Tainted Cain is a character added in The Binding of Isaac: Repentance. He is the alternate version of Cain. Tainted Cain is unlocked by reaching Home and using either the Red Key or the Cracked Key to access a special room in one of the walls while playing as Cain. Soul of Cain cannot be used due to its unlock method involving Tainted Cain. He has an identical appearance to Cain with the exception of a giant blood wound behind his left eye patch.
Tainted Cain starts with 2 heart containers, 1 key, and the Bag of Crafting in the consumable slot.
Tainted Cain can't obtain items through any means other than the Bag of Crafting, and attempting to take an item from a pedestal will reduce it into an assortment of pickups.
The pickups dropped are dependent on what type of room the item was touched in; Items touched in Secret Rooms will drop Bone Hearts, Curse Rooms will create Rotten Hearts, and Devil Rooms/ Angel Rooms will cause items to generate Black Hearts/ Eternal Hearts respectively. Crafting an active item when already holding one will also transform the old active item into the room's consumables instead of dropping it.
- All crafting recipes are seeded and are random per run.
- The order of the ingredients does not matter.
- A Half Red Heart/ Half Soul Heart counts as one heart in terms of crafting.
- A Blended Heart counts as one red heart plus one soul heart.
- Double Bombs, Double Hearts, and Double Pennies count as two of the individual item rather than being distinct items.
- Lucky Pennies are distinct from Pennies.
- Charged Keys are distinct from Keys.
- If a mod is installed and enabled that adds new items in any form, the Bag of Crafting's recipes shift entirely to accommodate for their presence. This renders guides on exact recipes inaccurate.
- Items related to story plots are not affected and can be taken as normal, including:
- Items are not removed from item pools upon being turned into pickups, nor from being successfully crafted. However, seeing an item still applies weight decrementation.
- Items that cannot be crafted include:
- As with his regular counterpart Cain, Tainted Cain can only shoot tears from his right eye and as such shares all the same item interactions.
- Bag of Crafting can craft itself, leading to Cain being able to hold two; however, they share the same inventory, rendering the second bag's craft essentially useless, except for generating special pickups from specific rooms by spawning it with the second bag of crafting.
As Tainted Cain has "No Destiny", he must create his own with the Bag of Crafting. While it is tempting to place pickups like coins and health into the Bag of Crafting as soon as they are encountered, this will likely only lead to the creation of lower quality items. Tainted Cain rewards players who use lower valued pickups in a way that helps them obtain higher valued ones in order to craft powerful items.
- It is strongly advised to unlock most, if not all pickups prior to playing Tainted Cain. High tier items become much harder or even impossible to craft without certain unlockable pickups, such as Bone Hearts.
- If an easy recipe for an Active Item is known, repeatedly crafting it in special rooms (such as Secret Rooms) and transforming old active items into room-specific pickups is a simple way to obtain powerful items.
- Many alternate ways of getting pedestal items, such as Shops or Devil Rooms, become irrelevant or outright detrimental when playing as Tainted Cain. Taking a Devil Deal only has the immediate benefit of dropping Black Hearts, which can be accomplished without spending Heart Containers through replacing Tainted Cain's Active Item while present in the Devil Room. As such, it is often more beneficial to skip the first Devil Room and instead potentially get free materials from a later Angel Room.
- Shop items can still be purchased by swiping them up with the Bag of Crafting, making them a consistent source of more remarkable ingredients.
- Cards (and pills) may want to be checked for their effects before having them put in the Bag of Crafting, as a few may be more beneficial to use than part of a recipe.
- It may be effective to leave room rewards and pedestal item drops for a later time, then returning to craft items out of the more expensive materials once more are gathered.
- Items across pits and rocks that would otherwise require resources or would be unobtainable can usually be grabbed by the Bag of Crafting's swing range.
- Birthright: Doubles the amount of pickups each pedestal item turns into.
- Genesis: Tainted Cain can craft dozens of low-quality passive items and then use Genesis to gain much better items.
Managing to create items or finding trinkets that increase agency over pickups can greatly improve a run:
- Duality: Provides much more freedom to utilize black hearts and eternal hearts as you see fit, especially when combined with Goat Head or Eucharist.
- D20: Allows Tainted Cain to reroll massive amounts of pickups into more helpful ones or even into chests, which contain extra pickups.
- Mitre: Makes it much more likely to find valuable soul hearts, which can be used to craft equally valuable items.
- Moving Box: Permits more control over desired pickups. By putting a pedestal item in the box and placing it back down inside of a special room, you can guarantee the pickup(s) associated with that room. This eliminates the need to constantly be spending resources crafting new active items, but requires a 4-room recharge between uses.
- Options?: While trying to swipe both given pickups with the Bag of Crafting at the same time is impossible, Options? allows for a much greater variety of ingredients.
- Portable Slot: Has a guaranteed crafting recipe of 8 pennies across all seeds. Can be used as a way to mill off coins in exchange for other pickups, creating a large amount of pickups in a single room for manipulation. Repeatedly creating and destroying Portable Slots in special rooms is also a cheap way of producing premium pickups.
- Schoolbag: allows for the player to carry an Active Item they intend to use, as well as an Active Item to be turned into materials in special rooms.
This applies to items and trinkets that expand the number of pickups generated throughout the run as well:
- Black Lipstick / Bible Tract: Increases the chance of getting Black or Eternal Hearts, granting easier access to stronger items.
- Butter!: Using your active item drops it on the ground as a pedestal which can then be converted into pickups. Works well with Portable Slot for farming pickups in special rooms.
- Safety Scissors: Allows for more bombs to be picked up, and can be used to generate infinite bombs if a Bomb Bum is encountered.
- Broken Modem / Contract From Below: Can give substantially more pickups from room clears if crafted early.
- Diplopia / Rune of Jera / Crooked Penny: (Can) Double all pickups in a single room.
- Rune of Jera can be paired with Clear Rune for a more sustainable method of cloning pickups.
- D1: Can be used to duplicate rare and valuable pickups.
- Scapular: Gives a soul heart whenever damage reduces Tainted Cain to half a heart of health. Can be used repeatedly by leaving and re-entering a room, allowing for infinite items if paired with Piggy Bank, Fanny Pack, or Old Bandage.
- Everything Jar: Produces a number of useful pickups for crafting, in particular Golden Bombs, Gold Hearts and Golden Keys which are harder to find. Furthermore, the gold bombs and keys allow Tainted Cain greater access to further resources without needing to expend normal bombs and keys.
- Glitter Bombs: Produces more pickups, especially if combined with Dr. Fetus, Epic Fetus, or Number Two.
- Sack Head: Increases the amount of pickups from almost all sources.
- Sacks (eg; Sack of Pennies, Mystery Sack, Rune Bag): Reliable sources of a particular pickup type.
- Clicker: Transforms Tainted Cain into another tainted character. This allows for easy completion marks as Tainted Lost, especially since Holy Mantle, Dead Cat, and Gnawed Leaf can be crafted before transforming. If Lazarus' Rags or Ankh is activated while Clicker is held, it can be used to transform into non-tainted characters as well.
The Diplopia synergies can be easy to pull off: instead of using Diplopia, Tainted Cain can simply craft an item repeatedly using the same combination of pickups.
There are some items not shown on the Diplopia page that can also be useful for Tainted Cain to craft repeatedly:
- An item that contributes to a transformation can be crafted 3 times to complete the transformation.
- Rosary: Gives 3 Soul Hearts and a Tears Up every time it's crafted, and it contributes to Seraphim. Unlike other characters, adding The Bible to all item pools doesn't bother Tainted Cain at all.
- Dad's Lost Coin: Generates a Lucky Penny, which can be used for more expensive recipes.
- Mama Mega! is very expensive, but can be used to force entry into Boss Rush and ???. Due to how slow and methodical Tainted Cain typically is, this item can be incredibly useful for obtaining completion marks.
- Golden Bombs are easier for Tainted Cain to obtain, possibly allowing multiple uses of the item.
- R Key: allows for Tainted Cain to continue a run almost indefinitely if crafted repeatedly, potentially earning every Completion Mark outside of Greed Mode in a single run.
- Bum Friend, Dark Bum, Key Bum, Bumbo: will require intense micromanagement so they don't take essential materials and foil plans. Coins, red hearts and keys may still prove to be useful even in harder recipes.
- Humbling Bundle and Bogo Bombs: May sound good for Tainted Cain in theory, but in practice will make it much harder to craft items precisely. Double pickups will yield 2 of the associated crafting ingredient, which can lead to frustrating situations if a recipe specifically calls for 1 of a particular pickup.
- Equality! also somewhat suffers from this, although it may be dropped and its effects are easy to deliberately cancel.
- Magneto: Can prove troublesome as it will cause pickups to coalesce and be pulled towards towards Tainted Cain, making it quite difficult to craft items precisely without grabbing unnecessary resources or picking them up.
- Range up items and effects: Offset the hitbox of the Bag of Crafting's swing. Can make it easier to grab pickups from long distances, but may also make it more difficult to collect desired pickups without accidentally swiping up nearby ones.
- Tiny Planet in particular will cause the Bag of Crafting's swing to occur a severe distance from Tainted Cain.
- The D6, Eternal D6, Spindown Dice, There's Options, More Options, Sacred Orb, Glitched Crown: serve no purpose without Clicker due to Tainted Cain's ability.
- The achievement for unlocking Tainted Cain is "The Hoarder", a possible title for the character.
- Tainted Cain's description of "No Destiny" on the character selection screen implies that "Destiny" is the designated items set to appear every time in a random seed.
- This is backed by the description of The D6, being "Reroll your destiny".
- Defeating Ultra Greedier as Tainted Cain unlocks X - Wheel of Fortune?, a reversed Major Arcana card associated with increase and superfluity. This is likely a deliberate choice, as it parallels Tainted Cain's gameplay featuring a dramatic excess of pickups.
- Tainted Cain's Bag Of Crafting was originally planned by Edmund to "collect" enemy projectiles to shoot a bigger projectile back at them, then was changed to the crafting mechanic.
|Bug!||In Co-Op mode, if Tainted Cain takes an item from the boss pedestal, he will take every other unclaimed item at once.|
|Bug!||If you have Car Battery and you try to use an active item while you are using the Bag of Crafting car battery will not work|
|Tainted Cain Unlocks|
|The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth|
Collection • Item Pools • Version History • Modding • Music