Manifest and how it functions on Ethereal Ambush. As I continue to work on my set review for Standard Pauper, I thought I would take the rest of this week to look at the other two new mechanics and what impact I expect them to make in the format. Earlier this week I looked at the Dash mechanic. Today I will finish off my looking at the Bolster mechanic.
At Common, we only get three Bolster cards: Abzan Advantage, Abzan Skycaptain, and Map the Wastes. First off, for a base-line, placing one +1 / +1 counter on a creature is a pretty marginal ability, one that is not worth an entire card. Placing two +1 / +1 counters on a single creature is still marginal, but as an Instant it might see some fringe play. Additionally, with Bolster, you only get to place the counters on your weakest creature. Most of the time, you would rather place it on your strongest creature. And worse yet, since Bolster doesn't actually target, it doesn't even trigger Heroic. So, as a baseline, each of these Bolster cards need to pretty good already to make the cut, with the Bolster effect only as a nice secondary ability.
Unfortunately, these three cards are pretty mediocre at best, with Abzan Advantage being downright terrible. An 'edict' style ability for Enchantments is all downside; a 2/2 Flyer for 4 is below par for White; and a Rampant Growth effect, while fine, hasn't seen much play in the format in the past.
Unless Dragons of Tarkir gives us something better, Bolster will not have any noticeable effect in Standard Pauper.