Mario Kart 8 Tier List: Every Character Ranked

A Mario Kart 8 tier list is difficult to truly nail down given the wide number of varying factors that determine the outcome of a race. While certain character classes are deemed more useful than others by virtue of their higher stats, a skilled player can make great use of just about anyone on the track and guide them to victory.

However, there are certainly characters that have natural advantages, and classes that are more likely to provide you with a winning edge over your rivals. As such, we’ve compiled a rundown of which characters are most efficient following the release of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, which includes not only the characters from the base Mario Kart 8 Wii U game, but also all of its accompanying DLC.


Mario Kart 8 Stats

The Super Mario Wiki compiled a helpful list of Mario Kart 8‘s character stats following the release of the game’s initial Wii U DLC. These stats show the abilities of the game’s drivers, divided into their speed and handling on the ground, in anti-gravity mode and also in the air and water. They also break down each driver’s acceleration, weight, traction and the power of their mini-turbo.

Also: Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Shortcuts For Every Course: A Guide to All 48 Tracks

Take a look at the stats below:

Image Credit: MarioWiki


The stats of Mario Kart 8‘s characters have altered slightly since the original Wii U version, with them now possessing a wide array

With that out of the way, let’s look at the tiers:


SS Tier

  • Wario
  • Dry Bowser
  • Waluigi (200cc only)
  • Donkey Kong (200cc only)
  • Roy (200cc only)

Speed is king in Mario Kart 8, with the characters with the highest stats in this department ranking head and shoulders above their rivals in most scenarios. Wario and Dry Bowser rank among the fastest characters in the game, and pair their speediness with slightly better handling, making them more advantageous than many of their heavyweight contemporaries.

The introduction of 200cc, which is often the engine class of choice in online races, has made handling more of a commodity as veering around tight corners and drifting around turns is made much more difficult in the top engine class. As a result of this there’s a good argument for Wario and Dry Bowser to be joined by light heavyweight drivers Waluigi, Donkey Kong and Roy, as each boast superior handling than their slightly heavier rivals. This can be useful on a variety of courses in 200cc, with tracks such as Koopa City requiring a whole lot of precision in order to make it around its winding roads without incident.

S Tier

  • Bowser
  • Morton
  • Heavy Mii
  • Waluigi
  • Donkey Kong
  • Roy

Bowser, Morton and the heavy Mii are as fast as Wario and Dry Bowser, though as the heaviest characters in the game they’re also not as easy to handle. They’re still great choices, and more skilled players will find that the difference in control is negligible, but their sturdier builds does not make up for their weaker traction. Outside of 200cc, Waluigi, Donkey Kong and Roy also lose a few points as their competent handling is rendered less important.


A+ Tier

  • Metal Mario
  • Pink Gold Peach

Metal Mario and Pink Gold Peach boast superior handling to the S and A tier characters, though they’re let down slightly by their speed. Though they’re still nippy drivers, they’re not quite as a quick as some of their rivals. Their relatively high acceleration is useful, though, and can give them an advantage in particularly chaotic races.


A- Tier

  • Rosalina
  • King Boo
  • Link

Rosalina, King Boo and Link are the lightest heavyweights of the bunch, though are easier to handle than many of the other heavy characters. Less experienced players may find more success with this trio, as they provide a better balance of stats than the more speed-focused higher tiers.


B Tier

  • Mario
  • Luigi
  • Ludwig
  • Iggy
  • Medium Mii

Mario, Luigi, Ludwig, Iggy and medium Mii are where Mario Kart 8‘s character’s speed levels begin falling below the 4 point mark, with their focus shifting towards handling and acceleration. Although acceleration is useful when finding yourself bombarded by enemy items, a good player will want to keep themselves as invulnerable to attacks as possible, negating the need for this particular stat outside of boosting from the starting line. However, for the less skilled players being able to swiftly recuperate from a red shell will be valuable, and while this fivesome aren’t as competent in this regard as some other middleweight characters, they make up for it by being the fastest drivers of the bunch. Slight preference goes to Luigi and Iggy as a result of their better handling.

C+ Tier

  • Tanooki Mario
  • Inkling Boy
  • Villager (male)
  • Peach
  • Daisy
  • Yoshi

Tighter handling makes these middleweight characters reasonable options, if a little underpowered compared to some of the heavier racers. They each boast impressive acceleration, though, making them particularly useful in Mario Kart 8‘s battle mode.


C Tier

  • Cat Peach
  • Inkling Girl
  • Villager (female)

The speed stats for this trio aren’t so great, though they’re the first racers in this tier list to hit a handling rating of 4. They’re easier to pick up for more inexperienced players, then, and offer a decent balance for those just dipping their toes into 200cc, but they should otherwise be avoided.


C- Tier

  • Toad
  • Shy Guy
  • Larry

As we move into the lightweight class, the most useful characters of an otherwise bad bunch are Toad, Shy Guy and Larry. Both still possess speed ratings still averaging the 3 mark, along with high acceleration and handling.


D Tier

  • Toadette
  • Wendy
  • Isabelle
  • Koopa Troopa
  • Lakitu
  • Bowser Jr.

Though these characters may handle well, with their ground speed dipping below 3 they certainly shouldn’t be your first choice of racer. Considering that many Mario Kart players have an affinity for series veteran Koopa Troopa, this is unfortunate.

E Tier

  • Baby Mario
  • Baby Luigi
  • Dry Bones
  • Light Mii

The “baby” characters are to be avoided in general, though Baby Mario and Baby Luigi rank slightly ahead of their other counterparts by virtue of their slight speed advantage. Still awful, though.


F Tier

  • Rosalina
  • Lemmy
  • Baby Peach
  • Baby Daisy