Disney Villainous Strategy for Jafar – Character Villain Guide

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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 your enemies with spells rather than allies and you will want to control Genie and use him for your evil schemes.

Jafar surrounded by some of the cards from his Villainous draw deck. The Villain Guide gives some basic strategy tips
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
  • 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.


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.

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 steal 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 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 board.

Jafar’s cards

Cards by type

The cards in Jafar’s deck shows us that he is not focussed on amassing a big army 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's Villainous cards by type

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 capture 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 capture Genie. You don’t need to be distracted by heroes who just get in your way.

Jafar's Villainous cards by ability

So the 6 main actions that you can take as Jafar are:

1. 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 fighting heroes because you don’t have many ally cards, and the ones you do have are weak.

2. Gain power or reduce power cost

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

3. Scry and burn deck

These cards help you to use your cards quickly or search through your deck for a particular card. Scarab pendant or magic lamp, anyone?

4. Recover cards

These cards 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.

5. Boost ally

Because Jafar’s ally cards are quite weak, you can boost them with a +1 power scimitar. There are 3 of these cards in the deck. It’s not a hugely powerful boost, but may help you.

You can also use the Giant Hourglass to weaken heroes with a -2 strength ability until the end of your turn.

6. Basic ally

These are all Palace Guards with a strength of 2.


One of the Other cards is Iago which 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?

The other 2 cards allow you to play a fate card on an opponent if they have 2 or more items in their realm.

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.

Important cards in Jafar's Villainous deck a key part of your strategy
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 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.


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 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.


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 capture that pesky Genie.

Jafar’s board

Jafar's board in Villainous use it strategically to win
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

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 captured the magic lamp and you have allies ready to defeat them.

Streets of Agrabah

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.


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 capture the 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

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.

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 he 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 threat 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.


An especially irritating card to play against Jafar because he can’t capture 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 capture an item and take it away from Jafar. Take the 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.


If you draw a wish right when Genie is out but not yet captured 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.

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.

If you enjoyed this guide, check out my strategy guides for the Queen of Hearts, Prince John, Ursula, Captain Hook and Maleficent.

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 there, I’m Emily. I’ve loved tabletop games since 2008 when I was introduced to D&D. I started My Kind of Meeple to nerd out about tabletop!

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