The Best Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Setup – Best Characters, Karts, and More

There are nearly 40 characters in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, with various body types and weights. The same variables apply when choosing your vehicle, tires, and glider. So how are you supposed to narrow down the absurd number of combinations?

Luckily, we’ve done it for you. We’ve gathered a list of the best Mario Kart 8 setups across four categories, with plenty of possibilities across all vehicle types. While we’ve put together some example setups for you, feel free to mix and match pieces within the same category — everything listed here is still the best in its class. Whether racing across the base tracks or new additions from the Booster Course Pass, these setups will give you an edge.

Best Mario Kart 8 Setup All Around

While different combinations of characters, karts, and wheels can net varying results – better speed, acceleration, handling – there is one combo that is hailed as the current meta in Mario Kart 8.

In fact, this combo has been talked about so much in online forums that even discussing it was banned from the Mario Kart Reddit. The Waluigi Wiggler combo dominates Mario Kart 8 due to its speed off drifts, quicker acceleration from a dead stop, and higher top speed.

  • Waluigi + Wild Wiggler + Roller+ Any Glider

How to Unlock Wild Wiggler

Like many unlocks in Mario Kart 8, the Wild Wiggler is unlocked through a singular method: collecting coins and hoping you get lucky. This is because unlocks in Mario Kart 8 are completely randomized. You earn coins by doing races and championships. Coins in turn put progress towards the next unlock. So all you can do is keep playing the game and hope that the Wild Wiggler comes ASAP.

Best Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Setups for Speed

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In this case, “speed” refers to the top speed your racer and kart can attain. This favors heavier drivers, who take longer to reach top speeds but can go faster than others once they get there. Generally speaking, these top speeds hold true whether you’re racing on solid ground, underwater, in the air, or along anti-gravity portions of the track.

  • Bowser + Circuit Special + Slick + Super Glider
  • Dry Bowser + Badwagon + Metal + Waddle Wing
  • Morton + Standard ATV Kart + Cyber Slick + Plane Glider
  • Wario + GLA + Gold Tires + Wario Wing

Best Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Setups for Acceleration

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Where heavy characters are best for top speeds, light characters excel at acceleration. They can’t go as fast when fully revved, but they can reach their top speed more quickly, which means better recovery after being bashed by an item. That’s an important tradeoff since light characters also get jostled around by the bigger drivers more easily.

  • Toadette + Mr. Scooty + Roller + Cloud Glider
  • Baby Mario + Biddybuggy + Azure Roller + Peach Parasol
  • Baby Luigi + Varmint + Button + Parachute
  • Baby Rosalina + Streetle + Leaf Tires + Parafoil

Best Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Setups for Handling

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Speed and acceleration are nice, but they don’t matter much if you can’t maintain control of your kart. Handling is the stat that governs your vehicle’s responsiveness, so if you find yourself running off the road a lot, then this might be the way to go. Characters on the heavier side, but not quite as hefty as the speediest ones, tend to fare the best here.

  • Donkey Kong + Cat Cruiser + Slim + MKTV Parafoil
  • Waluigi + Comet + Wood + Peach Parasol
  • Roy + Yoshi Bike + Crimson Slim + Bowser Kite
  • Rosalina + Teddy Buggy + Slick + Parafoil

Best Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Setups for Drifting

Image via Nintendo

This is more of a niche category, but it’s still important. Drifting combines the traction and boost stats for drivers who like to cut corners and get that nice extra turbo as sparks start to fly out from under their tires. We’ve been ping-ponging between heavy and light characters all throughout this guide, and those on the smaller side are well-suited to this category too.

  • Baby Peach + Pipe Frame + Slim + Super Glider
  • Baby Daisy + Biddybuggy + Wood + Cloud Glider
  • Baby Rosalina + Varmint + Crimson Slim + Waddle Wing
  • Lemmy + Mr. Scooty + Roller + Wario Wing

Mario Kart 8 is filled with all kinds of dominating meta builds that players should get their hands on ASAP. We have a guide on the best kart, gliders, and tires that you should check out as well.