Binding of Isaac: Rebirth Wiki

(in Repentance)

Dark Arts is an unlockable activated item added in The Binding of Isaac: Repentance. Character Tainted Judas iconTainted Judas starts with this item in his consumable slot.

Effects[ | ]

  • When used, Isaac gains +1.0 speed and can walk through enemies/bullets for 1 second or until he shoots. If Isaac walks through an enemy or bullet during this time, it freezes until the effect ends, then takes damage equal to 2x Isaac's damage plus a flat 3.5. If there are multiple enemies/projectiles caught in the attack, each consecutive attack deals an additional flat 3.5 damage. At the end of the effect, an area of effect blast is created, dealing more damage the more enemies or bullets were pierced during the effect.
    • The damage of the blast at the end of Dark Arts is equal to the sum of all damage dealt while dashing between enemies.
      • Bullets walked through will still count for the final blast damage calculation, even though they can't be damaged.
  • When used as Character Dark Judas iconDark Judas or Character Tainted Judas iconTainted Judas, for every enemy/bullet he walks through, he will gain a temporary +1 damage bonus, which wears off at a rate of -0.25 damage every half second.

Notes[ | ]

  • The invincibility can be canceled early by firing tears (and hence receive the damage bonus early with Tainted Judas or Dark Judas).
  • If an enemy/bullet Isaac walks through dies or otherwise disappears before Dark Arts deactivates, they will not grant a damage bonus.
  • Orbitals that deal contact damage such as File:Collectible Forever Alone icon.pngForever Alone will still deal damage and potentially kill an enemy, while those that block shots like Pretty Flies will still block and destroy projectiles. This is not generally recommended, as it will make it difficult to gain damage off of targets.
    • Dark Arts still works on reflected bullets, which may be beneficial.
    • Explosive projectiles will explode when destroyed by Dark Arts, unlike those destroyed by Collectible Lost Contact iconLost Contact.
  • Isaac cannot pick up items or donate to Blood Donation MachineBlood Donation Machines or Devil BeggarDevil Beggars while Dark Arts is activated, but he can pass through Curse RoomCurse Room doors or over spikes.
  • Dark Arts cannot open Spiked ChestSpiked Chests or Mimic chest RepentanceMimic Chests while active, but standing on the chests when the effect ends will safely open them.
  • Isaac can still press Pressure PlatePressure Plates while Dark Arts is activated.
  • Dark Arts will trigger certain tear effects on enemies it damages, such as burning from Collectible Fire Mind iconFire Mind.
  • Dark Arts is extremely effective against enemies with multiple segments such as Boss Larry Jr. ingameLarry Jr. because it can affect each segment individually, greatly increasing damage.
  • Invincible enemies such as StoneyStonies and Stone GrimaceStone Grimaces can still be affected and used to increase the damage.
    • HostHosts can be damaged and killed even while they are lowered and invincible.
    • Similarly, using Dark Arts on Boss Scolex ingameScolex's invulnerable segments will still deal damage, making the fight significantly easier.
  • Dark Arts can be a useful tool for Character Tainted Jacob iconTainted Jacob to avoid colliding with Dark Esau, as the invincibility and stunning effects of the item fully work against him even if Esau charges at the player.
  • Collectible Dark Arts iconDark Arts is fantastic in Greed mode. It can be used to press the button without taking any damage, kill many enemies with each activation, and have the item be constantly recharged with each wave.
    • While playing as Character Tainted Judas iconTainted Judas, each enemy or projectile ran into will grant a damage buff. With the sheer amount of enemies appearing, especially in Greedier, Tainted Judas will gain an immense damage buff and can kill huge swaths of enemies with ease. Additionally, this is even more potent against Boss Ultra Greed ingameUltra Greed, as you can run through the many Greed GaperGreed Gapers summoned to gain even greater damage buff, as the Gapers will be clustered very closely together.

Synergies[ | ]

  • Items that trigger on kill like Collectible Athame iconAthame, Collectible Vasculitis iconVasculitis, Collectible Bone Spurs iconBone Spurs will make Dark Arts deal more damage.
  • Collectible 9 Volt icon9 Volt: Halves the time required to charge Dark Arts, making it usable every 3 seconds.
  • Collectible 120 Volt icon120 Volt/Collectible Jupiter iconJupiter/Collectible Monstrance iconMonstrance/Collectible Salvation iconSalvation/knife given by the Yes Mother?Yes Mother? transformation: These items stay in effect even while using Dark Arts, allowing Isaac to deal more damage to nearby enemies while invulnerable.
  • Collectible Backstabber iconBackstabber: Tagging an enemy from behind will apply Backstabber's effect.
  • Collectible The Battery iconThe Battery: Second charge can be used while Dark Arts is active, essentially making it last longer.
  • Collectible The Book of Belial iconThe Book of Belial + Collectible Birthright iconBirthright as Character Judas iconJudas / Character Dark Judas iconDark Judas: Grants temporary damage ups for every enemy/projectile hit by Dark Arts, similarly to Character Tainted Judas iconTainted Judas. This stacks with Character Dark Judas iconDark Judas' inherent version of this, doubling the amount of damage gained.
  • Collectible Book of Virtues iconBook of Virtues: Spawns black wisps on the middle ring whenever an enemy is killed with Dark Arts. The wisps do not persist between rooms.
  • Collectible Camo Undies iconCamo Undies: The stealth mode given by Camo Undies won't be removed by activating Dark Arts.
  • Collectible Car Battery iconCar Battery: Dark Arts will last twice as long, totaling at 2 seconds per use.
  • Collectible Euthanasia iconEuthanasia: When Dark Arts ends, each enemy tagged may instantly die and release a burst of black tears as if hit by a Euthanasia tear.
  • Collectible Gnawed Leaf iconGnawed Leaf: If Isaac is stationary when Dark Arts ends, he will gain invulnerability without any downtime. Dark Arts can also be used from invulnerability without taking damage.
  • Collectible How to Jump iconHow to Jump: Jumping over an enemy or projectile while Dark Arts is active will tag it.
  • Collectible Ipecac iconIpecac: Because Dark Arts' damage is scaled off of tear damage, Ipecac gives an extremely high damage boost to each Dark Arts hit.
  • Collectible Kamikaze! iconKamikaze!: Kamikaze! can be activated without harm while using Dark Arts.
  • Collectible Maw Of The Void iconMaw Of The Void/Collectible Montezuma's Revenge iconMontezuma's Revenge/Collectible Revelation iconRevelation: Can be charged and released during Dark Arts.
  • Collectible Mom's Knife iconMom's Knife: Mom's Knife will still deal damage even while in Dark Arts.
  • Collectible Pause iconPause: Activating Dark Arts will not cancel the effect.
    • Collectible Pause iconPause + Collectible 9 Volt icon9 Volt: Pause can be used every room, making most of them very easy to clear.
  • Collectible Saturnus iconSaturnus: Orbiting tears are able to damage enemies during Dark Arts.
  • Collectible Taurus iconTaurus: Dark Arts' speed increase will contribute towards Taurus' activation, allowing Isaac to become invulnerable much earlier.
  • Wisps: Wisps cannot be destroyed while Dark Arts is in effect and still deal contact damage.

Interactions[ | ]

  • Collectible Aries iconAries / Collectible E. Coli iconE. Coli / Collectible Midas' Touch iconMidas' Touch / Collectible Mom's Heels iconMom's Heels / Collectible Serpent's Kiss iconSerpent's Kiss / Collectible The Virus iconThe Virus: On-touch effects won't activate while Dark Arts is active.
  • Collectible Libra iconLibra: Not recommended. The speed boost during the invincibility phase is transferred into other stat bonuses, which are useless as tears cannot be used. If used with Tainted Judas or Dark Judas, the temporary damage boost is divided across all of his stats, resulting in negligible stat boosts.
  • Lil ClotLil Clot / Collectible Sumptorium iconSumptorium: Clots gain increased speed and are no longer be able to fire, but are still vulnerable to damage while Isaac is using Dark Arts. They're likely to hit any enemies or projectiles Isaac runs through without using the drop button to make them stay still.
  • Collectible Mars iconMars: Isaac is able to dash while using Dark Arts.

In-game footage[ | ]

Trivia[ | ]

  • The item is a reference to a flash game Edmund McMillen created in 2005 called Grey-Matter. In this game, enemies would be killed in a fashion identical to Dark Arts.
  • Before being added in game, Dark Arts was the starting item for Dark Judas in The Binding of Isaac: Four Souls, a card game created by Edmund McMillan.

Bugs[ | ]

Bug Bug! Sometimes, if the player touches an enemy, Collectible Dark Arts iconDark Arts can last shorter and end prematurely.[Check ingame]
Bug Bug! Using Collectible Dark Arts iconDark Arts after using Collectible Doctor's Remote iconDoctor's Remote before the missile hits the ground will trap Isaac in the animation of holding the remote over his head until leaving the room or getting hit, preventing you from firing tears.