The year is 2010. The original Yu-Gi-Oh! series had been dead for some time now, and currently, the 5D’s series was in full swing. You can probably imagine everyone’s surprise that a Structure Deck for Marik Ishtar had been announced this year, but no one questioned it. To everyone’s delight, nothing was out of place at all, and Konami proved that these different generations can coexist.
While it seemed random at the time, Marik was actually the next character due for deck (even if we did have to wait six years). In Japan, pre-made decks had been made for Yugi, Kaiba, Joey, Pegasus, and Marik. So now we were (sort of) even.* Just looking through the deck is a throwback to classic Yu-Gi-Oh!, with the majority of the cards being used by Marik himself. The rest of the cards add strong support and really round it off making this deck immediately ready to play.
Despite being a 40 card deck compared to the Japanese release’s 55 cards, this deck is actually better in many ways. The inclusion of the Gravekeeper’s monsters is done much more extensively, and monsters are split cleanly between Marik’s Fiends and the Gravekeeper’s. The strategies complement each other, with the Fiend side locking down the opponent and damaging the opponent’s Life Points, while the Gravekeepers’ build up an offensive force on your side of the field. While Lava Golem is the main card in this set (which is cool to see again), the other lead Monster here is the Gravekeeper’s Descendant, who you’ll find becomes really powerful really fast. He’s just another one of the new Gravekeeper’s Monsters included in this deck; I’d say Konami’s attempt to breath new life into this aging archetype actually worked out.
Another advantage over the original Marik deck was the inclusion of newly released Marik-used cards; included here is Metal Reflect Slime, Gil Garth, and Legendary Fiend – all very formidable cards. Also released for the first time in the TCG is the awesome alternate artwork of Viser Des, previously only seen in the Japanese Marik deck. While Spell of Pain also recently saw its TCG debut, it was left out of this deck. Though I guess its usage was rather limited. Since this deck’s release, we’ve seen the release of the legal Winged Dragon of Ra, and later the original artwork variation. While the deck stands without it, that’s a card you’d want to add in (the pamphlet suggested using the illegal version seen in the Legendary Collection release).
In all, this deck was what we missed about the original Yu-Gi-Oh!, and assembled beautifully; it was fun and playable. The new cards that were added were appropriate and added to the theme. The cherry on top was that this deck included Odion’s Mystical Beast Serket and Temple of the Kings as bonus cards as well. Konami really hit it out of the park with this deck.
*The Japanese Structure Decks for Yugi, Joey, and Kaiba were actually released in two volumes