Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is easy to pick up, but difficult to master. For all that is good about it, and believe us there's plenty, the game isn't very good at explaining what its various stats mean, and more importantly how they affect your chances of victory.
Fortunately, we're here to help you make sense of it all. Each character shares stats with at least one another, so we've grouped them together in a handy table for you. Here's what each stat does:
- Speed: Pretty self-explanatory, the higher your speed, the faster you'll go
- Acceleration: The higher your acceleration stat, the faster you'll reach your top speed
- Weight: The weight of your vehicle and racer dictates whether you'll knock someone out of the way, or get knocked out of the way when you hit another racer.
- Handling: This stat dictates how sharply you can turn. You'll drift and corner better with this stat.
- Traction/Grip: This causes your kart to move faster on sand and snow, and slip less on ice.
Each stat can has a minimum value of 0.75 and a maximum of 5.75. To calculate what your final stats will be, you'll take your character's base stats, then add the values of each part you've selected to come up with your total. The surface you're racing on will also have an effect on your character's stats. Racing underwater increases your speed by .25 points and lowers your handling by .5 points, while airborne racing increases your speed by .5 points. When you're in anti-gravity portions of the track, you'll lose .25 points to your speed stat.
What is undeniable, then, is that everyone's 'best' loadout will be different. We'll give some context in each section, but what works for you will depend very much on your playstyle.
If you want to sort the tables below, just click on the heading for the stat you'd like to sort by.
Best Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Characters
|Baby Peach, Baby Daisy||2.25||4||2||5||4.25||4||21.5|
|Baby Rosalina, Lemmy Koopa||2.25||4.25||2||4.75||3.75||4||21|
|Baby Mario/Luigi, Dry Bones||2.5||4.25||2||4.5||4||3.75||21|
|Koopa Troopa, Lakitu, Bowser Jr.||2.75||4||2.5||4.5||4.25||3.75||21.75|
|Toadette, Wendy, Isabelle||2.75||4.25||2.5||4.25||3.5||3.75||21|
|Toad, ShyGuy, Larry||3||4||2.75||4.25||4||3.5||21.5|
|Cat Peach, Inkling Girl, Villager Girl||3.25||4||2.75||4||3.75||3.5||21.25|
|Peach, Daisy, Yoshi||3.5||3.75||3||3.75||3.75||3.5||21.25|
|Tanooki Mario, Inkling Boy, Villager Boy||3.5||3.75||3.25||3.75||3.25||3.5||21|
|Link, King Boo, Rosalina||4||3.25||3.75||3.25||3.75||3.25||21.25|
|Donkey Kong, Roy, Waluigi||4.5||3.25||4.0||3.0||3.0||3.0||20.75|
|Wario, Dry Bowser||4.75||3.0||4.25||2.75||3.25||2.75||20.75|
|Metal/Gold Mario, Pink Gold Peach||4.25||3.25||4.5||3.25||3.25||3.0||21.5|
When it comes to characters the top speed is generally tied to weight, and their size. Some exceptions to this, and arguably a key factor, come with characters that were DLC in the past or are 'metal' variations. For example Metal / Gold Mario may be a little behind the likes of standard Mario in grip and handling, but have notable advantages in weight and speed. Another case is Tanooki Mario, which favours a little more acceleration over Mario and while having a little less top speed.
It's important to weigh up what qualities matter to you, but to also look at subtle variations and to then accentuate those stats. Importantly, you character stats then combine with your vehicle of choice.
Best Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Karts, Bikes and ATVs
|Mercedes Silver Arrow||-0.25||+0.25||-0.25||+0.25||+0.5||+0.25||+0.75|
|Mercedes 300 SL Roadster||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
One thing is clear, the standard kart isn't up to much, and some karts have more negatives than positives. Some of the more reliable vehicles, ie those with more positives than negatives, include the Pipe Frame, Cat Cruiser, Comet, Flame Rider, Yoshi Bike and City Tripper.
A key consideration is whether you want your vehicle to complement your character's strengths or try to balance them out. One suggestion is to focus on two or three core strengths through your combo, as 'balancing' may ultimately undo your character's positives in the process. If you try a 'heavy' set and find the handling too poor, for example, then either try balancing or prioritising a new ability. It all depends on your preferred style of racing.
That same advice applies when adding Tyres and a Glider, the stats for which are below.
Best Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Tires
Best Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Gliders
How To Build The Best Kart in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
There isn't a one-size-fits-all best Kart to build, so it's best to find something that works for your play style.
One recommendation for you to try out is to use heavy characters, as the increased top speed combined with the ability to knock lighter racers out of your way is genuinely helpful. Time attack is a great way to get practice in with the kart you've built without having to contend with opponents throwing items at you.
Using the following guide, you can create a kart that has good acceleration, decent traction and excellent top speed.
- Character: Pick a level 3 'Heavy' class character (Bowser, Wario, Dry Bowser, Morton)
- Kart: Blue Falcon, Pipeframe, Streetle – all three have good speed and traction
- Tires: Slick
- Glider: The glider you choose doesn't really seem to have a massive impact, so pick whichever one you think looks nicest!
Do you have a go-to Kart combo? Are bikes best, or is it all about those ATVs? Comment with your favourite loadouts below.
This article is part of our Mario Kart 8 Deluxe guide series, featuring tips, hints, tricks and unlocks for the best kart racing game on Switch. You can find the Full Character Roster, every course in the game, including the DLC tracks, and How To Download And Access the DLC itself.
We also explain How To Build The Best Kart, How To Unlock All Gold Mario And All Gold Kart Parts, How To Avoid Blue Shells, How To Farm Infinite Coins, How To Drift, Slipstream, And Boost, and How To Get A Rocket Start, as well as Explain And Rank Every Item, list every every compatible amiibo and unlockable Mii Costumes, explore The Difference Between 'All Items' And 'Frantic Items', plus give an in-depth explanation of All Control Options And Assists and How To Turn Automatic Steering On And Off.