Binding of Isaac: Rebirth Wiki

(in Repentance)

Tainted Samson is a character added in The Binding of Isaac: Repentance. He is the alternate version of Character Samson iconSamson with his hair completely shaved off, except for a large tuft. Tainted Samson 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 Samson. He starts with 3 red hearts.

Notes[ | ]

  • Whenever Tainted Samson deals or takes damage, he will grow progressively more red. After reaching a certain point, he activates Collectible Berserk! iconBerserk! and gains +0.40 speed, x0.5 then +2 fire rate, +3 flat damage, and will be restricted to using a jawbone melee weapon instead of his tears (similarly to Character The Forgotten iconThe Forgotten's bone club) which deals 3x his damage stat with strikes, 1.5x on thrown attacks, and reflects enemy shots when swung. The berserk state only lasts for 5 seconds at start, which is shown on a timer above his head, but one second is added every time Tainted Samson kills an enemy. Killing enemies in this state also grants speed, in increments of +0.40, as well as brief invincibility to prevent damage from exploding enemies. The effect persists between rooms. If he runs out of health while in this state, he will survive with no hearts, giving the player a short time to find more hearts before dying when the timer runs out.
  • Entering the berserk state requires dealing a base total of 120 damage, and increases by 40 for every next floor. Taking damage adds 10% of the required total.

Strategy[ | ]

  • Tainted Samson's game plan requires management of berserk mode. He plays like a standard character until berserk activates, which can then be used to shred through rooms of enemies. Being able to make full use of berserk is key for effective use of the character.
  • Berserk's benefits are immense, as Tainted Samson gains significant boosts to his melee abilities and speed, and even allows him to survive with no hearts so long as he picks up health before berserk ends. This all comes with a significant downside: berserk forces Tainted Samson to focus on melee attacks, making his effective range very low and extremely high risk.
  • Berserk is best suited for a heavily aggressive playstyle: as it runs out in five seconds, Tainted Samson should aim to enter a room, slay as many enemies as possible, and rush into the next to keep berserk up for as long as he can.
  • Berserk mode's swings are capable of reflecting enemy tears. If a situation forces berserking Tainted Samson from attacking a long-distance target, this can be used as a method to attack back or avoid damage. Alternatively, having a high tear rate will allow Tainted Samson to simply generate a reflective wall between himself and the enemy.
  • While the thrown melee weapon charges quite fast, it still takes precious time from berserk's five second time limit. The thrown weapon should only be used if Tainted Samson cannot reach his enemy.
  • As berserk charges through damage dealt and taken, it will activate quicker if Tainted Samson has a high damage per second or constantly gets hit.
  • When clearing rooms in berserk mode, it is recommended to ignore room drops until berserk ends to make the most use of its limited timer.
  • Berserk mode's swing will knockback targets slightly, which can help keep chasing enemies at a safe distance.
  • Like the Forgotten's bone club, range ups will affect berserk's melee range, and can be used to open distant chests or pick up items across small gaps.
  • As berserk mode activates relatively easily, it can make it hard to actually use tears. Items that grant tear effects will see less effective use on Tainted Samson because of this.
  • Items that grant tears up are exceptional for Tainted Samson, as berserk already grants a high tear multiplier. A high tears will result in incredibly fast swing speed, which will shred through both enemies and tears alike.
  • If Berserk is active, Tainted Samson can take damage while as the temporary Lost form in Downpour II. Damage will be drawn from his health bar normally.
  • Samson's melee attack can collect pickups and open chests. Opening a Mimic Chest this way deals no damage. Locked Chests still require a key to open.

Interactions[ | ]

  • Damage done by Familiars, such as Collectible Sister Maggy iconSister Maggy, count towards getting Tainted Samson to his Berserk state.
  • Ace Cards: Turning enemies into pickups doesn’t count as damaging or killing them for the sake of charging berserk mode or extending its duration.
  • Collectible E. Coli iconE. Coli/Collectible Flush! iconFlush!: Turning enemies into poop doesn’t count as damaging or killing them for the sake of charging berserk mode or extending its duration.
  • Collectible Birthright iconBirthright: The berserk timer gains 3 seconds instead of 1 when Tainted Samson kills an enemy.
  • Collectible Suplex! iconSuplex!: If Tainted Samson uses Suplex! on an enemy at the end of his berserk state, it will deal extra amounts of damage and cause a Collectible Mama Mega! iconMama Mega! effect.

Other berserk interactions are identical to Character The Forgotten iconThe Forgotten's bone club, and can be seen on his respective page under Item Interactions.

  • Collectible Mom's Knife iconMom's Knife: While the synergy between Mom's Knife and the Berserk state is identical to The Forgotten's melee attack, it is worth noting that the attack no longer deflects enemy shots.
  • Collectible Scapular iconScapular: If Tainted Samson takes lethal damage that triggers his Berserk state or in the middle of it, he will gain the extra Soul heart, allowing him to live if he doesn't lose it within the same room.

Favored items[ | ]

  • As Tainted Samson will usually find himself up close and personal, he is very likely to take contact damage. As a result, he benefits from any items that grants an effect after being hit (eg. Collectible Anemic iconAnemic,Collectible Dead Bird iconDead Bird), causes statuses on contact (eg. Collectible E. Coli iconE. Coli, Collectible Serpent's Kiss iconSerpent's Kiss), or drops items after being hit (eg. Collectible Gimpy iconGimpy, Collectible Old Bandage iconOld Bandage).
  • Health ups are recommended for Tainted Samson due to his preference for melee combat.
  • Orbiting familiars that deal damage can be put to good use while Tainted Samson is berserking. Non-damaging ones that block shots are also useful as they can soak up stray shots.
  • Collectible Blood Rights iconBlood Rights/Collectible Razor Blade iconRazor Blade: Said items can be spammed to deal massive damage or give massive damage ups in one room as long as heart drops are present to make his HP above 0 before berserk state ends.
  • Collectible Candy Heart iconCandy Heart: Gives a small buff for each heart drop taken. Useful since Tainted Samson requires constant healing.
  • Collectible Celtic Cross iconCeltic Cross: Grants a chance for a shield every time he is hit, which gives Tainted Samson time to rush in and melee enemies.
  • Collectible The Inner Eye iconThe Inner Eye/Collectible Mutant Spider iconMutant Spider: Each melee swing will generate multiple melee strikes. As berserk also reduces tear delay, the tear reduction of these items is negligible during berserk.
  • Collectible Kidney Stone iconKidney Stone: Allows Tainted Samson to flail his jawbone at horrifying speeds, shredding enemies and putting a hefty dent in bosses.
  • Collectible Libra iconLibra: Gives a hefty all stats up while in berserk. Pairs very well with Collectible Rock Bottom iconRock Bottom.
  • Collectible The Ludovico Technique iconThe Ludovico Technique: Upon entering berserk state the floating tear teleports to Tainted Samson's location and follows him around, after which it can be thrown around by hitting it with the jawbone, greatly increasing in size then decreasing as it bounces around. At the end of the berserk state, the tear once again teleports to his location.
  • Collectible Marbles iconMarbles: As Tainted Samson is very likely to take damage, this can be used to swallow and stack trinkets.
  • Collectible The Necronomicon iconThe Necronomicon: damage and kills counts toward Berserk activation. With proper timing can be used to start Berserk and immediately enter the next room with full charge Berserk.
  • Sigil of BaphometSigil of Baphomet is exceptionally good as Tainted Samson, as killing enemies is very easy, allowing him to not have to worry as much about taking damage once activated.
  • Collectible The Wafer iconThe Wafer: Reduces damage taken to half a heart, which lets Tainted Samson take twice the punishment from later floors.

Unfavored items[ | ]

  • HP downs and Devil Deals during the early floors will significantly lower Tainted Samson's survivability, especially since he usually takes a lot of punishment from being at melee range.
  • Speed downs will make it difficult to build up momentum when killing enemies, and makes it harder to escape from chasing enemies too.
  • Ice CubeIce Cube/Collectible Uranus iconUranus: While in berserk mode, killing enemies will Freeze them and will not refill berserk mode's timer.
  • Collectible Taurus iconTaurus: Upon activating berserk state, Tainted Samson will likely also activate Taurus' effect, limiting him to exclusively contact damage, which can waste entire berserks if activated at inopportune times. Contact damage from Taurus also does not refill berserk mode's timer.

Unlockable Items[ | ]

Gallery[ | ]

Trivia[ | ]

  • Tainted Samson's appearance is a reference to the Book of Judges in the Bible, as Samson lost his superhuman strength when Delilah cut his hair while he was asleep.
    • His hair growing back to full length resembles how it did so before his death, as elaborated on below.
    • His eyeless sockets in his Berserk! state resembles how the Philistines blinded Samson by gouging his eyes out after he lost his strength.
    • Tainted Samson unlocks XI - Strength?XI - Strength?, a card that means weakness and fall from grace, fitting Samson's demise at the temple.
  • His ability is a further reference to Judges: Samson killed an army of 1,000 Philistines using a donkey's jawbone.
  • Tainted Samson's melee looks the same as the Donkey Jawbone from Antibirth.
  • Tainted Samson's unlock post-it note is a reference to how Samson died in the Book of Judges, as Samson broke the pillars inside the temple that the Philistines took him to, which killed everyone inside with himself.
  • Tainted Samson's ability to survive death could be a reference to Nuclear Throne's character Chicken, who upon death will lose her head and still be able to be controlled for a short time. Picking up HP brings her back to life.
    • She also has an Ultra Mutation named "Harder to Kill", which prolongs the time where you can survive after death by killing enemies, much like Tainted Samson's method of prolonging his berserk state.
  • The achievement for unlocking Tainted Samson is "The Savage", a possible title for the character.
    • ''Savage'' means ''violent, or uncontrolled'', or ''brutal, vicious''. This references his ability to go berserk and gain monumental power.
  • Tainted Samson's berserk mode may be a reference to the 1999 title "Sword of the Berserk: Guts' Rage", given that in this game, berserk mode is accessed by dealing and taking damage, and gives higher attack speed, damage, and invulnerability.

Bugs[ | ]

Bug Bug! Trying to Save&Exit and then Continue when having 0 HP during Collectible Berserk! iconBerserk! will instantly kill you, even if the effect didn't wear off when you returned to the game.