So, you’ve worked your way up from a Mario Kart beginner to an experienced, decorated racer. You’ve brought home gold trophies in all the other engine classes, duked it out in Battle Mode, and broken records and left ghost racers in the dust in Time Trials. You’ve even tested your mettle against your fellow racers online. But you’re not a Mario Kart 8 champion yet — not until you conquer 200cc, and you’re going to need the best setup possible if you want to stand a chance.
200cc Mode Beckons You
200cc is the ultimate class for the best of the best racers. But be warned — this is not the mere difficulty increase of escalating from 50cc to 100cc or from 100cc to 150cc. 200cc karts blast through the tracks faster than you can imagine. In many cases, it’s faster than the track itself was designed for. This means that overshooting turns and jetting out of bounds is an ever-present risk.
Being able to compete in this engine class means changing the way you drive. It necessitates employing different tactics in regards to item usage. And it certainly requires a different strategy when it comes to assembling your kart loadout.
So strap on your racing helmet, buckle into the driver’s seat, and let us show you how to build the kart setup that will allow you to stand shoulder to shoulder with the very best racers the 200cc engine class has to offer in Mario Kart 8.
Stats, Strats, Research, and Resources
This guide is part of High Ground Gaming’s Mario Kart 8 Deluxe guide series. Our original MK8D Best Karts guide features in-depth information regarding the various stats that influence your kart’s performance.
If you’re preparing to start racing at 200cc, that guide is a handy refresher on the finer details and specifics of the game’s hidden stats. If you feel like you’re not quite ready for 200cc, our MK8D Kart Setup Guide for 150cc will help you master that class before moving on.
And as always, the Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Builder is an amazing web resource that allows you to compare and contrast multiple kart loadouts simultaneously before you take them out onto the track. Knowledge is power, so be sure you’re well-equipped in that regard before proceeding further.
200cc Mode Takes No Prisoners
When you first try to race on 200cc, you may be shocked at how fast it plays. Every turn becomes a significant hazard. Formerly tricky spots become nigh impossible to navigate without slowing down considerably. Even things that were helpful in the lower classes can now be devious traps.
Tricking off every ramp and drift-boosting around every corner both become second nature in the lower engine classes. In 200cc, this can easily send you way off course into rough terrain. All of these factors combine to make 200cc a real force to be reckoned with in Mario Kart 8, and it all begins with your character selection and kart setup.
First things first: when playing on 200cc, the Speed stat is not particularly a pressing concern. Certainly not when you’re first starting out. This is unlike virtually every other form of Mario Kart in existence, but karts in this engine class move plenty fast on their own.
Holding the Accelerator down for literally the entire race is fully viable in 99% of lower engine class races. Trying that will cause you nothing but problems in 200cc. Releasing it a moment before turns, or even using the long-neglected Brake button, will need to become common practice to make it far in this engine class. For the same reason, the Mini-Turbo stat is less vital than usual. You need to be extremely judicious in how often and where you deploy them.
So, since Speed isn’t our priority here, you may have guessed that those honors instead go to Handling. Giving your kart maximum maneuverability will grant you as much leeway in dealing with each track’s intricacies as possible.
Additionally, you’ll likely want a reasonably high Acceleration stat. The trickier the track is, the more you’ll value being able to get back up to max speed quickly, as spinouts and off-roading are all but unavoidable. This points to the value of a decent Traction/Grip stat, as well. Which brings us, at long last, to your first choice when deciding on your 200cc racing loadout.
Choosing Your 200cc Character
The biggest impact your character choice will have on your final setup’s stats will be their Weight. This is a deceptively tricky decision to make, as Weight is something of a double-edged sword in 200cc.
Heavier characters have a harder time being shoved out of position by your opponents, which is more valuable than ever in 200cc. They also tend to have the highest Speed stats. This is extremely difficult to manage at 200cc, as we mentioned, but can easily put you in first place if you have the skill to manage it.
If you want to stick with heavy characters, Bowser/Dry Bowser, Wario, and Waluigi are good bets. If you look up videos of 200cc world records, chances are high that one of these characters will be driving.
There are risks to using a heavy character, though. Basic physics tells us that any given kart’s momentum is a factor of both its speed and weight. This means that heavy loadouts have a more difficult time redirecting rapidly than light ones. Like, say, steering sharply to avoid going off the side of the track. Heavier characters also tend to have relatively low Acceleration stats. This can compound with 200cc’s frequent need for slowing down, as it will take you longer to get back up to speed after every deceleration.
Ultimately, we recommend starting out on 200cc with a relatively light character. Racers like Lakitu, Toadette, Dry Bones, or the Babies will effectively give you more response time to adjust to the hyper-kinetic pace of 200cc. Later, when you become more comfortable with racing in the class, you may find some benefit in shifting to a higher Weight character. Even if it’s just a slight increase to characters like Peach, Yoshi, Inkling, or AC Villager.
Best Mario Kart 8 200cc Setup
Here, we’ll go over more specifics about how to setup the best kart for 200cc — AKA hardcore mode!
Choosing Your Kart
Based on all of the above, we’re looking for a kart with good Acceleration and Handling, solid Traction/Grip, and reasonable (but not excessive) Speed and Mini-Turbo. Luckily, there are several great options that meet these criteria.
If you prefer karts, we recommend Pipe Frame, Biddybuggy, Streetle, or the Mercedes W25 Silver Arrow. If you prefer bikes, you’ll do well with the Varmint, Mr. Scooty, or the City Tripper. Yoshi Bike has the stats we’re looking for, but it uses Inward Drifting. This can be extremely difficult to control at 200cc. Make sure to devote plenty of time to practice if you choose this option. If you’re an ATV fan, only the Wild Wiggler falls in the sweet spot we’re looking for stat-wise.
Selecting 200cc Tires
Choice of tires, as you might suspect, has a lot to do with your kart setup’s handling on the racetrack. Slick and Cyber Slick tires, often the best option in 150cc, don’t really have the Handling we need for 200cc. Slim and Crimson Slim, Roller and Azure Roller, or Off-Road and Retro Off-Road fare far better in this class.
If you’re having serious problems not spinning out or going off course, you may even want to consider Sponge and Cushion. These tires each give up a bit of Handling for higher Traction/Grip, which can really help with how frequently 200cc races can find you in rough terrain, scrambling to get back on track.
Pick a 200cc Glider
Your choice of glider, as always, has an all-but negligible impact on your final kart loadout’s stats. Cloud Glider and the MKTV Parafoil give you a very minor bonus to Acceleration, which can be very helpful in 200cc. However, the Acceleration stat only gives improved performance for each full stat point, so this only matters if your loadout was otherwise just short of the next Acceleration tier. Otherwise, just pick whichever glider suits your fancy.
Join the High Ground
Racers, you’re now ready to venture forth into the breakneck world of 200cc with your new setup and seize victory in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. It’s the ultimate challenge the game has to offer. Which kart setups have led you to your most triumphant victories? Let us know in the comments below, and make sure to sign up for our newsletter. Check back often for more guides for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and all your other gaming favorites!
Good luck, racers!