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Added in Afterbirth
Challenge number
Isaac App.png
HUD Red Heart.pngHUD Red Heart.pngHUD Red Heart.png
Starting Items
Money = Power Money = PowerMoney = Power Icon.pngIncreases damage by 0.04 for every coin Isaac has, up to +3.96 damage at 99 coins.
Sack of Pennies Sack of PenniesSack of Pennies Icon.pngIsaac is followed by a small bag that drops a coin every 2 rooms.
50 coins
Available rooms
Item Pool Treasure Room.png: no          Item Pool Shop.png: yes
Added in Afterbirth2 new pills 2 new pills2 new pillsComplete challenge #24
Unlocked by
Added in AfterbirthPAY TO PLAY Defeat Isaac as CainPAY TO PLAYPAY TO PLAY
Disambig.png This article is about the challenge. For the item, see Pay to Play.

PAY TO PLAY is Challenge #24, and was added in The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth. In this challenge, you start with 50 coins, Money = Power, and the Sack of Pennies. However, every doorway is now an arcade door, and taking any damage will cause you to lose more pennies than you drop, similar to when you are attacked by Greed. Having 0 pennies will kill you and end the challenge. Your goal is to defeat Isaac. This challenge is unlocked by unlocking the Sack of Pennies, done by defeating Isaac with Cain.

Difficulty[edit | edit source]

Needing money to continue your run causes shop purchases to become much more risky, and extra coins may have to be found in addition to hearts when getting hurt.

The arcade doors in this challenge appear to be "overlaid" on the level's normal doors, even after they have been opened. In most cases, this allows you to unlock and enter rooms that normally require keys (or bombs) with a coin instead. However, certain doors are still "active", and can still damage or block the player, even after being unlocked with a coin. These doors will appear to be normal open doors, despite the effects triggering when attempting to pass through them.

  • Curse Room doorways will still damage the player (without flight and/or shielding) after unlocking them with a coin, despite the absence of visible teeth around the door frame.
  • Challenge Room and Boss Challenge Room doorways will still prevent the player from entering with too few or too many red hearts respectively, even after being unlocked with a coin and appearing to be an open doorway. Unlocking a door for which you have the wrong number of red hearts effectively wastes a coin (unless you plan to return later with the right number of red hearts).
In addition, the doors to these rooms will appear to be the same as all the other doors on the level. It may be helpful to keep an eye on the mini-map to ensure that you don't needlessly lose health (and coins) to a Curse Room, or waste a coin on a Challenge Room you don't qualify for. (Bombing into these rooms appears to be unaffected.)
  • Presumably because they hold 0 coins Co-op babies are killed instantly upon entering the game.

Strategy[edit | edit source]

  • A Quarter and A Dollar are fantastic items in this run, as they give you a good amount of coins. The Emperor card is useful in this challenge as it teleports you directly to the boss, preventing the loss of any coins.
  • Lucky Rock will allow you to gain more coins simply by destroying rocks. Combined with items such as Leo, Samson's Chains, or Epic Fetus, this item becomes invaluable.
  • Store Credit, Credit Card, Diplopia, Mr. ME!, and Coupon will allow you to obtain items from the shop without spending money. Similarly, the Rune of Jera can create free copies of shop pickups.
  • Finding a 2 of Diamonds card early on can potentially max out your coin count, making the run much easier.
  • Blank Card can be used to get multiple uses out of 2 of Diamonds or Credit Card.
    • Additionally, if you can manage to get a Jera rune, you can use it to get infinite coins, which makes it much easier to win.
  • Rune Bag is actually very helpful in this challenge, as Jera, Ehwaz, Dagaz, Ansuz, and Algiz can all be especially useful. You can find it in Secret Rooms.
  • Counterfeit Penny can increase the value of found pennies. This also means that when damage causes you to drop coins, you're likely to have a net gain once you collect them.
  • Piggy Bank and Swallowed Penny will let you drop extra coins when hit, likely enough to stop the issue of coin loss from being hurt.
  • Wooden Nickel can be used every room to try and generate coins.
  • Humbling Bundle will keep your coin count at high levels by doubling the value of all pennies you find. The earlier you find it, the better.
  • Head of the Keeper gives you a chance to earn coins after defeating enemies.
  • Midas' Touch can be used to turn enemies into coins.
  • Glowing Hour Glass can allow you to exit dead end rooms, earning you back the coin you spent getting in.
  • If you have many bombs to spare or a renewable source of explosives (such as Epic Fetus), bombing through and out of Secret Rooms can save you some coins. Since rooms count as "unlocked" on all sides once they have been successfully entered and cleared of enemies (except for the Shop, which must be exited through the main door to fully unlock), you can unlock the remainder of the rooms bordering the Secret Room with bombs/explosives instead of coins.
  • Items like Treasure Map and The Compass can help you narrow down where you can go and where is likely to just be a dead end, so they can be valuable purchases from the Shop. The boss room usually appears at a dead end far away from the spawn point.
  • Shops usually appear farther from the spawn point than Libraries. Both can contain useful items, but the Shop generally has better items for this challenge.
  • Additionally, Guppy's Tail and Mom's Key can provide a sustainable amount of money given that each chest opened will likely contain a large amount of coins and other consumables.
  • A combination of Broken Remote with active items that are always charged can prevent the loss of coins to doors, which can prove to be very effective, but may cause wasted time trying to reach the room you need to reach.

Reward[edit | edit source]

The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth
MainPageAchievements.png Achievements MainPageAttributes.png Attributes MainPageBosses.png Bosses TarotCard.png Cards and Runes MainPageChallenges.png Challenges MainPageChapters.png Chapters
Isaac App.png Characters MainPageBabies.png Co-op MainPageItems Small.png Items Item Pools Item Pools MainPageMonsters.png Monsters MainPageObjects.png Objects
Red heart.png Pickups BlueBlue.png Pills MainPageRooms.png Rooms MainPageSeeds2.png Seeds Guppy App.png Transformations The Left Hand Icon.png Trinkets