INCORRECT Confusing Card of the Week #76 – Howard Stark: Expert Businessman

Posted: February 21, 2017 in Uncategorized

Greetings Fellow Dice Fans!


*** Note ***
The information in this article is not accurate. I didn’t remove this article just because I made an error. Folks make mistakes – it’s part of being human. Never be ashamed of a mistake that you might make. Just make sure you learn from it!

Please see the corrected article, here.

For this week’s confusing card of the week article, we’re going to take a look at Howard Stark: Expert Businessman  from the Marvel Iron Man and War Machine Starter set.


Ruling – Ally

Ally is a keyword that means the character will count as a Sidekick in addition to any other type that it currently has, but only while the character is active in the Field Zone. A character with the Ally keyword does not count as a Sidekick in the bag, Prep Area, Reserve Pool, etc.

A character with Ally will become a Sidekick the very moment that it enters the Field Zone. This is not an optional keyword and you cannot trigger it because it applies the instant the character is fielded. This matters specifically for abilities like the one on Punisher: War Journal.

Ruling – Ability

Howard Stark’s ability is definitely a interesting one. You can only use it at the beginning of your turn, before you start your Clear and Draw Step. You can sacrifice a Howard Stark die to give the characters you control a +2A for the rest of the turn. You may sacrifice any number of Howard Stark dice and each will give a +2A, but you must do it before your Clear and Draw Step. This ability is optional to use. If you start your Clear and Draw Step and didn’t sacrifice a Howard Stark die first, you cannot back up because you missed the timing window for his ability.

When you sacrifice a character die, that die goes Out of Play until the Clean Up Step where it then goes to the Used Pile. When a die is Out of Play, game effects cannot affect those dice. Examples – Professor X: Recruiting Young Mutants Global cannot be used on Sidekicks Out of Play and Reclaim cannot be used to get a Howard Stark die into the Prep Area on the same turn it was sacrificed.

The buff that Howard Stark’s effect gives affects all characters you control at any point in your turn. Dice that you control are ones that you have purchased, rolled, and fielded – or ones that you ‘take control’ of with a special ability. If you sacrifice one Howard Stark die at the start of your turn, then roll two Sidekicks, they will get the +2A buff when they enter the Field Zone because you control those dice. If a character leaves your control during the same turn Howard Stark was sacrificed, it will lose the +2A buff because they are no longer under your control. An example of this would be the use of the ability on Scarecrow: Hallucinogenic Vapors. If you were using Scarecrow on your team and you used his ability to take control of an opposing character die, it is now under your control and gains the buff. If your opponent has Scarecrow on their team and were to use his ability and take control of one of your character dice, it would then be under their control and no longer gain the buff.

Miscellaneous Card Information

~ Howard Stark is a Mask Character.
~ He has the S.H.I.E.L.D. affiliation.
~ He has a max dice of four.
~ This card is a Common and is #2 of 34.

If you purchase the Iron Man and War Machine starter set, you will get all the cards, but not maximum dice for each character. You will need two starters for maximum character dice because those dice are not available in any other set.


These examples are for information purposes only, to show what would happen in certain scenarios. I am not suggesting that these examples are the best outcomes for each scenario and each example only features relevant parts of the turn, not the entire turn.

Example One:
Sacrificing more than one Howard Stark.

~I have two level one Howard Stark dice in the Field Zone, with no other character dice.
~ I begin my turn by sacrificing one of my Howard Stark dice. This will give all of my other characters +2A until end of turn. I sacrifice my second Howard Stark die, giving my characters an additional +2A for a total of +4A until end of turn.
~ (Clear and Draw Step) I clear any dice remaining in my Reserve Pool from the previous turn and draw four dice from my bag. Any character dice that I draw, roll, and field, will get the +4A buff.

Official Sources

WizKids Official Rules Forum (WORF) does not have a ruling for this specific card.

You can find an Ally ruling in the Punisher: War Journal ruling, and many other rulings, here.

You can find a ruling about Sacrifice, here.

Turn Order Summary Reference


Unlimited Competitive Play Rating

While I think this card is quite good, I don’t see anyone playing it unless Bard gets an errata or somehow makes the banned list (not likely). He costs one less than Bard, but you have to sacrifice him for his ability. Someone like me would try to use Stark in a major event, but I don’t see him making many team lists out there. There are better options for his type of ability – the big one being Bard. He does have the advantage of getting around Cold Guns though, so he’s not a card I’d forget about anytime soon just on the chance that we see a WizKids rotation that hits Bard.

Howard Stark: Expert Businessman gets a rating of one out of five stars.
1 Star

Prime Play Rating

I think this card is great for Prime, but I don’t expect a lot of folks to play him if they aren’t using Overcrush. He’s got great fielding costs, especially since you may be sacrificing him! But if you’re using Reclaim, he could easily be churned many times over for some pretty devastating results. Just remember that you don’t want a Reclaim die the same turn you sacrifice him, because he’ll be Out of Play on the turn he’s sacrificed. I have the perfect place for this card on my Grodd team and I can’t wait to try him out.

Howard Stark: Expert Businessman gets a Prime rating of three out of five stars.
3 Stars

Casual Play Rating

Howard Stark’s wording is not completely clear about being able to apply the effect to characters fielded on the same turn you sacrifice him. It’s not just a learning curve on strategy for that either, so I have to bump Stark down to a four star rating. The needed knowledge for sacrifice can be obtained easily if the player is looking for it. Some new players may confuse sacrificing for KO’ing, but once they know the difference, it’s not usually an issue. Lots of players forget or don’t know that sacrificed characters go Out of Play instead of the directly to the Used Pile. It’s a common mistake among players of all skill levels. I can easily recommend Howard Stark for players of all skill levels. He’s a great card, and he offers a great way to showcase the rarely used game mechanic, sacrifice.

Howard Stark: Expert Businessman gets a casual play rating of four out of five stars.
4 Stars

Opinions on this card? Leave a comment!
Is there a card your confused on?
Is there a combo that seems too good to be true?
Leave me a comment here or message me on Facebook at Dice Dice Kitty and thanks for reading!

Special thanks to The Reserve Pool for the use of their site.

Roll on, Dice Masters!

  1. Michaela K says:

    “If you sacrifice one Howard Stark die at the start of your turn, then roll two Sidekicks, they will get the +2A buff when they enter the Field Zone because you control those dice.” – are you sure that’s a static effect and not an applied effect?

    Liked by 1 person

    • It reads like a static effect to me. I’ve asked WORF to be sure.


    • Mr. DDK and I discussed this card at great length this morning and I asked WORF before I started the article, just to have a link to add later. But now, the more we look at it, the more we think it’s either applied and stacks or static and doesn’t stack. I was comparing his wording to Wong: Faithful Servant, but he’s a While Active. Being that you can sacrifice Stark and potentially stack his ability, means he shouldn’t be static. He still sounds like he’s static to me, but he’s likely not.


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