‘Survivor’ history: Who’s the biggest threat eliminated at merge in show’s 37 seasons? [POLL]

This week Elizabeth Olson became the latest castaway in “Survivor” history to go down as the “merge boot.” Typically at merge the player seen as one of the biggest threats in the game is eliminated first–exactly what kind of threat that player is varies greatly depending on the cast and the alliances of their season. In Elizabeth’s case she was voted out unanimously, on one hand a volatile personality that was targeting strong Goliath members and on the other a viable sacrifice her fellow Davids were willing to make.

So how does Elizabeth stack up when compared to merge boots of the past? Below take our poll to decide who was the biggest merge threat in “Survivor” history. To help you decide we’ve narrowed the field down to our Top 12 and most iconic contenders for the title and offer a brief analysis of why they were threatening below. If we didn’t include your pick in the poll, vote “Someone else” and let us know in the comments who it is!

SEE ‘Survivor’ 37 power rankings: Christian Hubicki and Nick Wilson still on top, lead new ‘Strike Force’ alliance of 6

Elizabeth Olsonseason 37: David vs. Goliath
Labeled annoying, volatile and sacrificial by both her allies and her own targets, Elizabeth was voted out unanimously even after exposing another player for backstabbing their alliance.

Chris Nobleseason 36: Ghost Island
After feuding with Domenick all season, Chris came to the merge overconfident with an idol in his possession and eager to make a big move against his enemy and Wendell, the eventual winner.

Hali Fordseason 34: Game Changers and season 30: Worlds Apart
In her second season Hali was eliminated mostly as a defensive move from two opposing alliances, but it was also the second time she became the first member of the merged tribe jury. That makes her, at least on paper, a literal merge threat.

Kass McQuillenseason 31: Cambodia
On a season of all-stars prior actions are everything, so after dubbing herself “Chaos Kass” in her original season Kass just couldn’t escape her reputation or the vengeance that Tasha seeked against her.

SEE Elizabeth Olson (‘Survivor’ 37) exit interview: Plan to oust Angelina backfired thanks to Carl, ‘my nail in the coffin’ [PODCAST]

J.T. Thomasseason 20: Heroes vs. Villains
Without Parvati’s thrilling move to use both of her immunity idols on allies Sandra and Jerri, J.T. would not have been this merge boot. But he was, and that doesn’t change the fact that the villains saw his honest and heroic arc as a potential threat to win over a jury for the second time.

Eliza Orlinsseason 16: Micronesia
On the outside of an alliance of other “favorites,” Eliza was desperate at merge for a way to save herself, but “fan” Jason’s presentation of his hidden idol to her turned out to be “just a f***ing stick.” Knowing it was fake, she still played it and watched Jeff toss it into the fire before she was voted out.

Coby Archaseason 10: Palau
Palau is infamous for the unprecedented annihilation of the Ulong tribe who at the time of the merge only brought one member, Stephenie, to the feast. The merge offered the dominating Koror tribe its second chance to vote out one of their own and they chose Coby, the dictionary definition of how loose lips sink ships.

Lex van den Bergheseason 8: All-Stars
Infamously, Lex preceded his merge boot by making one of the worst deals with the devil (in Survivor terms, Boston Rob) when he spared Rob’s ally Amber and voted Jerri out instead. That blunder precipitated Rob’s betrayal of him at merge, making sure Lex couldn’t band with others against him.

Andrew Savageseason 7: Pearl Islands
Savage’s elimination is Survivor legend because it came at the hands of one of the show’s earliest twists that has yet to be fully replicated, the outcasts. At the merge, previously voted out Lillian used Savage’s elimination of her against him and joined the opposing alliance to easily eliminate him.

Shii Ann Huangseason 5: Thailand
Okay this one is a little tongue in cheek because Shii Ann technically didn’t even make the merge. Instead, Shii Ann was voted out the episode the two tribes seemingly merged (!!) and was voted out for flipping on her tribe prematurely, as in before it was made clear that the two tribes hadn’t in fact merged, but were instead just living on the same beach.

Jeff Varnerseason 2: Australian Outback
Jeff was eliminated in the earliest incarnation of how tied votes were handled, whereby in a deadlock a player’s past votes would work against them and be the determining factor. When the two tribes merged with equal numbers, Ogakor knew Jeff had a previous vote against him and so pegged him as the one to target in case of a tie.

Gretchen Cordyseason 1: Borneo
We owe so much to the first season of “Survivor,” including the way threats are assessed as soon as the merge hits. In addition to being on the wrong side of the game’s first ever alliance, Gretchen was knowledgeable, likable and challenge-capable which meant she, and every player like her in every season after her, had to go as soon as possible.

SEE exclusive predictions: Who will win ‘Survivor’?

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