Binding of Isaac: Rebirth Wiki

Added in Repentance

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


  • 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 Dark Judas Dark Judas or Tainted Judas Tainted Judas, for every enemy/bullet he walked through, he will gain a temporary +1 damage bonus, which wears off at a rate of -0.25 damage every half second.


  • 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 Forever Alone Forever 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 Lost Contact Lost Contact.
  • Isaac cannot pick up items or donate to Blood Donation Machine.png Blood Donation Machines or Devil Beggar.png Devil Beggars while Dark Arts is activated, but he can pass through doors or over spikes.
  • Dark Arts cannot open Spiked Chest Spiked Chests or Mimic Chest Mimic Chests while active, but standing on the chests when the effect ends will safely open them.
  • Isaac can still press buttons while Dark Arts is activated.
  • Dark Arts will trigger certain tear effects on enemies it damages, such as burning from Fire Mind Fire Mind.
  • Dark Arts is extremely effective against enemies with multiple segments such as Larry Jr. Larry Jr. because it can affect each segment individually, greatly increasing damage.
  • Invincible enemies such as Stoney Stoniesand Stone Grimace Stone Grimaces can still be affected and used to increase the damage.
    • Host Hosts can be damaged and killed even while they are lowered and invincible.
    • Similarly, using Dark Arts on Scolex Scolex's invulnerable segments will still deal damage, making the fight significantly easier.
  • Dark Arts can be a useful tool for Tainted Jacob Tainted 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.


  • 120 Volt 120 Volt: 120 Volt will still activate while using Dark Arts, allowing Isaac to deal more damage to nearby enemies while invulnerable.
  • Aquarius Aquarius: Due to the nature of Dark Arts, Isaac can easily damage enemies with the trail left behind.
  • Book of Virtues Book of Virtues: Spawns black wisps on the middle ring whenever an enemy is killed with Dark Arts. The wisps do not persist between rooms.
  • Camo Undies Camo Undies: If used at the start of a room, after Dark Arts' effect ends, Isaac re-enters the stealth mode given by Camo Undies.
  • Car Battery Car Battery: Dark Arts will last twice as long, totaling at 2 seconds per use. If Dark Arts is ended early, a second Dark Arts will activate for the time remaining.
  • Euthanasia Euthanasia: When Dark Arts ends, each enemy tagged may instantly die and release a burst of black tears as if hit by a Euthanasia tear.
  • Gnawed Leaf Gnawed 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.
  • How to Jump How to Jump: Jumping over an enemy or projectile while Dark Arts is active will tag it.
  • Ipecac Ipecac: Because Dark Arts' damage is scaled off of tear damage, Ipecac gives an extremely high damage boost to each Dark Arts hit, easily capable of destroying some early bosses in a single hit.
  • Kamikaze! Kamikaze!: Kamikaze! can be activated without harm when using Dark Arts.
  • Mars Mars: Isaac is able to dash while using Dark Arts, allowing him to reach more enemies in one use of Dark Arts while still dealing damage with Mars' dash.
  • Mom's Knife Mom's Knife: Mom's Knife will still deal damage even while in Dark Arts, killing most weaker enemies and bosses easily.
  • Montezuma's Revenge Montezuma's Revenge: The corns created by Montezuma's Revenge can be caught by Dark Arts, and most will naturally, making each cast of Dark Arts give huge boosts of damage. The Brimstone beam created will also still be active while Dark Arts is active.
  • Pause Pause: Activating Dark Arts will not cancel the effect, turning Pause into an instant room clear in most situations and an effective tool for damaging bosses.
    • Pause Pause + 4.5 Volt 4.5 Volt: Pause becomes an even more effective tool against bosses, as it can now be activated several times in the fight.
    • Pause Pause + 9 Volt 9 Volt: Pause can be used every room, making most of them very easy to clear.
  • Rock Bottom Rock Bottom: Rock Bottom will prevent the damage bonus given to Tainted Judas or Dark Judas from decreasing, allowing him to keep the highest achieved damage bonus.
  • Taurus Taurus: Dark Arts' damage bonus 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.


  • Aries Aries / E. Coli E. Coli / Midas' Touch Midas' Touch / Mom's Heels Mom's Heels / Serpent's Kiss Serpent's Kiss / The Virus The Virus: On-touch effects won't activate when Dark Arts are active.
  • Libra Libra: 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 Clot Lil Clot / Sumptorium Sumptorium: 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 if the he does not use the drop button to make them stay still.

In-game footage[]


  • 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.


Bug Bug! Sometimes, if the player touches an enemy, Dark Arts can last shorter and end prematurely.[Check ingame]