By this point, you should have access to the “Challenges” part of the main menu, and are generally familiar with how basic progression works in this game: (Score High, get Grand Star, unlock prize box/next cup, repeat). You’ve also seen that a number of prizes in the box are locked behind owning a “Gold Pass”.
Now, you want these gifts, as they’ll make your life quite a bit easier in future tours. However, the first thing you need to do is figure out if acquiring all the prizes in the current tour is viable, or if you should wait for the next one. The final three gifts are always High-End skill+ tickets (valued at a combined ~32,000 coins, so absolutely worth your while).
The top prize requires 340 Grand Stars.
You can earn up to 18 grand stars per cup, and there are 16 cups, for a total of 288.
There are also 30 grand stars available through the two Tour Challenges Bingo Cards on the Challenge sheet. This brings us to 318.
However, the final two Cups of each Tour require notoriously high scores to complete, making 100% completion of all Cup Grand Stars a very difficult feat (for your first tour) without spending inordinate amounts of cash on the gacha. After your 3rd or 4th tour, your inventory should be varied enough that these become within the realm of possibilities. Therefore, I estimate that a new player will be able to earn about 27 of the grand stars in each of the final two cups of his or her first tour, bringing us down to only about 309.
There are also up to 16 grand stars available through Daily Challenges. On the first day of every tour, you are given a list of three challenges to complete, each worth 1 Grand Star, with one additional on each subsequent day.
Head to the “Challenges” menu. Add 3 to the number of days listed as being left for Tour Challenges 1. That is the number of Grand Stars you can potentially earn through Daily Challenges (assuming you're starting today). So, at best we’re at a total of 325 grand stars.
An early tour gift also grants 2 Star Tickets, redeemable during any tour for 1 Grand Star apiece. With these you are granted a bit of leeway in tour completion, and they can sometimes help you get a final reward.
The final “worth it” reward (a handful of Rubies and a Skill+ ticket) without the Gold Pass is found at 325 Grand Stars. The final three boxes, without a Gold Pass only constitute a single day’s worth of Coins.
Finally, the Gold Pass opens up an additional challenge board, worth another 15 Grand Stars, and one of the Gold Pass Gifts includes 3 more Star Tickets.
If your estimate for Grand Stars with the Gold Pass brings you to a comfortable 342 (I recommend giving yourself a little bit of wiggle room), generally if the game says that there are 11-13 days left in the Tour, then you should begin your Gold Pass free trial during the current tour.
If it says there are 8-10 days left, there is a chance that you may be able to hit 340 Grand Stars, but I’ll leave that up to you.
If it says 0-7 days left, enjoy your first week of play, do whatever you want, but hold off on that Gold Pass until the next Tour. Our goal is for a Gold Pass to grant you two complete tours worth of rewards. Complete what you can, get to Rank 1 in the current Ranked Cup (In Tier 1 your opponents’ scores are artificially reduced, so this should be very doable), and otherwise save the handful of Star and Quick tickets the game hands to you.
NEVER SPEND STAR TICKETS UNLESS IT IS THE FINAL DAY OF A TOUR OR YOUR GOLD PASS SUBSCRIPTION.
The key to optimal Gold Pass Trial uses is to wait until Monday or Tuesday in the second week of a Tour. (Tours begin on Wednesdays/late Tuesday night in the US, depending on Time Zone).
By redeeming it Monday or Tuesday, you give yourself enough time to complete all of the Gold Challenges, granting you the last few Grand Stars needed to progress, as well as covering most of the 2nd week of your 2nd Tour. This should allow you to earn enough Grand Stars for every reward in your 2nd tour. Even if you end up relying on a few Star Tickets at the very end, don’t worry! That’s why you held on to them in the first week!
Proper Gold Pass Trial utilization (based on the rewards of the New York and Tokyo Tours) to cover two Tours will grant you the following from Tour Gifts:
70 Rubies, 3600 Coins, 100 item tickets, 6 Star Tickets, 18 Skill-up Tickets (2 for each rarity/item type), 18 score+ tickets (6 for each item type), 4 quick tickets, 2 normal karts, 2 super karts, 2 High-End Karts, and 2 High-end Drivers.
The Skill-up and Karts/Drivers alone are worth 130,600 coins.
Add the coins and we’re at 134,200.
In addition, you can earn 400 coins and 5 rubies from each Gold Challenge sheet, bringing our grand total in value to:
80 Rubies, 135,000 coins, plus a few other bonus items.
The coin purchase value of all 100 items held within a pipe is 159,600, and it costs 450 rubies to do so.
This means that two weeks of a gold pass has the same effective value as 460 Rubies.
Likewise, the Paid gold pass can cover at least 3 complete tours, making a $5, properly-timed paid subscription worth at least 690 rubies. (Just like the Free Trial, start your month on the Monday or Tuesday immediately before the end of a Tour). Potentially, the gold pass could cover the entirety of a 4th tour, so long as you also spend enough Quick Tickets to have access to all cups immediately, along with roughly 20 star tickets (I recommend 25 to be safe). (Again, you need 340 total, and without the week 2 challenges, you'd have 288(max from cups) + 30(Week 1 challenges and Gold challenges) + 3 (Day-1 of a tour includes 3 Daily Challenges)=321 max stars day 1. Depending on the length (and day) you purchased your pass, you may or may not get 2-3 more daily challenge Grant Stars. So, hang on to your tickets during the first 3 of your pass, and you might be able to wait a while for the final tour.
If the 2nd best deal are the $20 packs including one Super character have an effective value of about 54 Rubies. A paid Gold Pass grants nearly 13x the in-game value of that, or about a $255 worth of the other packages. I’ve never understood Nintendo’s method in how they determine Gacha prices, but the fact is that that you should steer clear of every in-game purchase other than the Gold Pass.
Finally: You can cancel your subscription at any time and still get the complete free-trial or month you paid for!
Feel free to subscribe on Monday, cancel the same day, and don't worry about Google or Apple auto-renewing (and wasting a few of your hard-earned dollars!)
Head to Part 3 for advice on clearing Cups and Challenges! (Coming Soon)
To catch the next section of our 4 part series, be sure to hit the link below!