In honor of Mario Kart 8 racing onto shelves today (and believe us when we say it's a must-have Wii U game), we ranked the series' best and worst power-ups.

Ranking exclusions: New Mario Kart 8 items and any "special" items from Double Dash or earlier games that are only available for certain players, i.e. the Bowser Shell. And just FYI, the new ítems in Mario Kart 8 are all definitely top 10 worthy.

25. Coin

Mario Kart items (coin)


"Thanks?"—Every player who ever gets a coin. What can you actually use them for? In Mario Kart 8 they are useful for unlocking items, but that's about it.

24. Feather

Mario Kart items (feather)


There's a reason they discontinued this item after the Super Nintendo installment.

23. Mushroom

Mario Kart items (feather)


We need more than one burst of speed to get past Toad, OK? Useful only if you get hit and need to catch back up or to hit ramps.

22. Banana

Mario Kart items (banana)


A banana is only relevant in a race for defense, but even then you can still have a chance of getting hit. But getting a banana when you're in fifth place does not help matters. It's kind of fun to put them in really inconvenient places, like before a jump. But that's more fun with the banana bunch.

21. Golden Mushroom

Mario Kart items (golden mushroom)


Sometimes this is actually more harm than good, especially if you are on course without guardrails. We've fallen off Yoshi Valley too many times because of this thing. Sometimes you have to press it once and just let it wear itself out.

20. Banana Bunch/Triple Bananas

Mario Kart items (Banana Bunch)


A good get if you're in first place and have to protect yourself from people behind you throwing shells at every turn. Also really fun to have them surrounding your cart as you slide into someone. 

19. Triple Mushroom

Mario Kart items (triple mushroom)


A single mushroom isn't enough. A golden mushroom is too much. But three mushrooms are just right.

18. Thunder Cloud 

Mario Kart Items (Thunder Cloud)


The Thunder Cloud is awesome because it gives you great power, but with a price. It gives you continual boosts, but it will eventually strike you down with a lightning bolt…unless you hit another player and pass it onto them before it hits you. The sheer panic you experience trying to find someone to bump into is exhilarating. 

17. Boo

Mario Kart items (boo)


Only good if you steal something awesome, like a red shell. Nothing warms our hearts more than hearing our friend swear because we stole their triple red shell. Plus you get to be invisible!

16. Fake Item Box

Mario Kart items (box)


Another good thing to hang on the back of your car to protect yourself, but also fun to leave around other items boxes so you can trick the hell out of people. But if you leave it out in the middle of nowhere, then you've wasted it. Who is going to go after the suspicious item box that's sitting right in front of the finish line? No one.

15. Green Shell

Mario Kart items (green shell)


While you definitely feel like a badass when you hit someone with a green shell from a long distance, it's mostly handy as a blocker or to shoot backwards at people when you're crossing the finish line.

14. Super Leaf/Tanooki Leaf

Mario Kart items (super leaf)


Who doesn't love whipping people with their tail as they pass 'em by? But this items make it harder to drift.

13. Blooper

Mario Kart items (blooper)


So inconvenient for other drivers! But most Mario Kart players play the game over and over and over again, so once courses get memorized, Blooper becomes kind of lame.

12. Bob-omb

Mario Kart items (bomb)


Definitely an explosive item, both literally and figuratively. Unfortunately, you really have to aim and time your throw well. Or you can just throw it backwards and hope for the best. And don't you dare let it trail behind your cart, because guess what happens when a shell hits you? Boom!

11. Triple Green Shell

Mario Kart Items (Triple Green Shell)


Almost definitely the best form of defense against people who are out to annihilate you via their own shells. Plus, it makes running into people much more fun.

10. POW Block

Mario Kart Items (POW)


Not only does this make other drivers spin out, but it takes away their item as well. Mwuahahahaha!

9. Star

Mario Kart items (star)


Great for catching up quickly, but only if you are close to the other drivers. It is nice to knock people out of the way while that familiar star music plays for all to hear.

8. Thunderbolt

Mario Kart Items (lightning)


Just wait for the other drivers to get near a big jump and….

7. Fire Flower

Mario Kart items (Fire flower)


Such a classic Mario item, but you have to have really good aim to get the most out of it.

6. Spiny Shell, aka the Blue Shell

Mario Kart items (blue shell)


Hell hath no fury like the blue shell coming after first place. And if you're lucky, it knocks other people out of the way, too. Of course, if you are the one who is in first than this item is the wooorst.

5. Red Shell

Mario Kart items (red shell)


Sniper shell! No one is every bummed to get this item.

4. Mega Mushroom

Mario Kart items (Mega Mushroom)


There isn't much to dislike about the Mega Mushroom. It makes you huge and you basically just crush anything in your path, plus if you happen to get struck by lightning, you only get shrunk back to normal size. But it's not immune to Bullet Bills or Stars, so we had to dock it a couple points.

3. Lucky Seven

Mario Kart items (lucky 7)


It's seven items in one! Banana, Red Shell, Green Shell, Blooper, Mushroom, Star and a Bob-omb. But you can't really control which items you activate, which means you could accidentally use a mushroom and boost yourself right off a course.

2. Bullet Bill

Mario Kart items (bullet bill)


Anything that can steer for you is a treasured item, but this one also blasts the hell out of anyone it hits.

1. Triple Red Shell

Mario Kart items (3 red shells)


This is number one for two reasons. One, it's the most useful item three times over. You always need red shells. And second, it's the most intimidating item. When you get three red shells, people get out of your way, lest they get a red shell up their ass!

Agree with our list? Disagree with our list? Let's rap.

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