Upon Yami Marik's awakening, he took the Millennium Rod and used the blade to kill his own father (skinning his back off in the manga, stabbing him to death in the Japanese anime, and sending him to the Shadow Realm in the dub). After that, Marik took the Rod to assist him in his quest for world domination. He stated that after he gets his revenge, the Rod would be useless to him, and that he would have no qualms of giving it to Yami Bakura. A false Millennium Rod was created and given to Odion Ishtar, who was disguising himself as Marik at the time, in order to play his role more realistically. While Odion wielded the false item, Marik (under the pseudonym "Namu") utilized the real Rod's powers in secret, to make it look like Odion is the wielder of the item. When Odion played a false God Card Ra, it incurred the Gods' wrath and caused a lightning bolt to strike down Odion, shattering the false Millennium Rod, revealing Odion's true identity.
In Seto Kaiba's Duel with Ishizu Ishtar, the Millennium Rod showed Kaiba a vision of his past incarnation and the "Blue-Eyes White Dragon", which convinced him to summon the latter monster instead of attacking with Obelisk the Tormentor (which would have caused him to lose the Duel). This is because it was originally owned by the Egyptian Priest Seto, of whom Kaiba is a reincarnation.
In Yu-Gi-Oh! Forbidden Memories, the Rod is shaped and colored slightly different. It is also owned by Kaiba in the modern day instead of Marik.
This item's unique ability grants the holder the power to take control of people's minds, turning them into slaves under the user's control. By extension, it is also capable of mind manipulation, allowing the owner to telepathically communicate with others, look into their memories, trick their minds into believing what the Rod's owner wants them to, render people unconscious, and leave portions of the owner's mind in people it has controlled, like how Marik did with Bakura Ryou and Téa Gardner. Its powers of mind control have no effect on one who holds a Millennium Item or someone who has a deep connection to Egypt's ancient past, like Yugi Muto, Yami Bakura, Seto Kaiba, or Ishizu Ishtar before she gave her item to Yugi. Also, if the victim has an enormous force of will, its mind control spell can be broken.
Like the other Millennium Items, its power over Shadow Games allows it to materialize and command Duel Monsters and their effects, and cast Penalty Games against the loser. Yami Marik's games created through this item have been the most brutal and damaging, like memory destruction, pain-inducing, and physical bodies slowly consumed by the shadows.
Other magical abilities allow the owner to use a telekinetic-like ability to force people back or paralyze them. In the Virtual World arc, Yami Marik could use his Rod to project lightning attacks to destroy guard robots and machinery around Noah's undersea fortress. A victory Duel is not required to use these abilities.
When the Rod was used by Priest Seto, its unique ability was to seal spirit monsters inside of stone tablets.
There is also a short blade concealed in the bottom of the rod, but this was only seen in the Japanese anime and manga. The shaft of the rod acts as the sheath. This is removed in the English dub. In the Japanese version, this knife was used for the Ishtar clan for carving the symbols on their first born male heir's back. Marik Ishtar was one of the many to endure this painful ritual, against his will, which gave birth to his dark side, Yami Marik.
- Sometimes explanatorily spelt
千 年 錫杖.
- Shakujō strictly means "khakkara".
- Takahashi, Kazuki (2000-05-03). "
遊闘155 千年の闘い‼" (in Japanese). Yu-Gi-Oh!. 18. Shueisha. ISBN 4-08-872860-2.
- Takahashi, Kazuki (2003-03-09). "
遊闘281 超古代遺物の 真 実‼" (in Japanese). Yu-Gi-Oh!. 32. Shueisha. ISBN 4-08-873390-8.
- Takahashi, Kazuki (2003-03-09). "
遊闘283 選ばれし６ 神 官" (in Japanese). Yu-Gi-Oh!. 32. Shueisha. ISBN 4-08-873390-8.