Tainted Judas

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Tainted   Judas
Character image

Full black heartFull black heart
Table dividing line 1.png
Damage Stat Icon.png Damage
3.5 (*1.00)
Tears Stat Icon.png Tears
Shot Speed Stat Icon.png Shot Speed
Range Stat Icon.png Range
Speed Stat Icon.png Speed
Luck Stat Icon.png Luck
Table dividing line 2.png
Starting Items
Starting Item Icon.png Pickups3 Coins
Added in Repentance15►Dark Arts Dark Arts
Starting Item Icon.png ItemsNone
Unlock Method
The Deceiver Use the Red Key or Cracked Key in Home as Judas Judas
Added in Repentance

Tainted Judas is a character added in The Binding of Isaac: Repentance. He is the alternate version of Judas, and has an appearance similar to Dark Judas. Tainted Judas 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 Judas.

Tainted Judas starts with 2 black hearts and 3 coins. He does not start with The Book of Belial like Judas does, but instead starts with 15►Dark Arts Dark Arts in his pill/card slot. When used, Dark Arts gives Tainted Judas +1.0 speed and makes him invulnerable to damage for a short period of time. Any enemies touched while Dark Arts is active will be frozen until the effect ends, at which point they will take damage. Any enemy projectiles touched while Dark Arts is active will be destroyed. The amount of damage dealt to them is proportional to the number of enemies touched, and each enemy killed or projectile destroyed grants Tainted Judas a temporary damage boost. The damage boost scales and lasts longer depending on the number of enemies killed and projectiles destroyed.

Tainted Judas is unable to gain Red Hearts. Health Ups will give him black hearts instead. Should he pick up a Bone Heart, he will be unable to fill it with red health.

Unlockable Items[edit | edit source]

Items & Strategy Notes[edit | edit source]

  • Tainted Judas is best suited to a highly aggressive playstyle; making effective use of Dark Arts by rushing into the fray and striking as many enemies as possible, then clearing up stragglers with buffed damage. However, it shouldn't be mistaken as a purely offensive tool, as the ability to destroy projectiles gives it great defensive utility when used properly. For example, timing its activation to cross through the origin point of a nova of bullets as they spawn simultaneously removes the need to dodge and grants a massive damage boost.
    • It is vital to get a feel for how long Dark Arts remains active, as being inside an enemy or hazard when it ends will typically result in damage taken.
    • Dark Arts can nullify a lot of the harder puzzle rooms, as one can walk straight through spikes and shots while it's active. In addition, being able to enter Curse Rooms grants a risk-free opportunity to build up soul/black hearts or find powerful items every floor.
  • Tainted Judas is extremely effective in Greed Mode, due to the ability to wholly ignore damage from Curse Rooms / spikes inside the store and the quick transitions between waves allowing for repeated use of Dark Arts to continue stacking damage.
    • Dark Arts can also be used to ignore the damage from the button and pause the timer for free.

Favored Items[edit | edit source]

  • Due to his similar health system, many of the benefits that apply to ??? in regards to health can be applied to Tainted Judas as well.
  • Items that rely on being in close proximity to enemies can be extremely beneficial, due to how often you will need to sprint through them to build Dark Arts effects.
  • 15►Ipecac Ipecac is extraordinarily effective with Dark Arts, as the damage of the Dark Arts hits scales off of the Damage stat, which is increased significantly by Ipecac - It becomes possible to easily shred bosses in a single hit, especially if multiple projectiles are tagged beforehand.
  • As Dark Arts encourages a risky playstyle of throwing oneself into swarms of bullets, items that can block the rare instances of damage (15►Host Hat Host Hat, 15►Infamy Infamy, 15►Holy Mantle Holy Mantle) are very effective.
  • Close range attack items like 15►120 Volt 120 Volt, 15►Circle of Protection Circle of Protection and 15►Monstrance Monstrance will safely damage enemies while using Dark Arts. In a similar vein, charged attacks like 15►Maw of the Void Maw of the Void and 15►Revelation Revelation will be released when Dark Arts is used, and with careful positioning can provide excellent extra damage.
  • 15►Pause Pause will not be stopped by Dark Arts, turning it into an instant room clear in many situations and an effective tool for doing damage against bosses.

Situational Items[edit | edit source]

  • The decision to use projectile destroying items (15►Halo of Flies Halo of Flies, 15►Psy Fly Psy Fly, etc.) is one that will need to be judged from playthrough to playthrough. For newer players or during a poor run where damage to oneself needs to be minimized, they are very useful during the downtime between Dark Arts activations. However, for more experienced players or during runs where soul/black hearts are plentiful, they can prove to be quite detrimental as they will block projectiles before Tainted Judas touches them, lowering the Dark Arts damage buff.
  • Orbitals that deal high contact damage (such as 15►Cube of Meat Cube of Meat or 15►Sacrificial Dagger Sacrificial Dagger) work well with Dark Arts, as they deal substantial damage while passing through enemy hitboxes, often enough to negate the damage lost from nullified projectiles.
  • Depending on a player's skill level, items that reduce the size of the character's hitbox (Such as 15►Binky Binky, 15►Mini Mush Mini Mush, and the "One makes you small" pill) may start to become less desirable picks, as they can sometimes make bullets and enemies harder to hit.
  • 15►Shade Shade will increase your damage output with Dark Arts, whether it’s been absorbed or not. When it hasn’t been absorbed, it may cause some confusion as to which character you are controlling, as it looks quite similar to Tainted Judas at a glance.

Disfavored Items[edit | edit source]

  • Due to his similar health system, many of the detriments that apply to ??? in regards to health can be applied to Tainted Judas as well.
  • Dead Cat takes away all but one of your black and soul hearts on pick up.
  • 15►Libra Libra should be avoided. The stat-equalizing effect is constantly active, and this weakens Dark Arts in two major ways:
    • It siphons most of the Speed increase during Dark Arts' activation into other stats, most of which are useless as they only benefit tears.
    • Once Dark Arts ends, the damage buff is instead fragmented into various negligible stat bonuses that fall off far too rapidly to be properly utilized.

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • The achievement for unlocking Tainted Judas, "The Deceiver", may be a reference to the Judas Priest song "Deceiver".

Bugs[edit | edit source]

Bug Bug! If Tainted Judas activates 15►Glowing Hour Glass Glowing Hour Glass right after the use of 15►Dark Arts Dark Arts, he will keep the invincible state but unable to fire and interact with trapdoors (Bombs are allowed) until using 15►Dark Arts Dark Arts again, which works similarly to a movable 15►Gnawed Leaf Gnawed Leaf. Other characters with 15►Schoolbag Schoolbag also encounter this issue.
Bug Bug! PC As a likely unintended result of Health Up effects granting black hearts, Converter can be used to activate The Necronomicon's effect endlessly with no health loss, allowing you to quickly deal large amounts of damage by using it repeatedly. (Soul hearts in the last slot will turn into black hearts.)


Isaac CharNav New.png Maggy CharNav New.png Cain CharNav New.png Judas CharNav New.png BB CharNav New.png Eve CharNav New.png Samson CharNav New.png Azazel CharNav New.png Lazarus CharNav New.png Eden CharNav New.png Lost CharNav New.png


Tainted Isaac CharNav New.png Tainted Maggy CharNav New.png Tainted Cain CharNav New.png Tainted Judas CharNav New.png Tainted BB CharNav New.png Tainted Eve CharNav New.png Tainted Samson CharNav New.png Tainted Azazel CharNav New.png Tainted Lazarus CharNav New.png Tainted Eden CharNav New.png Tainted Lost CharNav New.png Tainted Lilith CharNav New.png Tainted Keeper CharNav New.png Tainted Apollyon CharNav New.png Tainted Forgotten CharNav New.png Tainted Bethany CharNav New.png Tainted Jacob CharNav New.png

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