Binding of Isaac: Rebirth Wiki
Tainted   Lazarus
and Dead Tainted Lazarus
Tainted Lazarus
Dead Tainted Lazarus
Full red heartFull red heartFull red heartFull soul heartFull soul heart
Table dividing line 1
Damage Stat Icon Damage
3.5 (*1.00)
3.5 (* 1.50)
Tears Stat Icon Tears
Shot Speed Stat Icon Shot Speed
Range Stat Icon Range
Speed Stat Icon Speed
Luck Stat Icon Luck
Table dividing line 2
Starting Items
Starting Item Icon PickupsCollectible Flip iconFlipCollectible Flip icon 2 Flip
Starting Item Icon ItemsNoneNone
Unlock Method
The Enigma Use Collectible Red Key iconRed Key (etc.) to open the hidden closet in (in Repentance)HomeHome as Character Lazarus iconLazarus
(in Repentance)

Tainted Lazarus is a character added in The Binding of Isaac: Repentance. He is the alternate version of Character Lazarus iconLazarus, playable in two different states: Tainted Lazarus and Dead Tainted Lazarus. Tainted Lazarus has ragged hair and is covered in dirt while Dead Tainted Lazarus has pale white skin, glassy eyes, and is covered in blood. Horizontal scars are noticeable on the wrists of both forms of Tainted Lazarus. Tainted Lazarus is unlocked by reaching HomeHome and using the Collectible Red Key iconRed Key, Cracked KeyCracked Key, or Soul of CainSoul of Cain to access a special room in one of the walls while playing as Lazarus.

Tainted Lazarus starts with 3 Red HeartRed Hearts, whereas Dead Tainted Lazarus starts with 2 Soul HeartSoul Hearts. Tainted Lazarus begins with fairly low range while Dead Tainted Lazarus has a 1.5x damage multiplier, slightly lower tears and speed, and -2 luck. Each character has separate items, attributes, trinkets, and consumables, similar to Character Jacob and Esau iconJacob and Esau except each character is only played individually. Whenever a room is cleared, including each wave of multi-wave rooms like in Greed Mode and Challenge RoomChallenge Rooms, Tainted Lazarus swaps between the two forms, essentially requiring the player to play each character on every other room. Tainted Lazarus starts with Collectible Flip iconFlip in his consumable slot, which can be used to swap state immediately.

Notes[ | ]

  • Correctly managing the charges of Collectible Flip iconFlip to get items for both forms of Tainted Lazarus from Treasure RoomTreasure Rooms, Devil deals, and Angel RoomAngel Rooms is very important, as grabbing every flipped item effectively doubles the power of Tainted Lazarus.
  • The only way to access the ghostly form of an item generated by Collectible Flip iconFlip is by using it to switch forms. Re-entering the room with a different form of Tainted Lazarus does not flip the item pedestals. Making Tainted Lazarus switch form inside the room without using Collectible Flip iconFlip (for example, after fighting an angel in the Angel room), does not flip the item pedestals.
  • Flipping between forms will effectively act as a room transition for certain items; in other words, flipping back in the same room will reset those items as if a new room had been entered.
  • Items that grant extra lives (Collectible Dead Cat iconDead Cat, Collectible 1up! icon1up!, Collectible Lazarus' Rags iconLazarus' Rags, etc.) only affect the one who picks them up. If Dead Lazarus collects an extra life item, it can only activate when Dead Lazarus is the active character, and vice versa.
  • If one form of Tainted Lazarus is reduced to zero hearts while being in the transitioning phase of Flip, he will remain alive as the other form, but die as soon as he switches back. There is nothing the other form can do to prevent that death, unless you're playing coop and being revived after a boss death; In greedier/greed mode you will be revived if another player kills the first boss wave fought while in XL floors it is the 2nd boss killed that allows for a player revival while you are in the T Lazarus form that is in a baby ghost familiar form so it's recommended to plan rooms accordingly.
  • Quest items are counted as both characters having them.
    • Collectible The Polaroid iconThe Polaroid and Collectible The Negative iconThe Negative work on both Living Tainted Lazarus and Dead Tainted Lazarus, regardless of which picked them up.
    • Collectible Key Piece 1 iconKey Piece 1 and Collectible Key Piece 2 iconKey Piece 2 will grant their Angel Room bonus to both characters, and will combine to a whole key even if the pieces are not on the same character.
    • Collectible Knife Piece 1 iconKnife Piece 1 and Collectible Knife Piece 2 iconKnife Piece 2 will combine to a whole knife usable by both characters regardless of who has which piece.
    • Collectible Dogma iconDogma's flight and stat bonuses are applied to both characters, but healing and Holy Mantle apply only to the active character when receiving it. Since forms change after defeating Dogma, and the item is bestowed after the cutscene, this means that the form that was not active to defeat Dogma will receive the healing and mantle effect.
  • Temporary buffs such as Collectible Razor Blade iconRazor Blade disappear when you switch from one character to the other. This is especially noticeable in Greed Mode.
  • Only the character that picks up an activated item first gets the progress for related transformations, so the player needs to be aware of what character needs the transformation progress.
  • Tainted Lazarus takes a lot of micromanagement compared to most other characters. It can be difficult to accomplish simple tasks due to the forced switching between forms and Collectible Flip iconFlip's long charge time. Try to stay ahead of this, and pay close attention to what form is active and when they will shift. Something such as collecting an item from a Treasure Room or Curse Room can potentially go wrong if enemies happen to be inside, as when they are defeated, Tainted Lazarus will switch form. This can lead to an undesired item on one form, or a forced use of Flip.
    • If an Angel Room has an item you would prefer on one form over the other, and Flip is not currently charged, using a bomb on the Angel Statue and fighting the Angel that spawns will make Tainted Lazarus flip upon the fight's completion. This does not flip the item, however.
    • Challenge Rooms and Boss Rush will flip Tainted Lazarus every wave.
  • Try your best to balance the forms' stats in a way that prevents runs from feeling "lopsided". An easy trap to end up in is one form feeling unstoppable, but needing to struggle through every other room with the other.
    • Try to boost Living Tainted Lazarus's range and damage. Dead Tainted Lazarus already has a large damage multiplier, so it's less necessary to take large damage increasing items in this form.
  • Active items will recharge even when the other form is active. For example, it will take 3 rooms to charge an active item that requires 3 bars to charge, despite the fact that the flipped form doesn't have the same active item. This can be very powerful, as it effectively allows him to double the active item slots.
  • Tainted Lazarus's greatest strength lies in his precise control over his health bars. Using Flip strategically during boss fights is a key to victory. For example:
    • If one form runs out of Soul Hearts, but the other still has some, using Flip can help prevent loss of Devil Room or Angel Room chance.
    • Despite only being at half of his firepower at a time, Tainted Lazarus can utilize his potentially massive health pool to clutch out unlikely victories against late game bosses. If damaged down to lethal health, using Flip can extend the fight dramatically. This can be further improved by having one or both forms have healing options such as XIX - The SunXIX - The Sun, Full Health Pills, or an Active Item like Collectible Guppy's Paw iconGuppy's Paw.
    • Due to this strength, it may be advised to try for Angel Rooms over Devil Rooms, as many Angel Room items add health rather than take it away.
    • Conversely, Devil deals are also incredibly lucrative for Tainted Lazarus. Only one form has to pay for the item, while the other gets the flipped item for free. This can be helpful if one form is significantly more powerful than the other, as that form can pay for the devil deals so the weaker form can get them for free. However, this does require the weaker form to be the one to kill the floor's boss, so keep that in mind.
  • If one form of Tainted Lazarus has flight and a room is cleared while above usually inaccessible land, Tainted Lazarus will gain a temporary flight for the current room.
  • Greed Mode, and especially Greedier Mode, can be very difficult for Tainted Lazarus for several reasons:
    • Each completed wave swaps from one form of Tainted Lazarus to the other, which locks him in the flip animation for about a second. He cannot fire tears while in this animation. Considering that waves in the later floors of Greed Mode can last 3 seconds or shorter, this leaves Tainted Lazarus unable to attack enemies for a significant amount of time.
    • Additionally, temporary buffs that are usually powerful in Greed Mode, such as Collectible The Book of Belial iconThe Book of Belial or XI - StrengthXI - Strength, will disappear when you switch from one character to the other, meaning you can only use them for a single wave.
    • It may be best to favor one form of Tainted Lazarus over the other, as only one form has to fight Boss Ultra Greed ingameUltra Greed and Boss Ultra Greedier ingameUltra Greedier. Defeating Ultra Greed does not cause Tainted Lazarus to flip characters. The room before Ultra Greed also doesn't cause the forms to flip. This tactic of favoring one character works extremely well, considering that the weaker character doesn't need to defeat the enemies within a wave, since just avoiding being hit for a few seconds until the next wave starts gives control back to the more powerful character.
  • Some items and trinkets with the lazarussharedglobal item tag are now shared between both forms. This includes items that map parts of the floor such as Collectible The Compass iconThe Compass, items that increase devil/angel deal chance such as Collectible Black Candle iconBlack Candle, and items/trinkets that spawn new or altered rooms on each floor such as Collectible Voodoo Head iconVoodoo Head. Items that grant a shared effect and a stat boost (such as Collectible Pentagram iconPentagram, which grants a damage increase and increases devil deal chance), will not transfer the stat increases between forms.
  • Items that affect room clear awards (for example Collectible Contract From Below iconContract From Below) work only when the character holding the item appears after clearing the room.
  • Collectible Steam Sale iconSteam Sale is not shared between the two. Consider giving it to the least powerful one, especially in Greed Mode.
  • During Boss Dogma ingameDogma + Boss The Beast ingameThe Beast fight, flips happen between each boss. For example, if entering HomeHome with Live Lazarus, Dogma will be fought with Live Lazarus, then Dead Lazarus will fight Boss Ultra Famine ingameUltra Famine, Live Lazarus will fight Boss Ultra Pestilence ingameUltra Pestilence and so on. Then, Dead Lazarus will fight the Beast. Flip does not activate between the different phases of the bosses.
  • While playing true coop, Tainted Lazarus will still swap between forms while dead; if one of Tainted Lazarus forms dies while the other is alive, he will alternate between being a ghost baby who can’t interact with items or gain hearts and a normal character who can.
    • To be able to revive the dead version of Tainted Lazarus, the player must enter the boss fight while being on the alive form of the character, as the flip takes place BEFORE the revive process, hence the ghost baby will be resurrected.

Item Interactions[ | ]

  • Collectible Birthright iconBirthright: Whichever version of Tainted Lazarus is not active will be available as a "ghost", moving alongside the current Tainted Lazarus like Esau, able to fire tears but immune to taking damage. Both characters receive the Birthright effect when one character collects it.
    • Some effects from the inactive form's items will apply to the active form now as well. For example, Collectible Damocles iconDamocles can fall and kill the player.
    • If a one-room effect is triggered before a flip, the effect will be retained by the ghost for the remaining of the room. e.g if one form uses Collectible The Nail iconThe Nail and then finishes the room, it will become the ghost but will still be able to crush obstacles.
    • Beware that Birthright can be detrimental on some builds. For instance, if one character has Collectible Dr. Fetus iconDr. Fetus and Collectible Pyromaniac iconPyromaniac, the other character will still be damaged by the ghost's bombs.
      • If one form has Collectible Lachryphagy iconLachryphagy, the other form's tears will also be absorbed but the tear will not grow.
      • Another notable downside is Boss Challenge RoomBoss Challenge Room requiring both forms to have 1 HP to enter, instead of only the active one.
    • Only the form that is currently active can cross Collectible The Ladder iconThe Ladder when bridging a gap.
  • Collectible Buddy in a Box iconBuddy in a Box: The familiar changes appearance and tear effects each time the character who has Buddy in a Box is flipped to.
  • Collectible Crown Of Light iconCrown Of Light: In Greed Mode, once damage is taken, and flip is used twice, the Crown of Light will appear visually to be active, but its effects are still disabled.
  • Collectible D4 iconD4/Collectible D8 iconD8/Collectible D100 iconD100: Rerolls only apply to the form holding the die.
  • Collectible Deep Pockets iconDeep Pockets: Works while either form is active.
  • Collectible Genesis iconGenesis: Resets both forms' items and spawns items based on the total amount of items from both characters. Flip can be used infinitely while inside the room.
  • Filigree FeatherFiligree Feather: Defeated angel bosses drop angel room items only for the form carrying Filigree Feather.
  • Collectible Glitched Crown iconGlitched Crown: Only works while the form holding it is active when an item spawns.
  • Collectible Kidney Stone iconKidney Stone: After switching in form with Kidney Stone, the effect of item will activate immediately.
  • Collectible Lost Soul iconLost Soul: If the Lost Soul dies, it will not respawn by switching characters. If it didn't die, going to the next floor with the character that doesn't have Lost Soul will still grant its rewards once the character is active again.
  • Collectible Luna iconLuna: The beams of light are available for either form to attain.
  • Collectible The Stairway iconThe Stairway: Will work while either form is active while going down a floor.
  • Collectible Star of Bethlehem iconStar of Bethlehem: The star only moves while the character holding it is active, effectively making it take twice as long to reach the boss room. Additionally, if that character is inactive when entering the floor, the star will not spawn until that character becomes active, in which case it spawns in the center of the current room.
  • Collectible There's Options iconThere's Options: Will still grant two boss items, regardless of who fought the boss.
  • Collectible TMTRAINER iconTMTRAINER: Only generates glitched items if the form holding it is the one to see the item first. This can allow the player to get normal, unglitched items onto the form holding TMTRAINER, and glitched items onto the form without it if desired.
  • Collectible Urn of Souls iconUrn of Souls: Souls cannot be collected by an inactive character. This means that as soon as the room is cleared, all souls still in the air are lost even after you Flip.
  • Collectible Vanishing Twin iconVanishing Twin: The item is shared between both forms.

Good Items[ | ]

  • Collectible The Battery iconThe Battery: Any extra charges Flip acquires will not be lost when switching to the form without The Battery, allowing you to build up an extra activation, although at a slower than normal pace.
  • Collectible Binge Eater iconBinge Eater: In a Devil RoomDevil Room, Tainted Lazarus is effectively able to give items to his inactive form for free by picking up a food item. This will remove one heart container, and then instantly restore it. The mirrored Devil items will remain however, meaning he can use Collectible Flip iconFlip and pick them up as his alternate form for no cost.
  • Collectible Book of the Dead iconBook of the Dead: Bone orbitals and charmed BonyBonies spawned by Book of The Dead carry over through transforming and benefit either form of Tainted Lazarus.
  • Items like Collectible The Body iconThe Body, Collectible Cancer iconCancer, and other drastic health increases allow Tainted Lazarus to tank large amounts of damage in longer boss fights if spread between forms.
  • Large damage increases such as Collectible Cricket's Head iconCricket's Head or Collectible Synthoil iconSynthoil are useful to get onto Tainted Lazarus's living form early to make up for his damage deficit.
  • Collectible Diplopia iconDiplopia and Collectible Crooked Penny iconCrooked Penny allow for potential duplications of strong items to get on both forms. Though keep in mind Devil Rooms or Angel Rooms would likely require the form holding them to be active upon entry. Locate the boss room, and if necessary, clear rooms until Flip is charged and you are playing as the form NOT holding Diplopia or Crooked Penny. Upon defeating the boss, Tainted Lazarus will Flip automatically, allowing the duplication of Devil or Angel Items, followed by flipping and taking the same item on the other form.
  • Having one form hold Collectible Guppy's Paw iconGuppy's Paw with a medium to large pool of heart containers can extend the potential time before needing to flip, extending your health bars even further.
  • Collectible Esau Jr. iconEsau Jr.'s body granted by the item has a stronger damage, additional health and flight. The item can also be given to the other Lazarus by trading it with another active item on a pedestal, performing a flip OUTSIDE the room or a room clearing flip, and going back to where you left it.
    • Esau-Lazarus's form is permanent, even if the item is left behind, allowing for a straight-up character upgrade. The only way to change back is with the item itself.
    • Be careful if the item is acquired late game. The item randomization may throw off the rhythm established by that point, especially if it includes more risky items like Collectible Ipecac iconIpecac without any means of mitigation, making it nearly impossible to play with. It's highly recommended to acquire as close to the start of a new run as possible instead. Since it only has one charge though, switching back to Lazarus shouldn't be difficult in most situations.
  • Collectible Jumper Cables iconJumper Cables can allow for more use of one form's Active Item, or just more use of Flip.
  • Collectible Red Stew iconRed Stew's damage bonus does not decrease when the form holding it is inactive.
  • Collectible Star of Bethlehem iconStar of Bethlehem can be a good way to prevent one form from lagging behind the other power-wise.
  • Offensive Active Items that charge on a timer, especially Collectible Sharp Straw iconSharp Straw and Collectible Glass Cannon iconGlass Cannon, can make up tremendously for one form that happens to be lagging behind. The Sharp Straw in particular, due to how it calculates damage, can make the weaker form much more offensively viable during end game boss fights.
  • Old CapacitorOld Capacitor is a great trinket to find. This will effectively turn Flip into a 12 charge item (due to only being active half of the time), however the increased spawning of Lil Batteries can allow more micromanagement to take place when a floor is finished, flipping between forms as needed.
    • Watch BatteryWatch Battery is a good alternative, or even supplementary trinket to keep on the other form, as it increases chances of finding Lil Batteries as well.
  • Low charge Active Items with simple, effective uses, such as Collectible Shoop da Whoop! iconShoop da Whoop!, Collectible White Pony iconWhite Pony, or Collectible Spider Butt iconSpider Butt can be recharged within one large room, and can supplement the lack of power Tainted Lazarus is prone to.
  • Collectible Quints iconQuints is a great choice in Greed mode, because the 5-familiar limit will reset every time Lazarus flips, while the familiars themselves stay. This allows the player to amass a very large amount of familiars. Collectible Birthright iconBirthright ruins this synergy though.

Bad Items[ | ]

  • While not exactly a bad choice, extra lives like Collectible Dead Cat iconDead Cat or Collectible 1up! icon1up! require a bit more thought to get use out of, due to only reviving the form holding it. If a 1up! is found, try to have the form with more heart containers pick it up to get the most use from it.
  • Collectible Blood Puppy iconBlood Puppy: If it rages, the rage state is retained, which can cause unavoidable damage from it spawning directly on the player when switching forms.
  • In Greed and Greedier Mode, Collectible Sprinkler iconSprinkler will disappear when a new wave spawns.
  • Collectible Death's List iconDeath's List: Bonus reward cannot be granted unless Tainted Lazarus has Collectible Birthright iconBirthright or both his form have a copy of Death's List.
  • Collectible 4.5 Volt icon4.5 Volt: While the two versions of Tainted Lazarus normally charge both their active items at the same time, 4.5 Volt will only charge when the state that holds it deals damage, and will prevent it from being charged when the other clears a room. This makes 4.5 Volt significantly worse while playing Tainted Lazarus.

Unlockable Items[ | ]

Trivia[ | ]

  • The achievement for unlocking Tainted Lazarus is called "The Enigma", a possible title for the character.
    • An "enigma" is commonly referred to as "a person or thing that is mysterious, puzzling, or difficult to understand".
  • If the console command "restart 38" is put into the console, it is possible to start a run as Dead Tainted Lazarus without having to clear a room, however, you will not be able to change into Tainted Lazarus, whether that is from using Collectible Flip iconFlip or from clearing a room.
  • Tainted Lazarus' wrists appear to be cut, suggesting self-harm or possibly even suicide.
    • This could be referencing the common strategy of intentionally dying as Character Lazarus iconLazarus to respawn as his stronger form, Character Lazarus Risen iconLazarus Risen.
    • He also constantly leaves behind small pools of blood as he walks, Dead Tainted Lazarus even more so.
  • If the floor is wet, Tainted Lazarus' inactive form will be in the reflection of the water instead of the active one.
  • Tainted Lazarus unlocks XX - Judgement?XX - Judgement? which could be read as self doubt because of how hard is Tainted Lazarus to micromanage unlike most other characters, but also as the reversal of the Judgement card's meaning on rebirth and second chances, as he no longer has his extra life and Lazarus Risen is now refered as Dead Lazarus instead.
    • Furthermore, Judgement displays the awakening of the dead in Revelation 20:12-14. His zombified appearance can be seen as rejected from salvation.
      • In Christian theology, suicide is seen as rejecting God's gift of life, a sinful act which forfeits salvation.
  • Tainted Lazarus may have been inspired by the character of Adam from the Community Remix mod of Flash Isaac. Like Tainted Lazarus, Adam switched forms with one side having higher speed and tears and the other having higher damage.
  • Tainted Lazarus may also be inspired by Schrödinger's cat, a thought experiment in quantum mechanics about a hypothetical cat who can be considered simultaneously alive and dead. His Birthright quote, "Superposition", is also a common term used in quantum mechanics.

Gallery[ | ]

Bugs[ | ]

Bug Bug! Exiting the run during the second or third wave of a Challenge Room will forcibly flip Tainted Lazarus when the run is continued.
Bug Bug! If the player teleports out during an active Greed Mode wave, going back to the room will prevent the player from switching forms during waves until he reaches the wave that he was previously on. This is not the case if the waves were completed before the timer has ended.
Bug Bug! Doing a RERUN when Collectible Birthright iconBirthright was obtained will spawn an additional alternate form of the character.
Bug Bug! If Tainted Lazarus teleports (Mausoleum/Gehenna's teleporters or Collectible Stitches iconStitches) at the same time as the room clears, he will NOT flip between forms.
Bug Bug! If at least one character has Collectible Spear Of Destiny iconSpear Of Destiny or Collectible Trinity Shield iconTrinity Shield, swapping to the other character causes these items to leave a stationary copy of themselves until Tainted Lazarus leaves the room. The stationary spear is only a visual bug with no collision while the stationary shield still blocks tears.
Bug Bug! Flipping while Boss Baby Plum ingameBaby Plum from the Collectible Plum Flute iconPlum Flute performs her spray attack and flipping again will cause Baby Plum to be stuck on Tainted Lazarus' position when he flipped.