Advanced Tips and Item Management Guide

#1AROCK86Posted 2/27/2010 12:26:49 AMmessage detail
This is a more organized and updated form of my last item guide, which can be found here:
http://www.gamefaqs.com/boards/genmessage.php?board=942008&topic=51716281

What this guide is and who it’s for:
This guide is mainly written for people who wish to learn more about how to use items better in Mario Kart Wii. Many of these tips may be common knowledge, while others are more advanced ideas that may not be widely known. If you think you are already pro at this game, and good with items, then this guide probably will not help you much. This is mainly written for newcomers, or beginners to the game who are looking for tips, although it is possible that anyone could learn a tip or two. Feel free to post anything you feel was left out, needs to be explained more, or if you think I am wrong about something.

Some commonly used terms:
Sandbagging:
Sandbagging refers to purposely staying behind to get better items. Sometimes people will slow down, or stop on purpose to let several people pass them in the hopes they will get a power item and be able to pass by everyone later in the race. People have different opinions on sandbagging. I’ll discuss this more later.

Shockdodge:
Someone that dodges lightning, whether they are in a cannon, or have a star, bullet, or mega mushroom activated. Anyone that dodges lightning is often referred to as shockdodging. Shockdodging is very important, and can often lead to winning a race if you can do it.

Target Shock:
When someone purposely targets someone else with lightning it is called target shocking. Most of the time people will try to target shock 1st place by using lightning when they are over a large jump over a cliff, causing them to fall instantly and be reset farther behind the pack.

Frontrun:
When you are in 1st , you are frontrunning. Sometimes people can frontrun for an entire race and never be passed. You often have to make the decision in a race whether you want to try to frontrun, or sandbag to win.

Noob Cube aka the Cube:
Have you ever been stuck in a group of players that keep shooting each other constantly? Have you ever been forced to stay behind a guy with triple reds because you know you’ll be shot if you try to pass? Congrats, you were most likely in a “cube”. Typically, a cube is when you get caught in a group with a few other players, usually started when a fairly noobish player near mid-pack gets triple reds and refuses to shoot them. Here you are, stuck behind him with mushrooms, praying the guy fires his shells while the players up ahead get farther and farther away. This isn’t the only way a cube gets formed, and there can be cubes in any type of room. When you get stuck in a cube, sometimes it’s hard to escape, and you will get dragged down for the rest of the race, or at the very least, it will cost you lots of precious time.

For more info on noob cubes, read Grick’s thread:
http://www.gamefaqs.com/boards/genmessage.php?board=942008&topic=48945983

PLEASE DO NOT POST UNTIL I'M FINISHED
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#2AROCK86(Topic Creator)Posted 2/27/2010 12:27:24 AMmessage detail
The importance of item management
It doesn’t matter how solid your lines are, how much you time trial, or how much you practice getting the tracks down. Having good lines helps, but items can throw a wrench in everything. I know there are a lot of players out there that have way more skill than I do as far as racing lines go. But, the items are what allow me to keep up. Items are something that cannot be taken away. Unlike vehicle, or character stats, your item management is going to be the same. If you are really good with items, you can do well, even on some of the crappiest vehicles in this game. Most of the time, when you see someone dominating a room, it’s not just their racing skill; it’s their ability to use items. It is such a huge part of this game, I cannot stress it enough. You might not be the most skilled racer in the room, but if you are good with your items, you are most likely going to be a force to be reckoned with. Item management is often what separates a 8000-9000 player from a 9999 player.


*Note*
Every room will be different. You will have to change your item usage accordingly. I will just assume you are in a room mainly with players at or around your skill level. If you are in a room with all players below your skill level, many of these tips may not apply, as you will probably be toward the front of the pack most of the time, and honestly, I don’t recommend trying to sandbag when you clearly outmatch the other racers. Also, it is worth noting that different rooms also require different traps. You probably don't want to place traps in the same areas in "noob" rooms as you do in high VR rooms. And finally, the size of the room matters too. Again, most of my tips are going to assume you are in a full or nearly full room. Smaller rooms have different item distribution, and it's impossible to cover all the possibilities.

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#3AROCK86(Topic Creator)Posted 2/27/2010 12:28:01 AMmessage detail
Sandbagging tips:
Before I get started going through each item separately, I'll go ahead and give some general tips on sandbagging. Some people never sandbag. Some people sandbag all the time. I think it's best to do a combination of the two, based on a number of factors. Most of the time, track selection is the biggest factor. Some tracks are good for sandbagging, while others are terrible.

For example, N64 Mario Raceway is one of the best tracks to sandbag on because it has so much open off-road area. It is possible for people in the back of the pack to overtake people in the front at the last second by saving golden mushrooms or stars, and cutting through as much off-road as possible. Other tracks such as Bowser's Castle Wii or Rainbow Road are not very good sandbagging tracks, since there really is no off-road or opportunities for massive shortcuts.

I've found sandbagging is most effective in one of two ways. On some tracks, it is possible for you to purposely sandbag on the first set of item boxes and get a power item and cut through some off-road and get a big lead early and avoid most of the items that get thrown around, possibly allowing you to frontrun for the rest of the race. The other, more common method is to sandbag on the last lap to try to get in a position to steal the lead at the last second. Of course, these are not the only times you can sandbag, I just find these to generally be the best.

Sandbagging works best when all players are close together. If everyone is spread out, it’s going to be hard for you to get a good item and pass everyone, because chances are in order to get a good item you’ll have to fall too far behind to catch first place. If everyone is clumped together however, it’s easy for you to fly past everyone at the last second and steal the win. Check the mini map frequently, especially toward the last lap to decide if it’s a good idea for you to slow down and sandbag, or if you think you’re far enough ahead to the point where slowing down is going to cost you too much time, or you think you’re far enough ahead where most of the players with power items won’t catch you.

Generally, the best thing you can hope for when sandbagging is to get a star. Most people will wait and stay behind the pack after getting the star and then use it just before the next set of items, resulting in you having a star activated, PLUS another power item, which lets you make up a lot of ground quickly. You can also choose to save your star until you are almost certain someone is going to use lightning, which will allow you to shockdodge and also make up a lot of ground quickly.

Sometimes you will get an item you don't want, and that's the risk involved with sandbagging. For example, triple mushrooms are not going to help you too much in most cases. If there are still more item boxes, I will usually waste my triple mushrooms immediately, then try for a better item. If I get a golden mushroom when I'm hoping for a star, I'll start using it immediately but only boost enough to keep up with the pack while still staying behind, even if it means wasting most of the mushroom. Sometimes I will stay back for a long time until I get a star, lightning, or whatever item I want, and then I will make my move when I think the time is right.

There are obvious risks involved in sandbagging. Purposely putting yourself behind can go wrong in more ways than one. And there's always the possibility you will get bad items like bloopers, thunderclouds, or POW's, etc... that aren't going to do you much good. It's not always a reliable tactic, but on some tracks, it is almost a necessity to know how to sandbag if you want to do well consistently.
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#4AROCK86(Topic Creator)Posted 2/27/2010 12:28:40 AMmessage detail
Individual Item Tips
Ok, now I'll go through each item and list some tips for each of them. Most of these will come from what I wrote in the original guide, as well as other tips that people added to it in later posts. I'll start with some of the weaker items and gradually move up to the more powerful items.

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Banana
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• Bananas are often received in the top 3 or 4 positions, and while they might seem like a weak item, they are pretty reliable.
• Bananas can be used for a number of things, but most of the time they are used as protection from red/green shells, or as traps to try slow people down or make them move out of the fastest racing line.
• When you get a banana, I recommend dragging it immediately (unless you are trying to trick your opponents into thinking you don't have an item) to block any incoming red shells. Sometimes it will keep people from shooting at you at all if you start dragging an item behind you.
• When trapping, it is best to lay bananas in narrow, high traffic areas, blind turns where people don't have much time to react, or areas where there are already a lot of items on the ground.
• It is also a good idea to place them at the end of a ramp, because if someone hits it, they will likely spin out and fall off the cliff, which is very costly.
• You can also try to throw your banana at someone in front of you (hold forward and throw. This is usually only done if there isn’t any immediate threat behind you, and you are desperate to slow down the racers in front of you. Most likely if you miss, your banana is as good as wasted since it will be in open road and probably easily spotted by the players behind you. Also take note of the terrain you are on when throwing. If there are large hills the banana is going to go a farther/shorter distance depending on if you are going downhill or uphill.
• Since a lot of people like to shoot their red shells at you right after a POW, a good use of your banana is to throw it up ahead when someone uses a POW, that way you can possibly make the red run into the banana as you drive by it.

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#5AROCK86(Topic Creator)Posted 2/27/2010 12:29:12 AMmessage detail
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Green Shell
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• Green shells are also common in top positions. Some people prefer them since you can shoot them at others, while other people prefer bananas or FIB's since they remain stationary once you lay them.
• Obviously, green shells are also good for protection against items fired at you both from behind and in front. Remember, if someone throws a shell backward at you that you know you won't be able to dodge, you can always fire your own and destroy it.
• There are many strategies for when to fire green shells. I recommend watching the other player’s lines closely early in the race. If you are in front of them later, sometimes you can guess where the other person’s line is likely to take them because you were watching where they went earlier in the race. Fire your shell there and hit them, or force them out of their normal line, possibly causing them to make a mistake.
• If you are behind someone, it is best to wait until you are on a fairly even, straight stretch of track before trying to snipe the person in front of you. Wait until you see them wheelie, or a time when you don’t think they are paying attention, and then fire your shell. It’s a lot easier if your opponent doesn’t have any protection, but it is very possible to still hit someone on the side if they are dragging an item. Sometimes it is a good idea to shoot your shell on the inside of an upcoming turn so that the person in front of you will turn right into it. Sniping takes practice, especially with lag online.
• Another popular tactic is firing your shells backwards after you round a large turn, since most of the time people will be taking a similar line and not see the shell coming in time to dodge it.
• Sometimes you can ricochet your shell off a wall and make it bounce back at the people behind you. While you risk hitting yourself by doing this, sometimes it is a good idea since shells usually go faster after bouncing off a wall and it tends to catch people off guard. This is especially popular on tracks like GBA Bowser's Castle 3, and N64 Bowser's Castle.
• You can use greens to clear out most obstacles in your path as well. If a pokey is about to move in front of you on Desert Hills, you can destroy it without moving out of your line. You can also fire your shell in front of you when you are unsure of obstacles are going to be in your way. This is especially useful when you are approaching a steep ramp (such as ramps on BC Wii and Wario's Gold Mine) which you cannot really see the top of. You can fire your green to destroy any bananas or other obstacles that have been dropped there, making sure you ramp safely. (Note that FIB's will NOT be destroyed by green shells though)
• Yet another lesser known tactic is to fire your green shell at a Goomba causing it to drop a mushroom. This is especially useful on Koopa Cape since there is usually a Goomba right in front of a patch of grass.

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#6AROCK86(Topic Creator)Posted 2/27/2010 12:29:49 AMmessage detail
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Fake Item Box (aka FIB)
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• These have their pros and cons. They are a bit more powerful than bananas since when hit, a FIB will bring someone to a complete stop instead of just making them spin out, but FIB's cannot block red shells, which can result in some problems.
• Note that much of the same strategy for bananas applies to FIB's when deciding where to lay them.
• I recommend if you get a FIB that you keep it concealed. Dragging it behind you only invites trouble because the people behind you with red shells will know you may not have any protection.
• Most of the time, FIB's are used as a "surprise" attack. By keeping it concealed you can trick the people behind you into thinking you don't have an item. Some people may be foolish enough to try to draft you thinking you don’t have an item. Wait until they let their guard down and then lay the fake box in their face when they least expect it.
• Another popular use of FIB’s is to lay them right behind a group of real item boxes. This tactic is used quite a bit, so most people are on the lookout, but if you place it well enough, sometimes others can’t see it until it’s too late.

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Red Shell
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• Red shells will home in on the person in front of you automatically; however, sometimes they do not always go where you want them to go.
• Red shells are usually very easy to block. Even if the person in front of you doesn’t have an item to drag for protection, a smart player can make it run into a wall on any small turn by taking the turn tight. For this reason, I recommend firing them in areas where there are no turns or obstacles on the road. Otherwise the shell probably won’t even reach your opponent.
• Usually people in front of you will be dragging an item, or have one in reserve for protection, so if you notice that they lay a FIB (which cannot block reds), or you are fairly certain they don’t have anything for protection, be sure to try to take advantage and hit them.
• It is sometimes possible for you to hit people with red shells even if they have protection if you can get it to hit them from the side. You can sometimes do this by driving slightly behind, and to the side of your opponent and then firing your shell.
• Many people like to fire their reds right after someone gets blue shelled since they will not have any protection. However, some people frown on this tactic, especially if it is clear you were easily going to pass them anyway.
• If you really feel like lightning is coming, you can shoot your red and hope the lightning hits, causing the person in front of you to lose their protection and get hit by your red.
• Perhaps the best use of a red is by shooting it right after a POW. Wait until the last possible second to release your shell, and hopefully after the POW your opponent will be unprotected and get hit.
• Remember not to get too hasty with your red shells. If you fire them all off too soon people behind you will take advantage with a red shell of their own. Be sure you are safe, or willing to take the risk of being hit before firing.

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#7AROCK86(Topic Creator)Posted 2/27/2010 12:30:30 AMmessage detail
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Triple Banana
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Used the same way as a single banana, except now you have 3.
It is up to you whether you lay them all in the same general area, or if you lay them one at a time.
If you choose to lay them all at once you can sometimes force people to go well outside of their normal line, especially if there are already other obstacles in the way.
Obviously, if you see someone behind you with triple reds, it’s going to be a good idea to save your triple bananas since you can block all 3 reds.
If someone is in front of you, it is sometimes funny to scatter bananas in front of them by tossing all of them forwards right in front of them. Usually it will force them to at least slow down or hop out of their normal line.

Super Throw:
I did not know where else to throw this in, so I’ll put it here. If you use manual, it is possible to throw items slightly farther by doing a “super throw”. This applies to bananas, FIB’s and bombs. To do this, you should hop and then throw your item forward when you reach the peak of your hop. It may not seem like much, but it actually does make items go quite a bit farther, and sometimes it can mean the difference between hitting someone with a bomb, and barely missing just behind them.

Inviso has a nice youtube video of the super throw:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F2mHao7UfQM&fmt=18


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Triple Green Shells
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Obviously, you will use many of my tips for single greens when you get triple greens.
Triple greens can be a very deadly item, so don’t waste them!
If you are content with your current position, holding on to triple greens will often make people behind you think twice about passing, especially in a narrow area.
Be aware that just because you have triple greens, it doesn’t mean you are completely protected. It is still possible for a red shell to hit you, even if you are surrounded by all three of your triple greens.
A common tactic with triple greens is to fire all three in quick succession without really aiming. This is sometimes called a “spray and pray.”
See gopher’s thread for more info on “spray and pray”:
http://www.gamefaqs.com/boards/genmessage.php?board=942008&topic=49218623

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Triple Red Shells
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Of course, many of the same rules for single reds also apply here.
Triple reds can be very intimidating, and will often force people to reconsider trying to pass you.
For this reason, triple reds are often what cause “cubes” since someone in mid-pack will choose to hold on to their triple reds and dare someone to pass. This will cause anyone that attempts to pass to be hit and the rest of the group will get farther and farther ahead.
Many players often do not realize how good triple reds are, and will fire them all immediately as quickly as they can. This is a bad idea however, since many times if you fire two reds quickly they will hit each other before reaching your opponent.
It is best to space the red shells out a bit when you choose to shoot them. Fire one, then pause for a second or so and fire the next one.

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#8AROCK86(Topic Creator)Posted 2/27/2010 12:31:18 AMmessage detail
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Bomb
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• Like many things in this game, how to use a bomb often depends on the situation.
• If you can’t decide whether to lay it behind you or throw it in front of you, I recommend just dropping it behind you since this usually almost guarantees someone will get hit, and it usually gives you some breathing room.
• If there are a lot of people right behind you, or you feel like they have power items, it is definitely a better idea to drop it behind you rather than throw it forward. This will force the people behind you to either waste their item, or lose it when they get bombed.
• If you feel like there is no immediate threat behind you, go ahead and toss your bomb forward at people in front of you. I like to wait for a straight section of track and guess where people up ahead are likely to go. Bombs in this game are nice, because they will usually wait until someone gets close to them before exploding. If you use the “super throw” you can make your bomb go a long way. Sometimes you will be surprised at how lucky you get with a bomb throw, and it’s extremely satisfying when you make a good toss.
• You can use bombs to block red shells, but the timing can be a bit difficult, and dangerous.
• Be aware that while you can drag a bomb, usually it is a bad idea because if anyone or anything hits the bomb, you will be blown up with it.

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Blooper
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• I must admit, there’s really not a whole lot you can do with a blooper, but it is possible it will slow down your opponents, or at the very least, be annoying.
• Use a blooper when people are about to go through a particularly difficult part of the track, or an area where you know there are likely to be a lot of traps.
• If you notice that some people are about to pass you, hold on to your blooper for a second to let them pass, then use it to make sure you get maximum effect. I never hold on to a blooper for too long though, and I definitely use it before the next set of item boxes so I can get a new, hopefully better item.
• If you think lightning is coming, or that you are going to be hit by some other item, use your blooper immediately.
• Typically it is not a good idea to use a blooper if most of the people are approaching an area that has a boost pad or cannon since it will wipe off the ink
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#9AROCK86(Topic Creator)Posted 2/27/2010 12:31:54 AMmessage detail
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POW Block
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• In my opinion, the POW is one of the most underrated items in the game. When I get one, usually people know it, because it hurts.
• POW’s are ridiculously powerful on certain tracks. Especially Rainbow Road. It is possible for you to really mess up a large group of players if you do it right.
• Try not to use your POW in an area where a lot of players are going to be in the air or in a cannon, since the POW will not affect them if they aren’t on the ground.
• POW’s are good because it forces everyone in front of you to use their items (unless they are in the air). Most of the time this really mixes things up during the race, and causes at least one person to be red shelled when they lose protection.
• You can even target people with POW’s if you know what you’re doing. For example, if you see that 1st place is about to go around a very sharp turn, use the POW just before they reach it, and they will be forced to slow down, or go way on the outside of the turn.
• It is usually easier to target someone directly in front of you because you don’t have to rely on the map. Use a POW before someone goes around a big turn, or a turn with no rails, or when they are approaching a ramp, because it is possible you will cause them to fall off if done correctly.
• If you get a POW when you are in a low position like 9th or 10th, it is a real pain for the people in front of you, especially if the track is a sandbagging type track and people are saving their items for a big shortcut. Use your POW just after everyone passes some boxes to stop everyone from taking shortcuts and make them lose all their power items, or at the very least, force them to activate their items earlier than they wanted (as is the case with bullets or stars, etc…).

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Thundercloud (aka TC)
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• Ah yes, the thundercloud is quite possibly the most hated item in this game, and for good reason.
• Obviously when you get a TC it is best to try to pass it off to someone in front of you, without slowing down.
• If no one is directly in front of you, but people are fairly close behind you, then try stopping in a high traffic area where someone will most likely bump into you. It is also a good idea to stop on a blind turn where people will have little or no time to move away from you.
• Remember though, that stopping is costing you a lot of time. It might be better just to continue moving down the track, cutting through as much off-road as possible, and pray that either someone in front of you makes a mistake allowing you to pass it off to them, or that you get a new item that gets rid of the TC, such as a mega mushroom, star, or bullet .
• Also, if it is impossible for you to pass off your TC, it may be best to hold on to it as long as possible, then jump down a cliff as soon as it strikes you so you don’t have to worry about being shrunk. Either way, you’re going to lose a lot of time.
• Thunderclouds are not always a bad item. If you get one at the very end of a race and you know you can reach the finish line before being shrunk, then DON’T pass it off (obviously). Also, if you know you can reach a cannon before being shrunk, do not pass it off. Enjoy the small speed boost you get and try to pass as many people as you can by using off-road shortcuts.
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#10AROCK86(Topic Creator)Posted 2/27/2010 12:32:32 AMmessage detail
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Single Mushroom
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• These can be very handy items on some tracks, especially if you get them in 2nd or 3rd place since you can sometimes take a big shortcut and steal the lead.
• Normally it is a good idea to hold on to your mushroom for a while to get the best use out of it. Some tracks (Peach Gardens, Delfino Square, etc..) will have HUGE off-road shortcuts which can be massive time savers if you save your mushroom for a while. Plus, if you’re in 2nd there’s always the chance 1st will get blue shelled and you will move into 1st with a mushroom of your own to dodge the next blue shell if there is another one.
• If you feel like you are in a tight spot with a lot of chaos going on, it might be best to use your mushroom to try to get away quickly, or to get another item for protection.
• You might not think a single mushroom is much, but sometimes it can win you a race. Be careful and use them wisely.

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Triple Mushrooms
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• It probably goes without saying, but space your mushrooms out a bit when you use them. If you push the item button 3 times as fast as you can, you use all 3 mushrooms and really only get one boost out of it. Don’t do this unless you purposely want to waste them.
• Typically, it is not a good idea to use your mushrooms to try to outrun a red shell (unless using them will allow you to get to a big jump, or cannon, etc…). If you are on an open straight and the red is coming, hold on to at least one of your mushrooms and use it to accelerate after being hit by the shell.
• Depending on which position you’re in, triple mushrooms can be very good item, or a bit of a disappointment. Your position is also probably also going to determine how you use them. If you get triple mushrooms in 12th, it’s probably a good idea to use them quickly and hope for a better item. If you get them in 3rd or 4th place, I recommend using them wisely as they are probably the best item you can hope for, and can be very powerful.
• Triple mushrooms are good because they allow you to take possibly 3 different shortcuts at different times. You can use them as you please, unlike a golden mushroom or a star, which run out after a certain time. Heck, some races I’ll save triple mushrooms and use one each lap to take a big shortcut (assuming there’s no lightning or POW’s).
• Triple mushrooms are also good because you can use one or two and get in the lead and save the last one for any incoming blue shells.
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