person merged tribe
  • Final Three with 8-person jury
CaramoanLogo.png
  • Returning Players
    • Fans vs. Favorites
  • Hidden Immunity Idol
  • Tribe Switch
BvWLogo.png
CagayanLogo.png
  • Three Starting Tribes
  • First Impressions
    • Official Tribe Leaders (at First Impressions only)
  • Tribe Dissolve
  • Hidden Immunity Idol
    • Merged tribe's Hidden Immunity Idol can be played after the votes are read*
  • Final Two with 9-person jury
SJDSLogo.png
  • Blood vs. Water
    • Day Zero
  • Exile Island
  • Hidden Immunity Idol
  • Tribe Switch
WALogo.png
  • Three Starting Tribes
    • Tribal Separation by Profession
  • Tribe Leaders (on Day 1 only)
  • Hidden Immunity Idol
  • Tribe Dissolve
  • Extra Vote
Survivor31logo.png
  • Returning Players
  • Tribe Expansion
  • Hidden Immunity Idol hidden at challenges
  • Vote Steal
  • 13-person merged tribe
  • Consensus tiebreaker used for the first time
  • Final Three with 10-person jury
Survivor kaoh rong logo.png
Survivor 33 Logo.png
Survivor 34 Logo.png
Survivor 35 Logo.png
Survivor 36 Logo.png
  • Ghost Island (variant of Exile Island)
    • Legacy Advantage
    • Extra Vote
  • Meager Supplies
  • Tribe Leader (on Day 1 only)
  • Hidden Immunity Idol
    • Idol that expires after a set number of Tribal Councils*
  • Tribe Expansion
  • Double Elimination with merged tribe split into two teams
  • Final Tribal Council tiebreaker used for the first time
Survivor 37 Logo.png
  • Tribal Separation by Success in Life
  • Hidden Immunity Idol
  • Tribe Expansion
  • Idol Nullifier
  • Vote Steal
Survivor 38 Logo.png
  • Edge of Extinction (variant of Redemption Island)
  • Returning Players as Unofficial Tribe Leaders
  • Advantage Menu
    • Reward Steal
    • Extra Vote
    • Individual immunity to be used similar to a Hidden Immunity Idol
  • Hidden Immunity Idol
  • Tribe Expansion
  • Extra Vote
  • Joint Tribal Council
  • Final Three with 13-person jury
    • Pre-merge jury members
Survivor Island of the Idols logo.png
  • Island of the Idols (variant of Exile Island)
  • Hidden Immunity Idol
    • Idol that expires after a set number of Tribal Councils
  • Vote Blocker
  • Tribe Switch
  • Safety Without Power
  • Pre-merge jury member
  • Double Elimination with merged tribe split into two teams
  • Idol Nullifier
Winners at War Logo.png
  • Returning Players
  • Increased prize money
  • Edge of Extinction
  • Fire Tokens
  • Hidden Immunity Idol
    • Idol that expires after a set number of Tribal Councils
  • Safety Without Power
  • Vote Steal
  • Tribe Expansion
  • Idol Nullifier
  • Double Tribal Council
  • 50/50 Coin
  • Extortion Advantage
  • Final Three with 16-person jury

Controversy

See Survivor Rulebook: Controversial Rule Changes

References

Survivor Gameplay
Challenges

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

Elimination

Edge of Extinction · Ejection · Evacuation · Final Tribal Council · Jury · Quit · Redemption Island · Snuffer · Sole Survivor · Tiebreaker · Torch · Tribal Council · Urn

Strategy

Alliance · Pagonging · Split Vote

Social Dynamics

Final Two · Final Three · Merge · Tribe

Twists
Casting

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 · Idol Nullifier · Joint Tribal Council · Juror Removal · Vote Blocker · Vote Steal


Miscellaneous

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 · The Outcasts · Tribe Leader · Tribe Switch

Post-Game

Fan Favorite Award · Lawsuits and Legal Action · Ponderosa · Reunion Show

Miscellaneous

Buff · Confessional · Luxury Item · Rites of Passage · Survivor Rulebook · Ulonging

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