The MERGE statement compares source and target data, and then inserts into, updates, and deletes from the target table, all in a single statement. This statement was introduced in SQL Server 2008. I liked it, because it allows you to replace a set of multiple queries with just one single query. And while a statement with that many options necessarily has a more complex syntax, I still believe that, in most cases, a single MERGE statement is easier to read, write, and maintain, than a combination of at least an INSERT and an UPDATE, often a DELETE, and sometimes first a SELECT into a temporary table if the source is complex.
Click through for a review of a variety of problems people have had in the past. It surprised me a bit when I learned how few of these issues were still active problems caused by MERGE.