Marik Ishtar is the main villain from the Battle City Sections of the Duel Monsters series of Yu-Gi-Oh (the series with Yugi as the star). Marik is from a family of tomb keepers, has a lot of ambition and a lot of power.
Marik’s backstory is quite good and I can imagine that it’s relatable for some people. Trapped as a boy in the life of Tomb Keeper, never to know of the outside world, Marik could only dream of what might be. Any attempt at seeing the outside world is reason for Marik to be punished harshly. The boy had his sister and his friend Odeon to support him until Marik got angry and full of hateful resentment he strikes back. This being Yu-Gi-Oh there are magical artefacts and a Shadow Realm for banished souls. Marik’s strike back is extreme. He seems to develop an extra personality built out of everything bad about him.
We learn of Marik as the leader of a group of destructive card hunters called the Rare Hunters, this affords Marik the power to challenge anyone without meeting them and grants him the ability to acquire almost any card. Marik also holds the magical Millennium Rod with which he mind controls people and is able to project himself through people using the same.
As a duelist, Marik should be one of the best we ever see but falls flat constantly. The Rare Hunters got him everything he needed to take on Kaiba and Yugi in Battle City, he also starts out with two Egyptian God cards. One of the God cards is lost in an attempt to defeat Yugi early on with one of his mind controlled puppets, this is technically the first time we see Marik lose a duel. He still has The Winged Dragon Of Ra, the most powerful of the God cards.
We later see Marik take on Mai. Marik abuses his power over the Shadow Realm to force forgetfulness on his opponent. With a bit of encouragement from Yugi, Mai fights back and does it well. Using her Harpy Lady strategy and a card swapping move she takes Ra from Marik before using the strength of her summoning strategy to tribute summon the God card. Marik then cheats by having a Ra’s card be one that Mai can’t possibly translate which is illegal for tournaments. If Mai had continued on her own strategy after getting Ra or had she been able to read the card she would have won. I’d say that was Marik’s second loss.
Joey’s duel came next for Marik. The scrappy underdog took Marik on in yet another Shadow Game, only this time exhaustion was the consequence of taking damage. Marik keeps withholding information on how Ra works until trying to strike Joey down with the power of a god. To everyone’s surprise, Joey survives and without the exhaustion of the shadows Joey would have landed a final blow to defeat Marik. Joey got banished to the Shadow Realm but eventually broke out showing that Marik’s magic wasn’t as strong as he thought. Three losses and now weak magic, this is pretty poor for the big bad of the series.
Obviously the only thing left is when Marik takes on Yugi. Both of them make things up all the way through the duel and Yugi has his own way of cheating but Marik gave us another Shadow game where a possible victim was his own good side. Marik’s personality was totally evil by this point but we knew Yugi was going to win. It just went on and on and on, like children in a playground they just kept building who was better. Eventually Odeon gave good Marik a chance to take over which meant everything could end. Another loss for Marik.
It seems like Marik only had one win which was against the Spirit Of The Millennium Ring who was up for a Shadow Game but throughout the series had shown himself to be a weak duelist anyway. I think Marik was an effective but bad villain as he was really all talk and lesser characters like Mai and Joey could take him on. There was too much story on Marik and the whole Battle City arc relied too much on Egyptian God cards.