Mario Kart is a brutal and very serious competition. While it may not be as ruthless as Mario Party, it is still a highly competitive kart racer. Players take any advantage they can get to get ahead of each other and fight for the very space on the track.
The fight is quite literal here, as a majority of the game’s power-ups aren’t a simple boost but instead powerful weapons to stop the other racers dead in their tracks. These are what truly decide the outcome of races, and it’s important to know their usefulness. So, here’s a ranking of which items are minor roadblocks and which ones decide the fate of the race.
10/10 Fire Flower
The fire flower employs a very simple strategy: “Throw stuff at the wall, and something will stick.” While the fire flower is not the most powerful or even guaranteed weapon, only a little above the green shell. So, what in the world makes it better than that, considering the bullets fade and their inability to be used as a defense?
Well, the simple answer is sheer firepower. A single fire flower allows the player to throw many fireballs – So many that at least one is bound to hit something. It’s not the most reliable option, but it is fun to spray fire wildly when you get one.
9/10 Red Shell
The old reliable weapon of the Mario Kart games that is both common, versatile, and guaranteed to hurt someone. There’s never a bad time to get a red shell, as this weapon will always home in on the player in front of you perfectly.
It’s hard to find a more reliable weapon, as some better ones are much harder to use. The one downside to this weapon is that it can be easily blocked if a player has a shell or bananas, making it worthless. But in every other situation, these work great.
A long-forgotten item from Mario Kart Wii, but the most unique the series has ever seen. Unlike most items, having the thundercloud is the last thing you want, as it’s a ticking time bomb that will shrink the players if they hold it for too long. But, it can be passed between players by touch, so you can make it someone else’s problem if you pass it off.
What makes this item more interesting than a time bomb is that holding it will grant the player a speed boost. This makes the item an interesting risk, where you take longer to pass it to blast ahead at the risk of getting zapped. It’s a shame such an interesting item hasn’t appeared again.
One of the harder weapons to use and much more situational, but this bomb is devastating in the right hands. The weapon can be hard to land as you can’t just throw it wildly like shells or fire. Also, it takes a few seconds to explode, meaning that time needs to be taken into account when throwing it.
But, if used right, this weapon can not only hit hard, but it can hit multiple racers with its large blast radius. In the right situation, the entire pack can be stopped dead in their tracks. So, it might be good to wait and plan to use this one if you get it in your next race -Just be careful not to get caught in the blast.
6/10 Bullet Bill
A perfect mix of offense and defense. The Bullet Bill is a simple weapon to use, taking control away from you as you become a massive Bullet Bill and blaze ahead with extreme speed. Not only that, anyone who stands in your way will be damaged and slowed down, making sure you keep your new lead.
The one downside to this bullet is that it is rather rare, only given out to those closest to last. So, don’t expect to use this to blaze ahead, but, it can be a useful tool to catch up with others with nobody being able to stop you.
5/10 POW Block
Another one-hit wonder from Mario Kart Wii and an even more devastating one. The POW Block will appear over anyone in front of you and will begin to count down, signaling their doom. When it’s hit for a final time, it will make everyone spin out and stop in their tracks unless they’re in the air at the time. But, with ramps being much rarer to see in this version, the POW is nearly unstoppable.
Once again, the downside to using this is its rarity, only making it viable for catching up and not blazing ahead.
4/10 Piranha Plant
For those who want a little extra reward for dealing damage, the Piranha Plant is a perfect choice. This plant rewards good racing skills, as it only can hurt players if you catch up to them. But, if you manage to catch up, the plant will bite them and give you a boost of speed, allowing you to blaze ahead if you can keep up the speed.
This weapon is hard to use if you find yourself at the back of the race and unable to catch up. In this situation, it’s more of a hindrance than anything, as it takes up an item slot for a while. But, if you can make use of it, this plant is a good way to blaze ahead.
The Lightning is one of the most annoying weapons to be on the receiving end of. Rather than simply stopping you, it lets you drive, just agonizingly slow. The Lightning will hit everyone except you and shrink them, also destroying their items, adding insult to injury. As if that wasn’t enough, it can run over the tiny players and stop them for a bit.
The sad part of this weapon is, of course, it's rarity. Regardless, if you manage to snag it, you’ll have no issue getting ahead, if not in the lead.
2/10 Super Horn
The Super Horn may feel unassuming at first as it only seems to hit in a small range around the player. However, that isn’t all, as its radius will also destroy offensive items like bananas, shells, and even the blue shell – the only way to stop the deadly item. This alone makes it a valuable tool.
Sadly, this weapon is rare and only given to those a bit behind, where the weapon may be useful as a simple weapon or for red shells. Nevertheless, to get the full usefulness out of it, you’ll have to hold onto it for a while, sacrificing your ability to use other items.
1/10 Blue Shell
The Blue Devil. The Destroyer of Dreams. The Equalizer. Known by many names, the blue shell is perhaps the most well-known offensive option for a good reason. This weapon isn’t for blazing ahead or even for catching up; this is for retribution. This shell only goes for one player, the first-place racer, and it cannot be avoided except with a Super Horn.
This weapon is only given to those close to last place, and it’s not going to help you catch up; it serves only one purpose. Many races have been lost at the last second from this shell, and many more will continue to be. It may not be the most useful, but this is easily the most satisfying and fun weapon in all of Mario Kart.
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