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Tarot Cards

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Tarot Cards Icon
Suit card

Card is a moderately common type of Pick Up which provides a special effect upon activation. Cards come with various properties:

  • They are stored in the upper right item slot, used by pressing "Q" and are one-time-use only.
  • Isaac may only carry one card or pill at a time. Attempting to pick up a second card or pill will cause him to drop the one he has been previously holding.
  • There are two types of cards in The Binding of Isaac: "Tarot Cards" and "Suit Cards".1
  • "Suit Cards" are only found in Wrath of The Lamb. They act like a special replacement for Tarot Cards, and have a 20% chance of replacing them.
  • Unlike Pills, a particular type of card will always have the same effect. However, all tarot cards share the same icon, and therefore cannot be identified until picked up.

AcquisitionEdit

ListEdit

Major ArcanaEdit

Item Icon Item Name Effect
0 The Fool

O

The Fool

Teleports the player to the starting room of the current level, even if you use the card in the starting room.

TIP: This card has little use, but it can teleport you out of inescapable rooms like the Challenge Room and the Mom boss fight. It can also teleport you out of problematic rooms in a pinch.

I The Magician

I

The Magician

Player's shots curve towards enemies and may turn purple until you leave the current room.

TIP: This effect is the same as Spoon Bender and Telepathy For Dummies; this card is useless in the case of the former and best used when the latter lacks charge.

II The High Priestess

II

The High Priestess

Summons Mom's foot stomp on a random enemy (targets the player if fighting Mom or if there are no enemies present), dealing massive damage — enough to kill most bosses and wiping half of Mom's own health if used on her. Acts as an explosion — will destroy rocks and can open secret rooms.
TIP: As mentioned, this card will target Isaac if no enemies are present in the current room; make sure that's something you want to do before you use this.

III The Empress

III

The Empress

Turns the player into a demon, increasing damage by 2 and speed by 1 until you leave the current room.
TIP: This effect is the same as Whore Of Babylon; as such, this card is useless if you already have this item and it is active.This card is best saved for a room you're going to stay in for awhile, such as a Challenge Room or the Boss Room.

IV The Emperor

IV

The Emperor

Teleports the player to the Boss Room. If used while fighting the boss, the fight will restart and the boss will be back at full health. (Will be the same boss, but could possibly change to a different colored version)

TIP: Always try to save this card for the final floor of your run; also keep in mind that you can use the inertia from running to take another card or pill into the boss room with you, if you're fast enough.

V The Hierophant

V

The Hierophant

Spawns 2 soul hearts.

TIP: It spawns these rather than adding them to your life, as Balls of Steel does; use this to your advantage, if you can.

VI The Lovers

VI

The Lovers

Spawns 2 full hearts.

TIP: It spawns these rather than adding them to your life; use this to your advantage, if you can.

VII The Chariot (flipped)

VII

The Chariot

Grants you temporary invincibility, and causes you to damage enemies with touch. However, you cannot attack unless you're holding Mom's Knife.
TIP: This is the same effect as My Little Unicorn, so this is best used when said item lacks charge.

VIII Justice

VIII

Justice

Spawns 1 random type of Bomb drop, Key drop, Coin drop, and Heart drop.

TIP: This can spawn anything dropped by clearing a room, like Troll Bombs, 1+1 Free, Soul Hearts, and nickels; with Wrath of the Lamb, you can also get Super Troll Bombs, Eternal Hearts, Golden Keys and dimes from using this card. Also, as with The Lovers and The Hierophant, it spawns these rather than adding them to your life and inventory; use this to your advantage, if you can. This card will spawn a specific kind of heart if a room forces it (full red heart in the womb-themed top secret room, eternal heart in the cathedral-themed top secret room).

IX The Hermit

IX

The Hermit

Teleports the player to the Shop. If there is no Shop (or you are already in one), this will act as a random teleport.

TIP: This card can teleport you into a locked Shop, and you will open it without consuming a key if it does.

X Wheel of Fortune

X

Wheel of Fortune

Spawns a Slot Machine. In Wrath of the Lamb, this may also spawn a Fortune Telling Machine.

TIP: If you can, find a room with another Slot Machine, Fortune Telling Machine, or Blood Donation Machine to maximize gambling efficiency.

XI Strength

XI Strength

Makes the player bigger, increasing maximum health and damage until the player leaves the current room (same effect as Odd Mushroom (Large)). ??? receives a permanent spirit heart rather than a temporary maximum health increase, however this may be a bug.

TIP: This card is best saved for a room you're going to stay in for awhile, such as a challenge room or the boss room; it can also be used as a last-ditch healing effort.

XII The Hanged Man

XII

The Hanged Man

Removes the player's body allowing flight over obstacles, spikes and pits until you leave the current room. If you have Brimstone, instead of removing the players body it will give them wings (All the same as single-use Transcendence).

TIP: This card is useless if you have any item that already allows flight, such as Transcendence (as Item), Lord Of The Pit, Fate, or the Holy Grail.

XIII Death

XIII

Death

Damages all enemies in the room significantly.

TIP: This does the same thing as the The Necronomicon, and they can be devastating to enemies in the room if you use them in quick succession. This technique is best saved for Bosses, though; especially those that like to spawn lesser enemies.

XVI Temperance

XIV Temperance

Spawns a Blood Donation Machine.
TIP: If you can, find a room with another Slot Machine, Fortune Telling Machine, or Blood Donation Machine to maximize gambling efficiency.

XV The Devil

XV

The Devil

Increases your damage by 2 until you leave the room.

TIP: This has the exact same effect as The Book Of Belial. Using both in the same room will not cause the damage to stack.

XIV The Tower

XVI

The Tower

Spawns six troll bombs around the room.

TIP: This does the same thing as the Anarchist Cookbook, and they can be devastating to both yourself and enemies in the room if you use them in quick succession.

The Stars

XVII

The Stars

Teleports the player to the Treasure Room. If there is no Treasure Room, this will act as a random teleport. Randomly chooses a Treasure Room in XL floors.

TIP: This card can teleport you into a locked Treasure Room, and you will open it without consuming a key if it does.

XVIII The Moon

XVIII

The Moon

Teleports the player to the Secret Room. This card will open one random wall once inside the Secret Room, so you can leave even if you don't have any bombs available.

TIP: This card can teleport you out of inescapable rooms like the Challenge Room and Mom's room. It can also get you out of problematic rooms in a pinch.

XIX The Sun

XIX

The Sun

Completely heals player, damages all enemies, and reveals the entire map and location of special rooms for the current level. (Same effect as XXI The World and a Full Health pill combined, though unlike a Full Health Pill, it will not heal ???.)

TIP: Try to use this card in an uncleared room or on the Boss, if you need to use it at all.

XX Judgement

XX Judgement

Spawns a beggar. In Wrath of the Lamb, this may also spawn a Devil Beggar.

TIP: Try to wait until you get into a Devil Room or an Angel Room to use this card; if you do and give the Beggar enough money, he will leave behind an item specific to that room instead of a more random item. If you cannot get either before leaving this card behind, use it in the Curse Room or the Secret Room.

The World-flipped

XXI

The World

Reveals the entire map and location of all special rooms for the current level.
TIP: This is less useful if you have either Treasure Map or The Compass, and completely useless if you have both, or you've revealed the map via things like the Crystal Ball, a Sun card or another World card.

Minor ArcanaEdit

Item Icon Item Name Effect
Shape670 The Joker

Transports you to the Devil Room. Exiting places you in the starting room of the floor.

The Devil Room acts as usual: it may randomly contain Krampus, get replaced by an Angel Room and will contain a trapdoor to Sheol in Level 2 of Chapter 4.

Therefore if you access it on a floor before fighting the boss, take the items inside and get regular access to it later in the boss room, the Devil Room won't contain new items.

Also allows getting to the Devil Room in situations in which it would be otherwise inaccessable.

Shape668 2 of Hearts

Doubles your Hearts (up to full health). If you have half a heart left, recovers your first two Heart Containers. (Spirit Hearts are unaffected.)

Example: Given you have 7 Heart Containers, 2 Spirit Hearts and 2.5 Hearts left. Using the card will heal you for 2.5 hearts, so you will have 5 of 7 heart containers filled, and 2 Spirit Hearts.

Useless for ???.

Shape666 2 of Spades

Doubles the number of Keys you currently have. If you don't have any Keys, provides you with two.

Shape667 2 of Clubs Doubles the number of Bombs you currently have. If you don't have any Bombs, provides you with two.
Shape669 2 of Diamonds Doubles the number of Coins you currently have. If you don't have any Pennies, provides you with two.

TriviaEdit

  • A Tarot Deck is a traditional deck of playing cards with 78 cards from the mid-15th century. Unlike a standard 52-card deck, the Aces are usually replaced by pip cards with the number 1. In addition, it also contains four suit cards with a Knight that ranks between the Jack and the Queen, as well as 21 trump cards with numerals from 1 to 21, as well as the Fool, which is unnumbered.
    • Divinatory tarot originates from this. Here the 21 trump cards and The Fool are called the Major Arcana, while the remaining cards with the regular suits are called Minor Arcana. Cards from the Major Arcana are the most significant cards for divination.
      • The "Tarot" cards in The Binding of Isaac are all of the Major Arcana cards from Divinatory tarot.
  • The tarot cards featured in The Binding of Isaac are likely based on the Tarot of Marseille and the Rider-Waite tarot, two of the most well-known divinatory tarot decks: The drawings on the tarot cards in The Binding of Isaac seem to be based on the art from Tarot de Marseille. However, this deck does not give a numeral to The Fool, and traditionally uses different names for some cards, also omitting for the thirteenth card entirely (XIII Death in-game). Tarot card names in the game are identical to the Rider tarot, and in this deck, The Fool is indexed with a Latin 0.
    • The card The Star is called "XVII The Stars" in-game.
    • Like most traditional or divinatory decks, these tarot decks do not use the more well-known modern French suits (Spades, Hearts, Diamonds, and Clubs) in the Minor Arcana. Instead, it uses Italian tarot suits: Swords, Cups, Pentacles, and Wands.
      • Therefore, the cards added in Wrath of the Lamb (the four pip cards with the number 2 and the joker) are not part of the Rider-Waite deck. Instead, they seem to be part of a standard-52 card deck ("French Deck") with Jokers, used for playing games like Canasta, Rummy, or Poker. The same goes for the trinket Ace of Spades (the Ace of Spades is one of the highest-ranking cards in many games that use the French Deck).
  • Getting killed by The High Priestess card via Mom's leg will show a Bomb as the cause of death on Isaac's Last Will.
  • If you lose all heart containers and you have no spirit hearts (by deal with Satan), Strength won't give you a temporary heart container and you will still be killed after any damage.
  • Edmund has stated that The Moon is his favorite Tarot Card.[1]
  • On June 26, 2013, nine Steam Trading Cards were added for The Binding of Isaac, with each card carrying the appearance of a tarot card; the cards range from 0 The Fool to VIII Justice. Each card features a character and/or item(s) from the game, and they're illustrated in a way that represents both the real tarot card it's based on, and what that specific card does in-game.
    • 0 The Fool Trading Card shows Isaac immediately after falling into The Basement, representing how the Fool card in-game brings you to the starting room of the current floor.
    • I The Magician Trading Card shows Judas reading the Telepathy For Dummies book with the third eye it provides when used. This represents how The Magician gives you homing tears for a single room when used in-game, which is the same effect that Telepathy For Dummies gives you. It also shows the Spoon Bender item, which also gives Isaac homing tears, and the Magic 8 Ball.
    • II The High Priestess Trading Card shows Isaac blood dripping on his forehead from Mom's Knife. This is representative of how II The High Priestess in-game summons Mom's Foot, which also has a chance of damaging Isaac if one isn't careful when using the card.
    • III The Empress Trading Card shows Eve on a simple throne holding her bird, with an apparition of herself in Demon form behind her. This is a representation of how The Empress card in-game gives you a single room Whore of Babylon effect; the same item Eve starts with.
    • IV The Emperor (Misspelled as "Emporer" during the initial release of the trading cards) Trading Card shows ??? on a golden throne with all the bosses you can find in The Basement before unlocking anything behind him, representing how the Emperor card sends you to the boss room of the current floor you're on in-game.
    • V The Hierophant Trading Card shows Isaac having The Mitre being placed on his head by The Angel Room's Angel / God with two soul hearts on either side of him. This represents how V The Hierophant spawns two soul hearts in game; The Mitre increases the chance of Soul Hearts spawning.
    • VI The Lovers Trading Card shows Maggy holding her Yum Heart with a ribbon around her and two hearts on either side of her, representing how VI The Lovers spawns two hearts as well. The Yum Heart also heals you for one heart, tieing in with the theme of health.
    • VII The Chariot Trading Card has Isaac using the My Little Unicorn item with a bright rainbow flashing behind him. representing how VII The Chariot makes you invincible for a single room; the same effect that My Little Unicorn gives you when used. He's also holding The Black Pony and The White Pony, which is in reference to the two horses on the Chariot tarot card.
    • VIII Justice Trading Card shows Isaac blindfolded with a rag similar to that of Conquest's, and he is holding a sword. There are also two balancing scales behind him, each holding, in clockwise order from top-right, a penny, a key, a bomb, and a heart, representing how the Justice card in-game spawns one of each pickup.

BugsEdit

  • The Temperance card will sometimes appear with the wrong Roman numeral, namely XVI (the number of The Tower). It still has the same graphic and name otherwise.
  • If a teleporting card is used while Isaac is exiting a room, the teleportation will not occur.
  • On rare occasions, the Secret Room may not spawn on a floor. In such cases, using XVIII The Moon will not teleport Isaac to the Super Secret Room, but to a random room on the floor.
  • Using the High Priestess card and then hitting 'pause' and waiting for about one second once the foot hits the ground will cause it to stomp again; this process can be repeated indefinitely.
  • The High Priestess is affected by bomb resistances. It will deal less damage depending on the specific case.

GalleryEdit

Related AchievementsEdit

Necronomicon
"The Necronomicon" - Use the XIII Death Tarot Card 4 times. Does not have to be done in a single playthrough.

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