FAQ/Walkthrough by super_luigi16

Version 2.02, Last Updated 2014-05-23

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Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
    1. New Features
    2. Removed Features
    3. NoA/NoE Naming Differences
    4. Slang Dictionary
  2. Version History
  3. Controls
    1. Recommendations
  4. Kart Customization
    1. Unlocking Parts
    2. Unlocking Characters
    3. Stats' Descriptions
    4. Kart Bodies' Stats
    5. Wheels' Stats
    6. Gliders' Stats
    7. Characters' Bonuses
    8. Determining the Stats of Your Combo
    9. Stat Brackets
    10. Combo Recommendations
  5. Items
    1. Sandbagging
    2. The "Cube"
    3. Chaining
    4. Shockdodging
    5. Sniping
    6. Super Throw
    7. The Banana
    8. Triple Bananas
    9. Green Shell
    10. Triple Green Shells
    11. Red Shell
    12. Triple Red Shells
    13. Tanooki Tail
    14. Fire Flower
    15. Bob-omb
    16. Blooper
    17. Super Mushroom
    18. Triple Super Mushroom
    19. Golden Mushroom
    20. Super Star
    21. Lucky 7
    22. Bullet Bill [B.B]
    23. Blue Shell
    24. Dodging the Blue Shell
    25. Lightning
  6. Courses
    1. General Tips
    2. Toad Circuit
    3. Daisy Hills
    4. Cheep Cheep Lagoon
    5. Shy Guy Bazaar
    6. Wuhu Loop
    7. Mario Circuit
    8. Music Park
    9. Rock Rock Mountain
    10. Piranha Plant Slide
    11. Wario's Shipyard
    12. Neo-Bowser City
    13. Maka Wuhu
    14. DK Jungle
    15. Rosalina's Ice World
    16. Bowser's Castle
    17. Rainbow Road
    18. N64 Luigi Raceway
    19. GBA Bowser Castle 1
    20. Wii Mushroom Gorge
    21. DS Luigi's Mansion
    22. N64 Koopa Beach
    23. SNES Mario Circuit 2
    24. Wii Coconut Mall
    25. DS Waluigi Pinball
    26. N64 Kalimari Desert
    27. DS DK Pass
    28. GCN Daisy Cruiser
    29. Wii Maple Treeway
    30. Wii Koopa Cape
    31. GCN Dino Dino Jungle
    32. DS Airship Fortress
    33. SNES Rainbow Road
  7. Balloon Battle
    1. Building your Combo
    2. The Mini-map
    3. Items
    4. General Strategies
    5. GBA Battle Course 1
    6. N64 Big Donut
    7. DS Palm Shore
    8. Honeybee Hive
    9. Sherbet Rink
    10. Wuhu Town
  8. Coin Runners
    1. Items
    2. GBA Battle Course 1
    3. N64 Big Donut
    4. DS Palm Shore
    5. Honeybee Hive
    6. Sherbet Rink
    7. Wuhu Town
  9. Rankings & Titles
    1. Star Ranking Mechanics
    2. Titles
  10. FAQ
  11. Legal Info
  12. Contributing
    1. Contact Info
  13. Contributors and Special Thanks's
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Introduction

Mario Kart 7 ushers in a new generation of racing with the omnipresent additions of gliding, underwater driving, and kart customization. Each of these features have altered the gameplay immensely, and ushered in new tactics, mechanics, and physics. This guide will help you with everything from tactics and strategies to unlockables and mechanics. If you have any questions that aren't addressed in the FAQ (which will be updated continuously), feel free to move on to the Contact Info section and ask me. Anyone who would like to submit further info to add to the FAQ (or point out grammatical errors, typos, informational errors, etc.) would also be appreciated. By the way, I use the NoA names, so just make note of that. There's a translation section at the end of the introduction, if you need it.

New Features

  • Characters
    • Metal Mario (from Mario Golf 64 and other assorted titles)
    • Lakitu (from Mario Kart and other assorted titles)
    • Wiggler (from New Super Mario Bros. and other titles)
    • Honey Queen (from Super Mario Galaxy)
    • Shy Guy
  • Items
    • Lucky 7
    • Tanooki Tail
    • Fire Flower
  • Courses
  • Kart Customization Features
  • Driving Features
    • Gliding
    • Underwater
  • Online
    • Communities
    • "Opponents"

Removed Features

These are some of the things that were in Mario Kart Wii, but you won't find in Mario Kart 7 (no matter how hard you look, you're not going to find Waluigi in this game). This tool can help you compare to two games, if you need to do so.

  • Characters
    • Baby Mario/Luigi/Peach/Daisy
    • Toadette
    • Dry Bones
    • Diddy Kong
    • Birdo
    • Bowser Jr.
    • Dry Bowser
    • Funky Kong
    • King Boo
    • Waluigi
    • R.O.B. (from MKDS)
  • Items
    • Fake Item Block
    • Mega Mushroom
    • POW
    • Thundercloud
    • Boo (from MK64)
  • Bikes
  • Stand-Still Mini Turbo
  • Half-Pipes
  • Manual/Auto Toggle
  • Online
    • BR (Battle Rating)
    • Private Rooms

NoA/NoE Naming Differences

Courses

NoA NameNoE Name
Cheep Cheep LagoonCheep Cheep Cape
Wuhu LoopWuhu Island Loop
Music ParkMelody Motorway
Rock Rock MountainAlpine Pass
Piranha Plant SlidePiranha Plant Pipeway
Wario's ShipyardWario's Galleon
Neo-Bowser CityKoopa City
Maka WuhuWuhu Mountain Loop
Honeybee HiveHoneybee House

Kart Customization

NoA NameNoE Name
Birthday GirlRoyal Ribbon
ZucchiniGherkin
Gold StandardGold Kart
BruiserGrowlster
Beast GliderGhastly Glider
ParagliderParafoil
SwooperSwoop

Slang Dictionary

This is some of the slang that you'll see me use throughout the guide. Other slang that isn't here is most likely explained in a specific section (such as the spray and pray).

SlangMeaning
Snipe (n)When someone hits another racer with a shell or other item that does not home in
Sniping (v)To hit someone with a non-homing item
Chaining (n)Holding an item until you get another item block
Chain (v)To hold an item until you get another item block
Frontrun (n)When someone is attempting to stay in first for much of the race
Frontrun (v)To attempt to stay in first for as long as possible
Wall (v)To force a red shell to hit a wall instead of yourself; usually for dodging purposes
Sandbagging (n)When someone stays behind to get a better item
Shockdodging (n)When someone protects oneself from a shock
Shock (n)Lightning
Red (n)Red Shell
Green (n)Green Shell
Blue (n)Blue Shell
Glitch (n)An exploit that allows a racer to skip a portion of the track due to Lakitu retrievals
Glitch (v)To use a beneficial exploit in an attempt to win
WR (n)World Record

Version History

Version 2.02

  • Fixed some minor grammatical stuff.

Version 2.01

  • Updated Contact Info and FAQ Header!

Version 2.00

  • Kart Customization section updated
    • New combo recommendation
    • "Stat Brackets" section amended
  • Courses section overhaul
    • Consolidated the "Underwater Segments" section into the "Forward Press" section
    • Updated walkthroughs with better lines
    • Integrated tips for online play into the walkthroughs
    • Major overhaul of Time Trials sections
    • Removed the Maka Wuhu: Glitch section per Nintendo patching the glitch for online play
    • Removed the glitch from the Wuhu Loop walkthrough per Nintendo patching the glitch for online play
    • Updated WR's
  • FAQ section updated

Version 1.56

March 15th, 2012

  • Added hyperlinks. Now you can jump from section to section in certain areas.
  • Updated WR's

Version 1.55

March 7th, 2012

  • Minor formatting overhaul
  • More Spelling and Grammatical errors addressed. Proofread version of v1.50.
  • Description of removed features added
  • Amended file to take into account pivoting (thanks to Bulbasaurus Rex). Multiple reversals of information in verious sections.
  • Received some combo recommendations-NEW

Version 1.50

February 28th, 2012

  • Spelling and Grammatical errors addressed
  • Minor Formatting changes
  • NoA/NoE Translation Section added-NEW
  • Slang section added-NEW
  • Gliding Controls added-NEW
  • Amended Items Section to include:
    • Dodging blues on 50cc
  • Amended Courses Section to include:
    • Minor changes to Rainbow Road last shortcut (shroomless and w/ shroom)
    • Updated WR's w/ fastest available vids attached where applicable
  • Major overhaul (w/ regards to info) of Star Rankings & Titles Section
  • Balloon Battle Section added-NEW
    • Kart Customization section added to help with combo-building
    • Items section added; includes numerous item strategies, and a comprehensive list of strategies for each indiviudal item
    • General Tactics section added
    • Courses section added; includes strategies for each individual course
  • Coin Runners Section added-NEW
    • Items section added; mainly indiviudual item strategies
    • Courses section added. Lots of reused info from Balloon Battle, but coin deposits and online trends are notable additions.
  • FAQ Section updated

Version 1.05

January 28th, 2012

  • Amended Items Section to include:
    • Super Throw-NEW
  • Amended Courses Section to include:
    • Maka Wuhu second glitch-NEW
    • Minor changes to Rosalina's Ice World shroomless shortcut
    • Minor changes to Bowser Castle 1 shroomless shortcut
    • Updated World Records with videos (when available)
  • Minor re-write of the "How To Achieve a 3-Star Ranking" section
  • Updated FAQ section

Version 1.00

January 26th, 2012

  • Grammatical, Formatting, and Directional errors fixed
  • Items Section added-NEW
    • Inclusion of most general strategies and tactics regarding items in general
    • Specific strategies for each item
  • Amended Courses Section to include:
    • Ramp Mechanics-NEW
    • Drafting-NEW
    • Kalimari Desert 1st shortcut
    • Rosalina's Ice World shroomless shortcut
    • Maka Wuhu (Legit & Glitch) mushroom use at the end
    • Minor amendments to Rainbow Road
    • Possible snaking on DS Waluigi Pinball
    • World Records (1/17/12)
    • Staff Ghost Times-NEW
  • Rankings & Titles Section added-NEW
    • Includes factors believed to influence rankings
    • Includes list of known titles

Version 0.75

January 15th, 2012

  • Controls section added. Details include controls recommendations, etc.
  • Kart Customization Section added. Shows the stat changes from the base combo.
  • Courses section added. Includes a detailed, step-by-step walkthrough of each course with comprehensive inclusion of all beneficial shortcuts and glitches.
  • FAQ section added. Questions usually cover the most commonly asked question on the Mario Kart 7 Board or Answers section.

NEXT MAJOR UPDATE: I don't have much of anything to add to this FAQ. I'll happily accept any sort of new strategies (given they're viable), combo recommendations, or any other sort of contribution, but I will not be adding to the content of this guide any further. You may see a few more updates that keep up with the current World Records, but, other than that, there shouldn't be anymore major updates. Completion Time: Approximately 5 months and 20 days

Controls

ButtonFunction if PressedFunction if Held
A/YAccelerateMaintain Top Speed
BDecelerateBrake/Reverse
X/LUse ItemHold Item (when applicable)
RHop/TrickBegin Drifting
Circle PadN/ASteer in that Direction
D-Pad (Up)Toggle First PersonN/A
A+B+C-PadN/APivot in that Direction
StartPause (N/A when online)N/A
Screen TapToggle Mini-mapN/A

Glider exclusive

ButtonFunction if PressedFunction if Held
A/YN/AMaintain Top Speed (and Glider)
BRetract GliderN/A
RTrick (may keep glider)N/A
Circle PadN/ASteer in that Direction*

[Function]* = Vertical directions are switched. This means that if you hold down on the circle pad, you will pull up on your glider and ascend, whereas if you hold up on the circle pad, you will push down on your glider and descend. This can take some getting used to if you aren't used to these controls.

GYRO exclusive

ButtonFunction if PressedFunction if Held
TiltingReadjust DirectionTurn
Circle PadN/ASteer in that Direction
D-Pad (Down)Toggle First PersonN/A

Recommendations

Third person view is much easier to use, as it's more natural in this instance. Also, third person view gives a more complete view of the situation; first person obstructs the side view and part of the rearview. This can be adapted to, but it is in a way deficient to third person. Furthermore, the Gyro Controls are very sensitive; even the slightest movement is registered. Also, switching between Gyro Controls and Buttons can be quite difficult, especially when first trying it.

Consistent use of the first person view yields the Golden Wheel. The Golden Wheel appears next to your name, but does nothing whatsoever to aid you while racing. It shows some mastery of first person, but isn't necessarily worth the effort if you don't like using first person. Also, the golden wheel is lost if it hasn't been used recently.

UNLOCKABLE: Golden Wheel Icon (1st Person in 80% of the last 100 races)

Third Person gives a more accurate and full view of the race, and is much easier to use in general. 1st person is subordinate to third person in almost every way, but if you like using it, go ahead and use it.

Kart Customization

Introduced in Mario Kart 7 is the feature to create your combo from the many kart parts. These parts represent three categories: bodies, wheels, and gliders. Choose one from each category to create your kart. Furthermore, your character will complete the combo, for the five weight classifications each have an effect on the stats of the combo.

Unlocking Parts

You only start out with a couple of parts. Among them include the Standard Kart, the Bolt Buggy, the Birthday Girl, the Standard Wheels, the Monster Wheels, the Roller Wheels, and the Super Glider. These 7 parts only lend themselves to 9 different combos. In order to get most of the other parts, you must gather coins. Once you pass a certain benchmark, you unlock another part. These parts are unlocked in a completely random order until you hit 5000 coins. The last 4 parts are predetermined, and you know what you'll need to unlock them. Here's the unlockables chart:

UNLOCKABLES:

Coin TotalPartOther Methods
50RandomStreetPass*
100RandomStreetPass
150RandomStreetPass
200RandomStreetPass
250RandomStreetPass
300RandomStreetPass
400RandomStreetPass
500RandomStreetPass
600RandomStreetPass
700RandomStreetPass
800RandomStreetPass
900RandomStreetPass
1000RandomStreetPass
1200RandomStreetPass
1400RandomStreetPass
1600RandomStreetPass
1800RandomStreetPass
2000RandomStreetPass
2500RandomStreetPass
3000RandomStreetPass
3500RandomStreetPass
4000RandomStreetPass
4500RandomStreetPass
5000Beast GliderStreetPass
10000Gold GliderStreetPass w/ 100 People
15000Gold Wheels1 Star Ranking on Each GP
20000Gold Kart10000 Versus Rating

[Method]* = When you StreetPass with another person who has Mario Kart 7, you can receive a random part that they have, and you don't have. To get this part, however, you must beat their "character" in a GP. When you receive this part, the total coins needed for the regular parts also moves down one level. So, for example, if you were to receive the Beast Glider through StreetPass (which you can), it would only require 4500 coins to unlock all regular parts.

Unlocking Characters

UNLOCKABLES:

CharacterMethod
DaisyPlace 1st in Mushroom Cup (150cc)
WarioPlace 1st in Flower Cup (150cc)
RosalinaPlace 1st in Star Cup (150cc)
M. MarioPlace 1st in Special Cup (150cc)
Shy GuyPlace 1st in Shell Cup (150cc)
H. QueenPlace 1st in Banana Cup (150cc)
WigglerPlace 1st in Leaf Cup (150cc)
LakituPlace 1st in Lightning Cup (150cc)
MiiPlace 1st in all cups at one level (50cc,100cc,etc)

Stats' Descriptions

Land Speed--The speed of the kart as you travel along the ground. The higher this stat is, the faster you'll go. However, getting coins along the track can also increase your top speed.

Water Speed--The speed of your kart as you travel underneath the water. The higher this stat is, the faster you'll go underwater. This stat is vital on courses with large underwater segments; especially in Time Trials mode.

Air Speed--This is the speed of your kart as you glide through the air. The higher this stat is, the faster you'll glide. This stat rarely comes into play, so you can very well ignore it.

Acceleration--This is the rate at which your kart accelerates from a lower speed to top speed; basically, how long it will take to reach top speed. The higher this stat is, the less time it takes to reach top speed. Some argue that this stat is the most important, but I disagree. Acceleration may be important, but speed is pivotal in cementing a lead, and winning a 1 v. 1 race.

Weight--Your kart's weight is how heavy it is. With a higher weight, it is harder to be pushed off, and is easier to push others off. In this game, weight is relatively meaningless.

Land Handling--This is how well your kart turns and maneuvers while on land. Karts with higher speed tend to have lower handling. Karts with higher handlings typically drift tighter, and can pull off certain feats that lower handling karts can't. Having a higher handling also makes snaking easier.

Water Handling--This is how well your kart turns and maneuvers while underwater. The higher this stat is, the better your kart will turn and evade obstacles underwater. This stat really isn't that important because you rarely drift and turn while underwater; furthermore, the underwater physics really decrease the effectiveness of a high water handling stat.

Air Handling--This is how well your kart turns and maneuvers while gliding. The higher this stat is, the better your kart can change directions and move while gliding. The only instance I can think of where this stat is vitally important is the Wii Mushroom Gorge shortcut towards the end of the track; otherwise, ignore this stat.

Offroad--This is how well your kart maintains traction (thus the ability to turn and maneuver) on offroad surfaces. Offroad surfaces include snow, sand, dirt, grass, mud, and rain. Offroad does not apply to underwater terrain. On courses where these terrains are widely (or exclusively) utilized, a kart with a higher offroad stat definitely has the advantage. I also believe a kart with higher offroad will have a higher speed on offroad terrain, but I need clarification about this.

Miniturbo--This stat determines how long your miniturbo boosts are. The higher the stat, the longer your miniturbos last. The difference is relatively small, so don't fret about this stat much.

Drift--This stat determines how tight your drifts are. This stat is also partially influenced by your respective handling stat, so this stat isn't very exclusive. The higher this stat is, the tighter your drifts are. This also makes it harder to squeeze out drifts, as it will push your kart tighter around the turn; this can be a negative in certain instances where you should hold on to a miniturbo.

Stability--This stat determines how well your kart handles while turning without drifting. This stat rarely applies, so don't worry about it.

Kart Bodies' Stats

NOTE: Sorry to the Europeans reading this. I use decimal points, not commas.

PartSpeedSpSpAccel.WeightHandlingHaHaOff-RoadMiniturboStabilityDrift
[Sub-Section]--LandAirSea--------------LandAirSea--------------------------------
Standard (Base)000000000000
Pipe Frame-0.25+0.5+1.0+0.25-0.250+0.25+0.25+0.25+0.50+0.25
Bolt Buggy+0.25-0.25-0.5-0.5+0.25-0.2500+0.2500-0.25
Blue 7+0.5-0.250-0.5+0.25-0.25000-0.50-0.25
Zucchini+0.5-0.25-0.5-0.250-0.25000-0.500
Cloud 9-0.5+0.5+1.0+0.25-0.25+0.5+0.25+0.50+0.50+0.25
Koopa Clown000-0.250+0.5+0.25+0.25-0.25+1.500
Cact-X-0.25-0.25+0.5-0.250+0.2500+0.25-0.500
Tiny Tug-0.5-0.25+1.50+0.2500+0.5+0.25-0.50-0.25
Barrel Train+0.25-0.25-0.750+0.25-0.5000+1.50-0.25
Egg 1-0.25+0.5+1.5+0.5-0.250000+0.50+0.25
B-Dasher+0.50-0.5-0.50+0.2500-0.25000
Soda Jet+0.25+0.5-0.5+0.25-0.250+0.250-0.25+0.50+0.25
Bruiser+0.5-0.25-0.5-0.25+0.25-0.5000+0.50-0.25
Bumble V0+0.50+0.5-0.25-0.5+0.250+0.25+1.50+0.25
Birthday Girl-0.5+0.5+0.5+0.5-0.25+0.5+0.25+0.25-0.25+0.50+0.25
Gold Standard+0.25-0.250-0.25+0.25000-0.25-0.250-0.25

Wheels' Stats

PartSpeedSpSpAccel.WeightHandlingHaHaOff-RoadMiniturboStabilityDrift
[Sub-Section]--LandAirSea--------------LandAirSea--------------------------------
Standard (Base)000000000000
Monster+0.750-1.0-0.75+1.0-1.25-1.0-1.25+1.250-1.00
Red Monster+0.750-1.0-0.5+0.75-1.25-1.0-1.25+1.25+0.25-1.0-1.0
Wood-0.5+1.0+1.0+0.5-0.5+1.25+1.0+2.50-1.0+1.0+1.0
Mushroom+0.2500-0.25-0.5+1.2500-1.2500-1.0
Sponge-0.25+1.0-1.0+0.5-0.750+1.0-1.25000+1.0
Slick+1.00-1.0-0.25+0.25-1.250-1.25-2.500+1.0
Slim-0.2500+0.25-0.25+1.250+1.25-1.25-1.0+1.0+1.0
Roller-0.75+1.0+1.0+0.75-1.0+2.0+1.0+1.25-1.25+1.0+1.0-1.0
Gold+1.00-1.0-0.5+0.5-1.25-1.00-2.500-1.0

Gliders' Stats

PartSpeedSpSpAccel.WeightHandlingHaHaOff-RoadMiniturboStabilityDrift
[Sub-Section]LandAirSea--------------LandAirSea--------------------------------
Super (Base)000000000000
Paraglider0-1.50+0.25-0.250+1.000.250-0.25
Swooper0-1.50+0.25-0.250+1.000.250-0.25
Beast000000000000
Flower0-3.00+0.25-0.250+2.000.250-0.25
P. Parasol0-3.00+0.25-0.250+2.000.250-0.25
Gold000000000000

Characters' Bonuses

ClassSpeedSpSp-1*Accel.WeightHandlingHaHaOff-RoadMiniturboStabilityDrift
[Sub-Section]LandAirSea--------------LandAirSea--------------------------------
Feather3.03.04.04.02.253.02.52.254.02.751.754.25
Light3.253.04.03.52.753.02.52.253.752.51.753.25
Medium3.52.754.03.03.252.752.252.03.752.51.753.25
"Cruiser"3.752.54.02.53.752.52.01.753.752.251.752.25
Heavy4.02.54.02.04.252.52.01.753.52.251.752.25

Feathers = Lakitu, Toad, Shy Guy, and Koopa Troopa

Lights = Peach, Yoshi, and Daisy

Mediums = Mii, Mario, and Luigi

"Cruisers" = Donkey Kong, Wiggler, and Rosalina

Heavies = Bowser, Metal Mario, Wario, and Honey Queen

Determining the Stats of Your Combo

All of these plusses and minuses may have confused you so this section is going to show you how to calculate the stats of your combo. You can use the values from the Character's section, and then add and subtract the bonuses/penalties for each of the other kart parts in your combo. For example, my combo is Luigi/B-Dasher/Mushroom Wheels/Beast Glider:

StatCharacterKart BodyWheelsGliderTotal
Land Speed3.5+0.5+0.2504.25
Air Speed2.75-0.5002.25
Water Speed40004
Acceleration3-0.5-0.502
Weight3.250-0.502.75
Land Handling2.75+0.25+1.2504.25
Air Handling2.250002.25
Water Handling20002
Offroad3.75-0.25-1.2502.25
Miniturbo2.50002.5
Stability1.750001.75
Drift3.250-1.002.25

And those are my stats. You can see that if you were to average those stats, you would get something around 2.5. That's because kart pieces that add to the more important stats also tend to subtract much, much more from the other stats.

Stat Brackets

This is a pretty obscure kart customization mechanic, but the acceleration of your kart act in "brackets." By "brackets" I'm referring to ranges. Basically, all the stats within a range (the bracket) have the same effect while racing. The brackets are...

ClassificationStat Range
Low0.75-1.5
Mediocre1.75-2.5
Moderate2.75-3.5
High3.75-4.5
Very High4.75
Extremely High5.00
Insanely High5.25
Insane5.50

NOTE: It is impossible to get a stat below 0.75, or above 5.5.

That means that all stats that fall underneath the same range will have the same effect on your combo; an acceleration of 2.75 is the same as an acceleration of 3.25, regardless of the bar change. However, this bracket breaks down once you reach above 4.75; small increments will result in small differences once you pass that threshold. Because of this mechanic, I would recommend you build your acceleration around these brackets; only force yourself to make choices, so that you reach the minimum of the range. It would be a waste to have a combo that puts you at an acceleration of 4.5 (the top of the "High" range), and a speed of 2.5. You would rather have your speed be 2.75, and your acceleration 4.25; if you can switch around your parts to do so. By the way, despite my previous beliefs about stat brackets, it seems that speed and the other stats are not dictated by this mechanic. Thanks to BlanketPI and Constantlagger for pointing that out. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Other stats work differently. For instance, speed is actually reflected by the amount of bar shown on the vehicle selection screen rather than some bracket. About 0.25 bars of speed will yield you one kartlength per eight seconds over another person with 0.25 bars of speed less than you. Yes, this is a rather small difference, though it can add up to about a three to four second difference over the length of the average track. Of course, this disregards offroad, items, miniturbos, drifting, lines, and everything else in Mario Kart.

Combo Recommendations

There are lots of views regarding which kart is the best, so I've created this section to allow contributors to submit their own combo recommendations, and the rationale behind their choices. I neither endorse, nor condemn any of these combos; I only post what the contirbutor sent me (though I edit it for formatting). You can completely ignore this section if you've got a combo that you really like, but if you feel like switching, or are struggling to find a combo of your own, go ahead and explore what these contributors have to say.

Zucchini + Mushroom Wheels + Swooper/Paraglider

Recommended by Lucas Willkom

StatValue
Land Speed3.75
Air Speed3.25
Water Speed2.50
Acceleration3.75
Weight1.50
Handling4.00
Air Handling2.25
Sea Handling2.50
Offroad2.75
Miniturbo2.50
Stability1.75
Drift3.00

"Most of the [visible] stats have an ending of .75, with the exception of handling and weight, so hardly any stat points are wasted. This combo has great Speed, Acceleration, and Handling. The Off-Road is okay, but weight is the lowest possible. So if you use this combination, you should try to avoid hitting other people. The hidden stats for this combo are: Air Speed: 3.25 Sea Speed: 2.5 Air Handling: 2.25 Sea Handling: 2.5 Miniturbo: 2.5 Stability: 1.75 Drift: 3. As you can see, only one of these ends on .75, so there are a few points wasted here, but most these stats really aren't that important. The main one you should be concerned with is Sea Speed, which isn't that great here, but could be worse. Just try to avoid water based courses, which there aren't that many of anyway. This combination is designed for Grand Prix and Multiplayer use."

Lightweight + Egg 1 + Red Monster + Paraglider/Swooper

Recommended by Ocarino

StatValue
Land Speed3.75
Air Speed3.00
Water Speed3.50
Acceleration3.75
Weight3.00
Handling1.75
Air Handling2.25
Sea Handling1.25
Offroad5.00
Miniturbo3.50
Stability0.75
Drift2.25

"This combination is nice because it has a good adaptability between water speed and land speed and a good acceleration and top speed. If you can do without a good handling, this combo may give some nice results. As you can see, this is pretty fast on any kind of terrain."

Items

If one half of the game is driving techniques and having the best lines, the other half of the game is item tactics and usage. This means that you better use your items well, or you're going to be punished, regardless of how well you race. This section will outline how to get the most out of each of the items, and general techniques and strategies.

The first half of this section is dedicated to the general strategies involved with items in Mario Kart. Each sub-section has a detailed outline of what the idea of the strategy is, when to employ its use, and what items are useful when you are attempting the tactic. I'll also inform you of risks involved with each tactic because some are much riskier than others.

About halfway through this section I'll switch over to individual items. Each item has its own sub-section and has a description, its effects upon use, strategies when you get the item, and how to dodge this item if you are on the receiving end. You should familiarize yourself with each of the items and their strategies, so that you know what to do when you get them online. If you have any suggestions for more strategies, feel free to contact me--it would be much appreciated.

Sandbagging

"Sandbagging" is a term that is used to describe a widely popular tactic regarding item management. The general idea with sandbagging is to purposely fall back in placement to get better items from the item blocks, and then, with these better items, get back up to a better position than you originally started. Sandbagging is pretty risky if you get an undesirable item, or just fail to catch up; sandbagging can also yield huge rewards: you can shockdodge, take large shortcuts, or hit a large field of people.

When to Sandbag

Sandbagging is entirely situational; it is something that you should never commit yourself to doing just because it's a certain course or because of a certain shortcut. If you have this mentality, you can end up sandbagging when you don't need to. However, there are certain courses where you should think about sandbagging as you go along; I have a list of those courses down below.

Some people prefer to sandbag at the beginning of races to get a large lead in the beginning; a notable example of this is Wii Maple Treeway, where you may have people take the shortcut to get a star so they can get up to 1st relatively easily. Other people prefer to sandbag on the last lap of a race; a good example of this is N64 Luigi Raceway where people may stop on the second to last set of item blocks to take all the offroad shortcuts ahead.

However, both of these methods only work when there is a large pack of people. If the race isn't confined to about a two or three second difference between the front of the pack (which may be 1st, 2nd, or 3rd) and the back of the pack (which may be 6th, 7th, or 8th), then sandbagging won't work. You'll either wait too long trying to get an item block in a suitable position, or you'll get a sub-par item for sandbagging. This is the main "situational" part; some courses are prone to having large packs of people, while other courses have more solitary races.

Sandbagging Courses

And here is the chart telling you which courses to look for sandbagging opportunities, where you'd want to sandbag, and how well (and often) sandbagging works on this course (F- to S).

CourseLocationSandbagging Rating
Toad Circuit3rd Lap--Before the TunnelB+
Shy Guy Bazaar3rd Lap--Before the GlidingD
Wuhu Loop3rd Section--Last Item BlocksD-
Rock Rock Mountain3rd Lap--Before the GlidingA+
Piranha Plant Slide3rd Lap--Before the GlidingD-
Maka Wuhu: Glitch1st Section--First Item BlocksA-
Rosalina's Ice World1st Lap--First Item BlocksC-
Rainbow Road1st Section--First Item BlocksB
N64 Luigi Raceway3rd Lap--2nd to Last Item BlocksC+
Wii Mushroom Gorge3rd Lap--Before the MushroomsF+
N64 Kalimari Desert3rd Lap--1st or 2nd Item BlocksA-
GCN Dino Dino Jungle1st Lap--1st Item BlocksB

Sandbagging Items

The holy grail of sandbagging is the star; it gives invincibility, and allows you to take most shortcuts. With a star, you can usually mow down people by the finish line, though some people may take this as aggressive and somewhat jerk-ish play. You can also shockdodge with a star, which makes your sandbagging even better.

The Lucky 7 is probably the next best item as it has a star AND all those other items. However, it can take a while to activate your star (unless you spam; look below for more info about the Lucky 7), and that's what makes this item slightly sub-par to the individual star. There's also the problem that the bomb can go off in crowded areas, which destroys the rest of your items.

Next in line is probably the golden shroom; with this item you can cut through multiple shortcuts and shroom past other racers. The only thing you want to be careful of is people with triple red shells (or single reds), triple green shells, and various trapping items. Just be wary, and attempt to catch up.

Bullet Bills are practically useless when sandbagging; they don't help you catch up (they're much slower in this game), and they don't always take the best path. Triple Mushrooms are mediocre, given that you have a set amount of boosts. Shocks are situational; if there is a large gliding section at the end, you can knock a lot of people off, and catch up relatively easily. Otherwise, shocks really aren't that useful while sandbagging.

The "Cube"

The "Cube" is a Mario Kart Wii name given to a certain situation regarding red shells and possibly blue shells in certain instances. This situation is best explained with an example:

Let's say you have triple mushrooms in 5th. You want to use your shrooms to get up farther ahead, but the guy in front of you has triple reds. He refuses to use them, and you're stuck behind him because you know if you pass him he'll shoot reds at you. So you're hopelessly stuck behind this dude for possibly half a lap or so, until he either uses them, or someone gets a shock.

That's also why this has been called the "noob cube" before. Now there is no really good way to get around this evil dude in front of you; everything is situational. You can attempt to use your shrooms to take a shortcut where you pass the person in front of the cuber; this is usually a longshot though. You can also just waste your shrooms and attempt to get an item where you can barrel through the cuber. If you do get say, a star, please hit the cuber; you're doing the rest of the world a favor.

This form of cubing is not the same as holding triple greens or reds in first or second. Any sane racer would hold onto their shells in first, so don't feel bad about keeping them. However, you'll want to be aware of other people attempting to hit you; you are a greater target for people with stars or blue shells when you have these shells in first.

Cubing can also come up in other forms. For example, it's very popular in pro rooms for racers to hold blue shells until they get up to first place. This is practically cubing; you can't pass them or you'll get blued. However, you do have a few more options in this situation. You can pass the person with the blue (or feign passing them) and possibly fall off as the blue hits you. This can take the sting out of the blow, and give you an opportunity to move ahead. Of course, this is "taking one for the team" because there is most likely a huge group of people behind the person with the blue. This option is more viable on the second or early third lap than the end of the last lap. You can also disregard the blue if you have an item that you can use to dodge it (see below).

Message from the Author: Please don't cube. It's really annoying, and you're not doing anything to help your likeability.

Chaining

This is another widely known and used technique. Chaining involves saving a power item you got at a previous item block 'til the next set of item blocks. You'll use your power item from the previous item block right before the next set of item blocks, so that you can get two power items in a row. In this game there are really only a few items you can chain with: the star, the Lucky 7, the shock, and possibly a blue shell or triple reds.

Chaining Items

Out of the above items, the best chaining item is the star. It's easy to activate, and is pretty inconspicuous. By inconspicuous I mean that if you were to look at other peoples' items, your eyes would most likely be drawn to the person with the Lucky 7 or Bullet Bill rather than the person with the star. Also, stars give invincibility, and getting two of these spurts of invincibility makes it pretty easy to shockdodge (see below).

The Lucky 7 is also a good item for chaining, but the time it takes to activate the item can be somewhat cumbersome. If you're in danger of getting hit, it can take a while to activate the star for the invincibility needed. Furthermore, if it's crowded while you're trying to activate the Lucky 7, the results could be disastrous to say the least.

You can chain your shock, and try and get a better power item. Of course, it may be better to hold your shock for a more devastating section of the course, and reap the rewards then. Also, using your shock for chaining can be rather predictable for those attempting to shockdodge.

Blue shells can be held 'til the next set of item blocks if you don't feel like abusing them. You can't really chain them, so much as instill fear in the front of the pack for a small period of time.

Triple reds probably shouldn't be chained, but some people really, really like to chain them. Just note you are a rather large target with your triple reds; people with stars are inclined to hit you, so that they don't get hit later.

The Risks of Chaining

If you haven't guessed this already, chaining is quite risky. While you are moving between the sets of item blocks with your star in tow, it is very easy to get hit by a shock and lose your perfectly good star. While you may believe "Well, I can just activate it when I see the shock," it is impossible to react to someone who uses a shock the instant they get it. On top of lag and other factors, it's near impossible to react in time, even with ninja-like reflexes. Furthermore, there is the possibility that you can just move up in placement while you're attempting to chain. While this isn't much of a negative, it could've been better if you would've used that star for the shortcut back there. There's also the problem associated with carrying a star; you are a target that people would like to hit if they get the chance. You need to be cautious of people attempting to push you off, and you may have to use your power item early if it gets dangerous. It's nice to chain and all, but it stings to fall off the course when you have a star.

When to Chain

There's also the situational-ness of chaining. You obviously shouldn't chain on the last set of item blocks of the last lap, or when you are so far behind that it doesn't matter whether you use your item here or at the next section--you aren't catching up. You also shouldn't attempt to chain on courses where there are very few item blocks like Wuhu Loop. Throughout the entirety of Wuhu Loop, there are only four sets of item blocks, and the only two close ones are in the second section. You also shouldn't attempt to chain when your situation is perilous; if there are people around you with triple shells and stars, it wouldn't hurt to activate your star.

There are also the optimal times for chaining: areas where item blocks are close together, when there are large shortcuts coming up, or when you're on the first or second lap. You wouldn't want to chain a star from the first item block of Maka Wuhu when you are intending to glitch; that would be a waste of a star. However, you would be inclined to chain a star or mushrooms in N64 Kalimari Desert; with the many shortcuts, you can possibly take two large shortcuts and get all the way up to first place.

Shockdodging

Shockdodging is the term used to describe when you "dodge" a shock. Basically, you don't get hit by it for whatever reason.

You would think that with the ability to see other peoples' items on the bottom screen it would be easier to shockdodge in this game than in other Mario Kart games. You would be wrong.

The people with the shock can see when you have a star, or a bullet bill, and can time their shocks appropriately. Just because someone has a shock, doesn't mean they are going to use it right away. People with shocks have a variety of options, and your ability to shockdodge is hindered by all:

  • The Immediate User--Usually the newbie racer, this is the person who uses the shock as soon as they get it. There usually isn't much you can do about this person; you won't be able to anticipate when they get/use the shock unless you have an amazing gut feeling. Shockdodging with these types of people is almost sheer luck.
  • The Shock Abuser--This is the person who waits to use the shock for a while. They may be waiting for the last lap, or the huge gliding part of the track--you don't know. Thus, using your star or other shockdodging item immediately won't work with this person. You have to know when they are going to use it, and anticipate. If they are saving it for a cannon, you may want to stop before the cannon so that you don't get hit (if you don't have a star).
  • The Chainer--This is the person who doesn't care who shockdodges, and simply wants a better item. These types of people are your best friends when attempting to shockdodge. Just watch your mini-map for when they are about to pass another set of item blocks, and use your star a good few seconds before then; you should get a shockdodge if they are holding to their patterns.
  • The Targetshocker--This is the person who attempts to shock the person in first (or another person they particularly hate) off the course or in a bad position. Depending on how well you can see this pattern, it can be relatively easy to shockdodge in these situations; just watch for the targetshocker and their victim, and anticipate the shock by checking if the victim goes over a large gliding section or other terrible section of the track. Use your item before the victim enters this dangerous section just to be safe.
  • The Anti-Shockdodger--There is also a very small group of people who are determined to not let anyone shockdodge. There's not much you can do about this person unless you are inconspicuous about using your items. You can possibly try to chain your stars, and hope that they use their shock for some reason; you can also attempt falling off, though I'll save that for later.
  • The Pro--Heh, good luck. These are the people that change their tactics to throw others off. There's not much you can do, other than get lucky.

To shockdodge, you need to study the other racers, and learn what kind of "shocker" they are. Once you know this, you are much more apt to shockdodge, or at least minimize the effects of the shock. This is the part most people have trouble with; however, it is possible if you just are observant of how people use their items. In rooms where people are staying for ten to twenty races, you can definitely pinpoint the person who usually gets the shock is, and how they use it.

Falling Off

If you don't have a shockdodging item (Bullet Bill, Lucky 7, Star, etc), and you know when the shock is going to be used, you can minimize its effects. The best way to minimize its effects is to fall off if you are in the front of the pack. That's right, I told you to drive off the track. If you can anticipate the shock, fall off, and watch the shock go off. You will shockdodge (while the rest of the pack is tiny), get dropped off by Lakitu (and get the boost, I presume), and go along on your way. However, there is a huuuuuuge risk with this tactic; if the shock doesn't go off while you were getting retrieved, you just fell off for no reason. I guess you can say you were intentionally sandbagging, but you just lost a place or four for no reason. I would only recommend doing this (a) if you REALLY know your shocks, or (b) after the shock if you are in first, second, or possibly third. If Lakitu is generous in that particular area, you can get placed in a good spot and be big again.

Sniping

I won't go in depth about this technique, as it's somewhat self-explanatory, and is different for each item. Sniping is a term that refers to when you hit someone with a green, banana, or other item from a distance. Usually, it's considered sniping when you try to hit them, rather than just randomly throwing your item. Most sniping occurs on longer straightaways rather than turns or gliding sections. Sniping is pretty easy if you have good aim, and can be the difference between a spectacular first and a disappointing second.

Dodging

Just be careful of those around your person; it only takes a split second for a person to move behind you and shoot their item at you. Since there is no rearview, the best way to keep tabs on the other racers is to look at your bottom screen and note the dynamics of the position. If there are people behind you with single greens or triple bananas, you'll want to watch out for incoming fire. Those few seconds you look away could be just enough for the person behind you to hit you.

Super Throw

This technique allows you to throw your bananas and bombs just a little bit farther than you usually would. You may have noticed that you can throw your bananas much farther on downhill sections (or on large gliding sections); you can also artificially give yourself some height by hopping. Basically, you'll want to throw your item while you're hopping, so that you can gain a little distance. On 50cc, the difference is about one kart-length, but for 150cc, the difference is about three to four kart-lengths. You can use this technique when people are a little farther in front of you, and you probably couldn't reach them otherwise.

The Banana

Description: It's a banana peel...with a smiley face.

Effect: It sticks to the road at a certain spot, and acts as a trapping item. If you hit it, you'll spin out and lose three coins. Generally these aren't much of a problem.

Strategies:

  • Trapping--The most common and easiest thing to do is to trap with your banana. By "trapping," I mean placing it in an area where your intended purpose is to get someone to hit it while they're driving. Usually, you'll want to put bananas in spots where the track is narrow, or where racers are compelled to go. For example, good spots include right before a cannon, narrow straightaways, after blind turns, on turbo/gliding pads, by course obstacles, and around high-traffic shortcuts.
    • I wouldn't trap on one-lap courses because they have limited use. The chance of someone hitting your trapping item is one-third of what it would be on a regular course.
  • Throwing--Most of the time, this effort is in vain. It is very hard to snipe someone with a banana, as the aim is very difficult to get. These instances also very rarely come up. If you do want to attempt throwing a banana, wait for a straightaway where your victim is pretty close in front of you. Now orient yourself so that you're aiming in front of your victim. Now you can try and throw...and if you miss, don't be surprised. It's really hard to snipe with bananas.
    • Walls--You can also throw bananas at walls in front of you. The banana should bounce off of the wall, and rebound back behind you. You can surprise the racers behind you with this tactic, and force them to either (a) hit the banana, or (b) take extreme evasive action. Just make sure the banana doesn't hit you; some walls have weird angles that can force the banana in front of you.
  • Protection--This is probably where you'll get the most bang for your buck. Holding your banana behind you practically ensures you protection against projectiles fired at you from behind you. I recommend dragging your banana behind you at all times, so you don't get surprised by a stray red shell or green shell. You should also hold your banana until you get your next item because you don't want to get blitzed by someone with two or three red shells.

Dodging:

Just watch your mini-map for bananas. You'll want to check in especially narrow areas, as bananas are likely to be littered along the ground. The spot that catches most people off-guard is right before the cannon on DS Airship Fortress; it's around a blind turn, AND before a cannon.

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