The Family Man is Challenge #19. This challenge prevents the firing of tears. Isaac must instead rely on familiars to do damage. The goal is to defeat Isaac. Isaac starts with Brother BobbyFollows Isaac around shooting normal tears., Sister MaggyA familiar that follows Isaac around shooting blood tears., Dad's KeyOpens all doors in the current room when activated, including doors which require a key to open and entrances to secret rooms. Opens the big doors in the first room of both The Chest and the Dark Room., BFFS!Increases the size and damage of familiars. and Rotten BabyA familiar that spawns blue flies..
Isaac also starts with the Conjoined transformation due to the familiars the player starts with, making the challenge more difficult. This is because the Conjoined transformation decreases your damage, which the blue flies from Rotten BabyA familiar that spawns blue flies. rely on.
The slow fire rate of the familiars makes this challenge difficult, especially in The Womb and Cathedral. The familiars can also be hard to aim, as they linger behind Isaac.
- Dad's KeyOpens all doors in the current room when activated, including doors which require a key to open and entrances to secret rooms. Opens the big doors in the first room of both The Chest and the Dark Room. allows the player to enter secret rooms and shops without using bombs or keys. Saving and obtaining extra pickups via Dad's Key can be leveraged for items from Beggars and Arcade machines to offset the challenge's lack of treasure rooms.
- In addition, Dad's Key can be used to exit the Boss Rush without having to fight any bosses, granting a free item if the Boss Rush is reached in time.
- Gaining flight will allow Isaac to stay safely out of range while the familiars deal damage.
- Damage from Blue Flies scales with Isaac's damage, allowing more damage into the late game. There are several items that can help achieve this.
- The Guppy transformation enables familiar's attacks to generate Blue Flies.
- Rotten BabyA familiar that spawns blue flies.'s Blue Flies can seek enemies at range.
- Hive MindIncreases the size of blue spiders and Blue Flies and doubles the amount of damage they deal. doubles all Blue Fly damage.
- PolyphemusMakes Isaac shoot one huge tear. Also reduces Tears to minimum. Damage increased . If tear does more damage than an enemy's life, the tear continues to travel with the extra remaining damage. or IpecacReplaces tears with explosive and poisoning projectiles fired in an arc from the mouth. will also greatly increase the damage of Blue Flies.
- Sacrificial DaggerDagger orbits Isaac, dealing very high damage. is extremely useful, because with BFFS!Increases the size and damage of familiars. it deals 30 damage per tick, making it extremely useful against bosses. However, this does not apply to Spear of DestinyIn addition to tears, Isaac now holds a spear in front of him which deals damage equal to 2 times his tear damage, and occasionally inflicts fear. The spear cannot be thrown, but deals damage while it is in contact with an enemy..
- Getting this combined with invincibility such as AlgizGrants a shield which lasts for 30 seconds. will allow a guaranteed kill on bosses.
- Additional damage-dealing familiars can be leveraged against enemies.
- Lil BrimstoneA Familiar that shoots a thin Brimstone beam. Must charge like Brimstone before shooting. is particularly useful for its significant damage, unlimited range, and attacks which pierce obstacles and enemies.
- ???'s Only FriendSummons a big attack fly that can be controlled with the shooting direction-keys. can also deal high damage and can be controlled to attack enemies anywhere in the room.
- Bob's BrainSpawns a familiar that charges forward when shooting tears and explodes upon contact with an enemy, damaging and poisoning them. The familiar respawns after a few seconds. can be tricky to use effectively, but offers a tremendous boost to damage.
- Damage-dealing active items, such as The CandleThrows out a blue flame that can pass over gaps (but not through rocks). The flame damages anything in its path., Red CandleThrows a persistent flame that deals high damage and diminishes as it damages enemies or blocks shots., or The BoomerangThrows a short-range boomerang which does a bit of damage and has a high chance to stun the enemy for 2 seconds. Can also be used to grab pickups. also offer a reliable amount of damage, and are all obtainable from the Shop.
- Defensive orbitals block projectiles and some can be used to deal damage. Using Slot Machines is a relatively reliable method to get 2-3 defensive flies.
- Re-rolling Isaac's Items with a Dice Room, the D4Rerolls all of Isaac's items., the D100Upon use, rerolls all passive items on Isaac like the D4, every pedestal item in the room like The D6, and every pickup like the D20., or Missing No.Randomizes all passive items upon pickup and at the start of each succeeding floor. is not recommended as it can leave Isaac without means of dealing damage.
- Most of Lilith's unlockable items will make the challenge easier:
- IncubusA demonic familiar that follows Isaac and shoots tears identical to Isaac's in terms of damage, range, fire rate, and effects. enables you to fire as Lilith does, and also benefits from your Conjoined transformation.
- Box of FriendsUpon use, duplicates all of Isaac's familiars for the current room. doubles your familiars, and therefore allows Isaac to double his tear output.
- Cambion ConceptionAfter taking damage a certain amount of times, a permanent demonic familiar spawns. and Immaculate ConceptionUpon picking up a certain amount of health, spawn a permanent angelic familiar. are reliable methods of generating new familiars.
- SuccubusSpawns a flying familiar that bounces around the room with a black aura, dealing rapid damage to any enemies inside it. While standing in the aura, Isaac gains a 1.5x tear damage multiplier. can deal high amounts of damage and help clear rooms.