Maleficent is the magical villain from Sleeping Beauty who curses Princess Aurora. She’s also one of the characters you can play in the Disney Villainous board game. This article looks at the best strategy for Maleficent in Villainous.
When you play as Maleficent you are obsessed with spreading your evil magic around the kingdom. You will make them pay for not inviting you to Princess Aurora’s Christening!
In this strategy guide I look at:
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- The Maleficent Villain Guide
- Strategy to win as Maleficent
- Maleficent cards
- Important cards in Maleficent’s deck
- Maleficent’s board
- How to stop Maleficent from winning
The Maleficent Villain Guide
Before we look more closely at the full strategy for playing as Maleficent in Villainous, let’s see what the Villainous Villain Guide tells us.
Start your turn with a curse at each location.
Sounds straightforward enough. You are playing an evil witch after all. Curses are her thing.
Curses are unique to Maleficent’s character in Villainous.
You have three different types of curse card. Each one affects heroes at that location. But you need to be careful when and where you play each curse and carefully manage where you move them to.
Forest of Thorns
This card means that only heroes of strength 4 or more can be played at its location. When a hero of strength 4 or more is played there, you need to discard this card.
Heroes cannot be played at a location cursed by Green Fire. However, don’t be your own undoing! If you move Maleficent to this location you need to discard Green Fire.
Wherever dreamless sleep is played, it reduces the strength of all the heroes there by 2. Don’t play an ally at a location where Dreamless Sleep is. You’ll need to discard this curse.
You can play Dreamless Sleep at a location if allies are already there and it won’t affect them.
This card lets Maleficent stay at the same location for two turns in a row.
Raven is a really powerful ally card. At the start of every turn, you can move him to any location and perform an action that’s there.
Strategy to win as Maleficent in Villainous
Get heroes out early on
It’s easy to just focus on playing spells as Maleficent because that’s what wins you the game. But if you ignore the heroes, it won’t be long before a hero turns up and a Sword of Truth is played on them.
Even worse, if a hero is at a location and Once Upon a Dream is cast, any curses at the location are removed.
You want to be ready for when heroes start turning up.
Play Green Fire at two locations and move Raven between them
I’d suggest playing Green Fire at Forbidden Mountains and Briar Rose’s Cottage and then playing Raven and moving him between them.
Then you can move Maleficent between The Forest and King Stefan’s Castle without her removing the Green Fire curse.
Protect Raven at all costs
Just like in the film, Raven is an awesome ally for Maleficent. The Raven can fly anywhere at the start of each turn and take an action for you (apart from fate). For every 4 actions he takes, it’s like you’ve taken another turn.
Never use Raven to defeat a Hero and only play him after you have Green Fire in at least one location. Keep him hidden behind the Green Fire. If you don’t, and Prince Phillip gets played at his location, it’s bye-bye Mr Raven.
Defeat heroes with the Spinning Wheel for power
You will need a lot of power to play all your curses and allies. However, you don’t have that many cards that can get power very quickly. That’s where the Spinning Wheel comes in.
Move the Spinning Wheel to the location you are vanquishing a hero from and you’ll get power equal to its strength minus 1.
Use the Staff for power discounts
The Staff can give you a 1 power discount on every effect or curse played. I’d play this at The Forest where you can play 2 cards in one turn. You can move it though, so get discounts wherever you can. Everyone likes a bargain!
Pay attention to when you discard curses
There are 8 curse cards in your 30 card deck. You may have to discard several curses when you are fated.
Make a mental note of when you discarded them. You may need to use the discard cards actions to burn through your deck to get curses back into play.
Save power to play two curses in one turn at the end
Your opponents will equate more curses with being one step closer to victory. So, instead of playing your third curse when it’s ready, hang onto it until you have enough to play your third and fourth curse in one turn.
It will catch your opponents off guard and you may just win!
A closer look at Maleficent’s cards and board
Strategy tips are helpful, but if you want to stand the best chance of winning as Maleficent it helps to understand the cards in her deck and the locations on her board.
Maleficent’s cards by type
There are 30 cards in Maleficent’s deck.
I expected to see more curse cards in her deck in comparison to the other card types. But perhaps a higher number of curse cards would have made it too easy for her to win.
There are quite a high number of allies too. I expected her to use more effects cards to get rid of heroes, given that she’s a witch. But then again, in Disney’s Sleeping Beauty, she does use her Raven and goons to do a lot of her work for her.
Maleficent’s cards by ability
In keeping with her character, Maleficent’s curse cards allow you to manipulate your realm to stop heroes from getting near you or making them weaker.
Let’s take a closer look at the 6 main types of cards you can play as Maleficent.
1. Defeat heroes
The two cards which make up this group are Dragon Form (effect) and Malice (condition). They both allow you to defeat heroes.
Malice is a brilliant card. It’s free to play and can defeat a hero of strength 4 or less. However, it can only be played when an opponent defeats a hero of 4 more on their turn.
Dragon Form is great. You can defeat a hero of strength 3 or less and if someone fates you before the start of your next turn you gain three power. Use Dragon Form and then bait your opponents into issuing a fate on you!
2. Gain power / reduce power cost
The two cards in this group are both item cards – Staff and Spinning Wheel.
When Maleficent is at the same location as the Staff, effect and curse cards cost 1 less to play.
Spinning Wheel gives you power equal to the hero’s strength minus 1 whenever a hero is defeated at this card’s location.
I’d suggest you play both of these cards at The Forest. You’ll be using that location a lot to play 2 cards in one turn and because of that, your opponents will want to block it with heroes whenever they can.
Given that you need to spend a lot of power playing curse cards during the game, you’ll need these cards. They only cost 1 power each to play so you’ll earn back what you invest very quickly.
3. Increase action choices
You can use these cards to manipulate the game and give you control over what you do in your realm. There are three different cards in this group.
Your closest and best ally, Raven, is in this set of cards. He only has a strength of 1 so you will never use Raven to vanquish heroes. Instead, at the start of every turn send him to a location with an action that you want and he’ll do it for you. He can do all actions apart from fate. Good bird.
Tyranny is a condition card that allows you to draw three cards and discard any three cards whenever an opponent has 3 or more allies in their realm. That gives you a lot of choice over what you do next.
Vanish is an awesome ability and it’s free too. When you cast it, you can stay in the same location at the start of your next turn. So if you really want to do the same things again, you can!
Be warned though, your opponents will probably play a hero at this location so your next turn is less useful. Try not to draw attention to what you are doing when you play Vanish!
4. Allies boosted by heroes or curses
Your Cackling Goon and Sinister Goon get stronger depending on what is happening at their location.
Cackling Goon gets +1 strength for every hero at his location. Not sure quite how this works, he’s a tiny little fella. Maybe he just gets crazier which puts your allies off? However it works, he can is a great way to get a high strength ally for 1 power if you play him at a location with lots of heroes.
Sinister Goon gets +1 strength if there are any curses at his location. So he has the potential to be a strength 4 rather than a strength 3 ally.
5. Basic ally with no abilities
These three cards are Savage Goons. Big and tough allies with a strength of 4.
6. Curses that block or weaken heroes
While you need to play curses to win the game, they are also incredibly useful cards in themselves. They all hinder your opponents from playing heroes wherever they want to.
But curse cards are a double-edged sword. You need to be careful where you play your allies and move Maleficent to.
The best approach is to just think a turn or two ahead and plan so you don’t get in your own way. If you find that you can’t do what you want, then try to bring the game back under your control by discarding cards or using cards that give you more options.
Important cards in Maleficent’s deck
Every card is useful to you, but some are more useful than others.
Your faithful companion and loyal servant. Raven will fly all around your realm doing your bidding.
Because he can perform an extra action for you each turn, every 4 turns it’s like you’ve had an extra go. For how useful he is, 3 power is not much to pay. Just never, ever use him to vanquish heroes! He’s not worth losing.
You also need to protect Raven from Prince Phillip in your fate deck. When Prince Phillip is played you need to discard all allies from his location. To protect Raven, only play him at a location with Green Fire which means that heroes can’t be played there.
A very cheap and powerful item for you that can earn you power every time you vanquish a hero. Move Spinning Wheel to the location with a hero before you defeat it.
You’ll need the power you gain from vanquishing heroes to pay for all your curses.
This is your other card that will pay for itself many times over. Play it at one of the two locations you’ll be using Maleficent and enjoy the reduced cost of playing your effects and curses.
Easily your best curse. It prevents those troublesome heroes from being played wherever it burns. Use it to protect Raven.
Play the Green Fire anywhere apart from The Forest. You’ll want Maleficent to be able to go to The Forest to make the most of playing two cards in one turn and collecting 3 power.
Maleficent’s Villainous board
All of Maleficent’s locations are unlocked at the start of the game so you can move anywhere after turn one.
This location is ok. The move action is very useful for moving your Spinning Wheel, Staff, and allies to the locations they are most useful.
When heroes block the top two actions this space becomes much less useful. Playing a fate on an opponent and getting 1 power is not that great.
I recommend playing a Green Fire here and using it as a location for your Raven.
Briar Rose’s Cottage
This is is a good location, you can always play a card here. It gives a useful 2 power and allows you to move an item or ally.
The discard cards option is helpful, especially at the beginning of the game so this may be the second location you go to.
With 3 power and two play a card actions I think this is the best location on the board. You need power and you need to play your curse cards. Discarding cards is always helpful too if the game isn’t going the way you want it to.
With a Green Fire in the Forbidden Mountains and Briar Rose’s cottage, you’ll be alternating between The Forest and King Stefan’s Castle for most of the game.
King Stefan’s Castle
This is the only location you are able to vanquish heroes so you will be visiting here quite a lot.
The 1 power, fate, and play card actions are useful in pretty much every situation so you’ll likely use every action at this location every time you are here.
How to stop Maleficent from winning Villainous
Maleficent can easily win if left to her own devices. She doesn’t need just a couple of particular cards to win – there are 8 curses in her deck of 30 cards. The only thing she needs is power and time.
Fate her early and often
Maleficent has to carefully plan where she places her curses, what order she completes her actions in, and where her allies are used. Every time you fate her is an opportunity to mess with those plans. The early you fate her, the more you limit her options.
The other reason to fate her early is that there are 5 cards in her 15-card fate deck that are only useful if there are already heroes on the board.
Force her to spend power
Playing as Maleficent it is easy to feel like you don’t have enough power. By throwing heroes at her you force her to spend power on allies and not just curses.
Choose these fate cards to mess up Maleficent
Given the choice, always go for the cards which result in her getting rid of curses or spending power.
Prince Phillip can get rid of Maleficent’s best ally – Raven. If you get Prince Phillip and can play him at the location of Raven then do so. That will slow her down because now she can only take 4 actions per turn instead of 5.
By forcing Maleficent to move to any location, King Stefan can really mess up Maleficent’s plans.
Whenever you use King Stefan, force Maleficent to move to a location with a Green Fire, not only will you get rid of the curse, but you’ll also open up the spot for other heroes to be played there. That can potentially leave Raven vulnerable to Prince Phillip.
While the weakest hero to defeat in terms of strength, Fauna is irritating to Maleficent. She causes Maleficent to discard a curse.
Curses cost power and are carefully planned by Maleficent so that they don’t mess up her plans. By forcing her to discard a curse she has to start planning again and saving up, and maybe even find another curse card in her deck.
Once Upon A Dream
Highly irritating for Maleficent because she has to get rid of a curse.
Sword of Truth
If you have heroes on the board, the Sword of Truth is quite annoying for Maleficent because it increases the cost of her curses by 2 power at that location. And she doesn’t have much power going spare.
Make sure The Forest always has a hero on it
This is Maleficent’s best location because she can play 2 cards in one turn from here. With Raven completing an action in another location for her, she could potentially play 3 cards in one turn.
You want to make The Forest less attractive for her and make it so that she can’t swoop in with three cards in one turn.
Conclusion – Villainous Maleficent Strategy
To win as Maleficent there are a few key things you need to do.
- Get allies out early in preparation for heroes.
- Play Green Fires at the Forbidden Mountains and Briar Rose’s Cottage and play Raven behind them.
- Use the Spinning Wheel when vanquishing heroes to gain power.
- Play 2 curses in one turn at the end to catch your opponents off guard.
Villainous is such an awesome game! The only thing that lets it down is the flimsy plastic cauldron. But you can get an upgraded Villainous cauldron with power tokens on Etsy! It even fits in the Villainous box!
For more Villainous upgrade inspiration see my article – 7 Wicked Disney Villainous Upgrades and Accessories!
If you enjoyed this Maleficent strategy guide, check out my guides for Jafar, the Queen of Hearts, Ursula, Prince John, Captain Hook, Dr Facilier, Evil Queen, Hades, Scar, Yzma, Ratigan, Cruella De Vil, Mother Gothel, and Pete.
You can check out my thoughts on the character theming and difficulty ranking in my Villainous character guide or check out my thoughts on the game in my review of Villainous.
See what other people are saying about Villainous in the Amazon reviews.
More Villainous articles
- 7 Wicked Disney Villainous Upgrades and Accessories
- Captain Hook strategy guide
- Cruella De Vil strategy guide
- Dr Facilier strategy guide
- Evil Queen strategy guide
- Hades strategy guide
- Jafar strategy guide
- Mother Gothel strategy guide
- Pete strategy guide
- Prince John strategy guide
- Queen of Hearts strategy guide
- Ratigan strategy guide
- Scar strategy guide
- Ursula strategy guide
- Yzma strategy guide
- Villainous character overviews and rank
- Villainous review
Hi, I’m Emily, the tabletop gamer behind My Kind of Meeple. If this article helped you, I’d be honoured if you’d say, “Thanks!” with a £3 coffee on Ko-fi.