The Binding Of Isaac: 10 Pro Tips For Playing As Azazel

 The Binding of Isaac, a 2011 roguelike (and one of the best of the decade), is based on the story from The Bible where God demanded Abraham sacrifice his son Isaac. In this particular instance, Isaac runs into the spooky, gross basement the game takes place in to fight for his right to survive.

Unfortunately for Isaac, the world he inhabits is cold, dark, and difficult to navigate without dying a terrible, stinky death. Fortunately, Isaac has a bunch of friends to take his place in the deadly basement runs, the strongest of which is Azazel, a dark demon boy.

While friendly to beginners, Azazel takes a lot of nuance – and some lucky item drops – to truly flourish. While playing a Binding of Isaac run as Azazel, there are some tips to make sure the run doesn’t end badly.

10 Use His Starting Card To Avoid An Untimely Death

Every character in The Binding of Isaac has a starting item, and some are better than others. Azazel, everyone’s favorite demon child, has the short-range brimstone attack instead of normal tears. Less importantly is The Fool tarot card as his consumable. It doesn’t do much but take you outside of the merchant’s room for the floor.

Not terribly useful, but, if Azazel is on his last black heart, players can use that card to escape the current room and live to fight another day, maybe after buying some health from said surprised merchant.

9 Gain A Red Heart Immediately

While Azazel exceeds expectations in other aspects of his character, such as his wide, sweeping attack range and inherent flight ability, he definitely falls short in arguably the most important stat in the entire game – health. He even has a “-1” as his official health rating on the character select screen. All he has is three black hearts to start, and they can’t be regenerated when lost.

The number one priority for all Azazel players should be trying to obtain an item that grants an HP boost so that Azazel can learn what it is like to truly have a heart. Even if all the black hearts are lost, as long as there is one red heart, the game can still be won. Finding an item in treasure rooms is possible, but it may be easier to buy one – such as breakfast, lunch, or dinner for starters – from a merchant for 15 coins.

8 Enter Rooms With Brimstone Fully Charged

This is an easy tip that many players don’t tend to think about. Azazel’s brimstone attack requires a few seconds of charging before it’s ready to fire. Going into a room and immediately getting rushed by a cavalcade of spiders or farting pasty fatties can totally be avoided if the brimstone attack is primed and ready to go before even entering a room.

Just hold the attack stick down until Azazel is glowing and ready to unleash heck and walk into any room confidently. This simple trick can mitigate so much unjust damage the game throws at the player. This is a great pro tip that has aged well, like this game itself.

7 Use Flight To Your Advantage

Obtaining the power of flight can trivialize a lot of the item management that The Binding of Isaac can require at times. There are always chests or various items hidden behind rock formations that need to be blown up. Well, not with Azazel, who can fly over the rocks and pick up whatever item he wants whenever he wants it! What a deal.

On top of that, hovering over rocks or holes can prevent physical attacks from ever reaching the poor demon child’s body. Spiders can jump on you through rocks, poop monsters can’t get at you on top of holes (ironically), and even some boss attacks can be avoided if hiding on top of things. Azazel is lucky to start with such a powerful boon.

6 Exploding Enemies Should Be Avoided

Those dastardly exploding spiders that pop up from time to time are always one of the more obnoxious enemies in a game full of obnoxious enemies. They’re made to be even more of a cheap hit when playing as Azazel due to the fact that his brimstone, while powerful, is only half the length of the normal brimstone pickup, making Azazel a close-range fighter in a mid-to-long range world.

The best tip for taking on exploding enemies would be to hit them with just the tip of the brimstone beam, constantly moving while doing so. Maintaining distance is key, lest Azazel lose another one of those scarce black hearts. Honestly, sometimes this game is harder than Dark Souls, and its weird roguelike mods.

5 Sweep With The Beam

The best asset Azazel brings to the table is his beam. The brimstone beam Azazel starts with can truly eradicate anything in its path. The nice thing about the beam is that it moves with everyone’s favorite little demon boy, so smart players can actually turn the single beam of damage into a moving wall of pain.

It’s commonplace to wipe entire batches of enemies out in one single attack that is swept across the screen. Constantly doing this can turn most basic rooms into cakewalks.

4 Find Some Range Up ASAP

One of Azazel’s weaknesses comes in the form of his short-range attack. Azazel’s version of brimstone is as powerful as the normal version, just half the length, requiring the winged demon child to fly in close for attacks.

This problem can be minimized if certain tear range-extending items can be found, like Mom’s Lipstick, Underwear, or Heels. Just make sure to avoid ones that actually shorten the range, like the mini mush or Cricket’s body. Heck, when the beam gets long enough, it can actually be bent towards enemies! Now that’s something to look forward to.

3 Learn Enemy Hitboxes

Many of the enemies in The Binding of Isaac are fast, little creatures that take some finesse to actually land hits on. Some are big boys with cheesable attack patterns, like all the good roguelikes out there. The main thing that all enemies have in common is that, with Azazel’s big beam and the ability to sweep, even the slightest glance against an enemy’s hitbox can damage it.

There are angles and ways to avoid attacks entirely on some boss enemies, too, as Azazel is able to chip away at their giant health bars in a place where no damage will ever be taken. Use this to your advantage!

2 Tear Delay Is A Run Ruiner

Azazel himself is fast and zippy. His attack, the mini brimstone, is much less so, requiring a few seconds of charging in order to be able to fire. Be mindful of some items, as some actually induce slower firing rates in characters. The tear delay some items introduce can absolutely tank a run as Azazel.

His attack is already slow, but that delay increased even further leaves Azazel defenseless more often than not. So, if players encounter a Polyphemus or Eve’s Mascara as Azazel, maybe skip those and hope for something better in the next treasure room.

1 Certain Items Can Trivialize Runs

On the other hand, some items can make the game so easy, even on Greed mode, that players can start crying tears of joy instead of fear. Specifically for everyone’s favorite little demon boy Azazel, Tammy’s Head is one of the best items in the game. The reusable tear burst this item normally provides turns into a gigantic expulsion of brimstone energy, going in a wide berth in ten directions. It can even instantly kill a majority of bosses.

The Ludovico Technique is another amazing addition to any Azazel arsenal, turning the charged attack into a constantly firing ring of death that moves independently of the character. Just hide over a rock and place the ring over any enemy and watch it tear them to shreds. Otherwise, just be on the lookout for damage boosts and shot speed increasers.

NEXT: The Binding Of Isaac: How To Unlock All 20 Endings

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Joshua Heath is an entertainment writer based in Madison, Wisconsin. He went to E3 2019 – which may possibly have been the last one ever – as an actual, honest-to-goodness journalist, Steam says Joshua has 637.7 hours in RimWorld, which, some might say, is too much time. Thankfully he now writes for TheGamer, mostly as a way to distract himself from RimWorld. He also used to do stand-up many moons ago, is a member of the local indie improv team Yes, Andromeda, has three failed podcasts under his belt, and interviews famous comedians when they roll through town.

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