Binding of Isaac: Rebirth Wiki
Binding of Isaac: Rebirth Wiki

Added in Repentance

Tainted Jacob is a character added in The Binding of Isaac: Repentance. He is the alternate version of Jacob Jacob. Tainted Jacob 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 Jacob & Esau.

Tainted Jacob spawns with 3 red heart containers and Anima Sola Anima Sola in his consumable slot. Anima Sola freezes the nearest enemy for 5 seconds. However, he is pursued through the entire game by Dark Esau, who will try to charge into and kill Tainted Jacob. Anima Sola always affects Dark Esau if he is on screen.

If Dark Esau touches Tainted Jacob or if Dark Esau dies, Tainted Jacob "dies" and becomes functionally identical to The Lost The Lost, with the special properties of flight, spectral tears, and a lack of health. Dark Esau's touch effect cannot be avoided even while shielded, invulnerable, or otherwise immune to damage (such as with Holy Mantle or Gnawed Leaf Gnawed Leaf). Once Tainted Jacob is in Lost form, Dark Esau's attacks affect him normally, respecting shield and invulnerability effects if he has them and killing him if he doesn’t. The flames Dark Esau generates upon spawning on a floor will simply damage Tainted Jacob rather than putting him in this state, and the death explosion from Dark Esau does not kill Tainted Jacob if he was already in his Lost state.

It should be noted that unlike the true Lost, Tainted Jacob does not have an intrinsic Holy Mantle Holy Mantle in this form, and unless he has picked it up prior in the run, any damage taken will instantly kill him. He can, however, take devil deals for free just like the Lost. His health bar is disabled entirely during this time, meaning the effects of any items that modify his health in any way (such as health up/down pills or soul hearts) will be ignored. Hematemesis will still drain your red hearts while Tainted Jacob is in his lost form.

Upon reaching a new floor, Tainted Jacob will return to his living state.

Dark Esau[]

Added in Repentance

Dark Esau is a hostile mini-boss version of Esau Esau.

Dark Esau spawns 20 to 40 seconds after Tainted Jacob goes to a new floor, emerging from a crack in the ground and creating rings of flame around him upon spawning. Dark Esau continuously pursues Tainted Jacob by floating towards him, speeding up if he is far behind. After getting close enough to Tainted Jacob, he charges in the cardinal/ordinal direction closest to Tainted Jacob, leaving behind a trail of flames that can burn enemies. Dark Esau comes to a complete stop right before reaching Tainted Jacob and maintains a distance between the two; he can only break this distance by charging at him or if Tainted Jacob walks backwards into him.

Anima Sola Anima Sola can restrict Dark Esau's movement for 5 seconds, and always targets him if he's alive. When released, Dark Esau always charges at Tainted Jacob immediately — charging directly at him rather than along the cardinal/ordinal directions.

Dark Esau's position at all times is determined by his position relative to the general layout of the floor, meaning he persists in the same location even when Tainted Jacob moves through rooms. However cannot be left completely behind and appears to move faster the further he is from Jacob. Moving into a new room cancels Esau's charge if he was preparing one as well as if he was bound by Anima Sola Anima Sola.

Dark Esau cannot be damaged by enemies or most environmental hazards except for spiked rocks, red poops, and TNTs, but he can be damaged by Tainted Jacob and any active bombs and even be killed. Upon death, he creates a room-wide explosion similar to Mama Mega! Mama Mega! that instantly "kills" Tainted Jacob, turning him into a ghostly The Lost The Lost state with no Holy Mantle Holy Mantle (completion marks in this state will still count for Tainted Jacob). This does not affect Tainted Jacob if he’s already in a ghost state. The Mama Mega! Mama Mega! explosion only applies to the room Tainted Jacob is in and not necessarily the room Dark Esau dies in; if Tainted Jacob goes to a new room before his death animation finishes, the explosion will trigger in the room Tainted Jacob moves to. After Dark Esau has died, he does not appear again for the rest of the floor.

Dark Esau's HP increases as per the stage HP formula each floor. The table below lists his HP at each stage; XL floors as usual are counted as the first stage of a given floor, i.e. Basement XL is counted as Basement I, and so on. As in Greed Mode there is only one stage per chapter, stage number is simply the chapter number.

HP Value Stage
Normal mode Greed mode
270 Basement Basement / Cellar Cellar / Burning Basement Burning Basement / Downpour Downpour / Dross Dross I & XL Basement Basement / Cellar Cellar / Burning Basement Burning Basement
290 Basement Basement / Cellar Cellar / Burning Basement Burning Basement / Downpour Downpour / Dross Dross II Caves Caves / Catacombs Catacombs / Flooded Caves Flooded Caves
310 Caves Caves / Catacombs Catacombs / Flooded Caves Flooded Caves / Mines Mines / Ashpit Ashpit I & XL Depths Depths / Necropolis Necropolis / Dank Depths Dank Depths
330 Caves Caves / Catacombs Catacombs / Flooded Caves Flooded Caves / Mines Mines / Ashpit Ashpit II Womb Womb / Utero Utero / Scarred Womb Scarred Womb
330 Depths Depths / Necropolis Necropolis / Dank Depths Dank Depths / Mausoleum Mausoleum / Gehenna Gehenna I & XL Sheol Sheol
346 Depths Depths / Necropolis Necropolis / Dank Depths Dank Depths / Mausoleum Mausoleum / Gehenna Gehenna II The Shop The Shop
362 Womb Womb / Utero Utero / Scarred Womb Scarred Womb / Corpse Corpse I & XL Ultra Greed Ultra Greed
378 Womb Womb / Utero Utero / Scarred Womb Scarred Womb / Corpse Corpse II
394 ??? ???
410 Sheol Sheol / Cathedral Cathedral / Dark Room Dark Room / Chest Chest / The Void The Void / Home Home

Dark Esau is able to damage enemies as well as Tainted Jacob in the following ways:

  • He creates 12 rings of 8 flames when he spawns, each dealing 6 damage to enemies they hit, dealing anywhere between 6-576 damage depending on how close they are to him. These flames can be blocked by obstacles.
  • He deals 30 contact damage per tick to enemies and pushes them (60 damage per second).
  • He deals an extra 10 damage per tick to enemies and inflicts Burning on them when leaving a flame trail while charging at Tainted Jacob (300 damage per second).
  • Finally, the explosion he creates when he dies deals 200 initial damage plus an additional five ticks of 25 damage to all enemies in the room, for a total of 325 damage.

Unlockable Items[]

Strategy & Item Notes[]

  • Tainted Jacob is constantly chased by Dark Esau, and there are almost no effective ways to get rid of him without a downside due to Dark Esau's death effect, which turns Tainted Jacob into a temporary The Lost The Lost form. Because of this, playing as Tainted Jacob requires the player to manage both the playable Jacob and the AI Esau, which can make this character one of the hardest to play.
  • Using Anima Sola Anima Sola is key to success for Tainted Jacob, as it can prevent a lot of close calls and position Dark Esau to be used as a weapon of sorts. As Anima Sola charges immediately after being activated, it can be used in two ways: holding Dark Esau stationary for its duration, which allows Anima Sola to charge for several seconds, or using Dark Esau immediately as a projectile at the cost of waiting the full cooldown duration.
  • Unless in ghost form, contact damage from Dark Esau is unavoidable and pierces through all invulnerability effects, including invincibility after getting hit. As such, do not save invulnerability items to avoid Dark Esau.
  • If Dark Esau is in the process of traveling between rooms, it is possible to use Anima Sola to chain him outside of the current area Jacob is in. Most of the time, his charge won't even be able to reach close enough to the player to hit him, although precaution should still be taken in the event it does. This knowledge is especially useful since accidentally killing Dark Esau (and therefore turning into The Lost) with a really strong build can become a problem in the late game. Chaining him outside of the room gives a moment to deal as much damage as possible without him getting in the way and accidentally getting hit.
  • Getting the Guppy transformation can be quite viable, because it's both one of the easiest ways to traverse the map quickly, and it's more easily available to Tainted Jacob than to most other characters. In his lost form, Tainted Jacob can take devil deals for free, as well as use Magic Skin/VI - The Lovers? VI - The Lovers? with no (meaningful) consequence for more devil room items. In conjunction with that, Tainted Jacob's human form can go into curse rooms for a chance to get Guppy items / Magic Skin / Goat Head / Sacrificial Altar - all increasing the chance to complete the transformation faster. Given that many of the other items in the Curse/Devil pools also increase stats, this can result in a flying Tainted Jacob with 12 hearts clearing the later floors before Dark Esau can catch up with him.
  • It may be useful to swap the spacebar and Q keys, allowing the player to activate Anima Sola without having to move a finger off of their movement keys. This makes binding and releasing Dark Esau to be easier and faster. However, this will likely mess with the player's muscle memory, so it can take some practice to get used to.
  • Having a high speed stat is very good as Tainted Jacob as it easily allows him to outrun and avoid Dark Esau.

Dark Esau[]

  • As Dark Esau takes around a minute to spawn, Tainted Jacob should aim to explore as many rooms as he can before Dark Esau spawns and becomes a persistent problem.
  • Dark Esau's spawn and movements are relative to the entire floor's position even as Tainted Jacob moves through rooms. This means that he will take much longer to catch up if Jacob teleports a long distance, or end up spawning right near a door if he manages to charge into one that Jacob moves into. Gauge this properly to prevent accidental incidents where Jacob ends up running right into Dark Esau; it is wise to wait till Dark Esau moves back into the current room, then circle around him before entering a new room.
  • Dark Esau will speed up when further from Jacob, and slows down to almost a standstill when close. This means he will always keep a consistent distance from him. Dark Esau will never actually be able to contact Jacob unless he starts his charge animation, charges, or Jacob runs backwards into him. In some cases such as being next to an obstacle, Dark Esau will stop moving within the prop and will be unable to charge until Jacob moves away from it.
  • Considering the damage Dark Esau can deal to enemies and the fact that Anima Sola can be canceled early by using it a second time, Dark Esau can become a powerful but very dangerous weapon to use against enemies by positioning Tainted Jacob in ways that manipulate him into charging into enemies.
    • Dark Esau's charge is able to single-handedly kill most early bosses in one or two hits. He can also be held in place with Anima Sola to bait chasing enemies, as Jacob can stand behind Dark Esau and cause them to run into him.
  • Dark Esau does not take damage from enemies nor enemy-generated troll bombs, but does take damage from environmental hazards such as spiked rocks, red poop, and explosive hazards. Ensure to keep him away from these to prevent untimely deaths.
    • Some obstacle rooms have large amounts of exploding barrels or explosive rocks. This can result in Dark Esau taking tons of damage.
    • Dark Esau's charge will extinguish Fire Places without hurting him. He will not detonate bomb rocks.
  • While Dark Esau's health is extremely high and goes up with each floor, his health increase is usually not significant enough to help him survive when the player has obtained multiple damage upgrades. Players should be wary of accidentally killing Dark Esau during endgame fights such as Mega Satan, and use Anima Sola to position him away from Jacob's tears.
  • Effects that damage all enemies in the room (such as Black Hearts or The Necronomicon The Necronomicon) cannot damage Dark Esau. Sharp Straw Sharp Straw still damages Dark Esau.
  • Blue Flies and Blue Spiders won't target Dark Esau, but they will still damage him if they run into him.
  • Homing Tears can home in on Dark Esau.
  • Dark Esau will not charge at Jacob if he eats a Paralysis Pill.
  • When Dark Esau charges while in fear, he charges away from Tainted Jacob.
  • Dark Esau cannot damage friendly enemies.
  • In Greed Mode, Anima Sola will always be charged at the beginning of a new wave. This can be taken advantage of by binding Dark Esau before a new wave begins and then letting him charge into a freshly spawned enemy group or a priority enemy like a champion. Since releasing Dark Esau manually does not consume the item charge, the item will still be available to restrict him again immediately afterwards.
  • If a white champion is encountered while Dark Esau is alive, the room cannot be completed unless Dark Esau is killed because the champion will be invincible until there are other enemies alive in the room.
  • Dark Esau deals no contact damage to Jacob while chained down.

Dark Esau's Death[]

  • Upon his death, Dark Esau causes a massive explosion that acts like a single-room Mama Mega! Mama Mega!. This causes all its effects in the room he is in: this includes destroying every prop, bombing the Donation Machine, doing extreme damage to all enemies, and breaking every door. This explosion can even open the doors to Boss Rush and ??? ???.
  • Dark Esau's death explosion causes Jacob to become a special version of The Lost The Lost for the rest of the floor, just like getting contact damage from him. While this is usually always detrimental since any hit will kill Jacob afterwards, it is possible to safely use Lost Jacob after clearing the whole floor to collect stray pickups which may be unreachable in normal mode. Dark Esau's explosion can also be used for last-resort damage against a boss if needed.
  • In ghost form, Tainted Jacob's health cannot be healed. Red hearts cannot be picked up by him, and all other hearts (including eternal hearts) do not grant anything even if Jacob progresses to the next floor.

Item Interactions[]

  • Most targeting items will not target Dark Esau despite him being an enemy. Kill-activated items will also activate if Dark Esau kills enemies.
  • While in his Lost form, Tainted Jacob can take devil deals in the same way as the Lost.
    • As such, the Satanic Bible Satanic Bible is a very good pickup as it essentially swaps out boss room items for Devil room items.
  • Even in his Lost form, Tainted Jacob can gain broken hearts from effects such as VI - The Lovers? VI - The Lovers?, Heartbreak Heartbreak, and Magic Skin Magic Skin, but they are not shared between forms. Additionally, unlike the true Lost, Magic Skin can be used up to 12 times by Tainted Jacob instead of once.
  • Gnawed Leaf Gnawed Leaf: Does not protect against Dark Esau's initial attack, but when you are in ghost form, it works like normal.
  • Succubus Succubus: Does not damage Dark Esau.

Co-Op Mode[]

  • In Co-Op mode, the flames Dark Esau creates upon spawning can damage other players, but he otherwise ignores them completely.
    • If multiple players are playing Tainted Jacob, then any Tainted Jacob who touches any Dark Esau will still be turned into a ghost or die. Tainted Jacob players will only be able to use Anima Sola on their own Dark Esau, and if one of the Tainted Jacobs is completely killed, both Dark Esaus will begin to target the one that is still living.
    • When Tainted Jacob completely dies and is turned into a small ghost baby as a Co-Op partner, if no other Tainted Jacob players are in the match, then Dark Esau will still follow the ghost of Tainted Jacob, allowing them to still use him as a high damage weapon to help their teammates.
  • In Co-Op mode, if Tainted Jacob was turned into his ghostly form by Dark Esau, then dying and being revived upon completion of the boss will have him revive as his ghostly form.
    • If Tainted Jacob is dead at the start of a floor, Dark Esau will still spawn, but will target one of the living players instead. Unless they are also playing Tainted Jacob, he will never hurt them outside his spawning animation.
  • Dark Esau is considered a boss.
    • Like every other "boss", Dark Esau can be spawned with debug commands. However, if playing as someone other than Tainted Jacob, the player will be immune to his attacks.
      • Jacob Jacob, even in his normal non-tainted form, is an exception. When touched by Dark Esau, he will take damage, but will not turn into a ghost. Esau Esau, like most characters, is still immune to Dark Esau.
  • When the console command "restart 39" is loaded, the player will be spawned as a ghostly version of Tainted Jacob. The only differences is that Dark Esau never seems to spawn and that this version of Tainted Jacob has the health of The Lost The Lost.

Good Items[]

  • 2Spooky 2Spooky/Venus Venus: Dark Esau has a chance to become feared or charmed (respectively) when approaching Tainted Jacob, making him charge away from Tainted Jacob or attack other enemies.
  • 9 Volt 9 Volt: Reduces the charge time of Anima Sola by half, giving the player much better control of Dark Esau, or the ability to chain down enemies and bosses much more often if Dark Esau has already been killed.
  • Belly Jelly Belly Jelly: The 50% chance to avoid damage still applies to Dark Esau, potentially saving Jacob from death/being turned into the Lost.
  • Black Hole Black Hole: Pulls every enemy in the room and Dark Esau into one place, forcing Dark Esau to deal contact damage to all of them. However, multiple uses on the same floor can kill Esau if not careful.
  • Dad's Ring Dad's Ring: Can petrify Dark Esau every 7 or so seconds.
  • Dark Arts Dark Arts: The invincibility and stunning effect fully work on Dark Esau even if he charges at the player, allowing Tainted Jacob to phase through him, avoiding becoming the Lost or preventing fatal damage in a pinch. Of course, this still deals damage to him, so use caution.
  • Dead Cat Dead Cat: If picked up in ghost form, Jacob will retain all his health, though any deaths will cause him to respawn in ghost form. Once he progresses to the next floor, he will respawn with his body and with all health containers remaining.
    • If Lost Jacob dies with Dead Cat, Tainted Jacob's health won't go to the usual one heart container after the resurrection but three. The effect can be only observed when going to another floor, and changing back to Tainted Jacob.
  • Eraser Eraser: Removes Dark Esau from the rest of the run so long as the killing blow is done by the Eraser; this causes subsequent spawns to be replaced with a puff of smoke. This requires Dark Esau to have less than 15 HP; if he has too much health, the Eraser will simply do 15 damage. Eraser will also fail if it is thrown during Dark Esau's death animation.
    • If Dark Esau is erased while Tainted Jacob is in ghost form then Tainted Jacob will not revert to living form upon entering a new floor leaving him stuck in ghost form.
  • Esau Jr. Esau Jr.: Switching between Jacob and Esau Jr. will cause Dark Esau to despawn. He will reappear after 30 seconds as either character, but switching will always reset the timer. Esau Jr. does not turn into the Lost upon contact with Dark Esau, but takes half a heart damage instead. Switching back to Jacob from Esau Jr. also prevents Dark Esau from turning Jacob into the Lost.
  • Glowing Hour Glass Glowing Hour Glass: Very useful. Using it will return Jacob to his regular form in the previous room, if he was turned into the lost. It also can allow to kill Dark Esau without transformation into a ghost — to do so, you need to kill Dark Esau in one room, then, before Dark Esau ends his death animation, go to the other room, wait till the explosion will transform you into the ghost, and then use Glowing Hour Glass. That way, you will return to your normal form, and Dark Esau will not be respawned.
  • Heartbreak Heartbreak: If picked up in Jacob's normal form, will allow Jacob in his lost form to avoid death up to 5 times, the 6th killing him. If picked up in his lost form, he can avoid death 4 times, dying on the 5th hit instead. Broken hearts are not shared between forms and persist between floors.
  • Holy Mantle Holy Mantle: While the shield does not guard from Dark Esau at first, it does protect him in his Lost form, helping Jacob survive after being turned into the lost.
  • How to Jump How to Jump: Jumping allows Jacob to bypass Dark Esau.
  • Jacob's Ladder Jacob's Ladder: Electricity will not target Dark Esau even if Jacob's tears hit an enemy.
  • Magic Skin Magic Skin, and likewise VI - The Lovers? VI - The Lovers?: will allow Jacob to generate items for free if he is in his Lost form.
  • Pause Pause: Stopping time while Dark Esau is charging through an enemy will cause contact damage to tick on it until the effect wears off.
  • Punching Bag Punching Bag: When Dark Esau spawns, there is a chance he may target the Punching Bag instead of Jacob. So long as Anima Sola is not used, he will never re-target Jacob, making him endlessly attempt to kill the Punching Bag until the next floor, where he may swap targets on spawning in.
  • Satanic Bible Satanic Bible, and likewise Devil's Crown Devil's Crown: Allows Jacob to get turned into his Lost form intentionally to receive free Devil Room items every floor.
  • Sigil of Baphomet Sigil of Baphomet: Kills made by Dark Esau will also trigger a temporary shield.
  • Spider Mod Spider Mod: Does cause status effects to Esau on contact like confusion, which helps to disrupt his pursuit of Jacob (though poison and burn are also possibilities). Due to a bug, it does not display Dark Esau's health.
  • Stop Watch Stop Watch: Dark Esau is slowed by this item, making him easier to dodge and outrun.
  • Ventricle Razor Ventricle Razor: Entering portals created by this item while Dark Esau is charging will immediately interrupt the charge.

Bad Items[]

  • Acid Baby Acid Baby: Whenever Jacob uses a pill, Dark Esau will be poisoned.
  • Akeldama Akeldama: The tears generated while in a hostile room will hit Dark Esau plenty of times.
  • Angry Fly Angry Fly: Will chase only Dark Esau whenever possible.
  • Athame Athame: The void ring will deal great amounts of damage to Dark Esau.
  • Big Chubby Big Chubby: The inaccurate nature of this familiar can lead to unintentional damage dealt to Dark Esau.
  • Book of Virtues Book of Virtues: The wisps generated from Anima Sola Anima Sola will target Dark Esau and damage him, while other wisps generated from Book of Virtues will often make contact with Dark Esau, damaging him further.
  • Brown Nugget Brown Nugget: The stationary flies produced will target Dark Esau and deal damage to him, making this a risky item to use.
  • Curse of the Tower Curse of the Tower: Dark Esau can still be damaged by the troll bombs, despite being immune to other troll bombs. Combined with other bomb items, such as Bob's Curse Bob's Curse or Sad Bombs Sad Bombs, Dark Esau's death is inevitable if Jacob gets hit by another enemy.
  • Dead Tooth Dead Tooth: The toxic aura will poison Dark Esau whenever he comes in contact with Jacob.
  • Death's List Death's List: While alive, Dark Esau will be at the top of Death's list whenever you enter a room, making Death's bonus unobtainable until Esau is killed.
  • Depression Depression: Whenever Dark Esau makes contact with the cloud, he will be hit with the beam of light, causing massive damage.
  • Guppy's Hair Ball Guppy's Hair Ball: This item becomes extremely hard to utilize with Dark Esau present, and will most likely end up damaging and/or killing him.
  • Isaac's Heart Isaac's Heart: Dark Esau no longer kills Jacob if he touches his body, but contact with the heart will. This makes it far easier to die since both Isaac's Heart and Dark Esau's default positions are behind Jacob, and causes them to collide very frequently.
  • Jupiter Jupiter: Whenever Jacob attempts to move away from Dark Esau, he will poison him.
  • Lil Abaddon Lil Abaddon: The void ring will deal damage to Dark Esau. It can be very difficult to make Dark Esau avoid the attack due to both Lil Abaddon and Dark Esau trailing behind Tainted Jacob.
  • Linger Bean Linger Bean: If Jacob is not careful, Dark Esau will often make contact with the clouds left from firing, damaging him.
  • Lost Soul Lost Soul: The soul can be killed by Dark Esau, making it very difficult to keep it alive, unless Jacob has BFFS! BFFS!.
  • Maw of the Void Maw of the Void: The void ring will deal damage to Dark Esau.
  • Mom's Razor Mom's Razor: The damage and bleeding dealt from this familiar can kill Dark Esau quicker than desired.
  • Monstrance Monstrance: The aura damages Dark Esau, leading to his quick death.
  • Montezuma's Revenge Montezuma's Revenge: Jacob must be extremely precise to not unintentionally damage Dark Esau.
  • Obsessed Fan Obsessed Fan: The fly will almost always be in contact with Dark Esau, making his death inevitable before the end of the floor.
  • Pointy Rib Pointy Rib: Jacob must be extremely careful, otherwise Dark Esau can take massive damage from the rib.
  • Pop! Pop!: With a high fire rate, many eyeballs will fill the room, dealing unintended damage to Dark Esau.
  • Sacrificial Dagger Sacrificial Dagger: The damage dealt from this orbital can kill Dark Esau quicker than desired.
  • Samson's Chains Samson's Chains: It is very difficult to avoid hitting Dark Esau with the ball, which will inflict plenty of damage.
  • Saturnus Saturnus : The ring of tears can damage Dark Esau.
  • Shade Shade: The shadow will follow Jacob's movements with a delay, which unluckily is the path that Dark Esau usually takes to catch up to Jacob. This results in Dark Esau taking a lot of damage simply from following Jacob.
  • Sharp Straw Sharp Straw: Damages Dark Esau, alongside the rest of the room, too many uses on a floor can unintentionally kill him.
  • Tiny Planet Tiny Planet: The pattern that Jacob's tears follow make it difficult to not hit Dark Esau when in combat.
  • Vasculitis Vasculitis: Both Jacob and Dark Esau killing enemies will create a burst of tears, which Dark Esau will often take damage from.

Situational Items[]

  • 7 Seals 7 Seals: War and Death will chase after Dark Esau, but the rest of the harbingers and the locusts won't.
  • Demon Baby Demon Baby: The familiar will not target Dark Esau, but can still damage him with shots if he runs into them.
  • Cube Baby Cube Baby: The baby can damage Dark Esau, but will not do much damage. Dark Esau can also "kick" the baby into enemies.
  • Immaculate Heart Immaculate Heart: The halo of tears will lead to Dark Esau often being hit.
  • Lil Delirium Lil Delirium: Delirium will turn into familiars that can target/damage Dark Esau.
  • Ocular Rift Ocular Rift: The rifts do not damage Dark Esau, and can cause him to make contact with many enemies. However, the speed at which Dark Esau is pulled into the rifts can cause Jacob to get hit by him.
  • Potato Peeler Potato Peeler: If obtainable with Dead Cat (using the advantage of Dead Cat provided above), can be used to farm a few meat boys between floors, even with the starting 3 heart containers (plus any health ups obtained), and at least 1 meat shield, which can help with the run overall (however will most likely cause at least some damage to Dark Esau), but especially help Lost Jacob survive rooms more easily.
  • White Pony White Pony: The light beams left behind by this item can very easily kill Dark Esau, but the charge can also be very useful for getting out of difficult situations, especially when combined with 4.5 Volt 4.5 Volt.

Removing Dark Esau[]

While there are some perks to having Dark Esau around, such as easily killing low-health bosses, and taking free Devil Deals as Lost Jacob, if Dark Esau is removed, it makes playing Tainted Jacob significantly easier than most characters, since he has access to Anima Sola Anima Sola and has a higher starting tear rate. There are many methods to remove him: some temporary, some permanent. As it stands currently, this section will include bugs that cause him to be removed as well.

Permanent Removal[]

These methods only need to be executed once on a run to keep Dark Esau away.

Eraser Eraser: Eraser is the only method to permanently remove Dark Esau from the run, while not re-rolling other items. The best way to use eraser regardless of having Spider Mod Spider Mod or not is to calculate Dark Esau's current HP, subtract 15(since Dark Esau needs to have 15 or less HP for eraser to work), then divide it by Jacob's current damage value. Whatever whole number it divides to is the amount of times that Dark Esau must be hit before eraser is used, Jacob can chain Dark Esau up with Anima Sola Anima Sola before throwing Eraser to avoid any potential misses. This calculation does not account for damage dealt by other sources, such as poison tears, familiars that target Dark Esau, etc.

Missing No. Missing No.: Because Missing No. automatically rerolls Jacob's items at the start of every floor before Dark Esau can show up, he can't show up again, unless Missing No. is somehow removed.

Temporary Removal[]

These methods must be executed at every interval noted to keep Dark Esau away.

D4 D4, D100 D100, or D Infinity D Infinity: While considerably reckless, rerolling Jacob's items at the start of a floor before Dark Esau shows up will prevent him from showing up for the rest of that floor. Repeat this at the start of every floor to continue the run without his presence.

Esau Jr. Esau Jr. + 9 Volt 9 Volt: Switching between Jacob and Esau Jr. causes Dark Esau to despawn for 30 seconds, 9 Volt turns Esau Jr. into a 15 second recharge. If swapped at every opportunity available, then Dark Esau will not return until remaining in a form for 30 seconds, but he can be despawned again by swapping.

Glowing Hour Glass Glowing Hour Glass: This method is described above, but to reiterate: Jacob must kill Dark Esau in a room, then as Dark Esau is in his death animation, Jacob must run into another room before the death animation completes. After the room explodes and Jacob is turned into the lost, Jacob must use Glowing Hour Glass, which teleports him back to the previous room, but still in his normal form and without Dark Esau. This must be repeated every floor to keep him away.

Meat Cleaver Meat Cleaver: In an empty room, use Meat Cleaver to split Dark Esau into 2, both of them will be able to deal damage to each other. Except, once killed, the explosion will not turn Jacob into the lost. This must be repeated every floor to keep him away.



  • Dark Esau may be based on a story in the Book of Genesis, in which Esau attempts to kill Jacob after both Jacob and their mother tricked their father Isaac into giving Jacob a blessing intended for Esau, resulting in Jacob fleeing from Esau's wrath.
    • This is also further backed up by Tainted Jacob's unlock achievement name, "The Deserter."
  • Anima Sola targeting Dark Esau may be referring to Genesis 27:40 where Isaac tells Esau that he will live by the sword and serve his brother, but throwing his yoke from his neck when grown restless.
  • Dark Esau's behavior is similar to that of Mother's Shadow.
  • Dark Esau is referred to as "The Revenant" in his Four Souls card.
  • Big Horn's hand can be seen during Dark Esau's death animation, coming out of a pit and dragging him down.


Bug Bug! If you save and reload after Tainted Jacob has been changed into his lost form, he will not switch back when changing floors, and Dark Esau will no longer spawn.
Bug Bug! If you reroll your items before Dark Esau spawns (with the help of either the D4 D4, D100 D100, D Infinity D Infinity or the Dice Room), he will not appear on the current floor.
Bug Bug! If you exit to the menu during Dark Esau's death animation he will no longer spawn until the next floor and Tainted Jacob will stay in his natural form.
Bug Bug! In Co-Op, if Tainted Jacob is dead but Dark Esau explodes, then his ghost baby will appear to die and become a floating Isaac head. This is purely cosmetic.
Bug Bug! Using Clicker Clicker as Tainted Jacob while Dark Esau is present will crash the game.
Bug Bug! Becoming Tainted Jacob by using Clicker Clicker will cause Dark Esau to not spawn for the current floor. Dark Esau will spawn as normal on the next floor.
Bug Bug! If you use the Meat Cleaver Meat Cleaver on Dark Esau, his death explosion will not turn you into Tainted Jacob's Lost form.
Bug Bug! If you defeat Dark Esau and die from his explosion after exiting to an already cleared room, you can use Glowing Hour Glass Glowing Hour Glass to change back to his original form without Dark Esau spawning again for the floor.
Bug Bug! In Co-Op, if Tainted Jacob is revived after the boss' defeat in his ghostly form and is killed by Dark Esau, then his ghost baby on the next floor will have glitched sprites and appear as a disembodied Isaac head. When walking left, Isaac's head will be replaced by a headless body repeating the downwards walk cycle.
Bug Bug! If Dark Esau is alive when Mega Satan attempts to spawn the Harbingers, Mega Satan will become invulnerable like normal, but the Harbingers will not spawn. The only way to progress is to kill Dark Esau.
Bug Bug! If Glowing Hour Glass Glowing Hour Glass is used the room after Dark Esau spawns, Daddy Longlegs Daddy Longlegs will proceed to target Dark Esau. This persists between floors.
Bug Bug! If Dark Esau is still alive, killing certain bosses such as It Lives or Ultra Greed will kill Dark Esau instantly, even if he was at full health.
Bug Bug! If you pick up Abaddon as lost form, Tainted Jacob will not switch back when changing floors, and Dark Esau will no longer spawn. If Jacob does switch back between rooms, he will be given only a black heart, regardless of the heart containers before picking the item