SPEED!

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SPEED!
Added in Afterbirth
Challenge number
22
Character
Isaac App.png
Full red heartFull red heartFull red heart
Available rooms
Item Pool Treasure Room.png: yes          Item Pool Shop.png: yes
Goal
Boss Mom's Heart.png / Boss It Lives.png
within 16 minutes, otherwise under
constant periodic damage every 10 seconds.
Unlocks
Added in AfterbirthGet out of Jail Free Card Get out of Jail Free CardGet out of Jail Free CardComplete challenge #22
Unlocked by
Added in AfterbirthSPEED! Defeat Mom for the 1st timeSPEED!SPEED!

SPEED! is Challenge #22. In this challenge, all enemies are sped up as if under the "speed up" effect of the Broken Watch Broken WatchBroken Watch Icon.pngChance upon entering a room to slow down or speed up every enemy and their attacks. The chance to slow enemies is quite higher than the chance to speed them up.. Isaac also has greatly increased movement speed as well. The goal is to defeat Mom's Heart or It Lives with a "soft" time limit of 16 minutes.

Difficulty[edit | edit source]

This is arguably one of the hardest challenges in the game, for two major reasons. Firstly, the increased speed for both the enemies and Isaac can make most routine rooms and bosses challenging. More importantly, the 16 minute soft time limit is also very hard to beat, and may force the player to forgo exploring for rewards that might have helped them later on. Note that the time limit is not a "hard" one and that the game is not over when the countdown timer reaches 0; however, from that point onwards Isaac will start taking half a heart of damage every 10 seconds, or a full heart of damage starting from chapter 4.

Strategy[edit | edit source]

General[edit | edit source]

  • Health is always important, but even more so in this challenge. Not only will health compensate for the damage taken, be it from the more difficult rooms/bosses or the timed damage, but it can also be used for Devil Deals to access its high DPS item pool. Items that generates health or protection thus help greatly, These include The Wafer The WaferThe Wafer Icon.pngAll sources of damage that would cause more than one half heart of damage are reduced to one half heart instead., Cancer CancerCancer Icon.pngAdds 3 soul hearts. Grants The Wafer effect for the current room upon taking damage., Yum Heart Yum HeartYum Heart Icon.png4 roomsRestores 1 whole red heart., Unicorn Stump Unicorn StumpUnicorn Stump Icon.png1 roomsUpon use, grants invulnerability and increased speed for five seconds, but removes the ability to shoot tears., Prayer Card Prayer CardPrayer Card Icon.png6 roomsGrants an eternal heart per use., and many many more.
  • Blank Card Blank CardBlank Card Icon.png4 roomsHas the same effect as the card or rune currently held by Isaac. is a powerful item in this run, as there are cards and runes such as "The Emperor", "The Sun", "Ansuz", and "Ehwaz" which can allow both faster progression through the game. Certain cards and runes such as,"The Hierophant", "The Lovers ", "The Chariot", "The Sun", "Algiz", and "Dagaz" can also act as health regeneration or protection to counter act the timed damage or the increased difficulty in general.
  • Getting the Stop Watch Stop WatchStop Watch Icon.pngRemoved in Afterbirth Automatically inflicts slow to all enemies in every room.
    Added in Afterbirth Upon taking damage, inflicts slow to all enemies for the current room.
    will make this challenge easier, since it will slow all enemies in the room when Isaac takes damage, counteracting their increased speed.
  • The Ludovico Technique The Ludovico TechniqueThe Ludovico Technique Icon.pngInstead of firing tears, Isaac controls one floating tear that hover over obstacles. This tear deals constant damage when held in place over an enemy. shouldn't be picked up without high shot speed, as it will move slower than most enemies.
  • Since Isaac starts with increased speed, Taurus TaurusTaurus Icon.pngSpeed down; gains speed while in a room with enemies until gaining My Little Unicorn effect for a few seconds. can be used to start every room with The Gamekid The GamekidThe Gamekid Icon.png6 roomsUpon use, turns the character into a into a Pac-Man-like creature for 5 seconds, granting invulnerability, inflicting fear on all enemies, and replenishing half a red heart container for every two enemies killed. effect making it effective for clearing rooms quickly. The invincibility from it can also block timed damage occasionally.
  • The Bible The BibleThe Bible Icon.png6 roomsUpon activation, Isaac gains flight, allowing him to pass over all obstacles in the current room. Instantly kills Mom, Mom's Heart, and It Lives when activated, but will kill Isaac when activated while fighting Satan. can be used to instantly kill Mom and It Lives, making it a more valuable item in this run. In the same vein, Added in Afterbirth †Plan C Plan CPlan C Icon.pngOne time useKills all enemies in the room, then kills Isaac three seconds later. is also useful, though only against the final boss.

Speed run[edit | edit source]

The adverse effect of not finishing the run in within 16 minutes (periodic damage every 10 seconds) can be simply avoided by beating the timer.

  • If the player wishes to beat the timer, it might be a good idea to cut down exploring to a minimum. Find and visit the Treasure Room, occasionally the shop, and the boss, then move on as soon as possible. The , the Crystal Ball Crystal BallCrystal Ball Icon.png6 roomsReveals the map (except the Super Secret Room) and drops a random Tarot Card or soul heart. and The Mind The MindThe Mind Icon.pngGrants the combined effects of the Blue Map, Treasure Map, and The Compass, revealing the floor layout and all special rooms, including Secret Rooms and Super Secret Rooms. are very useful if this is the desired strategy, as is "The Emperor" card. Floor skipping with We Need to Go Deeper! We Need to Go Deeper!We Need to Go Deeper! Icon.png6 roomsCreates a trapdoor to go to the next floor. If used in The Womb, it will create a trapdoor to Sheol, even if the player hasn't unlocked it. and such are also valuable time-savers, as long as the player is confident with their current set of items.
  • Isaac's highly increased speed is a powerful asset to completing this run in a rapid fashion, but can be dangerous as the player may accidentally run over spikes or into enemies/bullets that they otherwise would not run into. It is important to be careful and adjust to the speed-up.
  • Anything that could help clearing rooms faster is going to alleviate some of the difficulty of this challenge. Damage and Tear boosting items are thus a potential priority, making Devil Deals desirable because of their DPS heavy item pool. "Room clearer" items such as Toxic Shock Toxic ShockToxic Shock Icon.pngUpon entering a room, poisons all enemies, dealing double Isaac's tear damage. Killing enemies leaves a small, short lasting pool of green creep on the ground. and "Boss killer" items such as are also very useful for speeding up progress.
  • Avoid Challenge Up (i.e. Purple Heart Purple HeartPurple Heart Icon.pngIncreases chance for challenge rooms to be boss challenge rooms / Causes more enemy champions to spawn., Champion Belt Champion BeltChampion Belt Icon.pngIncreases damage, but also increases the chance of champion enemies appearing.) since Champion enemies are not only much harder to kill, they will also take much longer to kill, and the player is already short on time.
  • Boss Rush is likely to appear on this challenge if the player is trying to beat the timer, but it should be avoided unless there is a way to teleport out of it or skip it.
  • Using bombs for damage or skipping rooms might be necessary if one wishes to beat the timer. Automatically-replenishing explosives (Ipecac IpecacIpecac Icon.pngReplaces tears with explosive and poisoning projectiles fired in an arc from the mouth., Dr. Fetus Dr. FetusDr. Fetus Icon.pngTears are replaced by bombs that benefit from bomb-enhancing effects and slide a fixed range after being fired., etc.) will greatly aid the player in doing this.
  • Black Candle Black CandleBlack Candle Icon.pngPrevents curses. Grants one black heart. Increases the chance for a Devil or angel room to appear. is a valuable item to purchase from the shop, as it prevents Isaac from being afflicted by Curse of the Lost and Curse of the Maze, both of which can waste precious time. The Dagaz rune will also remove curses for a single floor if used.
  • Teleport TeleportTeleport Icon.png2 roomsTeleports you to a random room on the level., if used wisely, can save a lot of exploration time by teleporting whenever Isaac doesn't appear to be near rooms of interest. This will inevitably cut down rooms the player need to explore.
  • Added in Afterbirth † The player will want to make sure they have less than 20 items and 100 tear damage; otherwise, they risk a 1 in 20 chance of being teleported to The Void after defeating Mom. While this skips both floors in chapter 4, it also forces the player to face one of the hardest boss in the game, while going through a particularly large floor, possibly having to fight more than one boss, all the while having the game sped up in general. While this might not be an issue if the player went with the alternative strategies mentioned below, it will make finishing the game in under 16 minutes very unlikely.

Slow and Steady[edit | edit source]

After 16 minutes, the periodic damage taken every 10 seconds can be counteracted by generating enough health or obtaining enough protection against said damage.

  • The timed damage can be absorbed by the Holy Mantle Holy MantleHoly Mantle Icon.pngAutomatically negates first taken damage in every room., making it an even more valuable asset since Isaac can leave the just-cleared room the way he came, re-enter it, wait until the timed damage is dealt, and proceed. By doing so, Isaac can get a 20-second buffer (10s if hit) to rinse and repeat the process without taking any damage.
  • Pyromaniac PyromaniacPyromaniac Icon.pngIsaac heals 1 heart instead of taking damage from an explosive source. Adds 5 bombs. and explosives (Curse of the Tower Curse of the TowerCurse of the Tower Icon.pngCauses Isaac to spawn 6 troll bombs on the floor every time he gets hit, similar to the Anarchist Cookbook mechanic. or any other way to get a lot of bombs) allows Isaac to survive long after the 16 minute limit, and in the case of Pyromaniac with automatically-replenishing explosives such as No. 2 No. 2No. 2 Icon.pngContinuously firing tears for several seconds causes Isaac to drop a Butt Bomb. Butt Bombs explode for 50 damage like normal bombs, but also deal 10 damage to all enemies in the room and daze them for a short period of time., very likely the entirety of the run.
  • Guppy's Paw Guppy's PawGuppy's Paw Icon.pngUnlimitedRemoves one red heart container in exchange for gaining 3 Soul Hearts. in the late game can potentially give the player up to 6 minutes of borrowed time, 12 minutes with The Wafer, and even more if the player happens to find HP upgrades in the final moments of the run.
  • Isaac's Heart Isaac's HeartIsaac's Heart Icon.pngIsaac himself is now immune to all damage, and a heart familiar appears and follows Isaac. If the heart is hurt, Isaac is hurt. makes Isaac completely immune to the timed damage.
  • Several Sharp Plug Sharp PlugSharp Plug Icon.pngUsing an activated item while it's not charged will charge it and Sharp Plug does 2 full heart damage to Isaac. + The Wafer The WaferThe Wafer Icon.pngAll sources of damage that would cause more than one half heart of damage are reduced to one half heart instead./Cancer CancerCancer Icon.pngAdds 3 soul hearts. Grants The Wafer effect for the current room upon taking damage. combos will also allow effectively infinite health.
  • Items that grant health or protection on hit such as Old Bandage, Gimpy, Virgo, and Celtic Cross are useful for surviving past the timer in general.
    • Added in Afterbirth † The items above are also more effective when in possession alongside Added in Afterbirth †Dull Razor Dull RazorDull Razor Icon.png2 roomsHurts Isaac without depleting health, activating any items that trigger upon taking damage..

Notes[edit | edit source]

  • Prior to a patch, Isaac moved at normal speed while all enemies moved faster. It was changed to give Isaac increased speed, as the challenge was deemed to be unfairly difficult before.

Reward[edit | edit source]

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • If Isaac dies to the timed damage, his will will depict a stopwatch where normally a sketch of the enemy that killed Isaac would be.



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