Binding of Isaac: Rebirth Wiki
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(in Repentance)

Tainted Cain is a character added in The Binding of Isaac: Repentance. He is the alternate version of Character Cain iconCain. Tainted Cain is unlocked by reaching HomeHome and using either the Collectible Red Key iconRed Key or the Cracked KeyCracked Key to access a special room in one of the walls while playing as Cain. Soul of CainSoul 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 Collectible Bag of Crafting iconBag of Crafting in the consumable slot.

Notes[ | ]

Strategy[ | ]

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 HeartBone Hearts.
  • Many alternate ways of getting pedestal items, such as ShopShops or Devil RoomDevil Rooms, become irrelevant or outright detrimental when playing as Tainted Cain. Taking a Devil Deal only has the immediate benefit of dropping Black HeartBlack Hearts, which in general are more beneficial to find through other means, such as Curse RoomCurse Rooms. 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 return 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[ | ]

  • Collectible Birthright iconBirthright: Doubles the number of pickups each pedestal item turns into, practically doubling the number of items that Tainted Cain can craft on each floor.
    • In Greed Mode, purchasing an on-sale item over and over while having Birthright results in almost infinite consumables.
  • Collectible Death Certificate iconDeath Certificate: Tainted Cain is able to pick up items found in the abandoned rooms without causing them to explode into pickups. This allows Tainted Cain to utilize Death Certificate to its full potential.
  • Collectible D4 iconD4: D4 allows Tainted Cain to craft items regardless of quality and, as long as he still has D4, reroll them into potentially better quality items that would have been more expensive to craft.
    • Similar item rerolling effects such as those granted by Collectible D100 iconD100 or Dice RoomDice Rooms can also be beneficial for similar reasons.
  • Collectible Genesis iconGenesis: Tainted Cain can craft dozens of low-quality passive items and then use Genesis to gain much better items.
  • Collectible Libra iconLibra: Allows for Tainted Cain to craft lower level stat ups, such as range and speed ups to give a small all stats boost.

Managing to create items or finding trinkets that increase agency over pickups can greatly improve a run:

  • Collectible Duality iconDuality: Provides much more freedom to utilize black hearts and eternal hearts as you see fit, especially when combined with Collectible Goat Head iconGoat Head or Collectible Eucharist iconEucharist.
  • Collectible D20 iconD20: Allows Tainted Cain to reroll massive amounts of pickups into more helpful ones or even into chests, which contain extra pickups.
  • Collectible Mitre iconMitre: Makes it much more likely to find valuable soul hearts, which can be used to craft equally valuable items.
  • Collectible Moving Box iconMoving Box: Permits more control over desired pickups. By putting a pedestal item in the box and placing it back down inside 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.
  • Collectible Options? iconOptions?: 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.
  • Collectible Sacred Orb iconSacred Orb: Makes it so you can't craft low-quality items, effectively making the creation of more valuable items easier. However, it also changes the recipes, so this might be detrimental if you have already noted down some valuable recipes.
    • NO!NO!: If combined with Collectible Mom's Box iconMom's Box or its golden counterpart, prevents items with 0 quality from being crafted. Doesn't prevent the creation of active items.
  • Collectible Portable Slot iconPortable 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.
    • Collectible Schoolbag iconSchoolbag: allows for the player to carry an Active Item they intend to use, as well as an Active Item to turn into materials.

This applies to items and trinkets that expand the number of pickups generated throughout the run as well:

  • Black LipstickBlack Lipstick / Bible TractBible 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 Collectible Portable Slot iconPortable Slot for farming pickups in special rooms.
  • Safety ScissorsSafety Scissors: Allows for more bombs to be picked up, and can be used to generate infinite bombs if a Bomb BumBomb Bum is encountered.
  • Collectible Broken Modem iconBroken Modem / Collectible Contract From Below iconContract From Below: Can give substantially more pickups from room clears if crafted early.
  • Collectible Diplopia iconDiplopia / Rune of JeraRune of Jera / Collectible Crooked Penny iconCrooked Penny: (Can) Double all pickups in a single room.
    • Rune of Jera can be paired with Collectible Clear Rune iconClear Rune for a more sustainable method of cloning pickups.
  • Collectible D1 iconD1: Can be used to create another variant of a pickup.
    • D1 Synergizes extremely well with battery items such as Collectible 9 Volt icon9 Volt or Collectible Car Battery iconCar Battery, the latter of which when paired with a Battery pickup can generate infinite Batteries.
  • Collectible Scapular iconScapular: 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 Collectible Piggy Bank iconPiggy Bank, Collectible Fanny Pack iconFanny Pack, or Collectible Old Bandage iconOld Bandage.
  • Collectible Sworn Protector iconSworn Protector: Allows for repeated generation of Eternal HeartEternal Hearts through blocking enemy projectiles, which allow crafting high quality Angel RoomAngel Room items.
  • Collectible Everything Jar iconEverything Jar: Produces a number of useful pickups for crafting, in particular Golden BombGolden Bombs, Gold HeartGold Hearts and Golden KeyGolden 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.
  • Collectible Glitter Bombs iconGlitter Bombs: Produces more pickups, especially if combined with Collectible Dr. Fetus iconDr. Fetus, Collectible Epic Fetus iconEpic Fetus, or Collectible Number Two iconNumber Two.
  • Collectible Sack Head iconSack Head: Increases the amount of pickups from almost all sources.
  • Sacks (eg; Collectible Sack of Pennies iconSack of Pennies, Collectible Mystery Sack iconMystery Sack, Collectible Rune Bag iconRune Bag): Reliable sources of a particular pickup type.
  • Collectible Clicker iconClicker: Transforms Tainted Cain into another tainted character. This allows for easy completion marks as Character Tainted Lost iconTainted Lost, especially since Collectible Holy Mantle iconHoly Mantle, Collectible Dead Cat iconDead Cat, and Collectible Gnawed Leaf iconGnawed Leaf can be crafted before transforming. If Collectible Lazarus' Rags iconLazarus' Rags or Collectible Ankh iconAnkh 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.
  • Collectible Rosary iconRosary: Gives 3 Soul HeartSoul Hearts and a Tears Up every time it's crafted, and it contributes to SeraphimSeraphim. Unlike other characters, adding Collectible The Bible iconThe Bible to all item pools doesn't bother Tainted Cain at all.
  • Collectible Dad's Lost Coin iconDad's Lost Coin: Generates a Lucky PennyLucky Penny, which can be used for more expensive recipes.
  • Collectible Mama Mega! iconMama Mega! is very expensive, but can be used to force entry into Boss RushBoss Rush and ??????. Due to how slow and methodical Tainted Cain typically is, this item can be incredibly useful for obtaining completion marks.
    • Golden BombGolden Bombs are easier for Tainted Cain to obtain, possibly allowing multiple uses of the item.
  • Collectible R Key iconR 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 Boss The Beast ingameThe Beast or Mega Satan Head ingameMega 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[ | ]

  • Collectible Bum Friend iconBum Friend, Collectible Dark Bum iconDark Bum, Collectible Key Bum iconKey Bum, Collectible Bumbo iconBumbo: 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.
  • Collectible Humbleing Bundle iconHumbleing Bundle and Collectible BOGO Bombs iconBOGO 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 ingredients, 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.
  • Collectible Magneto iconMagneto: Can prove troublesome as it will cause pickups to coalesce and be pulled 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.
    • Collectible Tiny Planet iconTiny Planet in particular will cause the Bag of Crafting's swing to occur a severe distance from Tainted Cain.
  • Collectible Magic Skin iconMagic Skin: Turning hearts into broken heart container and some pickups is not really a good deal.
  • Collectible The D6 iconThe D6, Collectible Eternal D6 iconEternal D6, Collectible Spindown Dice iconSpindown Dice, Collectible There's Options iconThere's Options, Collectible More Options iconMore Options, Collectible Glitched Crown iconGlitched Crown: Serves no purpose without Collectible Clicker iconClicker due to Tainted Cain's ability (unless you don't need plot items and want to turn them into pickups).

Unlockable Items[ | ]

Gallery[ | ]

Trivia[ | ]

  • 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 Collectible The D6 iconThe D6, being "Reroll your destiny".
  • Defeating Boss Ultra Greedier ingameUltra 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.

Bugs[ | ]

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 Collectible Car Battery iconCar Battery and you try to use an active item while you are using the Collectible Bag of Crafting iconBag of Crafting car battery will not work

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