The Guardian

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Font TeamMeat T.pngFont TeamMeat h.pngFont TeamMeat e.png   Font TeamMeat G.pngFont TeamMeat u.pngFont TeamMeat a.pngFont TeamMeat r.pngFont TeamMeat d.pngFont TeamMeat i.pngFont TeamMeat a.pngFont TeamMeat n.png
Full red heartFull red heartFull red heart
Blindfolded.png Blindfolded
Table dividing line 1.png
Holy Grail Holy GrailHoly Grail Icon.pngGrants flight and one heart container.
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.
Punching Bag Punching BagPunching Bag Icon.pngSpawns a Mulligan Familiar that will wander the room randomly. Enemies will attack the Mulligan if it's closer.

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

The Guardian is a new challenge added in The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth. Isaac starts blindfolded, with Punching Bag Punching BagPunching Bag Icon.pngSpawns a Mulligan Familiar that will wander the room randomly. Enemies will attack the Mulligan if it's closer., 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., Holy Grail Holy GrailHoly Grail Icon.pngGrants flight and one heart container., and Spear of Destiny Spear of DestinySpear of Destiny Afterbirth Icon.pngIn 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.. The goal is to defeat Mom's Heart or It Lives. Isaac's Heart will follow the Punching Bag 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 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.

Strategy[edit | edit source]

  • The player should follow a general priority in which enemies to kill: enemies that run towards the Punching Bag, followed by exploding enemies, followed by enemies with piercing shots (i.e. Enemies that fire Brimstone BrimstoneBrimstone Rebirth Icon.pngTears are replaced by a laser beam that pierces through all enemies and obstacles in its path and deals high damage. Can only be fired after a short charge-up period. shots), followed by enemies that fire regular shots. Remember that Isaac himself is invincible, allowing him 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.
  • It may be better to go for Angel Rooms rather than Devil Rooms in this challenge, since they may offer invaluable items like 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., 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., and 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. at the cost of no health.
  • 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 Chaos CardChaos Card Icon.pngThrows the card to kill anything in its path. Opens normal doors. are necessary if Isaac doesn't have The Bible (or if it isn't fully recharged).
  • Spend as little time as possible in rooms with spikes, because there's a high chance the Punching Bag will walk into them.
  • 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 Sacrificial DaggerSacrificial Dagger Rebirth Icon.pngDagger orbits Isaac, dealing very high damage. are the best source of damage. Health is also important to make up for unnecessary damage, as is Speed to rush towards enemies and destroy them before they can attack Isaac's Heart. 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.
  • Isaac can use the spear's fear effect to his advantage and force bosses and mini-bosses away from Punching Bag. This is especially effective against bosses that chase Punching Bag, such as Gemini or Lust.
  • If the player 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 Isaac's 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. Destroying poop can drop half red hearts and soul hearts.
  • The Breath of Life can be extremely helpful in completing this challenge. Isaac's Heart will enable the spacebar indefinitely and not take damage, while doing so will make Isaac completely immune to damage. He still can be hurt while the charge bar is still depleting after entering the room, but it does make things easier, especially with bosses, and allows him 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 Isaac can transform into Guppy during this challenge even though the visual change that accompanies the transformation are not shown, and he will be able to make flies. The Spear of Destiny does not generate flies, but familiars and items that generate tears, such as Tammy's Head Tammy's HeadTammy's Head Icon.png1 roomsShoots 10 tears in a circle around Isaac, which retain the damage, shot speed, and special effects (such as poison) of Isaac's tears. and Incubus IncubusIncubus Icon.pngA demonic familiar that follows Isaac and shoots tears identical to Isaac's in terms of damage, range, fire rate, and effects., will.
  • 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 it can be spammed while annihilating everything inside (with the exception of Hosts and Cod Worms). But since there are no Treasure Rooms present, it can only be obtained via a lucky Crawl Space or room generation.
  • Having a second player join in makes the game significantly easier. A co-op baby has its 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.
  • Obtaining Athame AthameAthame Icon.pngWhenever Isaac takes damage, a black ring briefly appears around Isaac, dealing damage to all nearby enemies. allows Isaac 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 The VirusThe Virus Icon.pngInflicts poison to enemies who make contact with Isaac. Speed down. allows Isaac to inflict poison upon enemies without taking damage and get black hearts sometimes after killing enemies.
    • The Virus and other poisoning effects are useful against enemies such as Walking Host, Cod Worm, etc, as they can remain invulnerable to the Spear of Destiny and still deal contact damage to the Punching Bag.
  • Familiars such as Lil' Brimstone Lil' BrimstoneLil Brimstone Rebirth Icon.pngA Familiar that shoots a thin Brimstone beam. Must charge like Brimstone before shooting., The Relic The RelicThe Relic Icon.pngIsaac is followed by a small blue cross that will drop a Soul Heart every 4 rooms., Dark Bum Dark BumDark Bum Rebirth 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., Little C.H.A.D. Little C.H.A.D.Little C.H.A.D. Icon.pngA familiar who will drop a half red heart every 2 rooms., Incubus, and Succubus SuccubusSuccubus Icon.pngSpawns 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. (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 Punching Bag Punching BagPunching Bag Icon.pngSpawns a Mulligan Familiar that will wander the room randomly. Enemies will attack the Mulligan if it's closer. 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 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. from taking any damage for 10 seconds.
  • Because of Isaac's Heart, he can enter curse rooms without taking damage.
  • In curse rooms can find and use the Added in Afterbirth †Sacrificial Altar Sacrificial AltarSacrificial Altar Icon.pngOne time useUpon use, sacrifices up to 2 familiars and spawns an item from the Devil Room Pool for each familiar sacrificed. to sacrifice both Punching Bag and Isaac's Heart, 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 Isaac's Heart will follow Isaac 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 and poison effect.

Reward[edit | edit source]

Mom             Unlocks Mom Unlocks Mom             Unlocks
Added in Afterbirth †
The WombThe WombDefeat Mom for the 1st timeThe HarbingersThe HarbingersDefeat Mom for the 1st timeA Cube of MeatA Cube of MeatDefeat Mom for the 1st timeA HaloA HaloDefeat Mom using The BiblePuristPuristDefeat Mom for the first time XXXXXXXXLXXXXXXXXLDefeat Mom for the 1st timeSPEED!SPEED!Defeat Mom for the 1st timeHave a HeartHave a HeartDefeat Mom for the 1st timePRIDE DAY!PRIDE DAY!Defeat Mom for the 1st timeOnan's StreakOnan's StreakDefeat Mom for the 1st timeThe GuardianThe GuardianDefeat Mom for the 1st time Aprils foolAprils foolDefeat Mom for the 1st time

MainPageChallenges.png Challenges MainPageChallenges.png

1. Pitch Black 2. High Brow 3. Head Trauma 4. Darkness Falls 5. The Tank 6. Solar System 7. Suicide King 8. Cat Got Your Tongue
9. Demo Man 10. Cursed! 11. Glass Cannon 12. When Life Gives You Lemons 13. Beans! 14. It's in the Cards 15. Slow Roll 16. Computer Savvy
17. Waka Waka 18. The Host 19. The Family Man 20. Purist
21. XXXXXXXXL 22. SPEED! 23. Blue Bomber 24. PAY TO PLAY 25. Have a Heart 26. I RULE! 27. BRAINS! 28. PRIDE DAY!
29. Onan's Streak 30. The Guardian
Afterbirth †
31. Backasswards 32. Aprils Fool 33. Pokey Mans 34. Ultra Hard 35. Pong
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