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AX86U Pro Merlin Benefits?

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After having used the RT-AC68U for well over a decade, I finally decided to upgrade to an AX86U Pro. I know there were clear benefits and additional functionality provided by the Merlin firmware on the AC68U (AiMesh, OpenVPN, etc.), but I am wondering if there is any with the AX86U? I've reviewed the Merlin website, but I don't see anything related to improvements for specific models.
Per the Asus-Merlin website About page: "... its primary goals are to enhance the existing firmware without bringing any radical changes, and to fix some of the known issues and limitations, while maintaining the same level of performance as the original firmware."

What Merlin generally brings is certain features or options not found in the stock Asus firmware. One of those options is using add-on scripts to extend the capabilities and features of the router. See the AddOns subforum for the various scripts one can run using Asus-Merlin firmware:

Generally the Asus-Merlin firmware features are not confined to, or programmed for, a specific router. The extra features and options Merlin brings are generally available for the entire class of routers (AX or AC), or routers running specific chipsets.
I had been a Merlin user for quite a few years. Old age health problems and COVID got me thinking about the family having someone else work on the home network. I decided to go back to Asus firmware to make it easier on someone not as familiar with networking. I've not been disappointed as the Asus firmware has developed to the point that I really do not need the Merlin firmware. OK, I do load up Merlin from time to time to see if I really need it (and the last time was a week ago to test 3004.388.4). After a couple of days I went back to Asus firmware. Will I try Merlin again? Probably. Do I really need Merlin? No. I am a bit anxious that the "new" generation of Asus firmware could bork things up a bit so I am keeping local copies of Asus and Merlin firmware, with their corresponding recovery files, just-in-case.
If RMerlin support is offered on a specific router, then it is the logical option (almost always).

Even if none of the specific RMerlin features are used.

The effort to produce RMerlin firmware is for a reason (many, actually), and is superior to stock in all/most environments.

If RMerlin support is offered on a specific router, then it is the logical option (almost always).

Even if none of the specific RMerlin features are used.

The effort to produce RMerlin firmware is for a reason (many, actually), and is superior to stock in all/most environments.

I doubt you have ever compiled firmware so do not know a lot of the options in RMerlin firmware are also in stock but are just disabled by Asus.
When Asus had the GPL on their site you could download the files and before compiling the firmware enable these options.
The amount of users who come to this forum is a very very small amount compared to how many use Asus routers and are happy with stock firmware.
Things like wireless and some other parts are exactly the same on either as they are closed source.
Remember, RMerlin firmware would not exist without having the source files (GPL) from Asus.
I hope it does not happen but you may see a time when third party firmware goes away if Asus and other Manufacturers decide to no longer provide the GPL.
When you posted that link did you forget to read the first line?

With a few rare exceptions, Asuswrt-Merlin retains the features from the original stock Asus firmware.

Having tested stock and RMerlin for performance I have never seen any difference.
A lot of features that were only in RMerlin are now also in stock firmware so like I said before unless you want to use add ons or scripts there really isn't a difference anymore.
You're missing the points of the link I shared.

Performance for a router is more than just raw speed to me. It also includes stability, reliability, and consistency. Read that link again to see what additional things RMerlin does beyond flipping switches during the compilation of his firmware.

I don't 'test' stock and RMerlin firmware anymore (I did about ten years ago for a while). Because there is a difference. Not in 'test' environments, but rather, real ones. And the networks I've set up for customers over that time are further proof of those aspects mentioned above. Some of those networks were even using Asus routers already (stock firmware, of course). Switching them to RMerlin firmware was a noticeable improvement for those customers.

It doesn't matter what is the same or not between the two firmware. What matters is that the changes RMerlin makes are the right ones, today. As for Asus using some of RMerlin's code, that is to their credit (and I hope he has been compensated appropriately for those contributions). The changes he makes today will more than likely be incorporated into future Asus stock firmware too, for everyone's benefit.
The benefits for using Rmerlin firmware for me are:

FlexQoS (improves Adaptive QoS in stock fw)
DualWANFailover (broken in stock fw)
LED_Control (with AMTM)

Best of luck!!!
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I was playing a lot in last 2 years with both Asuswrt and Asuswrt-Merlin and was getting more consistent results with Asuswrt. No scripts and advanced VPN configurations? - Asuswrt. Wireless AiMesh or a mix of wired and wireless? - Asuswrt. Multiple scripts and USB stick with Asuswrt-Merlin? - trouble coming soon. Plain Asuswrt-Merlin after Asuswrt adopted many of the features? - not needed. A new Pro router in the house? - Asuswrt Pro firmware. Want latest security updates? - Asuswrt, most of the time. Is Asuswrt-Merlin coming with fixed Asuswrt bugs? - no, most of the time.
'Playing' with equipment for amusement purposes and using methods that have been replaced with superior results (i.e. SSD in an external enclosure rather than USB 'sticks') is far different than just using these devices day after day, week after week, and year after year.

The effort RMerlin puts into his firmware shows. If you use it to run your network instead of just comparing cherry-picked points that are effectively meaningless, overall.
Long time ignored issues with core functionality in Asuswrt-Merlin finally resulted in this:

Testing and fixing things benefits all the users. It's a joint effort - users and developers.
I like the vpn options better for Merlin. I do find the stability of Asus a bit better and that is mostly wifi wise. Althoug Merlin said this is closed source and not in his hands. I still stay on Merlin. I like to be able to use scripts and I kinda find it needed to use it as a figure as support.

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