Binding of Isaac: Rebirth Wiki

(except in Rebirth)

The Guardian is a challenge in The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth. Isaac starts blindfolded, with Collectible Punching Bag iconPunching Bag, Collectible Isaac's Heart iconIsaac's Heart, Collectible Holy Grail iconHoly Grail, and Collectible Spear Of Destiny iconSpear Of Destiny. The goal is to defeat Boss Mom's Heart ingameMom's Heart or Boss It Lives ingameIt Lives. Isaac's Heart will follow the Punching Bag instead of Isaac. Isaac also has a special hairstyle and a reskinned Spear Of Destiny. Both of these are not accessible anywhere else.

Difficulty[ | ]

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 RoomTreasure Rooms and tears only further compounds the difficulty, to the point where certain rooms and bosses, which can be normally completed without taking damage, may now guarantee a 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 Collectible Isaac's Heart iconIsaac's Heart.

Strategy[ | ]

  • 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 Collectible Brimstone iconBrimstone 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 Collectible Eve's Mascara iconEve's Mascara, Collectible Proptosis iconProptosis, and Collectible Polyphemus iconPolyphemus are straight damage upgrades, while items like Collectible Soy Milk iconSoy Milk and Collectible Odd Mushroom (Thin) iconOdd Mushroom are damage downs.
    • Collectible Ipecac iconIpecac 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 Collectible The Bible iconThe Bible, Collectible The Wafer iconThe Wafer, and Collectible Breath of Life iconBreath 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 Boss Mom ingameMom and Boss Mom's Heart ingameMom's Heart.
  • As the red champion version of Boss Mom ingameMom is nearly impossible to get past normally, a lot of health, Collectible The Wafer iconThe Wafer, or Chaos CardChaos 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 Collectible Sacrificial Dagger iconSacrificial 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 Collectible Humbleing Bundle iconHumbleing 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 Boss Gemini ingameGemini or LustLust.
  • It is possible to enter Boss RushBoss 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 Fool0 - 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, Collectible Placenta iconPlacenta 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 CandyMysterious Candy, which randomly spawns Poops. Destroying poop can drop Half Red HeartHalf Red Hearts and Soul HeartSoul Hearts.
  • (except in Repentance) 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.
    • (in Repentance) Breath of Life now bypasses the invulnerability, making this strategy invalid.
  • It should be noted that Isaac can transform into GuppyGuppy 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 Collectible Tammy's Head iconTammy's Head and Collectible Incubus iconIncubus, will.
  • (except in Repentance) Obtaining Collectible Blood Rights iconBlood 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.
    • (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.
  • (except in Repentance) Obtaining Collectible Athame iconAthame allows Isaac to activate the black brimstone ring without taking damage, which would make cleaning a room a lot easier, and spawn more Black HeartBlack Hearts.
    • (in Repentance) This is no longer possible in Repentance due to Athame’s new effect
  • Obtaining Collectible The Virus iconThe Virus allows Isaac to inflict poison upon enemies without taking damage and get Black HeartBlack Hearts sometimes after killing enemies.
    • The Virus and other poisoning effects are useful against enemies such as Mobile HostMobile Host, Cod WormCod Worm, etc, as they can remain invulnerable to the Spear Of Destiny and still deal contact damage to the Punching Bag.
  • Collectible Book of Shadows iconBook of Shadows also makes the challenge significantly easier as it can be activated to prevent Collectible Isaac's Heart iconIsaac's Heart from taking any damage for 10 seconds.
  • Because of Isaac's Heart, he can enter Curse RoomCurse Rooms without taking damage.
  • (except in Repentance) The (in Afterbirth † and Repentance)Collectible Sacrificial Altar iconSacrificial Altar that can be found in Curse RoomCurse Rooms can be used to sacrifice both Punching Bag and Isaac's Heart, which could make the challenge easier.
    • (in Repentance) The Sacrificial Altar will have no effect and will not be consumed.
  • (in Afterbirth † and Repentance)Duct TapeDuct Tape also makes the challenge harder, as Isaac's Heart will follow Isaac instead, resulting in two hitboxes.
  • (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.
  • (in Repentance)Flat FileFlat File makes this challenge significantly easier by removing all spikes from every room, including entities, rocks and floors as long as it's carried.

Gallery[ | ]

Reward[ | ]

Trivia[ | ]

  • The file name for the appearance of Isaac in this challenge is named "nicelilith", and uses Character Lilith iconLilith's Afterbirth sprites but changed to have pale skin, blond hair, no horns, and wings.