Disney Villainous Strategy for Jafar – Character Villain Guide

Jafar was the first character I played as in the Disney Villainous board game. After a couple of games, I figured out the best Villainous strategy for Jafar.

Jafar’s character in Villainous plays just like his character in Aladdin. You will find yourself obsessing over the magic lamp, defeating Heroes with spells rather than allies, and you will want to control Genie and use him for your schemes.


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Jafar from Disney Villainous
Jafar Villain Guide surrounded by some of the cards from his Villainous draw deck

In this strategy guide I look at:

  • The Jafar Villain Guide
  • Strategy to win as Jafar
  • Jafar’s cards
  • Important cards in Jafar’s deck
  • Jafar’s board
  • Jafar’s Fate deck
  • How to stop Jafar from winning

The Jafar Villain Guide

Before diving into a more fleshed out strategy for Jafar, let’s take a look at what the Villainous Villain guide tells you.

Objective

Start your turn with the Magic Lamp at Sultan’s Palace and Genie under your control.

Special Setup

The Cave of Wonders is locked at the beginning of the game.

Cards you need to win

You need two cards to win as Jafar.

  1. The Scarab Pendant
  2. The Magic Lamp

Scarab Pendant

When you find and play the Scarab Pendant you unlock the Cave of Wonders. You can also draw an extra card at the end of your turn. Very helpful for getting through your deck and finding the other key card you need to win…

Magic Lamp

The other important card you need to win as Jafar. When the Cave of Wonders is unlocked you can play the Magic Lamp there. As soon as you play it, you search for Genie in your Fate deck and play him at the Cave of Wonders.

If you already control Genie when you play the Magic Lamp, he is no longer under your control. Perhaps this is to give other players a chance to stop you from winning!

Get what you need

The trick to winning as Jafar is to get through your deck as quickly as possible to get the Scarab Pendant and the Magic Lamp.

Use the Scrying and Gazeem cards to help you get through your deck quickly.

Under Your Control

To win as Jafar you need to have the Genie under your control. Use the Hypnotize cards to get Genie under your control.

Activated Abilities

Jafar has some special cards with Activated Abilities. To activate the ability on a card you need to move to a location with an activate symbol on it and pay any associated power cost to activate the power.

There are three card types with activated abilities in Jafar’s deck. Iago and the Snake Staff abilities cost 1 power to activate. The Giant Hourglass ability card costs nothing to activate.

Strategy to win as Jafar in Villainous

To fully understand how to use these strategy tips, read the following sections which look more closely at Jafar’s cards and board.

Burn baby, burn!

Use the discard cards space at the Streets of Agrabah and the play 2 cards actions at Oasis to burn your deck until you find the Scarab Pendant and the Magic Lamp.

Polly, want a cracker?

Play Iago at the Cave of Wonders. Then he is ready to move the lamp as soon as it appears. You need to get that lamp away from Genie as soon as he appears otherwise he has +2 to his power and will cost you more to hypnotize him.

Look into my eyes

Keep a Hypnotize card ready for when Genie appears. You’ll want to get Genie under your spell really quickly before your opponents play Fate cards on you and make Genie stronger.

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Mostly ignore the Heroes

It is tempting to want to defeat all the Heroes but to be honest, they are mainly a distraction. There are a few exceptions though.

Princess Jasmine causes you to draw one less card per turn so you’ll definitely want to defeat her. You need to get through that deck quickly to find what you need to win.

Carpet can be a nuisance too because you need to defeat him before you can defeat other Heroes. That means you can’t hypnotize Genie if Carpet is around.

Abu and Aladdin can both take the magic lamp and stop you from winning, so defeat them to get the lamp back.

Remember that Jafar’s deck is mostly effect cards so you’re more likely to defeat a Hero through a spell than through an Ally.

Keep quiet and let the others think you are losing

Because you will spend most of the early stages of the game discarding cards to find the Scarab Pendant and the Magic Lamp, it will look to others like you aren’t doing much. Let them think that.

The longer they ignore you, the more chance you have of winning when you find the items you’re looking for.

A closer look at Jafar’s cards and board

To stand a good chance of winning with Jafar, it helps to take a closer look at the cards in Jafar’s deck and the actions at the locations on his Realm board.

Jafar’s cards

Like all Disney Villainous villains, Jafar has 30 cards in his villain deck. There are 16 different card designs.

  • A Snake, Am I? x 2
  • Deception x 2
  • Iago x 1
  • Hypnotize x 2
  • Gazeem x 1
  • Giant Hourglass x 2
  • Magic Lamp x 1
  • Manipulation x 2
  • Necessary Sacrifice x 3
  • Palace Guard x 3
  • Razoul x 1
  • Scarab Pendant x 1
  • Scimitar x 3
  • Scrying x 3
  • Snake Staff x 1
  • Sorcerous Power x 2
Disney Villainous jafar cards ally item
Jafar’s Item and Ally cards in his villain deck
Jafar's Effect and Condition cards in his villain deck
Jafar’s Effect and Condition cards in his villain deck

Jafar’s cards by type

The cards in Jafar’s deck shows us that he is not focussed on amassing loads of Allies. Instead, he is all about using his powers to do what he wants and turn a situation to his advantage.

Which is exactly what you’d expect from a powerful sorcerer, right?

jafar villainous cards by type

Jafar’s cards by ability

A closer look at the cards and what they do gives us clues as to how Jafar can be played.

The breakdown of cards makes a lot of sense given what you need to do to win as Jafar. Get the Scarab Pendant, Magic Lamp and get the genie.

To do that, you need to get through the deck really quickly to find all the cards you need and have enough power to cast the spell to get Genie. You don’t need to be distracted by Heroes who just get in your way.

Jafar cards by ability

Control, move or defeat Heroes and Allies

You want to manipulate your realm so that Heroes and Allies are in the places you want them to be, or just banish them altogether. You don’t really want to bother vanquishing Heroes because you don’t have many Ally cards, and the ones you do have are weak. That’s where these cards come in.

A Snake, Am I?

Number in deck: 2 | Power cost: 2 | Card type: Effect
Defeat a Hero with a Strength of 4 or less at Jafar’s location.

Remember when Jafar turns into a giant snake in Aladdin? Sure you do! Well, now you can do it too to vanquish Heroes up to Strength 4!

Hypnotize

Number in deck: 2 | Power cost: ? | Card type: Effect
Defeat a Hero and move them to the bottom of your Board. That Hero is under your control and treated as an Ally with the same Strength. Ignore their Ability. The Cost to play Hypnotize is equal to the Hero’s Strength.

Hypnotize is how you take control of Genie to win. You’ve got two copies in your villain deck but try not to waste it on a lesser foe unless you’ve got SNake Staff in play to get it back from your discard for 1 power.

Sorcerous Power

Number in deck: 2 | Power cost: 2 | Card type: Effect
Move a Hero to any unlocked location. Move an Ally to any unlocked location.

A cool card to use to get your allies at the same location as a Hero to Vanquish them. Or, a fun one to move Genie in his Hero form away from the Magic Lamp that will give him +2 Strength.

Gain power or reduce power cost

Some of your important abilities cost power to cast. For example, getting Iago to move the magic lamp for you to get it into the palace. To get Genie with Hypnotize, it will cost a power amount equal to his power. That can be a lot if your competitors have boosted him!

Necessary Sacrifice

Number in deck: 3 | Power cost: 3 | Card Type: Effect
Discard an Ally or Item from your Realm. Gain 3 Power.

I love how this card is costed! You pay for it with an Ally or Item! If you’re being Smart, you can play a cheap Ally like Palace Guard for 1 Power, then immediately sacrifice them to gain 3 Power.

Razoul

Number in deck: 1 | Power cost 3 | Strength: 3 | Card type: Ally
The Cost to play Allies to Razoul’s location is reduced by 1 Power.

Razoul is your strongest Ally, so it’s pretty cool that he reduces the cost of Allies at his location too! If you can, play your Allies there. You can always move them with the Move an Item of Ally ability.

Scry, burn and recover cards

These cards help you to use your cards quickly or search through your deck for a particular card. Scarab Pendant or Magic Lamp, anyone?

These cards also allow you to recover a card from your discard pile. These can help you to use Scrying or Hypnotize multiple times in a game, or get an Ally back if you really need to get rid of a Hero.

Gazeem

Number in deck: 1 | Power cost: 2 | Strength: 2 | Card type: Ally
When Gazeem is discarded from your Realm, you may search your discard pile for an Item and put it into your hand.

Depending on how the game plays out for you, you might want to voluntarily discard Gazeem using Necessary Sacrifice to get an Item back your discard pile!

Magic Lamp

Number in deck: 1 | Power cost: 4 | Card type: Item
Magic Lamp may only be played to the Cave of Wonders. When Magic Lamp is played, find Genie and play him to the Cave of Wonders.

The lamp! So shiny, so powerful! There’s only one in your deck of course. It’s pricey though. Play some of those gain power cards if you need to!

Manipulation

Number in deck: 2 | Card type: Condition
During their turn, if another player has three of more Allies in their Realm, you may play Manipulation. Take any card from your discard pile and put it into your hand.

Lovely jubbly! A nice way to grab back a Hypnotize, a vanquished Ally, or even a Scrying if you still need to find your winning cards!

Scarab Pendant

Number in deck: 1 | Power cost: 3 | Card type: Item
When Scarab Pendant is player, unlock the Cave of Wonders. When you draw cards at the end of each turn, draw one extra card.

Yes! Drawing more cards is what we want. A nice way to find the Magic Lamp more easily. If we’ve already got the lamp, the extra card gives us more options on our turn.

Scrying

Number in deck: 1 | Power cost: 1 | Card type: Effect
Choose either Item or Ally. Reveal cards from your deck until you reveal a card of that type. Put that card into your hand. Discard the rest.

This is our most powerful card other than the winning cards. It helps us to find all the cards we need to win! Good job we have 3 copies. We may even want to grab some of them back after we’ve discarded them!

Snake Staff

Number in deck: 1 | Power cost: 2 | Card type: Item
Activate: Pay 1 Power. Search your discard pile for Hypnotize and put it into your hand.

In Aladdin, Jafar uses the Snake Staff to hypnotize people. While you don’t need the Snake Staff to play Hypnotize in Villainous, you can use your staff to get Hypnotize cards back from your discard pile.

Boost Ally/weaken Hero

Because Jafar’s Ally cards are quite weak, you can boost them.

Giant Hourglass

Number in deck: 2 | Power cost: 1 | Card type: Item
Activate: Heroes at this location get -2 Strength until the end of your turn.

Heroes getting in your way? Throw them into the Giant Hourglass!

Scimitar

Number in deck: 3 | Power cost: 0 | Strength: +1 | Card type: Item
Attach Scimitar to an Ally. That Ally gets +1 Strength.

A +1 to Strength isn’t much, but it doesn’t cost you anything to play it, so you might as well use it. There’s nothing to say you can’t give one Ally all three Scimitars. Not sure how they’d wield them all in reality though!

Basic Ally

These are all Palace Guards with a strength of 2.

Palace Guard

Number in deck: 3 | Power cost: 1 | Strength: 2 | Card type: Ally
No additional ability.

Your standard Ally. Cheap and fairly weak but actually strong enough to take care of three Heroes in your Fate deck.

Other

These two card types are pretty unique, but no less useful, especially Iago.

Iago

Number in deck: 1 | Power cost: 1 | Strength: 1 | Card type: Ally
Activate: Pay 1 Power. Move Iago and an Item at his location to an adjacent unlocked location.

Iago is a hugely useful card. Iago’s activated ability allows you to move him and an item at his location to an adjacent unlocked location. Like a Magic Lamp perhaps?

Deception

Number in deck: 2 | Card type: Condition
During their turn, if another player has two or more Items in their Realm, you may play Deception. Reveal and play one card from that player’s Fate deck.

I love the sentiment behind this card. An opponent is getting too powerful and has too many shiny things, I’m jealous! Let’s Fate them! It’s a fun little card to play that won’t help you win, but will make life a little more difficult for someone else.

Important cards in Jafar’s deck

While there are standard Ally and Condition cards which may be helpful, there are some standout cards in Jafar’s deck that are really important.

jafar important cards
Important cards in Jafar’s Villainous deck

Scarab Pendant

Without the Scarab Pendant, you can’t unlock Cave of Wonders which means you can’t move the Magic Lamp from there.

The Scarab Pendant also has the bonus ability to let you draw an extra card each turn, so instead of drawing up to 4 cards, you draw up to 5. This helps you to burn through your deck faster.

Magic Lamp

This is what you really really really want! You are Jafar after all! Play it on Cave of Wonders to unlock that location and summon Genie there.

At this point, your competitors will have figured out what you’re doing so you need to get the lamp to the Sultan’s Palace and hypnotize Genie before they boost him.

Scrying

A super valuable card early on in the game.

With Scrying, you can search your deck for an item or Ally and put it into your hand. Use these to get the Scarab Pendant and then the Magic Lamp.

Later in the game use Scrying to find the spells that will help you the most. Most likely Hypnotize and Iago.

Iago

Iago is a great friend to you. Even if he does complain. You can pay him and he’ll carry an item another location for you.

Always play Iago at the Cave of Wonders so he’s ready to move the Magic Lamp towards the Sultan’s Palace as soon as it’s available.

Hypnotize

This is the card you use to get Genie under your spell. It defeats a Hero and puts them under your control.

The power cost of the spell is equal to the strength of the Hero you want to hypnotize. Genie is strength 6 with a +2 if the magic lamp is at his location. So when you first discover the magic lamp and it is at the Cave of Wonders with Genie, he is strength 8. That’s a lot of power.

That’s why you need Iago ready at the Cave of Wonders to move the lamp away and reduce Genie’s strength. You want to hypnotize Genie quickly before your opponents make him stronger.  

Snake Staff

Another scrying card that specifically allows you to find a Hypnotize card and put it into your hand. Perfect if you need to get that pesky Genie.

Jafar’s board

jafar villainous realm board
Jafar’s Villainous board

Of the four locations on Jafar’s board, only three are available at the start of the game. The Cave of Wonders is locked until you find and play the Magic Lamp.

Sultan’s Palace

The 4 Actions at Sultan’s Palace are: Play a Card, Activate, Vanquish, Fate.

Sultan’s Palace is not a hugely useful location for you, especially early on in the game. It does nothing to help you get through your deck quickly.

You may want to go here if you need to Fate an opponent because they are gaining a quick lead. It’s also the only place you can vanquish a Hero. That is useful if Aladdin or Abu have taken the magic lamp and you have allies ready to vanquish them.

Streets of Agrabah

The 4 Actions at Streets of Agrabah are: Gain 1 Power, Fate, Discard Cards, Play a Card.

This location is the most useful to you at the start of the game. It is the only available location which lets you discard all your cards and draw 4 new cards. That is exactly what you want to do.

Just like Jafar in the Disney film Aladdin, Jafar is obsessed with getting the lamp and Genie. And now, so are you.

At the end of your turn, if you are in the Streets of Agrabah discard everything that isn’t the Scarab Pendant, the Magic Lamp.

Oasis

The 4 actions at Oasis are: Activate, Play a Card, Gain 3 Power, Play a Card.

The Oasis is a great second location to use before the Cave of Wonders is unlocked.

Remember, you want to get through your cards as quickly as possible. This location lets you play two cards on one turn so that you can draw 2 cards instead of 1 at the end of your go.

It’s also a great location for collecting power and using your activated abilities.

3 power is a nice amount to save up for later in the game. You may need a lot of power to get Genie and using 1 power each turn can help you to pay Iago to move the magic lamp towards the Sultan’s Palace for you.

Cave of Wonders

The 4 actions at Cave of Wonders are: Discard Cards, Gain 2 Power, Play a Card, Move an Item or Ally.

As soon as you have unlocked the Cave of Wonders this location is your next best friend in finding the magic lamp.

It has the discard cards ability to help you churn through your deck. But is also has a nice 2 power ability.

If you’ve unlocked the Cave of Wonders and you still need to find the magic lamp, just alternate between Streets of Agrabah and Cave of Wonders discarding all the cards that aren’t useful. Hypnotize and Iago are very useful at this point though, so keep and play them if you come across them.

Jafar’s Fate deck

Jafar’s Fate deck contains 15 cards of 11 different designs. There are 5 Effect cards (Crushing Blow, Narrow Escape and Treachery), 3 Item cards (Wish) and the remaining 7 are all Heroes.

  • Abu x 1
  • Aladdin x 1
  • Carpet x 1
  • Crushing Blow x 2
  • Genie x 1
  • Narrow Escape x 2
  • Princess Jasmine x 1
  • Rajah x 1
  • Sultan x 1
  • Treachery x 1
  • Wish x 3
Jafar's Fate deck cards
Jafar’s Fate cards

Abu

Number in deck: 1 | Strength: 2 | Card type: Hero
When Abu is played, choose an Item at his location and attach it to him. Jafar cannot use the Item. When Abu is defeated, the Item is returned to Jafar at the same location.

Tricky little Abu. If he’s played when you’ve got the Magic Lamp in play, he really gets in the way of you winning!

Aladdin

Number in deck: 1 | Strength: 4 | Card type: Hero
When Aladdin is played, choose an Item at his location and attach it to him. Jafar cannot use the Item. When Aladdin is defeated, the Item is returned to Jafar at the same location.

Even more annoying than Abu is Aladdin. If he gets the Magic Lamp, just like in the movie, it’s not easy to get it back. His 4 Strength makes him pretty tough because your toughest Ally is Razoul with Strength 3. So he’ll need some help with other Allies, a Scimitar, a Giant Hourglass or you’ll need to cast A Snake, Am I? on him.

Carpet

Number in deck: 1 | Strength: 2 | Card type: Hero
Jafar must defeat Carpet before defeating other Heroes.

Argh! How irritating is Carpet?! If Carpet’s out and Aladdin has stolen the Magic Lamp from you and you haven’t got Genie under your control, you’re several more steps away from winning! Because the Hypnotize card says, ‘Defeat a Hero and move them to the bottom of your Board.’ Carpet blocks you from defeating Genie!

Crushing Blow

Number in deck: 2 | Card type: Effect
Discard an Ally with a Strength of 3 or less from Jafar’s Realm.

Most of your Heroes are Strength 3 or less unless they have a Scimitar attached. So there’s not much you can do to stop this one! Good job you have Effects and Items!

Genie

Number in deck: 1 | Strength: 6 | Card type: Hero
Genie gets +2 Strength if Magic Lamp is at his location.

When Genie is played at Cave of Wonders, he’s going to be with Magic Lamp. So he’ll be Strength 8. That’s going to take come Power to defeat him with Hypnotize! Hopefully, you can reduce the cost of hypnotizing him by using Giant Hourglass on him first.

Narrow Escape

Number in deck: 2 | Card type: Effect
Search Jafar’s Fate discard pile for a Hero. Play that Hero.

How bad this Fate card is for you depends on what Hero comes back and the position you’re in. If you’ve spent ages getting rid of Aladdin to get the lamp back and he comes right back and takes it again, it’s going to be annoying!

Princess Jasmine

Number in deck: 1 | Strength: 3 | Card type: Hero
When Jafar draws cards at the end of each turn, he draws one less card.

If you have Scarab Pendant in play that allows you to draw one extra card each turn, Jasmine isn’t too bad. If you don’t, she is really irritating. Especially early game when you’re trying to find all the cards you need to win!

Rajah

Number in deck: 1 | Strength: 4 | Card type: Hero
Rajah gets +2 Strength if Princess Jasmine is in Jafar’s Realm.

Without Jasmine, Rajah is ok. He’s tough but doesn’t cause you any problems other than blocking actions on your Realm board. With Jasmine, he’s really tough! Just another reason to take care of Jasmine before him!

Sultan

Number in deck: 1 | Strength: 2 | Card type: Hero
Palace guards cannot be used to defeat Sultan.

Makes sense that the Palace Guards wouldn’t defeat their own Sultan, right? Other than that little restriction, Sultan is really not a bad Hero to have played against you.

Treachery

Number in deck: 1 | Card type: Effect
Jafar loses 2 Power.

This isn’t too bad really. It could be super frustrating if you had enough Power to win on your next turn and Treachery is played on you, but that’s unlikely.

Wish

Number in deck: 3 | Card type: Item
Attach Wish to a Hero. That Hero gets +2 Strength.

Three Wishes! Great theming! These can be terrible when played on Genie. If all 3 are played on him, he becomes a Strength 12. That’s going to take some power to defeat him!

How to stop Jafar from winning

What if you are playing against Jafar and they keep winning? Well, there are some things you can do to stop them.

Don’t assume Jafar is behind

Because Jafar’s deck doesn’t revolve around allies, it can look like there isn’t much happening. Don’t be fooled. Jafar is sitting there quietly building power and burning through his cards until he finds the Scarab Pendant and the Magic Lamp.

Play a Hero on the Oasis early in the game

Jafar will be using the Oasis and the Streets of Agrabah at the start of the game to burn through his deck. While you can’t remove the discard cards ability at Streets of Agrabah, you can slow him down at the Oasis and make it so he can only play one card per turn when he’s there.

Fate Jafar as much as the other villains

If you wait until Cave of Wonders is unlocked to consider Jafar a real competitor it may be too late. Issue Fates on Jafar just as much as any other player.

Choose these Fate cards for a big impact

Really useful Fate cards to help you stop Jafar from winning
Really useful Fate cards to help you stop Jafar from winning

While all the Fate cards will slow Jafar down, these Fate cards are especially effective against Jafar.

Princess Jasmine

She makes it so that Jafar one less card per turn. This is terrible for Jafar especially early on in the game when he’s trying to find the Scarab Pendant and the Magic Lamp.

Carpet

An especially irritating card to play against Jafar because he can’t get Genie while Carpet is in his Realm.

Aladdin or Abu

Either of these is super useful to play to when the lamp is in play. They can both take an item away from Jafar. Take the Magic Lamp if you can.

If you draw them before the lamp is in play then take the Scarab Pendant to slow down his deck burn rate.

Wish

If you draw a Wish right when Genie is out but not yet under control by Jafar, it is highly irritating for him. It increases Genie’s power by +2 which means that it costs 2 more power for Jafar to hypnotize him. Given that there are 3 Wish cards in the 15 card Fate deck there’s a good chance you’ll draw one of these at that moment, and make Genie up to a Strength 12!

If you draw a Wish card at another time, play it on Aladdin, Abu or Jasmine if you can.

Conclusion – Villainous strategy for Jafar

To win as Jafar you need to do three main things:

  1. Burn through your deck and find the Scarab Pendant, the Magic Lamp and a Hypnotize card.
  2. Ignore the Heroes as much as possible.
  3. Use Iago to help you move the Magic Lamp to the Sultan’s Palace as quickly as possible.

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 Jafar strategy guide, check out my strategy guides for the Queen of Hearts, Prince John, Ursula, Captain Hook, Maleficent, 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

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Emily Sargeantson
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.

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