The Guardian

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The Guardian
Added in Afterbirth
Challenge number
30
Character
Isaac App.png
Full red heartFull red heartFull red heart
Blindfolded.png Blindfolded
Starting Items
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.
Spear of Destiny Spear of DestinySpear of Destiny 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.
Available rooms
Item Pool Treasure Room.png: no          Item Pool Shop.png: yes
Goal
Boss Mom's Heart.png / Boss It Lives.png
Unlocks
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 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 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.. Your goal is to defeat Mom's Heart or It Lives. Isaac's Heart will follow 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. 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 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. 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 Punching BagPunching Bag Icon.pngSpawns a Mulligan Familiar that will wander the room randomly. Enemies will attack the Mulligan if it's closer..

Strategy[edit | edit source]

You should follow a general priority in which enemies to kill: enemies that run towards 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. , 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 Punching BagPunching Bag Icon.pngSpawns a Mulligan Familiar that will wander the room randomly. Enemies will attack the Mulligan if it's closer. 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 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. 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 if you don'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 Punching BagPunching Bag Icon.pngSpawns a Mulligan Familiar that will wander the room randomly. Enemies will attack the Mulligan if it's closer. 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 Sacrificial DaggerSacrificial Dagger Icon.pngDagger orbits Isaac, dealing very high damage. are your 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.

You can use the spear's fear effect to your advantage and force bosses and mini-bosses away from 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.. This is especially effective against bosses that chase 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., 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 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. will wander into them.


It should be noted that you can transform into Guppy during this challenge even though the visual change that accompanies the transformation are not shown, and you will be able to make flies. The Spear of Destiny Spear of DestinySpear of Destiny 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. 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 you can run into a room and repeatedly use the item without you taking any damage while annihilating everything inside (with the exception of Hosts and Cod Worms; you will have to wait until they become vulnerable). But since there are no Treasure Rooms present, you can only get this item 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 Spear of DestinySpear of Destiny 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. 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 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..

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 The Virus The VirusThe Virus Icon.pngInflicts poison to enemies who make contact with Isaac. Speed down. allows you to inflict poison upon enemies without taking damage and get Black Hearts sometimes after killing enemies.

  • The Virus The VirusThe Virus Icon.pngInflicts poison to enemies who make contact with Isaac. Speed down. 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 Spear of DestinySpear of Destiny 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. and still deal contact damage to 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..

Familiars such as Lil Brimstone Lil BrimstoneLil Brimstone 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 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 IncubusIncubus Icon.pngA demonic familiar that follows Isaac and shoots tears identical to Isaac's in terms of damage, range, fire rate, and effects., 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 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., you can enter Curse Rooms without taking damage.

In Curse Rooms you 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 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., 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 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. 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]


MainPageChallenges.png Challenges MainPageChallenges.png

Rebirth
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
Afterbirth
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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