Binding of Isaac: Rebirth Wiki

Added in Repentance

Tainted Cain is a character added in The Binding of Isaac: Repentance. He is the alternate version of Cain Cain. Tainted Cain is unlocked by reaching Home Home and using either the Red Key Red Key or the Cracked Key Cracked Key to access a special room in one of the walls while playing as Cain. Soul of 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 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 Room Secret Rooms will drop Bone Heart Bone Hearts, Curse Room Curse Rooms will create Rotten Heart Rotten Hearts, and Devil Room Devil Rooms/Angel Room Angel Rooms will cause items to generate Black Heart Black Hearts/ Eternal Heart 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.


  • 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 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.

Unlockable Items[]


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 Heart 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 Shop Shops or Devil Room Devil Rooms, become irrelevant or outright detrimental when playing as Tainted Cain. Taking a Devil Deal only has the immediate benefit of dropping Black Heart 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.

Item Interactions[]

Helpful Items[]

  • Birthright Birthright: Doubles the amount of pickups each pedestal item turns into.
  • Genesis 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 Duality: Provides much more freedom to utilize black hearts and eternal hearts as you see fit, especially when combined with Goat Head Goat Head or Eucharist Eucharist.
  • D20 D20: Allows Tainted Cain to reroll massive amounts of pickups into more helpful ones or even into chests, which contain extra pickups.
  • Mitre Mitre: Makes it much more likely to find valuable soul hearts, which can be used to craft equally valuable items.
  • Moving Box 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? 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 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 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 Black Lipstick / Bible Tract Bible Tract: Increases the chance of getting Black or Eternal Hearts, granting easier access to stronger items.
  • Butter! 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 Portable Slot for farming pickups in special rooms.
  • Safety Scissors Safety Scissors: Allows for more bombs to be picked up, and can be used to generate infinite bombs if a Bomb Bum.png Bomb Bum is encountered.
  • Broken Modem Broken Modem / Contract From Below Contract From Below: Can give substantially more pickups from room clears if crafted early.
  • Diplopia Diplopia / Rune of Jera Rune of Jera / Crooked Penny Crooked Penny: (Can) Double all pickups in a single room.
    • Rune of Jera can be paired with Clear Rune Clear Rune for a more sustainable method of cloning pickups.
  • D1 D1: Can be used to duplicate rare and valuable pickups.
    • D1 Synergizes extremely well with battery items such as 9 Volt 9 Volt or Car Battery Car Battery, the latter of which when paired with a Battery pickup can generate infinite Batteries.
  • Scapular 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 Piggy Bank, Fanny Pack Fanny Pack, or Old Bandage Old Bandage.
  • Everything Jar Everything Jar: Produces a number of useful pickups for crafting, in particular Golden Bomb Golden Bombs, Gold Heart Gold Hearts and Golden Key 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 Glitter Bombs: Produces more pickups, especially if combined with Dr. Fetus Dr. Fetus, Epic Fetus Epic Fetus, or Number Two Number Two.
  • Sack Head Sack Head: Increases the amount of pickups from almost all sources.
  • Sacks (eg; Sack of Pennies Sack of Pennies, Mystery Sack Mystery Sack, Rune Bag Rune Bag): Reliable sources of a particular pickup type.
  • Clicker Clicker: Transforms Tainted Cain into another tainted character. This allows for easy completion marks as Tainted Lost Tainted Lost, especially since Holy Mantle Holy Mantle, Dead Cat Dead Cat, and Gnawed Leaf Gnawed Leaf can be crafted before transforming. If Lazarus' Rags Lazarus' Rags or Ankh 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 Rosary: Gives 3 Soul Heart Soul Hearts and a Tears Up every time it's crafted, and it contributes to Seraphim Seraphim. Unlike other characters, adding The Bible The Bible to all item pools doesn't bother Tainted Cain at all.
  • Dad's Lost Coin Dad's Lost Coin: Generates a Lucky Penny Lucky Penny, which can be used for more expensive recipes.
  • Mama Mega! Mama Mega! is very expensive, but can be used to force entry into Boss Rush Boss Rush and ??? ???. Due to how slow and methodical Tainted Cain typically is, this item can be incredibly useful for obtaining completion marks.
    • Golden Bomb Golden Bombs are easier for Tainted Cain to obtain, possibly allowing multiple uses of the item.
  • R Key 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.
    • Defeating The Beast The Beast or Mega Satan Mega Satan will end the game before you can use R Key (unless the Gateway to the Void spawns after the Mega Satan fight).

Unfavorable Items[]

  • Bum Friend Bum Friend, Dark Bum Dark Bum, Key Bum Key Bum, Bumbo 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 Humbling Bundle and Bogo Bombs 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! Equality! also somewhat suffers from this, although it may be dropped and its effects are easy to deliberately cancel.
  • Magneto 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 Tiny Planet in particular will cause the Bag of Crafting's swing to occur a severe distance from Tainted Cain.
  • The D6 The D6, Eternal D6 Eternal D6, Spindown Dice Spindown Dice, There's Options There's Options, More Options More Options, Sacred Orb Sacred Orb, Glitched Crown Glitched Crown: serve no purpose without Clicker 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 The D6, being "Reroll your destiny".
  • Defeating Ultra Greedier Ultra Greedier as Tainted Cain unlocks X - Wheel of Fortune? 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 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 Bug! If you have Car Battery Car Battery and you try to use an active item while you are using the Bag of Crafting Bag of Crafting car battery will not work