Another Wednesday means another Survivor Oz Top Ten is coming your way! In every season of Survivor, the Merge marks a turning point in the game, where tribal lines are blurred and the individual game takes over. However, the Merge also offers a chance for the castaways to unify by allowing them to name their new tribe and paint a new tribe flag. This week, Ozlet Andrew Shadlock counts down ten of the best Merge tribe flags from past seasons of Survivor. Some have been chosen for their creativity; others have been chosen for their aesthetic appeal. But which flag will take out the top spot in today’s Top Ten? You’ll have to read on to find out.
Starting with season one, when tribes merge, they are given the task of not only naming their new tribe, but also painting the flag that they will hang at their camp. This has occurred in every season except Survivor: Palau, where Stephenie defaulted to the Koror tribe after the rest of her tribe was decimated. In Borneo, after deciding on the name Rattana, Jenna and Sean modelled their flag after the original tribe flags by duplicating the Survivor logo and painting the new name above it. Surprisingly, this was the first and only time this was done. Since then, some tribes have been extremely creative with the task, whereas others have seemed to lack any artistic ability (see Te Tuna from South Pacific or Dangrayne from the Philippines). While some of the flags fell short in the art department, others were actually quite impressive, and today I have compiled for you my Top Ten Merged Tribe Flags.
10. Chuay Jai – Thailand
After both the Sook Jai and Chuay Gahn tribes spent some time living together on the same beach in the “fake Merge”, the two finally combined on day twenty-five as Chuay Gahn. The best part of the Merge flag, in my opinion, didn’t even come from the castaways’ painting; it’s the metallic gold flag. This is the first and only golden flag on Survivor, and it is really eye catching. The colour perfectly matches the tone of the entire season. The handprints also mark the first time each tribe member added their own touch to the flag – something that appears on almost every flag since Thailand.
9. Yin Yang – Heroes Vs. Villains
With the past experience of working on thirteen tribe flags between the ten members of the Yin Yang tribe, they were expected to have it down by now. Although the flag does lack some real creativity (as does the tribe name), the simplicity of the flag is actually what makes it the most appealing. Many tribes try to do too much and it ends up looking like a mess. This flag would have been even higher on this list if the tribe members’ names were put on the back, which would have given it a cleaner and simpler look. The most impressive part is the two small logos in the yin yang. Both symbols were featured on the buffs of the season and were painted flawlessly on the flag. Another big draw is using the colours of the previous tribes instead of the classic black and white yin yang.
8. Hae Da Fung – China
Although the flag has a lot going on, the standout is the beautiful yin yang-type shape painted in the middle. The tiger and dragon on each side are painted beautifully, and the colour scheme is great. Another standout is the Asian-inspired font they painted the name with. The names covering the flag are somewhat misplaced, especially Peih-Gee’s in the centre, but overall the flag is perfectly in line with the themes and style of the season. Without the stunning centrepiece, the flag would be far from worthy of this list; but its impressive execution lands it at number eight.
7. Murlonio – Redemption Island
The Murlonio flag is colourful, cute and well-executed. The standouts are the waves and the sun, which are quite impressive. I like how there are twelve little fish on the flag for each of the twelve members of the tribe. Although the fish look like they were painted by little kids, the flag is clean and despite being quite busy, it doesn’t seem overcrowded like many of the other flags. The real reason the flag made this list is because of the back of the flag, which was painted by the Final Three. For the first time, the Final Three painted their own flag, further enforcing the idea that although they had been wearing black buffs and had been referred to as Murlonio, they were always the Ometepe tribe.
6. Barramundi – Australian Outback
This flag is incredibly impressive. With small details like using the previous Kucha and Ogakor tribe colours to make up the barramundi fish, this flag is excellent. The reason it doesn’t land too high on the list is that I am sceptical to think that it was actually painted by the tribe. There are no scenes that show the flag being painted, which makes me believe the tribe might not have made the flag themselves. I could be entirely wrong – maybe Jeff or Keith were actually incredible artists – but it seems too good to be true. Had this actually been painted by the Barramundi tribe, it probably would land at first on this list; but its questionable origins keep it from the top.
5. Tikiano – One World
The Tikiano tribe did something that I think more tribes should do to improve the aesthetics of the tribe flag: keep the personal touches small. Each tribe member added their own little piece on the border of the flag, but they aren’t overwhelming like most of the other flags. The centre of the flag features a great scene with palm trees and a setting sun. Small touches like the reflection on the water, the skull at the bottom, and the impressive font used to paint the name make this one of the most impressive flags on Survivor.
4. Dabu – Micronesia
It definitely helps having a real artist on the tribe. Erik delivered a beautiful flag for the Dabu tribe, which features a stunning sunset over the water. I particularly like the symbols located in the top right and bottom left corner of the flag. Again, if the names weren’t located on the flag it would have been much more impressive, but for the most part, tribes aren’t looking to impress artistically – they just want to leave their mark.
3. Alinta – Vanuatu
In the case of the Alinta tribe, less is definitely more. The flag is simple but so well executed. With the subtitle of the season being “Islands of Fire”, a volcano was almost necessary when painting the flag. The real star of the flag is the swirling sun. By keeping it simple, the flag is a definite standout. A lot of tribes should take note from the Alinta tribe: it isn’t crowded with tribe members names or little symbols – it’s clean, simple and a true work of art.
2. Gitanos – Panama
This flag is amazing for a number of reasons; the first being the impressive skull coming from the smoke of the candle. The skull, which was featured in a number of the challenges, was an icon of the season, and it was replicated beautifully. The letters are crafted very well, with the white dots giving them an extra punch. Also, the feather on the left makes this entire flag one of the best Survivor has seen. All of the painting is excellent, but my favourite part of the flag is how it is hung; for the first and only time in any Survivor season, the Gitanos tribe hung their flag vertically instead of horizontally, making it a major standout.
1. Enil Edam – Caramoan
Enil Edam not only has one of the funniest tribe names, it has, in my opinion, the most impressive flag in Survivor history. Once again, Erik did an incredible job in creating the tribe flag. Although it is very similar to the flag from Dabu, it has a few more details that make it worthy of being number one on this list. The first is the impressive helicopter with a nice little detail of having the “FvF” for Fans Vs. Favorites on it. Although the names being painted randomly could have been left out, they don’t take away from the image (except for Michael, who for some reason ended up in the middle of the water.) The sunset is incredible and the entire flag is amazing. The main reason this flag sits at the top of the list is the cute little cartoons of each contestant located on the back of the flag. I am guessing this was done after Corinne’s boot because she didn’t make the flag, but the cartoon faces of the rest of the tribe are enough to land the top spot on this list.
What do you think of the top 10? Do you agree? Disagree? Is it in the wrong order or are there ones that didn’t make the top 10 that you feel should’ve? Leave a comment below to let us know your thoughts!