Battle Mode is back in full form in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and it's a treat, with five different game modes on eight different maps (and plenty of customization options to boot)! We compiled five simple-but-effective tips to help start you off on the right foot.

Three Strikes, Not Out

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe - Ballon Battle screenshot

The Mario Kart Battle Mode staple is back. In Balloon Battle, every player has five balloons on the back of their kart. Taking a hit from an item will make a balloon pop, which awards a point to the offending player. The goal here is to get the most points, but here's where things are a bit different from previous iterations of this mode: instead of being knocked out of the game when all five of your balloons are popped, you instead lose a sizeable amount of your accumulated points. It can knock you out of the lead, but being able to stay in the competition after a sloppy start means you still have a shot at redemption. You can also use this against your opponents as well. Pop all five of the current high scorer's balloons and they'll fall right into the middle of the pack, giving you a chance to get the gold.

Be A Loner

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe - Battle Mode screenshot

Every game type in Battle Mode is 12 players, meaning the most obvious element is chaos—lots and lots of chaos. For all but one game type, your best strategy is going to be staying on the outside of any crowd. Any groupings of players are going to be hot spots for projectiles; players inside and out of the group are going to be slinging items out like it's a fireworks festival, which will make it nearly impossible to avoid taking a hit or two (or seven, since this IS Mario Kart we're talking about here). Your best bet is to just sit outside of the chaos at a safe distance and throw your projectiles in to grab points, coins or even the Shine. When everyone has been thoroughly and completely projectiled, you'll have a bit more control of the situation.

Remember: When your excitement instincts kick in and tell you to rush in, push your glasses up and give them a hearty "No thank you, good sir!" You'll be glad you did when the score is tallied.

Sneaky Shine Shenanigans

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe - Shine Thief screenshot

The tip above applies to the Shine Thief game type, but in a much more strategic way. You see, in Shine Thief all 12 players are battling it out to be the sole racer to hold the Shine. The goal here is to hold the Shine for a total of 20 seconds, which can be a real pain when you've got 11 other bloodthirsty racers trailing behind you. So what's a racer to do? Well, your best bet is to trail behind or beside the angry mob chasing the Shine holder. When a projectile finally hits the holder, pandemonium will break out with pretty much every member of that mob shooting, drifting and speeding for the Shine. Odds are that the Shine will change hands a number of times before its next true owner can be crowned. That's where you come in: wait for the battle to die down, then slide right in and claim the Shine for yourself. You'll likely have to shake it off of another player, but odds are you'll only be dealing with one or two players, instead of 11. We're not math experts, but our sources say two is a heckuva lot easier to compete with than 11!

GPS Required

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe - Minimap screenshot

So you're playing Shine Thief—and would you look at that—you've nabbed the Shine! Awesome! Amazing! Exciting! But...what now? There's nothing quite as stressful as having an arena of 11 other people chasing you down like you have a bag off money with a "Finders Keepers" sign stamped on it. So what's a guy or gal to do? Well, there's only so much that you can do with that many crazy kart racers on your tail, but your best bet is to glue your eyes on your minimap. You need to think ahead of the competition and the best way to do that is to keep your eyes on their paths on the minimap. Competing drivers will almost certainly do everything they can to cut you off, so always take the path of least resistance. In other words, the fewer enemy drivers ahead of you, the safer the path. Look for areas with jumps, confusing turns, or places for you to make a sudden, unexpected direction change. Anything you can do to keep your opponents guessing is the best thing you can do in Shine Thief.

Buddy System

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe - Renegade Roundup screenshot

Renegade Roundup is a six-on-six game of tag. One team is strapped with Piranha Plants, while the other team has nothing but a dream and six karts between them. The Piranha Plant team needs to chase and stun their opponents, then get close enough to allow their Piranha Plant to gobble them up. Once eaten, the now-slobbery player will be trapped in a cage on a specific spot on the map. Other members of the captured player's team now have to hit a button under the cage in order to free their teammate and any other teammates that fell prey to the Piranha Plants.

Now that you have the basic idea, explaining this tip will be much easier! Whether you're a runner or a chaser, pairing up with a teammate is a good idea. When runners are approached by chasers, they can split up, drive in different directions, then reconvene elsewhere. This can cause confusion for the chasers, giving you and your partner a better chance to escape their grasp. On the flip side, if chasers buddy up, they can hit a runner with a one-two punch, which will keep the runner from ever being able to, well, run. Regardless of what team you're playing on, make sure you're not too close to your partner(s). A well-placed Bob-omb, or some precision Fire Flower shots will be enough to knock out all of you, leaving you vulnerable to whatever nefarious schemes your opponents have in mind.

And there you have it! Five tips to help get you started on the right foot with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe's Battle Mode. For even more expert kart-racing strategies, get the Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Official Guide! We hope these helped and we'll see you on the track!