MKCentral New Player Guide


Welcome to Mario Kart Central! If you’re new here, this guide will introduce you to what goes on in the Mario Kart community, and how to get involved yourself! There’s quite a lot to unpack, so make sure to read it all in depth. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to message a Site Administrator or Moderator—we’re here to help you and feel welcome!

The Importance of Discord

When it comes to the community, tournaments, and other events, most activity takes place on Discord, a free text and voice chat app. Whether you’re looking for a “war” (the term used for team scrimmages/matches) or looking for members to join your team, it’s all done through Discord, especially in the MKCentral Server. Feel free to introduce yourself in the “say-hi-and-ask-questions” channel found in our Discord server, and a staff member will assist you with any questions that you may have. The MKCentral Discord server is the hub for anything related to this site, including announcements and updates. It’s also a great place to meet new players and find a team. If you’re wanting to get involved in the Mario Kart community, make sure to set up a Discord account and join the MKCentral server!

First Steps on Mario Kart Central

First of all, you’ll need an account to be able to do anything MKCentral related. You may have made your forum account already, but you’ll also have to make a registry account to be eligible for participation in any of the events we run. If you haven’t already set that up, make sure to read the MKCentral Registry Guide to understand how the system works and also how to register for events.

Next, the first step a lot of people take is to immediately find a way to be part of a team, whether it is by joining one or creating one. While this technically isn’t a bad idea, taking some time to learn all of the necessary information (terminology, in-game strategies, etc.) associated with the competitive scene may be a much more reasonable option. Later in this guide is a section on the optimal set-ups and combos for competitive matches, if that helps. Obviously it’s up to you how you start your time in this community, but in order to have the best chance at success, learning everything you need to know may be worth consideration.

If you officially decide you want to search for a team, start by going to the MKCentral Discord and find the “MK8D + MKTour” category. Once there, refer to the #looking-for-team channel and create a message for everyone to see. It’s probably in your best interest to mention how you are a relatively newer player and would prefer to start small, which means you’d want to begin in a lower division. “Divisions” will be explained in much more depth later in this guide, but to provide a short and sweet explanation, divisions are the range in which a player’s skill is defined depending on the team they are a part of. For example, if someone was known as a division 1 player, then it’s likely that they are one of the better players in the game since division 1 is the highest of all the divisions.

If you do end up starting in a lower division team, it’s likely that you’ll be able to gradually improve with other players of a similar skill level which should hopefully lead you in the right direction! Of course, you need to find that team first, so hopefully after sending your message, there will be teams that are willing to give you a shot. Everyone starts somewhere—the more players that come into the community, the more teams there will be to choose from!

Teams recruit most often while tournaments aren’t running, or are about to begin. Teams located in the lower divisions are usually the ones that recruit the most often as well, so if you’re a new player, those teams are generally where your sights should be set.

If you don’t end up getting any offers or joining teams just isn’t your thing in general, you could also try to make your own team. Being a leader of a team requires a lot of time and dedication to make sure your members will be happy, so you should only take up this role if you feel confident enough. If you eventually decide to make a team, the first thing you should do as a leader is create the team on the registry.

When making a team, make sure to read the Team Tournaments section on the Registry Guide. If you need any extra help with this, don’t hesitate to contact a Moderator.

Once your team is on the registry, your next step is recruitment. In order to have a flourishing team, you’ll need plenty of members to help you succeed. Start by going to the MKCentral server and find the #support channel. Press the button to create a ticket, and ask for the “recruiting” role. This role will only be given to you for ten minutes until it is automatically taken away, so before doing any of the steps above you should have something written out in advance so that you can copy and paste it in the correct channel.

After being given the recruitment role, go to the #looking-for-players channel under the “MK8D + MKTour” category. Start by explaining how your team is welcoming new members, and feel free to also list specifications or requirements (i.e. preferred language, time zones, skill level, activity, etc.) At the end of the day, it is your team, so anything that is important is ultimately up to you!

Something that greatly helps with recruitment is connections, and the best way to build connections is by interacting with other players. Doing this can also open up several opportunities that would otherwise not be possible, so it’s definitely something worth doing. Aside from interacting through MKCentral or Lounge, social media is another good way to interact with players from across the community. For example, most players happen to have a Twitter account of some sort, and MKCentral also has their own Twitter account (which you can follow here if you’re interested!) There are many ways to get involved, so never think that the possibilities are limited!

Getting Started with Tournaments

MKCentral hosts a variety of events every weekend! There are recurring events that you can find discussed more in depth under “Event Descriptions,” and events hosted on Saturdays, which is one of the main attractions on the site! These events are typically one off events, like Free-for-alls (FFAs), 2v2s, 3v3s, or something that can be run in one day.

Events will typically be announced in the MKCentral Discord server, but you can also find them on the MKCentral Homepage in addition to the MKCentral Tournament Listing when they go live. All signups are done through the Tournament Listing, no matter what game or what style of event it is.

Each type of event has different requirements to sign up, often including things like tag names, mii/in-game names, and questions like if you’re able to host or not. Once you have signed up for a tournament on the registry, go to the MKCentral Discord and find the #tournament-roles channel. Assuming there is a tournament coming up, there should be a message from Carl Bot which you can react to. By reacting to the message, you’ll gain access to all of the tournament channels for that particular tournament, presumably for the tournament you signed up for specifically.

When it comes to the day of the tournament itself, there is a lot to remember. Depending on the start time of the event, registration will usually close one hour before rooms of the participants are released. Make sure that you pay close attention to the tournament thread as well as the MKCentral Discord throughout the entire event to remain aware of rooms and other announcements.

In our system, rooms for each round are randomized and the number of players / teams who advance depends on the total number of teams left in the tournament. Rooms themselves are usually posted 15-30 minutes before the starting time of the tournament. When they are posted, check to see what room you have been placed in and make sure you take notice of the host. Usually the host of the room will add you, but you should always add the host as well to make it easier. With that in mind of course, if you happen to be the host of a room, you need to add all of the players who were placed with you. The Event Organizer posting the rooms will note at the bottom of their post all of the conditions you need to follow for the round.

When it comes to posting results, the hosting team, or winning team (depending on the tournament’s ruleset) is required to make the table for the room. There is a section farther down in this guide that walks you through the process of making a table so make sure to refer to that if you are ever a host. Something we cannot emphasize enough is that the waiting time between rounds can and will be lengthy, however as the tournament progresses the waiting time in between rounds shortens.

Event Organizers have to put in all of the results for each room, which means they also have to wait for results in the first place. Typically the time rooms are released depends on how quickly all of the results are posted. Round 1 usually takes a while, but the following rounds are much quicker. Please take this into consideration while signing up for a tournament, since they can last several hours depending on how far you make it.

That’s most of what you need to know regarding events, but if you have any further questions about signing up for tournaments, feel free to read the Signing up for a Tournament section on the MKCentral Registry Guide if you want a more in-depth explanation.

Event Formats

All wars and events are 12 races long per round unless otherwise stated by the event organizers. There are multiple formats when it comes to league matches and friendlies, including:

  • Clan Wars: Two teams face off in 6v6 format and aim to score the most points. There are 984 points in a clan war, so the first to score 493 or more wins the war.
  • Mogis: Multiple smaller teams face off. Examples include 4v4v4 (3 teams of 4), 3v3v3v3 (4 teams of 3), and 2v2v2v2v2v2 (6 teams of 2). These types of events are usually referred to as the format, followed by FFA or mogi (Example: 4v4 mogi, 3v3 FFA).
  • Free-for-alls/FFAs: Individual events where teaming is prohibited. Every player is against one another.
  • Time Trials: Competition for time trials is promoted, but not hosted directly on MKCentral. Check out MKLeaderboards or the Mario Kart Players’ Page to get involved in the Time Trial scene.

Event Descriptions

MKCentral hosts the largest tournaments for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and Mario Kart Tour!

Mario Kart Universal (MKU)

Mario Kart Universal is the biggest team event for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. Teams play in 6v6 format, separated by divisions. There are typically 2 matches a week on Sundays (2PM + 3PM ET), and teams are split into a division of 8 teams. These 8 teams are split into 2 conferences of 4 teams each, where the teams in the same conference play each other twice, and then play the teams in the other conference once. Then, the conference winners and 2 wild card teams (the two other teams with the 3rd and 4th best records in the division) play in a playoff format to determine the winner of the division.


Lounge is one of the best ways to improve and get Mario Kart action! You can almost always find a match going on in the lounge, due to the amount of players from all around the world playing.

So what exactly is Lounge?

Lounge is the blanket term for a group of servers where people come to play competitive Mario Kart—any day, any time. Players are ranked via an MMR (Matchmaking Rating) system, and broken down into tiers (such as Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, Diamond, and Master). Your MMR goes up or down depending on how you / your team performs in a match, and if your MMR reaches a certain point, you can either rank up or down depending on the range of your MMR. Players can only play in the same tiers as people near the same tiers as them. For example, Tier D in MK8DX 150cc lounge is only accessible to Silver and Bronze players.

When a lounge has enough players to begin a match, the participants vote on the format they want to play. Therefore, lounge offers a chance to play every format available in competitive play, whether that be FFA, 2v2/3v3/4v4 mogi, or even 6v6 matches.

There’s a lounge for each different speed class + game: MK8DX 150cc Lounge, MK8DX 200cc Lounge, MK8DX Battle Lounge, and MKTour Lounge.

Each lounge has it’s own specific breakdowns for ranks + tiers, so make sure to read all the rules of each server when you join it!

Clan War League (CWL)

The CWL is the premier league for Mario Kart Tour. Teams play in a 4v4 format at various times on Sundays, in a double round robin style event. 6 teams are in each division, meaning each season is 10 weeks long. Much like MKU, teams in each division change season after season, with each team making it their goal to make their way up to, and eventually win Division 1!

200 League (200L)

200L is the leading force behind everything that takes place on the 200cc side of things. From regular leagues and tournaments to an occasional UML series (Underground Mario Kart League) where captains can select players for a short team event, 200L has plenty of things to offer for any players who are interested in 200cc. The community itself is quite small, however, it is very easy to get involved.

Kart Klash (KKlash)

This is one of the more laid-back events we host on the site. The official time of the tournament can vary, but typically it is held on Saturdays. Kart Klash is a regular free-for-all, except it has a pay-in option and is also hosted on The pay-in option is not a requirement, but when you purchase what is known as a charter, you get a free bye into the official first round, skipping the tournament-mode qualifier that unchartered players are forced to play. The tournament is also streamed live on Twitch, so it’s always a good time!

What Are Divisions?

One of the most common questions people ask upon joining the community is what divisions are. In the #looking-for-team channel in the MKCentral Discord, you’ll find people often searching for teams with the phrase “looking for team d3-d6” or something along those lines. What they’re referring to is a team that is in the range of Division 3 and Division 6 in the team tournament Mario Kart Universal (MKU), which is the largest tournament for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. Divisions also exist in MKTour’s CWL, but this doesn’t mean that a division 1 team in MKU will also be division 1 in CWL. Teams are separated into divisions based on skill, which is determined on a variety of factors including but not limited to: placement in the previous season, the players they’ve gained or lost in the time between seasons, and how the competition has changed around them.

The way the division system works is that newer teams typically start from the bottom, and then over time they rank their way up. Division 1 is the best division, where the top teams play against each other. The higher the number, the newer the team is to the competitive community typically. For example: a team in Division 10 is likely newer and plays lower skilled teams than a team in Division 4.

If you’re new to the community, it’s highly recommended that if you’re searching for a team, to look for one that plays in a “lower division,” e.g. Division 10 to Division 15. As mentioned before, teams in lower divisions typically recruit more actively and also play teams around their skill level a lot more often, which can make for good practice!

Making Result Tables

Match results are often displayed using pre-formatted tables, and there’s a handy tool to help you make tables automatically! You can find the site here. It may look a bit confusing at first, but it’s simple to get the hang of, and can even make tables automatically from an image! Here’s a tutorial of how to use the table maker tool.

What is the best kart/bike combo?

When people talk about “the meta,” they are referring to the ideal set-ups or conditions that are highly recommended for playing in tournaments. Something being meta usually means that it will be used by most players in the community due to its viability. There’s a lot that needs to be kept in mind, so take some time to read everything below.

For Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

The most popular characters consist of Waluigi and Roy, however, other characters that can also be considered as optimal are Donkey Kong, Rosalina, King Boo and Link due to their similar weight class. Super heavyweights are not widely used but are still considered viable due to their identical stats to regular heavyweights. This includes Wario, Morton, Bowser and Dry Bowser. Remember—just because a character is subpar on paper does not mean they should not be used, so feel free to use whoever you’re comfortable with!

As for popular combo set-ups, it really depends on what a player prefers. For example, if you like outward drifting vehicles, it is highly recommended that you use the Wild Wiggler or Mr. Scooty due to their high acceleration stat. If you prefer inward drifting bikes, it’s best to go with the Comet or the Yoshi Bike for similar reasons. If a track has a lot of underwater sections (such as Dolphin Shoals or Cheep Cheep Beach), some players opt to switch to the Streetle or Landship since they have a good speed stat in water sections. Regardless of the combo you choose, you should always be using either the regular rollers or the azure rollers since they pair perfectly with the combos above.

One important thing to note is that unlike what you may expect by doing time trials, baby characters are usually not viable for competitive events. The reasoning behind this is simply because of how they are very slow compared to heavyweights without advanced strats, not to mention that their weight stat is also very poor. This poses a threat to you since it is almost a guarantee that every other player in the room will be using a heavyweight of some sort, which makes impactful bumps almost inevitable.

You have to keep in mind that lag is also a factor as well which can be very threatening to anyone who chooses to use baby characters. Certain strategies used in time trials also may not be worth going for online due to their difficulty or the danger they pose if you are close to a heavyweight.

At the end of the day, the combo you choose to use is up to you. Certain set-ups may require a decent amount of dedication depending on how far they extend outside of the meta, but if you put in the practice, you can make several things work! If you’re interested in testing other set-ups, there’s a stat calculator where you can select numerous combos and then see the stats that are associated with them, available here!

For Mario Kart Tour

Since there’s so many variables to each track, what matters is that you have the right combo when it matters. On most tracks, just a standard mini-turbo boost kart works best. However, since there are trick track variants in some cups, you want to get the most out of your tricks by using a trick-boost kart.

You’ll also want to use a character that has the heart as their special item, as it provides you with protection against any item, including shocks, for up to 30 seconds. Besides that, a lot that will come with just playing the game, since most of the game comes down to driving ability due to how short some of the tracks can be.

Additional Q&A

If you read through this and find your question is still unanswered, feel free to DM a site moderator on Discord. This section may be updated with the question at hand if it is deemed necessary.

Q: If I were to have x amount of VR or BR, is that representative of my skill? Do either of them actually mean anything?

No and no. While VR and BR can represent how much time someone puts into worldwides, neither of them prove that much in the grand scheme of things. The reasoning for this is because of how anyone can get to a certain milestone as long as they put enough time and effort into it. For example, let’s say that a d1 player and a d10 player both have a goal of getting to 10K VR. Despite the fact there is a huge skill gap between the two of them, 10K VR is still a really attainable goal for both players. Considering how worldwides work, as long as you place decently in a race, you will likely gain VR regardless of the room you are in. This is why certain players who aim for MAX VR/BR prefer to use worldwides consisting of players with approximately 1K since they are probably newer players that don’t have as much experience, which can make winning races easy if a player knows what they are doing.

Q: Does MKCentral host events for any other games aside from MK8DX?

As of right now, we only host events for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and Mario Kart Tour. We have held events for Super Mario Kart on the Switch Virtual Console before, but other than that, there isn’t anything else. It would be unwise to count anything out of the realm of possibilities, however, since you never know what opportunities we might be met with in the future. Even if we don’t host events for other games, New Leaf Esports, an affiliate of MKCentral, occasionally will host events for Mario Kart Wii. This is not very often however and typically their tournaments are pay-to-enter, so keep that in mind!

Q: What are sub clans? What makes them different from normal teams?

You’ll occasionally see people recruiting for their “sub clan” in the #looking-for-players channel in the MKCentral Discord. The main difference between a sub clan and a team is that a sub clan will not be on the MKCentral Registry and is not allowed to play in MKCentral hosted events as a result. They are typically just groups of people coming from a wide variety of different teams wanting to play together with no real commitment. Since sub clans often hinder the activity for main clans if a bunch of them spring up at once, they are heavily discouraged. Occasionally, sub clans will become main clans. In this case, once they are registered on the MKCentral registry they will be able to participate in MKCentral events.

Q:Is there a way to track the score during wars?

Our community uses several bots, specifically for the MK8DX side of things. One of the main bots used in our community is ToadV2, a bot made by Cynda specifically for competitive Mario Kart. This bot has many features, including the ability to keep track of race scores, host various trivia, hold commands in the server and many other things! If you are interested in getting this bot into your server, check out this thread!

Toad can also do scores for MKTour. The way this can be set up is by doing _setgame MK8, and then starting a war with _startwar 4v4 teamA teamB. Even if the game is set to MK8DX, it will still use the MKTour point scoring system.

Q: What are some tips for competitive play?

Both MK8DX and MKTour have their fair share of tricks that separate the good players from the bad players, but some things are very important to know. One of the most important things to always be doing in MK8DX is keeping a steady coin count. Coins raise your overall top speed, meaning that the more coins you have, the faster you will be. It’s important that you have as many coins as possible while in bottom spots since they help you catch up to the rest of the pack, which would otherwise be very difficult without them. Collecting coins while in bottom spots also leads into bagging, which is the act of staying in bottom spots in order to get better items. This is typically done on tracks with a lot of off-road, but in reality it can be done anywhere. It’s mainly useful if you are hoping to get items such as the lightning bolt or items that make you invincible, such as the boo, star, or bullet bill since you can dodge the effects of the lightning bolt. With all of this in mind, it’s a good idea to be aware of your surroundings at all times. One of the most efficient ways of doing this aside from looking in front of you is also by looking behind you. This is done by pressing and holding the X button. Doing this allows you to see what items players are holding, and depending on what event you are playing, it could easily save your race.

Q: Aside from tips, what are some of the advanced techniques I should keep in mind?

Out of anything you can learn, softdrifting is arguably one of the most important, and if you come to master it, you’ll be doing a heavy favor for your lines. Whenever you drift, you can obviously move the analog stick in different directions to affect your angle in-game. Depending on the direction you move the analog stick, it can make it much easier to charge mini-turbos, super-mini-turbos and ultra-mini-turbos. Less important techniques that can help to make a difference are countersliding and breakdrifting. Countersliding is mainly for alignment purposes, but if you do a slide by drifting in one direction for a short period of time and then immediately starting a drift in the opposite direction, it makes it much easier to charge various boosts, especially when combined with softdrifting. Breakdrifting is mainly prevalent in 200cc for sharp turns, but it can also be done in 150cc depending on the situation. For example, if you need to slow down, it’s best to repetitively tap the B button since holding it will slow you down too much and could hurt you even more in the long run. Again, it’s very dependent on the situation at hand, so that just gives you another reason to constantly be aware of your surroundings as mentioned in the question above.

Q: What are the tabs on top of the site?

On the top of the site, you’ll see 9 tabs: Home, Discord, Forums, Registry, Tournaments, News, Media, Affiliates, and Support MKC. Here’s each of their purposes:

Home: The homepage. You can find the latest news, upcoming tournaments, the newest player and team registrations, as well as updates from MKCentral social media all on this central page!

Discord: Our main community discord server. Here you can join thousands of members to play or just chat. Being in the server is required for many tournaments, so be sure to check it out!

Forums: This is where most of the history regarding announcements, and tournament matches are posted. General discussion about Mario Kart or topics in general also happen from time to time, but if you’re looking for constant interaction with the community, joining the MKCentral Discord is your best bet.

Registry: The registry serves as a central database for the entire MKCentral community. You can find data on any player that’s signed up for MKCentral, including their entire team and event history!

Tournaments: You’ll find more in depth information for tournaments on this tab. You’ll also sign up for tournaments here. All current, upcoming, and previous events can be seen by taking a scroll through this page. We have tournaments dating all the way back to the start of Competitive Mario Kart Wii, in 2008!

News: Here, you’ll find the articles showcasing the latest happenings in the community, site announcements, and tournament coverage.

Media: You can find all the official MKCentral media links on this tab, like the Twitter, Twitch, and YouTube pages.

Affiliates: Here are partnered Mario Kart sites that we recommend checking out. Of note are the sites for the time trial community (MKLeaderboards, the Players’ Page, and MK World Records), which can be another way to have fun or compete at Mario Kart.

Support MKC: If you support the work we’re doing on MKCentral, you can donate directly to help out the site pay for funds here! 100% of the payment, whether done via purchasing supporter or directly donating, goes towards supporting the site, like purchasing licences, or funding prize pools for events.

Closing Remarks

If you’ve taken the time to read through all of this, you’re on your way to becoming one with the community! We are always growing, and it’s likely that will never slow down. The reason we’ve always gone strong is because we are hundreds of thousands of players that are passionate about enjoying the game we love. If we continue pushing, we should be able to make this game even bigger, and your contribution to our community is what makes that possible. We’re looking forward to seeing all that you’re capable of—never lose motivation and always strive for greatness! If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, never be afraid to contact a staff member, we’re here to help you and want everyone to be comfortable!

Mario Kart Central is the home of Mario Kart Tournaments, where you'll find tournaments for all players—whether you're looking for a casual or competitive competition, we've got you covered! We hold events for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Tour, and more, with a variety of matches happening weekly!

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