How to handle Janemba - A Towa Player's Guide
We are lucky enough to be partnered with The Midian Guard, and one of their players Luke Fletcher, is one of the top players in the Oceania Region! Luke was kind enough to allow us to share his thoughts on the Janemba matchup from a Towa players point of view. He has multiple tops with Towa in large scale events such as the Melbourne & Brisbane regionals, so he's definitely worth listening to. Enjoy!
Overall Match-up score: 65%-35% (Towa's way)
Pros & Cons of Towa (Against Janemba Control)
• Hand disruption – Towa’s strength is its ability to take control and disrupt and diminish your opponent’s hand. Hand Disruption is a huge problem for a control deck like Janemba as you remove what they need to control you, not letting them buy time to mill you out.
• Towa has access to Time Regulator Vegeta to recycle cards back into your deck, counteracting Janemba’s Milling.
• One of your bombs, Mira Self Reformation has Deflect, so it gets around majority of Janemba’s counter plays and lets you hit hard.
• Since overrealm is your main attack source, and overrealm cards leave the board at the end of the turn, you really don’t have any targets for Janemba to attack to mill you. They have to attack your leader, letting you draw more cards from your life without really having to fear getting beaten via life.
• The Mill also helps place Towa cards in the drop area, so it’s easier for you to hit your targets in warp and drop.
• Vegeta The Cruel - Kills our Time Regulator Vegeta, makes us discard, and is also a 15k attacker. It pretty much makes Towa waste a turn, or fear playing a Vegeta Time Regulator. It’s a triple threat.
• Our Towa leader’s front side utilises burst 3 to get our Mira targets, and it’s obviously not very good to be milling yourself against a Mill deck. If we hit a target from Towa’s burst 3 also, we have pretty much given Janemba a free mill of 4.
• Towa’s ‘Godstrike Beerus’ ability, has close to no targets worth hitting in Janemba as they mainly rely on their leader swinging and extra cards to win.
• Champa the Trickster - This card is a bit of a hassle, while it doesn’t K.O like Vegeta the Cruel, tapping cards still hurt Towa. It can counter play Mira Creator Absorbed, tapping it down and it also replaces itself, while this isn’t exactly game changing, it certainly takes a bit of steam away from Towa’s engine.
The most effective strategy against Janemba, as Towa is to not swing early. You also need to slowly reduce the size of their hand so they don’t have enough answers against you. If on your turn 2, your opponent has gone first, if they have a Vegeta the Cruel in hand to counter play your Vegeta Time Regulator it can be dangerous. If your Time Regulator gets counter played it really slows down your pace and often wastes the turn.
When swinging at life always attack with Critical, by using Towa's awakened ability, giving up to 1 Mira target Critical, you get some damage in and keep their cards in hand low. Utilising this tactic should get them to the point where they have close to no cards in hand, so if they do negate an attack, you’re still up and you just have to Mira chain them next turn and try again. Awakening Janemba isn't a problem for this match up, so don't worry too much about camping them on five life, as long as you are swinging with criticals.
Cards to Mulligan for in this Match-Up
• Relentless Destruction Mira
• Time Regulator Vegeta
• You can also keep Mira, Self Reformation, but this is not a major priority
Strong Cards in the Match-Up
Relentless Destruction Mira – Use this card to make your opponent discard but DO NOT SWING with it ( Unless you've given it critical with Towa), keep their hand low.
Time Regulator Vegeta – A great way to ensure the longevity of your deck, it recycles cards from the drop to slow down Janemba’s milling, but it does get hit by a lot of counter plays in Janemba.
The Mira Chain - This engine is very strong against Janemba as they generally offer little pressure turns 1-4, resolving this chain is the key to winning the matchup. The Janemba player will likely Champa the Trickster your Mira Creator Absorbed often, but assuming they have 4 cards in hand as well as Champa, they will still be dropped to 1 card in hand, So you can get around this with Relentless Destruction Mira.
Dark Absorption Mira - As our 7 drops will very likely get milled, this card is a good opening move at the start of the turn. If your opponent doesn’t activate a counter play against it, just Union Absorb. If they do counter play, you play the 5 drop and then union absorb.
Furthering Destruction Champa - This card will steal games guaranteed, even if it's milled, it plays a huge mental effect and your opponent will very likely negate attacks on two life, as they will worry how many you have at your disposal, just don't get greedy and lose to Godstrike Beerus!
Weak Cards in the Match-Up/Charge Fodder
Supreme Kai of Time, Time Disruptor – Janemba doesn’t really have any cards for you to stop and you don't need the draw in the matchup as it gives them 1 less card to have to mill.
Power Burst – There are not many attacks worth negating in this match-up.
Dark Power Black Masked Saiyan – You are playing a control matchup and Janemba cheats in no cards that trigger the discard ability, so you don't need to see this card.
Towa’s – Janemba has close to no targets to steal or anything worth stealing, and since Janemba will mill plenty of these during the game, you can charge these pretty safely.
Dimensional Banisher Fu/Masked Saiyan the Mysterious Warrior – These cards are not the best in this matchup as Janemba doesn’t really have that many targets for you to hit. They’re sometimes needed to remove the counter plays that have come into play (Champa the Trickster, Undying Spirit Gohan and Vegeta the Cruel, etc), but overall they are not that important.
Time Regulator Trunks - This card is great in Aggro matchups as turn 1, you burst 3, Over Realm it in, warp a card, by the end of turn it’s in your warp. This would mean that you have 5 cards in warp, bringing your super combos online nice and early. As this is irrelevant for the Janemba matchup, this card isn't really needed and becomes great charge fodder.
Rough Example Turn Sequence
Going first Mulligan – Vegeta Time Regulator/ Relentless Destruction Mira (you want these cards)
Simply charge & pass. You can use leader ability if you have no Relentless Destruction Mira in hand. If I open with a Vegeta Time Regulator in hand, I will sometimes use leader ability, play Relentless Destruction Mira, then pass, as I know I will safely resolve Vegeta Time Regulator on turn 2 where I can then start to refill my deck.
When going first, Vegeta Time Regulator is a priority for this turn as your opponent will have little answers to it. Even with Desperate Measures available, they will usually charge a dual colour first. If Vegeta resolves, I start to use my leader ability a bit more to make sure I have the Mira Chain, and hopefully overrealm a Relentless Destruction Mira in hand, so I can lower their hand again and then pass. (With Vegeta Time Regulator, recycling your Relentless Destruction Miras back into the deck to reuse is very important as Janemba struggles a lot against hand control)
Turn 3 is an awkward turn for Towa, I will either attempt to resolve another Vegeta Time Regulator, or just play a Relentless Destruction Mira then pass. They can start to remove Vegeta Time Regulator now as they can still counter play with Vegeta the Cruel and remove your Vegeta Time Regulator. This does hurt, but the two turns it resolved usually helps enough.
Usually I would open with Dark Absorption Mira, if your opponent does not counter play, go straight into the chain as there will very likely be a Mira Creator Absorbed in warp from the mill (make sure to check!). If your opponent does counter play your Dark Absorption Mira, or if you don’t have it, just play Mira Self Reformation, awaken, give it Critical, attack, then union absorb into Mira Creator Absorbed. From here on we only want to be attacking with Critical if possible, as keeping their hand size low is key. If your opponent uses Champa the Trickster on your Mira Creator Absorbed, it slows your tempo down a bit, but if they have 3 or less cards in hand when they counter play, Mira Creator Absorbed will warp them down to zero. They will draw back to 1 card in hand from Champa (as it triggers after they’ve warped). You can then follow up with Relentless Destruction Mira, which is a very strong play as you reduce their hand size back to zero and lock them out once again.
Repeat what you’ve done during Turn 4. Your opponent will likely have a Champa the Trickster ready for your first chain, but after resolving a second they should have close to no cards in hand.
Rinse and repeat, if you manage your resources correctly you can pull this off by utilising either of the 2 Union Absorb Miras.
Rough Example Turn Sequence
Going second Mulligan – Relentless Destruction Mira
Charge & pass. You can once again, use leader ability if you have no Relentless Destruction Mira in hand. Vegeta Time Regulator isn’t as safe whilst going second as your opponent will likely leave up energy to use Vegeta the Cruel to counter play it. As Janemba doesn't draw on turn 1 since it cannot attack, if you play Relentless Destruction Mira they will go down to 4 cards already.
You can attempt to resolve a Vegeta Time Regulator (although sometimes gauging by their energy available and if you think they have a counter play for it, it’s better not to), or just charge, resolve a Relentless Destruction Mira if you have it, then pass or use your leader ability. When going second you have +1 card in deck as you draw turn 1, but you don’t have to mill 2 as they can’t attack.
Here you would either attempt to resolve a Vegeta Time Regulator, or just set up for turn 4. If you have been lucky enough to resolve 3 Relentless Destruction Mira, your opponent will have roughly 4-5 cards in hand at this point.
The same as going first, Mira chain must resolve this turn for you to be able to control the game. I like to swing with Mira Self Reformation, giving it Critical (I would usually also awaken on this turn whilst going second), as they either waste a card negating your attack or they lose two life via Critical. As your opponent will only have 4-5 cards in hand, even if they do use Champa the Trickster against your Mira Creator Absorbed, on turn 5 you'll have them close to 0 cards in hand and pretty much lock the game in your favour.
Mira chain again if possible. I like to hold a Relentless Destruction Mira for this turn if I can, so that if they use Champa the Trickster against my Mira Creator Absorbed and draw 1 card (usually I have them down to 1 card in hand at this point) I can put them back to 0 cards in hand. Then you hit them with Double Strike - Critical and secure the game.
After placing your life and drawing your starting hand, you have 36 cards in deck. This means going first; on turn 4 you would have drawn 3 cards, and milled 8 from Janemba’s attacks, meaning you have 25 cards left in deck. As Janemba in the current format has moved away from the direct mill approach somewhat, you can expect the leader attack to be the main source of mill. Knowing when to use your leader ability and when not to is important for this matchup, but as shown above you still have a pretty healthy deck by turn 4, so do not stress about getting milled "quickly". Focus on controlling your opponent’s hand, and if needed skip a Mira chain on turn 4-5 to monopolise with Vegeta Time Regulators.
I feel if piloted correctly Towa should very rarely get milled out by Janemba.
By turn 5, using your leader ability twice (-8) and two union absorbs (-2 from deck is taken from there), -10 from leader swings, and -4 for turn draw, means you will still have 7-12 cards in deck which is plenty, and this is assuming you have not resolved Vegeta Time Regulator. It's important to note that even if your opponent is running more of the Mill Janembas, it means their hand size will be lower, and it’s likely that they won’t even get a good chance to resolve these.
For Top-Cut at Melbourne regionals, my opponent casted a Janemba on turn 4, tapping out (8 life so they couldn’t awaken), this allowed me to resolve the Beyond Darkness Demigra with them having no answers, leading me to immediately snowball from there.
Cards to Sideboard in & out
Personally with the strategy I utilise against Janemba, I don't find the sideboard too important.
Son Goku the Adventure Begins is good for recycling Four Star Balls that are milled (although I don't play the skill-less engine ) as well as Dimension Support Trunks to bring out your 20k vanillas with Critical. The problem with this is that it gives Janemba a target to swing at, as they don’t have your leader as their only attack target to draw, meaning they will not be giving you as many cards from life.
You can side out Dark Power Black Masked Saiyan, 1-2 of your Towas (as plenty are being milled), and Trunks Time Regulator as you don't need the extra draw or warp manipulation. Banisher Fu can also come out as you aren't using Towa's leader abilty to search as often, and even if you do have the Fu, Janemba has little targets worth hitting. Masked Saiyan is strictly better in this matchup, but still not great.
~ Luke Fletcher TMG
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