Eric loves to play "The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth" on Steam, and it is one of his favorite games. He wants to teach others about the game.
Need to Update for Repentance
I wrote this guide before the Repentance update. I will need to buy and play the DLC and see how items have changed.
I will need to update it. Keep that in mind while reading this guide.
There are some new characters to play. I will have to play them to understand what strategy will work best.
I also need some time to consider the changes made to the existing cast of characters.
The Lost and Keeper had some big changes. There are some new things I would consider while playing at them.
Master The Binding of Issac: Rebirth Characters
There are many characters in The Binding of Issac: Rebirth. To unlock everything in the game, you will have to play as every character.
I am going to explain how the characters are different, and I am also going to explain how to best play as each character.
I am going to explain each character in alphabetical order.
??? (Blue Baby)
Here is some info about ??? (Blue Baby).
About ??? (Blue Baby)
???, or more commonly called Blue Baby, has slightly more damage and speed than normal. But overall, the character has average stats.
You start the game with three soul hearts, and you can never pick up red heart containers. They also have the Poop item.
Take Fewer Risks
Blue Baby is one of the more difficult characters to play as in The Binding of Issac: Rebirth.
Not being able to gain red heart containers makes the game quite harder. You will have to be more careful overall.
Also, you can’t use red heart containers to take devil deals, and they always cost three soul hearts or black heats. This makes taking devil deals a lot riskier than normal.
You are going to want to take fewer risks early game as hearts will be limited.
I would not recommend going into curse rooms, using sacrifice rooms, or devil beggars unless you have a huge amount of health.
You might want to avoid challenge rooms as well, depending on how confident you feel.
Devil deals are very risky, and I don’t recommend taking them without at least six or seven soul hearts.
The right item might be worth the risk, though. Abaddon and Black Robes are always safe picks as you get the health you spend back.
Not taking a devil deal and going for angel rooms is the much safer option as this character.
Red Hearts Are Pointless
Red hearts are now mostly useless. Any cards or trinkets that give you red hearts are also no longer helpful.
There is only one exception. When you have the Dark Bum item, red hearts become soul and black hearts.
Soul and Black Heats Now Are Very Important
Items that give soul hearts and black hearts are much more useful. You will want to try to get as many soul hearts as possible.
You might want to consider pills even if you normally think they are risky. A balls of steel pill is a huge find for this character. Also, The hierophant cards are great as well.
Gimpy is a great item as it has a chance to give your soul hearts from damage.
The Poop Item Has One Use
The Poop is a bad item, but it does have one use. If you use this item near a gap and bomb the poop, you create a tiny one tile bridge.
Here is what you need to know about Apollyon.
Apollyon has the same stats as Issac. But he has one less red heart and starts with different items.
Apollyon starts with Void and, this is an item that allows you to consume pedestal items for stats.
How Void Works
Apollyon is an interesting character. With Void, you can avoid picking up bad items. You can avoid items you don’t want or that don’t give good stats.
Every time you void, you will receive an upgrade to two random stats. If you void multiple pedestal items at once, you will get bonus stats for every item in the room.
You will not receive stats if Void tries to upgrade a stat that is already maxed. This happens when you void items when you have the maximum speed or tears stat.
How I Use Void
My strategy is to void most items. I plan on getting the highest stats possible as this character. I often will have high tears and high damage when playing as Apollyon.
Because of how Void works, There's Options, and More Options are great items. If you use void with two items, you will void both of them! This also works with the items in boss rush.
You can also void the Negative and Polaroid after beating Mom. But then you won’t be able to go to the chest or dark room.
Once I get to maximum tears or speed, I consider getting rid of Void. Voiding items might no give any stats now. If I find a really good active item, I tend to also get rid of Void.
Without Void, the run becomes like any other run. But I normally have no issues with this.
If I do get a lot of good active items saved, I might keep Void the entire run. But this does not happen too often.
I Don't Take a Lot of Devil Deals
Since Apollyon has very low health, I tend to avoid taking devil deals. But if the right build and health points, I might consider it still.
Here is what you need to know about Azazel.
Azazel starts slightly different stats. They start with three black hearts, but you can add red hearts. Azazel also starts with flight and a short-ranged Brimstone attack.
Having Flight is Great!
Having flight early game is huge! You will be able to skip and avoid a lot of the obstacles in rooms.
You will also be able to take cover by flying over the rocks and other obstacles. It feels like cheating sometimes!
The Short Attack Is Quite Annoying
The main annoyance I have this character is how short the attack is. Range up items help make the beam longer, but even then, it will always seem short.
You will have to get used to making slower and close-range attacks. It will take a while to get used to it.
You Need to Play Safe Early Game
You need to be careful early game as Azazel. With no red hearts, you will die very fast if you can’t avoid damage.
You will want to try to get red heart containers or as many soul and black hearts as you can get.
I don’t recommend taking devil deals without any red heart containers. Even with extra health, devil deals are always risky.
But there are some items I almost always will take.
Black Robes and Abaddon are safe items to get. The extra health added will save you from dying, and you will get extra damage for free.
Here is some info about Cain.
Cain is a character that shoots tears only from one eye. They have two heart containers.
Cain has a much shorter range and has more movement speed. You also start with one point of luck due to Lucky Foot.
How to Play Cain
Cain’s playstyle is about the same as Isaac's. With the lower range, you will need to move closer to enemies to shoot them.
Thankfully many items increase range, so is a temporary issue.
Once you have the Paper Click trinket unlocked, you can open any gold chests without needing keys. Ideally, you will find a lot of gold chests early on.
Also, Cain starts with a key. Starting with one key might seem small, but it helps a lot early game.
Here is some information about playing with Eden.
Eden starts with randomized stats, health, items, trinkets, cards, and pills. You will always start with one item, but you won’t always get a trinket, card or pill, or active item.
You need to spend an Eden token to play this character. You earn these by winning the game as other characters.
Every Eden Run Is Different
Eden is a random character, and every run will be different. You will have slightly different stats and starting items.
No one strategy works best when playing as Eden, and you need to make good use of whatever starting items you get.
Play the Game Often and Learn as Much as You Can
I recommend playing the game with the other characters and learning how most of the items work before playing this character often.
Adjust Based on the What You Start With
You will need to adjust your early game based on what heart containers you have.
If you have two or three red heart containers, then play the game as any other character.
If you only have one red heart container or soul heart, you will need to be more cautious.
Also, sometimes you might start with slow tears or low damage. You will need to patient to get through this rough early game.
Here is some information about playing with Eve.
Eve has two heart containers. Eve is faster than normal and has weaker damage.
Eve starts with the Razor Blade item. Using this item increases your damage for the current room.
You also have the Whore of Babylon item. This means when you have one red heart container or less, you will have more damage.
You also start with the Dead Bird. It will fly around and injure enemies after taking damage.
How to Play as Eve
It is important to understand how the starting items work. You want to play aggressively and worry less about having a lot of health.
Eve works best when played risky or when you damage yourself. This is because of the Razor Blade, Whore of Babylon, and Dead Bird.
Ideally, you want to have only one red heart container. I often will take devil deals and then focus on getting soul hearts instead of red hearts.
This is the best strategy for boss fights early game.
Use the Razor Blade. This will damage you down to one red heart container. This will also activate Dead Bird. Then focus on surviving and doing the most damage possible.
Advice on Using the Razor Blade
Note with multiple red heart containers you can use Razor Blade more often and get more damage. So maybe having more red heart containers is not so bad after all?
Having more red hearts also allows you to take more devil deals often. But if you never get any deals or never reduce your health Whore of Babylon will never activate.
I might get rid of the Razor Blade if I find another active item that I think is better.
Here is what you need to know about The Forgotten.
About The Forgotten
The Forgotten is the most unique character in the game. The Forgotten is a character with two forms. You can switch between the forms whenever you want.
About the First Form
The first skeleton form only can have bone hearts.
Bone hearts are an odd combination of red and soul heart containers. Bone hearts are like normal red heart containers, but when emptied, they can break.
Bone hearts break after taking enough damage.
This form can only swing a club to do melee damage. You can throw the club. But doing that is pretty pointless and ineffective. This is a very slow attack and hard to aim.
Because of the melee attack, certain passive items now give different bonuses. The melee swing also grows if you gain size.
About the Second Form
The second form looks like The Lost, and it is called the Soul. The Soul has flight and can only get soul and black heart containers. The Soul also has normal tears like Issac.
How to Play as The Forgotten
This character is odd to play as. You could play the game as any form entirely, and that would work just fine.
I have found that the best thing to do is to switch between forms often. I often switch to The Soul to avoid getting hit by fast enemies and champions that explode.
When you switch to The Soul, The Forgotten's body will block shots. This gives you a way to create cover to avoid getting hit by projectiles.
This defensive cover works great on many bosses.
You can also use The Soul to reach items you normally would not be able to. Just keep in mind your moment is limited. You need to move close to where you want to fly first.
You can do a lot of damage as the first form. But you need to be able to get close. But if you can manage it, each hit does a huge amount of damage!
But because of only having bone hearts, you need to be very careful.
Once you start getting damage, speed, and tears up, you melt bosses. But you need to survive to get the stats first!
Take Advantage of Both Health Bars
One cool thing about the character is that you can take advantage of the combined health. I switch between forms based on which one has the most health.
Taking devil deals only takes health from the current form. If you take a devil deal that would kill The Soul but quickly switch back to the first, form you won't die.
But you don’t get to switch back to The Soul again until you find more soul hearts.
Here is some info about Issac.
Issac is the main character of the game, and the first character people will play as.
Issac starts the game will three heart containers and one bomb. Eventually, Issac starts the game with the D6.
Get used to Issac's stats. These stats are considered standard or normal.
How to Play as Issac
Before unlocking the D6, there is not much to say about Issac. You will have to learn to get better at the game and survive as long as possible.
Try to collect as many pedestal items as you can. Issac has no tricks or oddities about him. You play the game as straightforward as possible.
How to Use the D6
Once the D6 is unlocked, things change somewhat. With the D6 unlocked, Issac stops being the bland starting character.
You now have an item that makes him stand out from the other characters.
With the, D6 you can reroll items you don’t want. You can also try to get a better devil room and angel room items.
This might not seem like a big change, but being able to avoid the worst items in the game helps out a lot!
Just keep in mind there is a chance to get an even worse item! Also, once you reroll an item, you won't ever be able to get it again that run. So don't reroll items you want!
Use the Bomb
Starting with one bomb might not seem like much. But it helps a lot early game. Sometimes one bomb means getting an early soul heart or chest on the first floor.
Here is what you need to know about using Judas.
Judas is an offensive-based character. You start with only one red heart container, and you start with more damage than other characters.
You also start with The Book of Belial. This is an item that increases your damage for the current room.
How to Play as Judas
Judas is one of the harder characters in the game.
The extra damage makes things easier for experienced players. But beginners will have a hard time with this character because of the low health points.
One attack from any champion enemy will kill you. You will also instantly die from touching floor spikes.
Going in a curse room and trying to leave with one heart container will also kill you.
Other Useful Tips
Only use the The Book of Belial for huge rooms or boss fights.
As you gain more health points, you will be able to play riskier.
Devil deals are great for this character. But they are a huge risk to take with such low health points. Be careful not to die from taking a devil deal!
Here is what you need to know about playing as The Keeper.
About the Keeper
The Keeper starts with quite different stats than Isaac. You only have two coins as health points. You also start with a slower triple shot attack.
The Keeper Is The Hardest Character!
The Keeper is the hardest character in the game. I consider the Keeper harder to play than The Lost. Surviving as this character will be an extreme challenge.
Only one item increases health points. You will forever be stuck with two health points most of the time.
You can only heal yourself by picking up coins. All heart containers turn into flies. There will never be any heart containers to buy in stores.
If you are in a room without any coins, you will die in two hits normally. There is very little room for error.
I do not recommend playing this character right away when unlocked.
Playing as this character might make you start to hate this game. It did for me, and I had to stop playing it for a while.
Nothing stings more than having a great run and dying because of one quick mistake during a boss fight. This character started to test my patience.
How to Play as the Keeper
Despite all the doom and gloom, there is some strategy to this character.
Having the Store Key unlocked is neat. But keep in mind there will never be any health items you can buy. But some cards are very helpful.
The strategy often involves having certain items unlocked and being able to find them. This is also why I don't recommend playing as this character early on.
Useful Items for the Keeper
Greed's Gullet is the best item for the Keeper. With this item, you gain extra hearts for having 25 coins. This is the only item that gives the Keeper extra health points.
First, any items that give coins are very important. Remember, you can only heal by picking up coins. So any items that give coins are healing items.
Once unlocked, you start with the Wooden Nickel. This item gives you a chance to get a coin when used. This can end up being the heal that saves you.
But don’t depend on this item too much! As you don’t always get the coin.
The Swallowed Penny trinket is an amazing item for this character. With this trinket, sometimes when you get hit, you will drop a coin.
The odds of this happening are lower when playing as The Keeper. But still, this item often will also you get at least one heal after taking damage.
The Piggy Bank does the same thing, but this is a pedestal item.
Having both items is ideal if you get lucky enough to find both.
Slot machines and blood donations machines can give coins when bombed.
You will want to hold onto the wheel of fortune and temperance cards.
I often use the cards during boss fights and then bomb the machine. I then pick up any coins dropped as needed.
Justice is the best card in the game for the Keeper. This card always drops at least one coin. This card is your back up plan. I would save it for boss fights when possible.
Useful Defensive Items
You can also sometimes get invincibility while holding The Cartridge trinket.
Any item that gives you fly orbitals is decent. These flies sometimes will block shots.
Any item that gives a small chance of avoiding damage on a character like this is worth it.
The Book of Shadows, Unicorn Stump, My Little Unicorn, and Gamerkid also help keep you alive.
The chariot card and feels like walking on sunshine pills also give you brief moments in invincibility.
You Can Win by Making a Lot of Flies
The Bloody Penny is a great trinket to have. With this item, every time you grab a coin, you have a chance to create a half red heart.
While playing as the Keeper, these hearts will immediately turn into flies.
The Rotten Penny also does the same thing. But this trinket is slightly better as it always gives flies.
The Fish Tail is also a great trinket. With this item, you create double the number of flies you normally would.
Using Guppy's Head and becoming Guppy are also helps out a lot. It might seem overkill, but as this character, you will need it!
Try to Get Flight as Soon as Possible
Being able to fly is ultra important! Being able to fly allows you to avoid certain rooms and enemies. Try to get flight as soon as possible if possible.
Being able to fly will help you dodge a lot of traps and be able to be more defensive.
One of the easiest ways to get flight is to go into angel rooms. Since taking devil deals is almost ways going to be too risky, this often is the right choice.
Some Unlocks Will Be Very Hard
The hardest unlocks will be boss rush, Ultra Greed, Hush, and Delirium.
These are endurance fights. If you are not careful, you will exhaust any defensive items and coins you will generate.
Unfortunately, the only way to beat these bosses reliable is to get lucky and get many items in a run. Or be able to withstand their attacks for a very long time.
It will take a lot of practice and trial and error. Just keep trying. You will either get better and eventually win. Or eventually have amazingly good luck run and win that way.
I only have some Keeper unlocks completed because I found two Steam sales. This allowed me to get almost every item in the game.
Here is some info about Lazarus.
Lazarus starts with three red hearts. Lazarus has a lower tear range and negative luck. This character also starts with a random pill.
You Get a Free Revive
The game creators based the character on the biblical story.
When you die you the game revives you once in the same room. When revived, you have one red heart and more speed.
Other than this revival Lazarus, is about the same as Isaac.
You can take advantage of your death and revival. Devil deals still can kill you. But because the game revives you, it does not matter. Well, at least once it won't.
Also, if you find items like Plan C or Suicide King, you can use them without much punishment.
Or you can play defensively and have a second life when you need it. I tend to use it to get more items most of the time.
Here is some info about using Lilith.
Lilith is a character that never attacks with her tears. All her attacks with familiars. She starts with one red heart and two black hearts.
She starts with an item called Box of Friends. This allows you to double your familiars for the current room.
She also starts with an item called Cambion Conception. This item you give out extra familiars after taking damage so long.
There are a few ways to play this character.
Play the Game Like Any Other Character
The first method is to make the starting familiar strong. This is pretty much playing the game as any other character. This method can work, but it normally is not as effective.
You will need a lot of tears and damage. For this, to work, you normally have to get rid of Box of Friends for an item that gives you a damage bonus.
I feel this is a bit too reliant on items and might not work.
Get as Many Familiars as Possible
There is another option. This is what I normally do when playing as this character. You want to get as many familiars as possible.
The more, the better. It doesn't matter how good they are. If they shoot and do damage, get it.
Using Box of Friends with enough familiars will create a flying squadron of familiars. You will overwhelm anything with the number of attacks.
This method works even better with battery items. With the right battery items, you can use Box of Friends multiple times in a room.
Because of how Box of Friends works, Lilith is the best character to play as to beat Greed Mode. You will have an army and snowball and win very easily.
Here is what you need to know about using The Lost.
About the Lost
The Lost starts with standard stats. The Lost also starts with flying and spectral tears.
The Lost is one of the hardest characters in the game. One could debate over if The Lost or the Keeper is harder. I find the Keeper to harder myself.
The Lost can never get health points of any kind. You can pick up soul and black hearts, but nothing will happen.
You die in one hit from any damage source.
The Lost Is Very Hard
The Lost forces you to play the game almost perfectly.
First, I don’t recommend playing this character until you have the Holy Mantle unlocked.
I like difficulty in games, but dying for one hit of damage is too intense for me. I am not a masochist.
The Good Things About the Lost
The only thing that stops this character from being terrible is the flight and spectral tears. Because of this, you will have an easy early game.
You can damage a lot of enemies and some bosses by shooting at them while floating over rocks.
There is one more thing that makes this character somewhat tolerable. You can take as many devil deals as you want with no penalty.
This means you can eventually snowball into becoming a great character late game. You need to survive long enough to get good devil deals.
How to Survive Longer as the Lost
Anything that helps you avoid damage is amazing. Even if they only rarely trigger.
You will have to truly learn to play the game. Other characters will allow you to make some mistakes, but you can't make these same mistakes while playing as the Lost.
You will have to learn every attack bosses have and how to dodge them. There will be no room or error or mistakes.
This also will mean the harder end game bosses will be ultra-hard.
You will have to learn to play the endurance game of fighting these bosses. It takes time, but it is doable!
Here is what you need to know about using Magdalene (Maggy).
Magdalene or Maggy is the defensive-based character of the game.
You start with four red heart containers and Yum Heart, and she starts with a slower speed than the other characters.
You unlock an extra starting item, and when unlocked, you will start every run with one speed pill.
How to Play as Magdalene
Maggy is a character that works great with a lot of red heart containers. You will have an easier early game than most characters.
You can also more easily take devil deals as you will not lose much health points from it.
You will have to decide what to do. Lose health points to become more offensives based. or stay defensive with angel room deals.
With the right battery items, Yum Heart becomes an amazing item.
I tend to keep this item the whole run as Maggy as I can use it the entire game.
The only draw to this character is the slower speed. But once the speed pill is unlocked, her stats are quite normal.
Also, every run, you will know what speed pills look like. So even if you avoid taking pills, there will always be one good pill you will be able to use.
Here is some info about playing with Samson.
Samson is another offensive-based character, and he is one the easiest to play.
Samson's stats are slightly different than Isaac's.
Samson has a unique starting item. Bloody Lust. This item allows him to gain damage for the current floor six times. This effect triggers when you take damage.
Because of Bloody Lust, you will have very high damage early game.
Also, if you beat the Ultra-hard Challenge, you will start with Child’s Heart.
But, if you already beat that challenge, then I question why you are reading this guide! This challenge is one of the hardest things to do in the game.
How to Play Samson
My plan for this character is to take damage on purpose. If there are red hearts you can pick up this works great.
You will destroy the early bosses and things will be very easy. This character may be the easiest character in the entire game.
The only trade-off is that taking red heart container damage stops you from getting devil rooms as often.
But with the damage up gained from Bloody Lust, it hardly matters.
I suppose if you are playing to get the keys to fight Mega Satan, you might need to watch your health and play a more defensive early game.
You will need to enter a devil room at least once for angel rooms to spawn.
But you can also get both keys from sacrifice rooms with enough health points. So I suppose there are options if you go the self-inflicted damage route.
© 2020 Eric Farmer