It's Core Set 2020 Preview Week here at Dingus Egg! Today's preview card provides a new spin on a classic character. Here it is:

Teferi, Zhalfirin Embyro

With Teferi, Hero of Dominaria rotating out of Standard later this year, the Esper Control decks we all love playing against will lose one of the most important tools in their toolbox. Obviously, Teferi, Zhalfirin Embryro doesn't have the same raw power level as his big brother, or even his medium brother Teferi, Time Raveler. He can't remove a Goblin Chainwhirler, he doesn't draw you cards, and his -1 ability is only any good the first time you use it. But there's more here than meets the eye. Let's go through Teferi, Zhalfirin Embryo's abilities one by one so I can show you what I mean.

Teferi's static ability isn't quite as splashy as some of the others in Standard. With Teferi out, your opponents can still draw as many cards as they want, and they can even cast spells at instant speed after he hits the board - kind of underwhelming, even for one mana. But it can still do some useful things in the right situation. Experimental Frenzy's a lot less impressive if you've got no way to destroy it once it's served its purpose, and turning Fanatical Firebrand into a Raging Goblin is just the icing on the cake. Of course, that works a lot better on the play than on the draw, but that's par for the course for Standard in 2019.

The +1 ability doesn't look like all that much. After all, Time Walk hasn't seen play in Standard for well over a decade, and this ability isn't even a Time Walk. Since it's a planeswalker ability, you can only cast it at sorcery speed, which means you can't combine it with Teferi, Time Raveler to serve as Nexus of Fate number five through eight. But remember, you still draw a card on your extra turn - and unlike Teferi, Hero of Dominaria's +1 ability, this one works even if your opponent's got a Narset, Parter of Veils! Pro tip: If you use his +1 ability the turn Teferi, Zhalfirin Embryo comes out, you can use his -1 ability on your extra turn and he'll still have 2 loyalty, leaving him out of Goblin Chainwhirler range. Not bad for one mana!

Finally, we come to Teferi's -1 ability. The Platinum Angel effect has been getting cheaper and cheaper over time. In Mirrodin block, it cost a whopping seven mana. By Guilds of Ravnica, it was down to {1} {U} {B}. Maybe one mana is the magic number at which it's actually Standard-playable! And of course, even if you never use it, you've still got his static and +1 abilities - planeswalkers can be plenty powerful even without a minus ability.

When you put it all together, you get a card that's more than the sum of its parts. By shutting down cards like Fanatical Firebrand and Hallowed Fountain, his static ability gives him the survivability he needs to compensate for his puny starting loyalty. Combining that with his +1 ability makes Teferi, Zhalfirin Embryo one of the few planeswalkers who can consistently survive until your next turn. In today's Standard environment, that's nothing to sneeze at.

The Modern players out there are probably shaking their heads at this point. "That's all well and good for Standard," they're saying in perfect unison, "but can I fit this card into my Modern decks?" The answer is probably no - it's been years since cards this expensive were viable in a format as fast as Modern. But he solves enough problems that he might see play in some sideboards, especially if Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis doesn't get banned. Teferi's static ability stops Altar of Dementia cold, and his -1 ability is nearly as strong as Rest In Peace against graveyard-based decks. Will that be enough? Probably not. At the end of the day, Teferi, Zhalfirin Embryo is just too fair for Modern.

Teferi, Zhalfirin Embryo may not have the raw power level of some other versions of Teferi that we've seen in the past few years, but his flexibility and low mana cost mean that he should be able to find a place in Standard, especially once his big brother rotates out. I can hardly wait!