Mario Kart's Most Powerful Item Isn't The Blue Shell

Mario Kart's blue shell - officially named the Spiny Shell - gets all the credit as the game-changing item players in first place fear. Except the blue shell is rare, most commonly going to racers near the back of the pack. It can be a great boon, but more often than not, simply waylaying the leader doesn't necessarily improve one's chances of victory. Meanwhile, the master assassin holding the all-powerful Banana Peel is cruising along making potassium-filled sniper shots and waving back from the finish line.


The Banana Peel has been a part of Mario Kart's item box since the first game, one appearance more than the Spiny Shell. Little has been done to alter the deadly Banana over the years including the ability to hold three Banana Peels at once. Items like Green and Red Shells and speed-boosting Mushrooms will always have a place as staples for reaching first place, but each item only has one use and merely serves a single purpose. Enter the Banana Peel, the ultimate versatile kart wrecking machine with a ton of uses for both offense and defense. It's the item nobody expects, but the one everyone really fears, unlike the blue shell which is technically only a threat to players in first place.

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The most powerful item in Mario Kart isn't the blue shell, it's the Banana Peel. The item can come from anywhere, at any time, and that's the Banana's biggest advantage. Most players will receive the Banana Peel and toss it in favor of getting a better item, but a clever kart racer could use the item to block anything closing in from behind. The Banana Peel is great for first place players, or anyone looking to block an attack. Keep the item behind the kart while driving and anything that hits the player's back will get blocked by the Banana Peel. The defense becomes nigh unstoppable if players receive the three Bananas pick-up. Just leave one on the item block and enjoy watching the next player spin out while deflecting every Shell the avenging racer sends out.

The Banana Peel Is Mario Kart's Deadliest Weapon

The Banana Peel is actually Mario Kart's greatest item.

The Banana Peel is Mario Kart's best defensive item, but in the hands of a skilled marksman, they are capable of making long-range shots to take out players flying over gaps. It requires some practice to nail the timing, but once someone gets the arc of the Banana shot down, it's game over. The long-range Banana missile is guaranteed to spin out any players in the line of fire. The Banana Peel may not have the homing capabilities of Mario Kart's blue shell, but the payoff is more satisfying and requires skill beyond simply throwing a homing Red Shell. Banana Peels are also plentiful, often becoming the default selection for players in a hurry to select an item.

Besides using Mario Kart's Banana Peels to trap players, the Banana Peel takes first over a blue shell in drifting too. If a player holds the banana peel while making a turn and is passing another player, the racer can drift right in front of the opponent and send them spinning into the side rail. The Banana Peel acts as a close-range melee hit, letting the player pass an opponent and take them out in one fluid motion. This is a difficult move for someone to pull off, but it's so satisfying if it lands. Plus, it has the added psychological bonus of making anyone getting close to question whether the first place driver is stashing a Banana Peel for the upcoming turn.

The Spiny Shell may be able to take out the person in first place, but it can backfire in Mario Kart at crucial moments. The rare item is nothing compared to the destructive power of the humble Banana Peel. Mario Kart players should learn to fear the bright yellow mine trailing behind the person in front, waiting for its chance to strike.