Mario Kart™ 8 Deluxe Rulebook

The Mario Kart™ 8 Deluxe Rulebook for High School leagues.

Updated this week

Important: The 2024-2025 Rulebook and Match Instructions updates are underway. Check back here in the future for more information! Once finalized, all changes will be communicated to our community through a separate Summary of Changes article. Thanks for your patience!

Introduction and Purpose

These Official Rules (“Rules”) of the PlayVS High School Esports League apply to each of the teams who have registered and met the requirements for the 2023-2024 school year, as well as their head coach, assistant coaches, vice principals, athletic directors, Starters, Substitutes (collectively “Team Members”), and other members.

1. Game Rules

1.1 Definition of Terms

1.1.1 Game. An instance of competition that is played until a winner is determined by one of the following methods, whichever occurs first: (a) completion of the countdown timer or objective achieved, (b) Team Surrender, or (c) Team Forfeit.

1.1.2 Set. A series of games. The winning player will receive a win tally in favor of their team for the match.

1.1.3 Match. A group of series (or "sets"). The winning team will either receive a win tally in a league format or advance to the next round in a tournament format.

1.1.4 Phase. A section of scheduled league play that comprises a season. There are three distinct phases: preseason, regular season, and playoffs. Each phase has its own league format.

1.1.5 Season. Scheduled league play that will occur over an approximately three-month period of time.

1.2 Roster Requirements

1.2.1 Roster Submission

Team members must be eligible to compete on behalf of their school as listed in Section 2 of the High School Competition Rulebook.

In Mario Kart™ 8 Deluxe, each team may have a maximum of eight (8) players, broken down into four (4) starting players on the Roster and four (4) players on the Bench. No individual may simultaneously hold two or more roles as listed above. All players and coaches are expected to be present physically or virtually for all official PlayVS matches. Both the Roster and Bench must be finalized before the Roster Lock Date, as listed in Section 3.3 Roster Submission.

1.2.2 Substitutions

Players on the bench may be used for any match their team is competing in within their assigned league. Only the players shown on a team’s Bench before the start of the match can be used as substitutes in an official PlayVS Match.

Once a Game of Record is established, substitutions are not allowed. Once the game is complete with results recorded, player substitutions may be made before the start of the following game.

If a player on the starting roster cannot compete in the match and there are no available Substitutes, competition may continue without that player as long as it does not put the opposing team at a disadvantage.

1.3 Game of Record

A game of record (“GOR”) in Mario Kart™ 8 Deluxe is established under the following conditions:

1.3.1 Game timer during the first race reaches the end of the countdown and states “GO”.

Once GOR is established, game restarts are only allowed under limited conditions, as listed in section 7.4 of the High School Competition Rulebook.

1.4 Stoppage of Play

1.4.1 Directed Pause

At any time, League Officials may order the pause of a match at the sole discretion of League Officials. Teams may complete the current game and finalize the results.

1.4.2 Host Game Disconnect

If the host of a lobby disconnects from the online match during a game, the entire lobby will be disconnected. The lobby will need to be re-made, ideally using a new host from the home team if the initial host has an unstable connection.

If an accurate account of the current game’s point distribution has been screenshotted by a team, it can be used to continue to keep the current race results from the total races that have already occurred. Players should finish out the remaining number of races in their current game and then add up all of the points from the screenshots of the point distribution before the host lobby disconnect, and the new point distribution after the remake.

Example: 4/6 races have been played in a game. Team A has kept screenshots of the results after each race that shows both team’s point distributions. The host of the game disconnects and causes the lobby to need to be remade. Upon the remake of the lobby, the players finish out by playing 2 additional races to add up to the total of 6 required races in a game. Using the screenshots provided by Team A, they tally up the total number of points from the initial lobby and the total number of points from the 2 races in the new lobby. This gives them an accurate total of the point distribution from all 6 races.

If screenshots cannot be used to establish proof of point distribution from a disconnected lobby, then the entire game will need to be replayed from the beginning. We strongly recommend players use the Nintendo Switch system’s “Capture Button” after each race to keep proof of score.

1.4.3 Participant Game Disconnect

If a player disconnects from the online match during a game, they will need to reconnect by following the regular match join instructions. Once you have rejoined the game lobby, you will be put back into the race at the start of the next track.

If a disconnection occurs, the game will not keep track of that player’s previous score during the match. We highly recommend players use the Nintendo Switch system’s “Capture Button” after each race to keep proof of score. A coach may submit an accurate score count with screenshot proof for a match in the case of a disconnection.

If no screenshot can be shown as proof of a player’s score before a disconnect, league officials will not be able to take those points into account when deciding a clear winner for the game and instead will use the final point outcome show by the Mario Kart™ 8 Deluxe game outcome screen at the end of the six (6) race game.

1.5 Match Format

Match Format: Best-of-Three (“Bo3”) Games

Game Format: Six (6) 150cc Team Races

Team Size: 4 Players


  • Game Style: 150cc Race

  • Teams: Team Game

  • Items: Normal Items

  • COM: No COM

  • Vehicles: All Vehicles

  • Race Count: 6 Races

Each team will compete in a match of Bo3 games, where each game consists of six (6) races. Each race will use the “Teams” setting splitting the two (2) teams into a four (4) versus four (4). The game will keep track of the scores each player contributes to their team, depending on the placement within each race. At the end of six (6) races, the game will tally up both teams total scores. The team with the highest score will win that game.

If a single team reaches two game wins before the start of the third game, then the third game will not be played.

1.5.1 Preseason

This phase consists of each team enrolled in the league competing in official practice matches. The results of this match do not impact a team’s standings. However, this match is strongly recommended to properly test equipment and player game connections.

1.5.2 Regular Season

This phase consists of each team competing in a season format against opponents within their region. Ranking in the league will be determined by each team's win-loss ratio.

1.5.3 Playoffs

This phase consists of eligible teams competing in a single-elimination tournament until only two teams remain. Winning teams will advance to the next round of the Bracket while losing teams will be removed from the competition.

Playoff Eligibility, Bracket, and Tiebreaker information can be found in section 5.2.3 Playoffs of the High School Competition Rulebook. More information about Tiebreakers can also be found here.

1.5.4 Finals

Match Format: Best-of-Five (“Bo5”) Games

Game Format: Six (6) 150cc Team Races

Team Size: 4 Players


  • Game Style: 150cc Race

  • Teams: Team Game

  • Items: Normal Items

  • COM: No COM

  • Vehicles: All Vehicles

  • Race Count: 6 Races

This match consists of the top two teams from each league. The Finals will be a series of Best-of-Five (Bo5) games. The team to achieve three game wins will be awarded the match win and declared the League Champion. If a single team reaches three (3) game wins before the start of a fourth game, a fourth game will not be played.

1.6 Special Rules

1.6.1 Track Selection

All players in the lobby MUST select “Random” during track selection in order to ensure a Random track is selected during a match. If a player does not select Random and their track is picked, a penalty of 15 points will be taken from the team’s final score for the game round.

At the end of the game, the reporting team must share the following with League Officials immediately:

  • A screenshot of the incorrect track selection by the player and the game itself choosing that player’s track for play

  • A screenshot of the final point result for the game round at the end of the 6th track.

Once reviewed and confirmed that a track was incorrectly selected and chosen, League Officials will penalize the offending team by subtracting 15 points from their final team score. This penalty is additive and applied for every instance where the rule was violated during the game.

Repeated violations of this rule may result in further team penalties at the discretion of league officials.

1.6.2 Tie-Breaker Resolution

In the case that both teams have equal points at the end of the six (6) races, an additional one (1) race will be set up directly following the conclusion of that game. Both teams will face off in that race and the winner of the tie-breaker is decided by the team with the highest point total at the end of the one (1) race.

1.6.3 Mii Racer

Players may select to play as their Mii™ Racer. All customized Mii characters must follow the PlayVS and Nintendo Code of Conduct, violations will result in penalties applied to your account and the team. This includes anything that can be seen as offensive, vulgar, or bad sportsmanship.

2. Player Equipment

2.1 Equipment

Each player on the Starting Roster must have access to school-provided equipment or must be permitted by the school to provide their own equipment in the following categories:

2.1.1 Nintendo Switch System

2.1.2 Monitor/Television

2.1.3 Headsets and/or Earbuds

2.1.4 Table and Chair

2.1.5 USB to Ethernet Adapter

2.1.6 Compatible Nintendo GameCube™ style controller, Nintendo Switch Joy-Con™ controller(s) or Nintendo Switch Pro Controller, or any Nintendo Switch compatible controller with no turbo mode availability.

2.1.7 Active Nintendo Switch Online membership

2.1.8 Mario Kart™ 8 Deluxe game

Each team is required to acquire two (2) Nintendo Switch systems, four (4) compatible controllers, two (2) Mario Kart™ 8 Deluxe games, and two (2) Nintendo Switch Online memberships. Equipment may be acquired through the school or, if permitted by the school, by players supplying their own.

While teams may compete in Mario Kart™ 8 Deluxe with only two (2) Nintendo Switch Consoles, we recommend using four (4) Nintendo Switch Consoles for an optimal competitive experience.

2.3 Internet Connection & Latency

Teams are expected to be connected to an internet connection using a wired connection method with their Nintendo USB to Ethernet Adapter. Using a wireless connection method or internet hotspot can lead to latency issues while competing in an online arena environment.

If latency issues exist during a match and a team is found to be using a wireless connection method, League Officials may require a restart, reschedule, or issue a loss for the game, set, or match.

2.4 Internet Connection Disputes

In the event that a match is affected by internet connection issues, please review and complete the steps in the help article for Internet Troubleshooting For Gameday Issues.

If the steps provided do not resolve your connection issues, contact PlayVS Support with the type of connection issue you are running into along with the requested screenshots from the article above.

Once connected with a representative, a PlayVS Admin will be sent to your match lobby chat to confirm the information submitted and address the situation. All disputes are addressed on a case-by-case basis, and rulings may require a restart, reschedule, or a loss for the game, set, or match.

If a single team’s connection issues persist throughout the season, matches may be resolved at League Officials discretion to ensure the season continues to move forward.

3. Match Process

3.1 Pre-Match Setup

Teams must adhere to Section 6.2 Pre-Match Setup as they prepare to join their match. Before the match, PlayVS will let the coach and players of both teams know who is responsible for hosting the match, setting up the games, and inputting the results.

3.2 Match Setup

3.2.1 Create Lobby

  • The Home Team will Start Mario Kart™ 8 Deluxe

  • From the Main Menu, select Online Play

  • Select Friends

  • Select Create Room, and confirm Yes

  • Choose Character and Kart configuration

  • Once in the Room, press A to access the Game Settings, and confirm the settings are reflected as shown in Section 1.5

Once the Room is created, share the Unique Room Code and Password with your opponent in Match Lobby Chat. Players will choose their character and kart configuration when they join the Room.

Confirm in Match Lobby Chat with your Opponent's Captain that their team is all loaded in and ready to play, then continue with the match.

3.2.2 Setup the Races

Once all players are confirmed and ready to compete, the Home Team Captain will set up the teams, placing all Home Team players on the Red team, and all Away Team players on the Blue team. Once players are assigned correctly, select OK to proceed to Track Selection.

3.3.3 Track Selection

Each player MUST choose Random from the track selection screen. Failure to do so can result in a point penalty per Section 1.6.1.

3.3.4 Changing Selections

All characters and kart configurations are approved for play. Players are allowed to change character and kart configuration between races by pressing the "Y" button while in the lobby between races. Ensure your players do not accidentally leave the lobby!

3.4 Match F.A.Q.

3.4.1 Spectating

As spectators may cause network latency issues for players, spectators are not allowed to use the in-game spectating tools during PlayVS matches according to section 7.7.2 Spectating Latency from the High School Competition Rulebook.

3.4.2 In-Game Content Updates

Mario Kart™ 8 Deluxe is a live service multiplayer game which may release new and/or updated content while the season is occurring.

The Mario Kart™ 8 Booster Course Pass DLC is recommended for all teams but not required. The courses in the DLC may show up during online competition, if 1 or more players in the lobby has them purchased, when players choose ‘Random’ during course selection. Due to this, we recommend that teams get the DLC in order to practice when possible on these courses to best prepare for their races.

Any content currently disabled in-game by Nintendo will not be available for use during official PlayVS matches. All PlayVS matches will occur on the most up-to-date patch, and any included content is eligible for use in PlayVS matches unless otherwise stated by League Officials.

3.4.3 Glitching

The use of any in-game glitches during a PlayVS match will not be tolerated. Any match disputes or submissions involving possible player glitches will need to be backed by video or screenshot proof of the use of a glitch. If a player is found to be using an in-game glitch to gain an advantage during a match, their team will be given a loss for that game and may be subject to further penalties at the discretion of league officials.

4. Post-Match Process

4.1 Results

If the match is completed using the PlayVS Match Assistant tool, then results will be recorded at the conclusion of each game using the tool.

In the event that the PlayVS Match Assistant could not be used, then the match results would need to be submitted manually within 1 hour of match completion. Players should take screenshots of the match results and share those with their coaches.

In the event of an error, coaches must contact PlayVS directly.

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