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Best Characters in Mario Kart 8, Ranked

Who rules the track?
mario kart 8 wario
Image via Nintendo

When I was a kid, my sister and I always fought over who got to be Yoshi in Mario Kart 64. It wasn’t a performance thing, we just both thought he was cute. If we were playing Mario Kart 8 back then, our arguments probably would’ve been much more in-depth, considering the various intricacies of each character. To prevent any new arguments, here are the best characters in Mario Kart 8, ranked.

Best Characters in Mario Kart 8, Ranked

First, a clarification: what do we mean when we say the “best” character? In the context of this ranking, we’re referring to the characters you’re most likely to win a race with. However, it should be noted that these characters are good for winning races because they’re the hardest to learn. There are other characters who are easier to control or have more balanced stats, but in the end, speed is what clinches it. If you want to use these characters yourself, expect to have to put some practice time in to really get the most out of them.

Related: Top 5 Games When You Only Have an Hour to Spare

With that out of the way, here’s our ranking of the five best characters in Mario Kart 8:

  • Yoshi
  • Baby Mario
  • Waluigi
  • Dry Bowser
  • Wario

Yoshi, The Ultimate Adapter

Image via Nintendo

Okay, I know what I just said, but Yoshi deserves recognition for his near-perfectly balanced stats. That alone is pretty impressive and makes him a great character for most situations, but that’s not the only thing he has going for him. Due to his balanced stats, Yoshi can be an effective racer in nearly any kart configuration, be it light or heavy. Place Yoshi in a heavy kart, and you get the extra speed with some more reliable handling.

Baby Mario, The Zippy Gnat

As a super-lightweight character, Baby Mario doesn’t have much in the way of top speed, which you’d think would disqualify him from this list. However, what he lacks in speed, he more than makes up for in cornering and acceleration. He gets going almost right away, and in the hands of a skilled drifter, he can’t be stopped, with the constant mini-turbos putting him on par with the heavier speedsters. Incidentally, all of the baby characters have the same stats, so consider this a blanket recommendation.

Waluigi, The Tipping Point

At the end of the day, the heaviest characters are generally the best. After all, it’s the heavyweights with the highest top speed. That said, at the highest cc level, those crazy speeds can be a bit overwhelming. This is where Waluigi shines; he’s a heavyweight and has the speed, but is also more adept at handling than the big dudes, making him a more manageable option.

Dry Bowser, The Unstoppable Force

An anomaly amongst the super-heavyweight characters, Dry Bowser has speed enough to keep up with his fleshy counterpart, while also boasting control and cornering on par with some of the lankier racers. He’s also a rough-and-ready racer, able to handle most kinds of terrain without nearly as much speed loss. He’s a bony cannonball, rolling down the track.

Wario, The Immovable Object

Smell that garlicy haze? That’s Wario, breathing down your neck right in front of the finish line. Wario’s particular blend of top speed, weight, and traction makes it so that once he gets going, he’s basically a solid wall of resistance. He knocks anyone and everyone out of his way and can maintain his speed in any kind of vehicle. When Wario is bearing down on you, all you can do is pray you cross the finish line before you get run over.

Remember, practice makes perfect. Run a lot of races with the heavier characters, learn the tracks in and out, and soon enough, you’ll be cruising along like clockwork.

For more help in the cutthroat world of kart racing, check out our guide on the best Mario Kart 8 combination, as well as our tier list on the second Booster Course pack. Cruise over to our Facebook page as well for more cool stuff!

About the author

Daniel Trock

Since the first time he picked up a controller as a child, Daniel has been a dyed-in-the-wool gaming fanatic, with a Steam library numbering over 600 games. His favorite pastime, aside from playing games, is doing deep dives on game wikis to learn more about their lore and characters.

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