Mario Kart fans who have been waiting the past few years for a fully realized and completely chaotic Battle Mode in Mario Kart 8 will be happy to know that Mario Kart 8 Deluxe delivers everything you’ve been waiting for on the Nintendo Switch. In addition to bringing back the four classic battle modes from previous installments of Mario Kart, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe introduces a whole new mode called Renegade Roundup, which basically serves as Nintendo’s version of cops and robbers.

Regardless of how comfortable you are with Battle Mode, however, jumping into Mario Kart 8 Deluxe’s new and revamped modes can prove to be a little intimidating when you first pick up the game. So, whether you’re looking for tips to help you get started or master each of the modes to claim victory over your friends online, here’s a few tips to help you master everything Battle Mode offers.

Practice Balloon Battle First

Balloon Battle has been with Mario Kart for years, starting with the SNES version and going on to return on multiple platforms. Even though the rules have changed a little bit in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, the basic concept behind Balloon Battle remains the same: You’ll pick up power-ups from around the map and throw them at your opponents to take away their balloons. This time, however, you won’t be completely knocked out of the race if you lose all your balloons. Instead, you’ll respawn with three balloons and lose half of your score.

The goal here is to play aggressively and rack up points, which is exactly how Mario Kart 8 Deluxe’s various battle modes play across the board. Balloon Battle is a great primer to get you ready for Bob-omb Blast, Renegade Roundup, Shrine Thief, and Coin Runners, so be sure to practice it plenty before moving on to the other modes if you’re having a tough time.

Keep Your Eye on the Map

If there’s one handy tip you need to know to succeed in any of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe’s battle modes, it’s that you consistently need to keep an eye on your map. Located in the bottom right of the screen, this map will show you ever players location as well as objective pickups such as coins, allowing you to plan your movements and avoid too much confrontation if you’re in the lead. Always avoid large packs of other players to keep your lead safe, or head straight in with a set of Red Shells to turn the tide in your favor if you’re behind the rest.

Have Defenses Ready

While it may be tempting to fire off a set of three Green Shells or use a few Bananas to block off a doorway, you might want to consider holding on to them to defend yourself with. If any opponent throws a Green or Red Shell at your kart, the swirling items have a chance to block it and cancel out, leaving you ahead at the expense of an item. These can also be used if you get close to an opponent too, as they can hit them like a melee weapon if you slide into their kart at the right time. Whenever you’re ahead of the game, use your items to play defensively to keep your lead, especially if you’ve got multiple players trying to get you.

Go After the Leader

In objective specific modes like Coin Runner or Shine Thief where you have to collect or hold the objective to win the match, you’ll want to target the leader as much as possible until your ahead. While Shine Thief features a cumulative countdown for every player, Coin Runner simply determines the winner by the amount of coins they have above them, so to turn the tide, you’ve got to knock them back onto the ground. Keeping players from racking up too many points puts you on even ground for victory, so never forget that when you’re behind.

Guard the Cells

Renegade Roundup is a new mode first introduced in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe consisting of two teams made up of cops and robbers. Depending on what side of the law you’re on, you need to either capture all the renegades or avoid the cops until the time runs out to secure your team a win. Whenever you capture a renegade as a cop using the piranha plant on the front of your kart, they’ll be placed in a jail cell randomly around the map. If you don’t defend these cells, though, renegades roaming around can break their friends out, making your job much harder. Always defend these cells and use them to lure renegades into a trap. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself outnumbered no matter how many renegades you jail every time.

Break the Cells

Likewise, if you’re playing as the robbers (renegades) in Renegade Roundup, you’ll want to do your best to avoid getting captured while breaking your fellow players out from cells. To shatter a jail cell, you just have to run over it at a decent speed, but you need to be aware of any cops trying to protect it. If you’re the last renegade on the map, try to lure the cops away from the cells and use a boosting item to successfully free your friends. Just remember, sometimes there will be multiple cells you need to break open, and they can all be protected by cops, so don’t get too cocky.

Photos via Nicholas Bashore, Nintendo