The Guardian

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The Guardian
Added in Afterbirth
Challenge number
Isaac App.png
HUD Red Heart.pngHUD Red Heart.pngHUD Red Heart.png
Blindfolded App.png Blindfolded
Starting Items

Available rooms
Item Pool Treasure Room.png: no          Item Pool Shop.png: yes
Boss Mom's Heart.png / Boss It Lives.png
Added in AfterbirthBlank Rune Blank RuneBlank RuneComplete challenge #30 (Removed in Afterbirth † The unlock is bugged and actually unlocks Kidney Stone)
Unlocked by
Added in AfterbirthThe Guardian Defeat Mom for the 1st timeThe GuardianThe Guardian

The Guardian is a new challenge added in The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth. Isaac starts Blindfolded, with , , , and . Your goal is to defeat Mom's Heart or It Lives. Isaac's Heart will follow the instead of Isaac.

Difficulty[edit | edit source]

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. 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 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 .

Strategy[edit | edit source]

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 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 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 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., or Chaos Card Chaos CardChaos Card Icon.pngThrows the card to kill anything in its path. Opens normal doors. are necessary.

Spend as little time as possible in rooms with spikes, because there's a high chance the 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 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 Humbling BundleHumbling Bundle Icon.pngGives one extra pickup (1+1 Free version) of Red Hearts, pennies, bombs, and keys. Does not work with blue, black, and half red hearts, nickels, and dimes. for its double Red Hearts.

You can use the spear's fear effect to your advantage and force bosses and mini-bosses away from . This is especially effective against bosses that chase , such as Gemini or Lust.

If you are not too concerned with time or score and just want the unlock, Placenta PlacentaPlacenta Icon.pngGrants a full heart container, and a chance to regenerate a half-heart of health every minute of gameplay. 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 Mysterious CandyMysterious Candy Icon.pngIsaac farts or poops at random intervals. Getting hit can also trigger the effect., 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 Breath of LifeBreath of Life Icon.png6 secondsGrants a brief moment of invincibility when the charge bar hits zero. If spacebar is held for an additional second after hitting zero, Isaac will take damage. 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 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 does not seem to generate flies, however familiars and items that generate tears, such as and , will generate flies.

Obtaining Blood Rights Blood RightsBlood Rights Icon.pngUnlimitedDamages all enemies in the room, but deals a heart of damage to Isaac with each use. 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 and is not blindfolded so is able to shoot tears as normal. The co-op baby doesn't take damage because of .

Obtaining Athame AthameAthame Icon.pngWhenever Isaac takes damage, a black ring briefly appears around Isaac, dealing damage to all nearby enemies. 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 allows you to inflict poison upon enemies without taking damage and get Black Hearts sometimes after killing enemies.

  • and other poisoning effects are useful against enemies such as Walking Host, Cod Worm, etc, as they can remain invulnerable to the and still deal contact damage to the .

Familiars such as , , Dark Bum Dark BumDark Bum Icon.pngSpawns a familiar that follows Isaac around and collects red hearts. For every one-and-a-half red hearts collected, Dark Bum will generate one soul heart, one hostile Spider or one friendly blue spider., , , and (especially when combined with BFFS! BFFS!BFFS! Icon.pngIncreases the size and damage of familiars.) 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 from attacks.

Book of Shadows Book of ShadowsBook of Shadows Icon.png3 roomsUpon use, creates a protective shield nullifying all types of damage for 10 seconds. also makes the challenge significantly easier as it can be activated in order to prevent from taking any damage for 10 seconds.

Because of , you can enter Curse Rooms without taking damage.

In Curse Rooms you can find and use the to sacrifice both Punching Bag and , which could make the challenge easier.

Added in Afterbirth †Duct Tape Duct TapeDuct Tape Icon.pngStops Isaac's familiars from moving. also makes the challenge harder, as will follow you instead, resulting in two hitboxes.

Ipecac IpecacIpecac Icon.pngReplaces tears with explosive and poisoning projectiles fired in an arc from the mouth. can be extremely powerful because of its massive damage boost, poison effect, and because it cannot cause harm to the familiar.

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