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
Isaac
Full red heartFull red heartFull red heart
Blindfolded.png Blindfolded
Table dividing line 1.png
 
 
Holy Grail Holy Grail
Isaac's Heart Isaac's Heart
Punching Bag Punching Bag
Added in AfterbirthSpear of Destiny Spear of Destiny
 
Item Pool Treasure Room.png: no          Item Pool Shop.png: yes
Boss Mom's Heart.png / Boss It Lives.png
Blank Rune Blank Rune
 
The Guardian Defeat Mom
Added in Afterbirth

The Guardian is a challenge in The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth. Isaac starts blindfolded, with Punching Bag Punching Bag, Isaac's Heart Isaac's Heart, Holy Grail Holy Grail, and Spear of Destiny Spear of Destiny. 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 the ability of 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 Brimstone shots), followed by enemies that fire regular shots. Remember that Isaac himself is invincible, allowing him to "body-block" shots flying towards the heart.
  • As the Spear of Destiny is not affected by any of Isaac's stats other than damage, items such as Eve's Mascara Eve's Mascara, Proptosis Proptosis, and Polyphemus Polyphemus are straight damage upgrades, while items like Soy Milk Soy Milk and Odd Mushroom Odd Mushroom are damage downs. Incubus Incubus is still affected by Isaac's other stats however, so these items will affect its tears as they would Isaac's.
    • Ipecac Ipecac can be extremely powerful because of its massive damage boost and poison effect.
  • 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 Bible, The Wafer The Wafer, and Breath of Life Breath of Life 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 Card 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 Dagger are the best source of damage at 15 damage per tick. 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 Bundle 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.
  • It is possible to enter Boss Rush in this challenge. However, it’s not recommended to complete Boss Rush as it is very difficult without a strong set of items, but if Isaac finds any means to escape (e.g. 0 - The Fool), trying to beat Mom in under 20 minutes can be beneficial.
  • If the player is not too concerned with time or score and just want the unlock, Placenta Placenta 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 Candy, 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 is 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 Head and Incubus Incubus, will.
  • Obtaining Blood Rights Blood Rights wins the challenge as it can be spammed while annihilating everything inside (except 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 Spear of Destiny and is not blindfolded so it can shoot tears as normal. The co-op baby doesn't take damage because of Isaac's Heart.
  • Obtaining Athame Athame 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 Virus 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.
  • Book of Shadows Book of Shadows also makes the challenge significantly easier as it can be activated to prevent Isaac's Heart Isaac's Heart 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 Altar to sacrifice both Punching Bag and Isaac's Heart, which could make the challenge easier.
  • Added in Afterbirth †Duct Tape Duct Tape also makes the challenge harder, as Isaac's Heart will follow Isaac instead, resulting in two hitboxes.

Reward[edit | edit source]


Mom Unlocks Mom Unlocks Mom Unlocks
The WombThe HarbingersA Cube of MeatPurist XXXXXXXXLSPEED!Have a HeartPRIDE DAY!Onan's StreakThe Guardian Aprils fool

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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