Katsuya Jonouchi vs. Marik Ishtar is the first semi-final duel in Battle City Tournament. Jonouchi decides to face Dark Marik to save his friend, Mai Kujaku, from the curse of the Millennium Rod.
After Mai received a Penalty Game against Dark Marik in the Quarter Finals, Jonouchi sets his sights on facing Dark Marik. He makes sure for it to happen during Semi-Final match-up. Now, Jonouchi is to face Dark Marik in the first duel in the Semi-Finals. He promised to win to save Mai and fulfill his promise to Yugi. Can he win against the terror of "The Winged God Dragon of Ra"?
Jonouchi starts the duel by playing a face-down card and summoning "Panther Warrior" (☆☆☆☆, 2000 ATK/1600 DEF) in Attack Mode. At the end of his turn, Dark Marik begins enveloping the sky in darkness and announces the start of the Shadow Game. He tells Jonouchi about the torment Mai is going through and exclaims how he feels excitement every time he hears her screams in his head. Jonouchi curses him.
Dark Marik starts his turn by summoning "Hell Poet" (☆☆☆☆, 2000 ATK/1200 DEF) in Attack Mode. With a smirk, Jonouchi accepts Dark Marik's Shadow Game. Dark Marik then tells him there is no turning back now. He explains that the loser will sink into the darkness, forever doom to eternal pain. Dark Marik sarcastically expresses his early condolences to Jonouchi. He sets a card face-down and ends his turn.Before he starts his turn, Jonouchi notices a line connecting him to his monster. Dark Marik explains that just like Mai's duel, both of them will feel the pain of their monsters. He tempts Jonouchi to attack and let him feel pain. Irritated by Dark Marik's weird remarks, Jonouchi begins his turn. With "Panther Warrior" and "Hell Poet" having the same ATK, Jonouchi decides to summon "Rocket Warrior" (☆☆☆☆, ATK 1500/DEF 1300) in Attack Mode. In response, Dark Marik activates his Trap Card, "Ambush". It lets him Special Summon "Viser Death" (☆☆☆☆, ATK 500/DEF ?) from his hand. Jonouchi recognizes the summoned monster from Mai's duel. "Ambush" also lets "Viser Death" activate its ability that same turn, so Dark Marik equips "Viser Death" onto "Panther Warrior". "Panther Warrior" loses 500 ATK because of "Viser Death" drilling into its head (ATK 1500), and because of the Shadow Game, Jonouchi also feels the torment it is going through. As Jonouchi writhes in pain, Dark Marik sadistically laughs and further provokes Jonouchi. In his mind, Jonouchi remembers the pain Mai went through during her duel against Dark Marik. With that, he conjures strength to continue fighting and avenge her. Dark Marik is surprised to see him stand-up. Jonouchi activates "Rocket Warrior's" ability and commands it to punch a hole into "Hell Poet", decreasing its ATK by 1500 (ATK 500). Dark Marik curls in pain. Jonouchi then declares "Panther Warrior" (ATK 1500) to attack "Hell Poet" (ATK 500), inflicting further pain to Dark Marik (4000 -> 3000 Life Points). Surprisingly, Dark Marik does not mind getting all of the punishments. He activates "Hell Poet's" ability. Its card is sent to the opponent's Graveyard and after every Battle Phase, it takes 1 card with it from Jonouchi's hand.
Dark Marik's turn. He assesses Jonouchi's field and decides not to harm "Panther Warrior" to continue inflicting pain to Jonouchi. He plays a card face-down and summons "Gil Garth" (☆☆☆☆, ATK 1800/DEF 1200) in Attack Mode. Jonouchi thought Dark Marik will attack "Rocket Warrior" (ATK 1500) but the latter immediately ends his turn.
Jonouchi wonders if this is part of a trap. He decides to sacrifice "Rocket Warrior" next turn, but he does not have any high-level monster in his hands. As he draw to start his turn, he draws "Jinzo". He cannot Tribute Summon it because it requires two monsters, so he summons "Baby Dragon" (☆☆☆☆, ATK 1200/DEF 700) in Defense Mode instead and switches "Rocket Warrior" to Defense Mode (DEF 1300). Jonouchi's Battle Phase automatically enters as "Viser Death" torments "Panther Warrior" further, decreasing its ATK further by 500 (ATK 1000). As Jonouchi feels the pain from the torture, "Hell Poet" takes 1 card from his hand. Jonouchi lost his "Jinzo" card in the process, to his dismay. Dark Marik follows up "Hell Poet's" ability with his face-down Permanent Trap Card, "Coffin Seller", which takes 700 Life Point from Jonouchi every time a card is discarded (4000 -> 3300 Life Points).Dark Marik starts his next turn. He sets two cards face-down. One of the cards is Trap Card "Malevolent Catastrophe", which triggers when Jonouchi attacks. When activated, all the cards on the field will be destroyed, and since Jonouchi is about to lose 5 cards, he will get 3500 damage thanks to "Coffin Seller". Dark Marik sacrifice "Gil Garth" to Tribute Summon "Legend Devil" (☆☆☆☆☆☆, ATK 1800/DEF 1500) in Attack Mode. He then goes to explain that "Legend Devil" gains 500 ATK for every turn, and gloats Jonouchi to defeat it early. Jonouchi smirks and activates his face-down Spell Card "Quiz". It let's them guess the Monster Card on top of their opponent's Graveyard; if a player guess wrong, their opponent can summon the monster on the field. Jonouchi goes first and guesses "Gil Garth", which Dark Marik sacrificed last turn. Dark Marik cannot guess the Monster Card on top of Jonouchi's Graveyard because he doesn't know the cards that "Hell Poet" drags with it. Because of that, Jonouchi is able to Special Summon "Jinzo" (☆☆☆☆☆☆☆, ATK 2400/DEF 1500) in Attack Mode. The moment it is summoned, it destroys Marik's Trap Cards, "Coffin Seller" and "Malevolent Catastrophe".
The turn goes to Jonouchi. Jonouchi orders "Jinzo" (ATK 2400) to attack "Legendary Devil" (ATK 1800). Dark Marik gets 600 damage (3000 -> 2400 Life Points). Jonouchi continues to direct attack with the rest of his monsters, but Dark Marik activates his set Spell Card, "Dark Aura Shield", which shields him from direct attacks for a turn. With Jonouchi's Battle Phase over, he lose 1 card from "Hell Poet" and receives pain from "Panther Warrior's" torture. With the damages Jonouchi did to him, Dark Marik has decided to up the penalty game for Jonouchi.
It's Dark Marik's turn. He summons "Lava Golem" (☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆, ATK 3000/DEF 2500) in Attack Mode. Jonouchi is surprised Dark Marik summons an 8-level monster without sacrifices, but Dark Marik explains that it's not him that needs to sacrifice monsters. "Lava Golem" disintegrates "Jinzo" and "Baby Dragon" as it imprisons Jonouchi inside its cage. Dark Marik places "Lava Golem" on Jonouchi's control, but with a huge price. He explains "Lava Golem" inflicts 700 damage on its controller for every turn. He ends his turn by setting a card face-down Trap Card.
Jonouchi's turn. He asses his hand, but finds no high-level monster to summon. He can attack Dark Marik directly, since Dark Marik's "Viser Death" is equipped on "Panther Warrior", but worries about face-down trap. Despite the possibility it might be a permanent trap, he goes to attack with "Lava Golem" (ATK 3000). Dark Marik admires Jonouchi's courage and admits the trap is not permanent. He goes on and tells "Lava Golem's" attack name, but Jonouchi decides to use his own preferred attack name. With that, Dark Marik activates his face-down Trap Card, "Monster Relief". It calls back his "Viser Death" from the field to his hand and lets him summon a 4-level monster from his hand. He chooses "Viser Death" in Attack Mode (ATK 500), and uses it as a shield against "Lava Golem's" attack. "Viser Death's" ability activates, as it cannot die within three turns after it was summoned. As Jonouchi's Battle Phase ends, he receives 700 damage from "Lava Golem" (3300 -> 2600 Life Points) and loses 1 card to "Hell Poet". Jonouchi ends his turn.
Dark Marik's turn. He sets a face-down card. With Jonouchi not sacrificing "Lava Golem" last turn, Dark Marik assesses that Jonouchi didn't have a high-level monster on his hands. Either way, he could have transferred "Viser Death" to "Lava Golem" if Jonouchi tried to sacrifice it. To prevent Jonouchi from Tribute Summoning, he activates Permanent Spell Card "Machine Duplication". The Spell Card lets him summon duplicates of a Machine with ATK 500 or less. With it, he summons two more "Viser Deaths" (ATK 500) from his deck and equips them to "Lava Golem" and "Rocket Warrior". Now, Jonouchi cannot Tribute Summon and cannot damage Dark Marik, on top of getting damage for every turn. He ends his turn.Jonouchi looks at his cards, but he cannot see any solution against Dark Marik's combo. Despite that he decides to draw a card to fulfill his promise to Yugi. He gets "Gilford the Lightning". He cannot tribute Summon it, but found his answer by looking at his hands. He activates Spell Card "Angel Dice". It lets him roll a die to increase "Viser Deaths'" ATK. Regardless of result, "Viser Deaths'" increased ATK nullifies "Machine Duplication", destroying the two monsters it summoned. With the "Viser Deaths" dead, he sacrifices all his monsters, "Lava Golem", "Rocket Warrior" and "Panther Warrior", to Tribute Summon "Gilford the Lightning" (☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆, ATK 2800/DEF 1400) in Attack Mode. Dark Marik cannot believe he has to use a God against Jonouchi. "Gilford the Lightning's" ability lets it destroy Dark Marik's "Viser Death" upon its summoning. Jonouchi then goes for a direct attack, but Marik activates his set Trap Card, "Nightmare Mirror". "Gilford the Lightning" attacks a reflection of Jonouchi in "Nightmare Mirror", inflicting 1000 damage to Jonouchi (2600 -> 1600 Life Points). The effect forces dark Marik to discard 1 card from his hand and he chooses "The Winged God Dragon of Ra". He marks that it will be the one that will send Jonouchi into his real grave. After the "Hell Poet" finished its task, Jonouchi ends his turn.
Back to Marik's turn, Dark Marik admits that he underestimated Jonouchi before and now realizes that they cannot end the duel without him using a God. He draws a card and activates Spell Card "Monster Reborn". He Special Summons "The Winged God Dragon of Ra" (☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆, ATK ????/DEF ????). He then reveals one of its powers. By reciting an incantation, he shows the final form of "The Winged God Dragon of Ra"; its "Phoenix Form". Flames engulfs and dragon and changes its form. With people doubting "The Winged God Dragon of Ra" to do anything, Dark Marik tells them that it can attack the same turn it was Special Summoned from the grave. He tells Jonouchi that it is the latter's final moments on Earth. He then goes on to tell Yugi and Kaiba that one of them will face him in the finals. Jonouchi reminds Dark Marik that it's impossible for "The Winged God Dragon of Ra" to defeat "Gilford the Lightning" because it technically only has 0 ATK. Dark Marik corrects him and points to "The Winged God Dragon of Ra's" power; by him paying 1000 Life Points, the "Phoenix" can incinerate 1 monster on the field. Jonouchi argues again that Dark Marik still cannot damage his Life Points, but Dark Marik reminds him that this is a Shadow Game; when "Gilford the Lightning" is burned to ashes, Jonouchi will die from the mental damage. Dark Marik then activates the "Phoenix's" power (2400 -> 1400 Life Points). As the fire engulfs "Gilford the Lightning", Jonouchi wriggles in pain as he feels "The Winged God Dragon of Ra's" eternal flame. Dark Marik sadistically laugh over Jonouchi's suffering. With Jonouchi collapsing on the ground, Dark Marik orders the "Phoenix" to return to the Graveyard. He goes on to examine what remains of Jonouchi and to his surprise, he found Jonouchi still kneeling on his knees.
In a dream, Jonouchi sees Yugi facing him in the Battle City Finals. He cannot believe his eyes, but Yugi goes on and tells him he has won in the Semi-Finals by attacking Dark Marik with "Gearfried the Iron Knight". Jonouchi is happy he fulfilled his promise to Yugi. Back to the duel, Jonouchi, half fainted, goes on to start his turn. He draws "Gearfried the Iron Knight" (☆☆☆☆, ATK 1800/DEF 1600) and plays it on the field in Attack Mode. However, he shortly collapses before he can declare an attack. With Jonouchi unable to continue, Dark Marik wins and advances to the finals.
Dark Marik advances to the finals. Jonouchi slipped into a coma after collapsing during the last duel. Devastated, Yugi contemplates his will to continue fighting in the Battle City Tournament. However, after seeing a vision from the "Millennium Tauk", he moves on believing in the future ahead; his fated duel with Jonouchi in their own Battle City Finals.