Binding of Isaac: Rebirth Wiki
The   Guardian
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Challenge Number
Available Rooms
Item Pool Treasure Room.png: no          Item Pool Shop.png: yes
Boss Mom's Heart portrait.png
Blank Rune Blank Rune
Unlock Method

The Guardian Defeat Mom

Added in Afterbirth

The Guardian is a challenge in The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth. Isaac starts blindfolded, with Punching Bag Punching Bag, Isaac's Heart Isaac's Heart, Holy Grail Holy Grail, and Spear of Destiny Spear of Destiny. The goal is to defeat Mom's Heart Mom's Heart or It Lives It Lives. Isaac's Heart will follow the Punching Bag instead of Isaac.


The main difficulty of this challenge stems from the fact that Isaac's health is damaged when the Punching Bag is hit for any reason (due to Isaac's Heart), and that the Punching Bag will move of its own unpredictable accord, severely hindering the player's agency in avoiding damage.

Note since it's the Punching Bag who takes damage, and it doesn't have the ability of flight, the Punching Bag is not immune to spikes and creep as Isaac's Heart would be. The lack of Treasure Room Treasure Rooms and tears only further compounds to the difficulty, to the point where certain rooms and bosses, which can be normally completed without taking damage, may now guarantee substantial amount of unavoidable damage. For example, Red Champion Mom is almost impossible to clear as she will always target Punching Bag.

Playing this challenge in Repentance is somewhat easier yet also somewhat harder due to the changes to Isaac's Heart Isaac's Heart.


  • The player should follow a general priority in which enemies to kill: enemies that run towards the Punching Bag, followed by exploding enemies, followed by enemies with piercing shots (i.e. Enemies that fire Brimstone Brimstone shots), followed by enemies that fire regular shots. Remember that Isaac himself is invincible, allowing him to "body-block" shots flying towards the heart.
  • As the Spear of Destiny is not affected by any of Isaac's stats other than damage, items such as Eve's Mascara Eve's Mascara, Proptosis Proptosis, and Polyphemus Polyphemus are straight damage upgrades, while items like Soy Milk Soy Milk and Odd Mushroom Odd Mushroom are damage downs. Incubus Incubus is still affected by Isaac's other stats however, so these items will affect its tears as they would Isaac's.
    • Ipecac Ipecac can be extremely powerful because of its massive damage boost and poison effect.
  • It may be better to go for Angel Rooms rather than Devil Rooms in this challenge, since they may offer invaluable items like The Bible The Bible, The Wafer The Wafer, and Breath of Life Breath of Life at the cost of no health.
  • Finding or buying The Bible makes the challenge a lot easier, allowing Isaac to instantly kill both Mom Mom and Mom's Heart Mom's Heart.
  • As the red champion version of Mom Mom is nearly impossible to get past normally, a lot of health, The Wafer The Wafer, or Chaos Card Chaos Card are necessary if Isaac doesn't have The Bible (or if it isn't fully recharged).
  • Spend as little time as possible in rooms with spikes, because there's a high chance the Punching Bag will walk into them.
  • Orbitals are extremely useful for this challenge since most of them deal a good amount of damage on direct contact. Items such as Sacrificial Dagger Sacrificial Dagger are the best source of damage at 15 damage per tick. Health is also important to make up for unnecessary damage, as is Speed to rush towards enemies and destroy them before they can attack Isaac's Heart. Also, pick up the Humbling Bundle Humbling Bundle for its double Red Hearts.
  • Isaac can use the spear's fear effect to his advantage and force bosses and mini-bosses away from Punching Bag. This is especially effective against bosses that chase Punching Bag, such as Gemini Gemini or Lust Lust.
  • It is possible to enter Boss Rush Boss Rush in this challenge. However, it’s not recommended to complete Boss Rush as it is very difficult without a strong set of items, but if Isaac finds any means to escape (e.g. 0 - The Fool 0 - The Fool), trying to beat Mom in under 20 minutes can be beneficial.
  • If the player is not too concerned with time or score and just want the unlock, Placenta Placenta is a good item to get as well since it can regenerate Isaac's health. A much, much slower way can be done by obtaining Mysterious Candy Mysterious Candy, which randomly spawns Poops. Destroying poop can drop Half Red Heart Half Red Hearts and Soul Heart Soul Hearts.
  • The Breath of Life can be extremely helpful in completing this challenge. Isaac's Heart will enable the spacebar indefinitely and not take damage while doing so will make Isaac completely immune to damage. He still can be hurt while the charge bar is still depleting after entering the room, but it does make things easier, especially with bosses, and allows him to explore rooms with hazards such as spikes without having to worry that the Punching Bag will wander into them.
  • It should be noted that Isaac can transform into Guppy Guppy during this challenge even though the visual change that accompanies the transformation is not shown, and he will be able to make flies. The Spear of Destiny does not generate flies, but familiars and items that generate tears, such as Tammy's Head Tammy's Head and Incubus Incubus, will.
  • Obtaining Blood Rights Blood Rights wins the challenge as it can be spammed while annihilating everything inside (except Hosts and Cod Worms). But since there are no Treasure Rooms present, it can only be obtained via a lucky Crawl Space or room generation.
    • Added in Repentance Blood Rights now bypasses the invulnerability, making this strategy invalid.
  • Having a second player join in makes the game significantly easier. A co-op baby has its Spear of Destiny and is not blindfolded so it can shoot tears as normal. The co-op baby doesn't take damage because of Isaac's Heart.
  • Obtaining Athame Athame allows Isaac to activate the black brimstone ring without taking damage, which would make cleaning a room a lot easier, and spawn more Black Heart Black Hearts.
  • Obtaining The Virus The Virus allows Isaac to inflict poison upon enemies without taking damage and get Black Heart Black Hearts sometimes after killing enemies.
    • The Virus and other poisoning effects are useful against enemies such as Mobile Host Mobile Host, Cod Worm Cod Worm, etc, as they can remain invulnerable to the Spear of Destiny and still deal contact damage to the Punching Bag.
  • Book of Shadows Book of Shadows also makes the challenge significantly easier as it can be activated to prevent Isaac's Heart Isaac's Heart from taking any damage for 10 seconds.
  • Because of Isaac's Heart, he can enter Curse Room Curse Rooms without taking damage.
  • The Added in Afterbirth †Sacrificial Altar Sacrificial Altar that can be found in Curse Room Curse Rooms can be used to sacrifice both Punching Bag and Isaac's Heart, which could make the challenge easier.
    • Added in RepentanceThe Sacrificial Altar will have no effect and will not be consumed.
  • Added in Afterbirth †Duct Tape Duct Tape also makes the challenge harder, as Isaac's Heart will follow Isaac instead, resulting in two hitboxes.
  • Added in Repentance Even though Isaac is blindfolded, you can still charge up Isaac's Heart. The knockback from the charge shot can be crucial to avoiding damage.