If you’ve got the basics down of steering, accelerating, and using items in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and are looking for a handful of ways to pull ahead of your opponents, then this guide is for you. Let’s get right into it.

Countdown Acceleration

When the race is about to start and the countdown begins, if you time it just right and rev your engine, you’ll zip ahead of everyone else with a speed boost. Start holding down the acceleration button when the number 2 fully appears. If you’re too early, you’ll spin out and fall behind. It takes a bit of practice, but you’ll be starting strong before you know it.

Jump Boost

Whenever your kart gets some air, whether that’s because of a bump on the road or a ramp, tap the right shoulder button to hop into the air. This will give you a little boost when you land. On tracks like Rainbow Road, where the course has wave-like movement, you can jump boost off each hump. These little boosts really add up, so make the most of them.

Collect 10 Coins

You know those coins you’ve been collecting? They serve a purpose beyond being something to drive towards. With each one you collect, your maximum speed will increase. The most you can collect is 10, so be sure to collect 10 as quickly as possible to ensure you are moving as fast as you can.

Drift Boost

When driving into turns, hop and steer into the turn to start drifting. As you drift, you’ll notice sparks begin to fly out from the rear tires of your kart. The longer you maintain your drift, the longer the boost will be. Here’s a breakdown of the 3 tiers:

  1. Blue - Small boost
  2. Orange - Medium boost
  3. Purple - Large boost

The tracks in the game are full of turns, so you’ll want to take advantage of drift boosts as much as possible. Pay attention to the color of your sparks, and aim for the largest boost you can.

Defensive Item Shield

If you’re in the lead, hold on to some defensive items to help shield off offensive attacks from those behind you. Green shells, red shells, and bananas can be used to tail behind your kart, acting as a shield from incoming shells and items of the like.

Press and hold the L button to hold the item behind you.

While they won’t protect you from blue shells, holding on to an item behind you can be the difference between 1st and 2nd place when getting knocked down by a red or green shell.

Reverse Throw

While holding an item behind you, pull back on the analog stick (or press down on the d-pad) when you let go of the L button. This will throw the item backward, potentially taking out the racers behind you. This can be useful with shells to knock out someone creeping up, as well as a way to place a banana or toss a Bomb-omb to disrupt those tailing behind you.

Experiment with Characters and Karts

The only way to find your favorites is through experimentation. There are tons of options, so try them all out and see what you enjoy the most. Different racers have different weights, and different kart parts change your speed, handling, and ability to drive on the non-track terrain.

Variety is the spice of life after all.

I hope these tips were helpful. If you’ve got any others, let me know! I’m always looking for ways to improve. See you on the track!