Shelob, Child of Ungoliant - Illustration by Lorenzo Mastroianni

Shelob, Child of Ungoliant | Illustration by Lorenzo Mastroianni

Did you know the average person swallows eight spiders in their sleep every year? Okay, that’s not true; really it's just six legendary spiders that crawl into your Commander decks once in a while.

Skittering and creeping across the battlefield, spider creatures have been the backbone of green’s answers to flying creatures since Urza’s Destiny. Until recently, it's been difficult to build a spider-based Commander deck, but the past few years have tripled the total number of legendary spiders!

Which legendary spider makes the best commander for your entirely creepy crawlies deck? Which ones aren’t worth it? Let’s dive into every spider commander in Magic: The Gathering.

What Are Spider Commanders?

Thantis, the Warweaver - Illustration by Jehan Choo

Thantis, the Warweaver | Illustration by Jehan Choo

For the purposes of this list, spider commanders are any of the legendary creatures with the spider creature type (I won't include the Alchemy-only Ishkanah, Broodmother here since it's only available on MTG Arena). They’re typically aligned with green and black, but one outlier has a Jund color identity. Most spider creatures have reach, and they tend to have more toughness than they do power. They may have spider-type-specific abilities or just be powerful legends on their own.

Honorable Mention: Izoni, Center of the Web

Izoni, Center of the Web

Before we hop into the list proper, I want to shout-out Izoni, Center of the Web. Izoni isn’t a spider itself, but it does create 2/1 Spider tokens whenever you can collect enough evidence (in this case, exiling cards from your graveyard with total mana cost 4 or more). Decks with this Golgari commander focus on self-milling and surveilling cards into their graveyard – not necessarily a spider-specific strategy, but a tried and true one nonetheless.

#6. Spinnerette, Arachnobat

Spinnerette, Arachnobat

If your play group approves of Un-Set commanders, Spinnerette, Arachnobat is undeniably an option for your spider deck. That said, Spinnerette wants to be built around the attraction cards from Unfinity, not necessarily other spiders.

Of the 50 attractions, none reference spiders at all. Spinnerette isn’t even in the correct colors to include some die-rolling synergies like Barbarian Class and Wyll, Blade of Frontiers. To make things worse, Spinnerette, Arachnobat’s payoff for opening three attractions is just a measly +2/+0 and menace, easily outclassed by almost any other 5-mana legendary creature.

#5. Arasta of the Endless Web

Arasta of the Endless Web

Arasta of the Endless Web is the only mono-green commander among legendary spiders. This plus its situational ability make it one of the worst choices for the commander of your spider EDH deck. While a 4-mana 3/5 with reach can make for fine value in a Limited environment, it won’t make a splash in a Commander pod. Arasta of the Endless Web could be a fun deck to build to specifically sink your friend’s Melek, Izzet Paragon storm deck, but otherwise there are just better options. Arasta could make it into the 99 of your spider deck, but it might find itself on the chopping block fairly soon.

#4. Shelob, Dread Weaver

Shelob, Dread Weaver

Shelob, Dread Weaver is a tough choice for your spider-typal deck. Its built-in almost-Leyline of the Void that lets you steal the exiled creatures is a great effect – graveyard hate and denying opponent’s best spells will always be effective strategies in Commander – but being a mono-black commander effectively locks it out of running really any other spider creatures. While Shelob, Dread Weaver makes a great commander for a deck based around removal and the graveyard, the only black spiders it can hope to run are Drider and Doom Weaver, plus the three artifact spiders Thran Spider, Arachnoid, and Canoptek Spyder.

#3. Thantis, the Warweaver

Thantis, the Warweaver

Thantis, the Warweaver was designed for the Commander 2018 precons and was the alternate-commander for the Lord Windgrace deck. Thantis’s ability forces everyone to attack whenever possible and gets stronger whenever someone attacks you.

While Thantis doesn’t necessarily synergize with spider creatures, it's got a few things going for it that push it up the list. First, Thantis is the only 3-color legendary spider, giving you access to a handful of red spiders (Dragonlair Spider is very good). Second, Thantis, the Warweaver’s incentivized attacks play well into a deck full of big-butted spiders with high toughness and reach. Even the humble Giant Spider becomes a threat when a measly little Zulaport Cutthroat has to attack into it.

Finally, check out this silly ruling from Thantis’s Scryfall notes:

Thantis, the Warweaver ruling

Thantis, the Warweaver card rulings

#2. Ishkanah, Grafwidow

Ishkanah, Grafwidow

Ishkanah, Grafwidow’s delirium ability and Golgari color identity make a great basis for a self-milling EDH deck. This 3/5 arachnid should always hit the field alongside three 1/2 Spider tokens. Where Ishkanah really shines is its activated ability – it's easy enough to fill your board with a lethal amount of spiders with cards like Arachnogenesis and Spider Spawning, so you can expect to pay that 7 mana and pump out 10+ damage with each activation.

#1. Shelob, Child of Ungoliant

Shelob, Child of Ungoliant

The legendary Shelob received not one, but two awesome legendary creature cards within The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth. Black-green Shelob, Child of Ungoliant is one of the best spider-typal commanders out there. It’s an 8/8 spider demon with Ward and deathtouch, which it shares with all spiders you control. But that’s not all! Whenever one of Shelob’s skittering offspring destroys an opponent’s creature, you create a copy of that creature, except it's a Food (with the appropriate Food ability) that loses its other types.

Shelob can’t turn your opponents’ creatures around and beat them with them, but it secures whatever activated and passive abilities those creatures had. Force a block from your opponent’s Blood Artist with a Hunt Down and now you’re the aristocrats player.

Best Spider Commander Payoffs

Spiders aren’t the most popular creature type, so they lack a lot of the synergies that elves or goblins get. There are still a few great includes in any spider deck, though.


First is Swarmyard. Nothing keeps your spider commander alive like Swarmyard. Save it from Murder, save it from Blasphemous Act; this is a no-brainer include in any spider deck.

Blex, Vexing Pest

Second, I really recommend Blex, Vexing Pest. Few spiders have a very impressive power-to-toughness ratio, so every little bit counts. At the very least, Blex brings those 1/2 spiders up to 3 toughness so they can survive combat with bears.

Door of Destinies Coat of Arms

Along these lines, other generic creature-type buffs should be considered: Door of Destinies, Coat of Arms, etc.

Wrap Up (in Webs)

Shelob, Dread Weaver - Illustration by Warren Mahy

Shelob, Dread Weaver | Illustration by Warren Mahy

Yuck! Glad we got that out of the way; I was starting to feel my skin crawl. While six spider commanders isn’t that many in the grand scheme of things, it's more than enough to offer players a few distinct play styles for their spider decks.

Will you build a goad-based Thantis, the Warweaver deck, or a more traditional Shelob, Child of Ungoliant typal deck? Is there some build where Arasta of the Endless Web can actually see play as a commander? Let me know in the comments, or over on Draftsim's Twitter/X or Draftsim Discord.

Thanks for reading, remember to sleep with your mouth closed!

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