is a new challenge added in The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth
. Isaac starts Blindfolded
, with Punching Bag
, Isaac's Heart
, Holy Grail
, and Spear of Destiny
. Your goal is to defeat Mom's Heart
or 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 (a la Isaac's Heart), and that the Punching Bag will move of its own unpredictable accord, severely hindering the player's agency in avoiding damage. This makes The Guardian one of the tougher challenges in the game.
Note since it's the Punching Bag who takes damage, and it doesn't have flight, the Punching Bag is not immune to spikes and creep
as Isaac's Heart
would be. The lack of 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
You should follow a general priority in which enemies to kill: enemies that run towards you, followed by exploding enemies, followed by enemies with piercing shots (i.e. Enemies that fire Brimstone shots), followed by enemies that fire regular shots. Remember that Isaac himself is invincible, allowing you to "body-block" shots flying towards the heart.
Rooms containing Mom's Hand
are almost impossible to clear (because the Punching Bag
is incapable of dodging them), and should be skipped whenever possible. Bombs can be used to skip these rooms by bombing doors open.
Finding or buying The Bible
makes the challenge a lot easier, allowing Isaac to instantly kill both Mom
and Mom's Heart
As the red champion version of Mom
is nearly impossible to get past normally, a lot of Health
, The Wafer
, or Chaos Card
Spend as little time as possible in rooms with spikes, because there's a high chance the Punching Bag
will walk into them stupidly.
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
are your best source of damage. Health is also important to make up for unnecessary damage, as is Speed to protect your Heart more effectively. Also, pick up the Humbling Bundle
for its double Red Hearts.
You can use the spear's fear effect to your advantage and force bosses and mini-bosses away from Punching Bag
. This is especially effective against bosses that chase Punching Bag
, such as Gemini
If you are not too concerned with time or score and just want the unlock, Placenta
is a good item to get as well since it can regenerate your health. A much, much slower way can be done by obtaining Mysterious Candy
, which randomly spawns Poops. By destroying the Poops, you can eventually spawn a lot of Half Red Hearts
and Soul Hearts
The Breath of Life
can be extremely helpful in completing this challenge. As you technically have Isaac's Heart, you will not take damage for holding spacebar indefinitely, while doing so will make you completely immune to damage. You still can be hurt while the charge bar is still depleting after you enter the room, but it does make things easier, especially with bosses, and allows you 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 you can transform into Guppy
during this challenge, however you do not get the visual change that accompanies the transformation. All of the effects, including the generation of flies, are active. The Spear of Destiny
does not seem to generate flies, however familiars and items that generate tears, such as Tammy's Head
, will generate flies.
Obtaining Blood Rights
basically wins the challenge as you can run into a room and repeatedly use the item without you taking any damage while annihilating everything inside.
Having a second player join in makes the game significantly easier. A co-op baby has it's own Spear of Destiny
and is not blindfolded so is able to shoot tears as normal. The co-op baby doesn't take damage because of Isaac's Heart
allows you to activate the black brimstone ring without taking damage, which would make cleaning a room a lot easier, and spawn more Black hearts
Obtaining The Virus
allows you to inflict poison upon enemies without taking damage and get Black Hearts
sometimes after killing enemies.
such as Lil Brimstone
, The Relic
, Dark Bum
, Little C.H.A.D.
, and Succubus
(especially when combined with BFFS!
) will make the challenge easier.
One Makes You Small
pills can make the challenge much more difficult, as the decreased hitbox makes it harder to block the Punching Bag
Book of Shadows
also makes the challenge significantly easier as it can be activated in order to prevent Isaac's Heart
from taking any damage for 10 seconds.
Because of Isaac's Heart
, you can enter Curse Rooms
without taking damage.
In Curse Rooms
you can find and use the Sacrificial Altar
to sacrifice both Punching Bag
and Isaac's Heart
, which could make the challenge easier.
also makes the challenge harder, as Isaac's Heart
will follow you instead, resulting in two hitboxes.
If you get Lazarus' Rags
, then after you die, Isaac's Heart
and Punching Bag
disappear, making the challenge much easier.