Shelob, Child of Ungoliant MTG card art overlaid with Mono Color Magic article title for top 5 tribal spider commanders
Shelob, Child of Ungoliant – Artist: Lorenzo Mastroianni – TM & © 2023 Wizards of the Coast

Top 5 Tribal Spider Commanders in MTG Magic: the Gathering

Creating and playing a Spider Tribal (typal, kindred,) Commander deck can be a unique and flavorful experience. Spiders typically don’t fly, but they’re not weak against flying. Spiders have formidable offense and excellent defense. And one of the best things about having a spider commander is they tend to have powerful abilities that affect the game in ways your opponents won’t expect.

In most cases, you’ll be looking at black, green, or a combination of the 2 for your colors and mana base. There is a black/red/green (Jund) option as well.

Let’s fire off the top 5 commanders for a Spider Tribal deck, along with what makes them stand out and some synergistic cards and combos.

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1. Shelob, Child of Ungoliant

Shelob, Child of Ungoliant, from the Universes Beyond, the Lord of the Rings set, is the most popular spider commander in MTG. It’s easy to see why. Deathtouch. Ward 2. Give your other spiders deathtouch and ward 2. And, turn your opponents’ creatures’ deaths into food tokens for you. This just sounds like an elite spider card. And it should, it’s Shelob!

MTG Shelob, Child of Ungoliant spider commander card

High Synergy Creatures with Shelob, Child of Ungoliant as Your Spider Commander:

  • Arasta of the Endless Web – Paired with Shelob this nasty venom sac delivers an army of tiny deathtouch skitterers when your opponents sling spells.
  • Rotwidow Pack – Each dead creature creates another tiny spider friend, with deathtouch as long as Shelob is in play, and you’ll do some direct damage for each spider you control.
  • Twinsilk Spider – A 2 for the price of one deal on Silk Spiders! A quick little deathtouch army with Shelob.

High Synergy Spells for Shelob, Child of Ungoliant:

  • Spider Spawning – With Shelob out, create a massive army of deathtouch spider friends. Then flashback and double them!
  • Lolth, Spider Queen – Several abilities that mesh well with Shelob, including creating a couple spider creature tokens for -3.
  • Arachnogenesis – This is the ultimate slap in the face to your opponent’s attack with Shelob in play. Your opponent loses all their creatures to deathtouch spider blockers, while none of yours take damage unless they happen to have spiders too.

Artifacts and Land with Synergy for Shelob, Child of Ungoliant

  • Viridian Longbow – The Longbow will turn your tiny 8 legged friends into deathtouch Tim when Shelob is in play.
  • Nuka-Cola Vending Machine – With Shelob creating food tokens this slots in nicely.
  • Swarmyard – Regenerate a spider for nothing more than a tap of a land.

Combos for Shelob, Child of Ungoliant:

  • Shelob, Child of Ungoliant + Devoted Druid + Viridian Longbow
    • Attach the Longbow to Shelob and use it to smack the Druid. When the Druid dies it creates a food token copy. The food token copy can be tapped for a green mana immediately as an artifact, then put a -1-1 on it which can’t kill it because it has no other types than food artifact, and untap it. Repeat for infinite green mana!
    • You can replace Viridian Longbow with Pathway Arrows for the same combo effect
MTG Pathway Arrows card

  • Shelob, Child of Ungoliant + Devoted Druid + Ulvenwald Tracker
    • This works similar to the first combo, except we’re going to use the Tracker to force Shelob to fight the Druid this time. When Shelob’s deathtouch kills it and we get the food token copy we repeat the tap untap process with -1-1 counters that can’t kill the token.
    • This could also be accomplished with Setessan Tactics instead of Ulvenwald Tracker
MTG Setessan Tactics card

2. Ishkanah, Grafwidow

MTG Ishkanah, Grafwidow typal spider commander card

Ishkanah, Grafwidow was the quintessential choice for Spider Tribal decks prior to Shelob’s release. As a 3/5 with reach, she generates a number of 1/2 Spider tokens with reach equal to the number of card types among cards in your graveyard when she enters the battlefield.

Her activated ability lets you deal direct damage to your opponent, adding a potent win condition, and giving your commander a Golgari color identity, providing access to both green and black.

High Synergy Creatures with Ishkanah, Grafwidow as your Spider Commander:

  • Rotwidow Pack:
  • Arasta of the Endless Web
  • Shelob, Child of Ungoliant

But we’ve already been over those three, so let me throw in 3 additional creatures with great synergy!

  • Skyfisher Spider:
  • Nyx Weaver
  • Penumbra Spider

High Synergy Spells for Ishkanah, Grafwidow:

  • Spider Spawning:
  • Curse of Clinging Webs:
  • Assault Formation:

Artifacts and Land with Synergy for Ishkanah, Grafwidow:

  • Vanquisher’s Banner
  • Conduit of Worlds
  • Swarmyard

Combos for Ishkanah, Grafwidow:

  • Ishkanah, Grafwidow + Nim Deathmantle + Ashnod’s Altar:

This fun combo requires all three cards to be on the battlefield and that you have the delirium trigger for Ishkanah covered. Then sacrifice Ishkanah to Ashnod’s Altar. This will trigger the Deathmantle to bring Ishkanah back from the graveyard, and her enter the battlefield Delirium trigger will provide spider tokens.

Between the endless enter the battlefield tokens and Ishkanah, you can now sacrifice to Ashnod’s Altar at will and generate unlimited colorless mana.

If you have any black mana open, you can use Ishkanah’s activated ability to take out opponents with your endless spider army and a direct shot to the face.

3. Thantis, the Warweaver

Thantis, the Warweaver is a Jund-colored (black-red-green) Spider commander that encourages combat. She grows stronger with each attack and forces your opponents to attack each turn if able, which can disrupt their strategies while you build a defensive web.

Once attackers are declared, any coming at you pump Thantis, and this happens before damage. Her ability is decent, but between needing three colors of mana to cast, 6 total mana, and not being quite as potent as Shelob, Thantis falls to #3 on the list.

MTG Thantis, the Warweaver spider commander card

High Synergy Creatures with Thantis, the Warweaver as Your Spider Commander:

I’ll give you the top 3 here that aren’t either Shelob, Ishkanah, or Arasta (which would definitely make the list!)

  • Cactarantula
  • Rotwidow Pack
  • Dragonlair Spider

High Synergy Spells for Thantis, the Warweaver:

  • Vraska Joins Up
  • Arachnogenesis
  • Cunning Rhetoric

Artifacts and Land with Synergy for Thantis, the Warweaver:

Swarmyard could definitely fit in here again as a top land, but a little outside the box is Rogue’s Passage, which could let you swing with a very large Thantis for unblockable damage.

  • Vanquisher’s Banner
  • Door of Destinies
  • Rogue’s Passage

Combos for Thantis, the Warweaver:

There aren’t any endless combos that feature Thantis. However, some fun ones include anything that fogs your opponents’ combat, so you pump Thantis, but they do no damage. Think cards like Fog, Moment’s Peace, etc…

Also, when creatures attack and when creatures die effects can be extremely fun to throw in. Something like Caltrops is just devastating to token and weenie decks, but won’t hurt spiders too much that tend to have higher toughness than power.

4. Arasta of the Endless Web

Arasta of the Endless Web is a great defensive commander that creates 1/2 green Spider tokens with reach whenever an opponent casts an instant or sorcery spell. Her ability provides a steady stream of blockers and can dissuade opponents from casting spells.

*Mono Color Magic Alert!* Using Arasta of the Endless Web as your commander for a spider tribal deck limits your other spiders to green only based on her color identity. But, that also makes her a great choice for a mono-green spider commander deck!

MTG Arasta of the Endless Web card

High Synergy Creatures with Arasta of the Endless Web as your Spider Commander:

  • Glint Weaver
  • Twin-Silk Spider
  • Deadly Recluse

High Synergy Spells for Arasta of the Endless Web:

  • Curse of Clinging Webs
  • Sylvan Anthem
  • Arachnus Web

Artifacts and Land with Synergy for Arasta of the Endless Web:

Once again, Swarmyard fits here, but lets throw in Oran-Rief as another great option for utility land.

  • Bow of Nylea
  • Rhonas’s Monument
  • Oran-Rief, the Vastwood

Combos for Arasta of the Endless Web:

Arasta’s not one for combos, but she’ll work great as a tribal spider commander with cards like Assault Formation that allow your spiders to deal combat damage based on their toughness.

MTG Assault Formation card

5. Shelob, Dread Weaver

Shelob, Dread Weaver, from the Lord of the Rings set, brings a unique ability to the Spider Tribal strategy. She can exile opponents’ creatures that die, and then use them to pump herself and as a draw engine, or to reanimate those creatures onto your side of the board.

*Mono Color Magic Alert* This Shelob is limited as a spider commander to her color identity of only black. See our comprehensive list of other mono black commander options.

MTG Shelob, Dread Weaver card

High Synergy Creatures with Shelob, Dread Weaver as Your Spider Commander:

For the first time there are no spiders on the top creature synergy list. Black ones are just hard to find.

  • Merciless Executioner
  • Gravelighter
  • Witch-king of Angmar

High Synergy Spells for Shelob, Dread Weaver:

Cards like edicts and those with annihilator work great with this Shelob, filling your opponents’ graveyards for you to pick through and sting them with their own creatures.

  • No Mercy
  • Sheoldred’s Edict
  • Soul Shatter

Artifacts and Land with Synergy for Shelob, Dread Weaver:

The key to Shelob’s reanimator usefulness is haste, as evidenced by the following artifacts to include.

  • Swiftfoot Boots
  • Lightning Greaves
  • Throne of Eldraine

Combos for Shelob, Dread Weaver:

There aren’t any specific combos of Shelob, Dread Weaver to speak of, but, she can make a decent aristocrats or reanimator style commander. Include cards that boost these strategies and watch her work some magic!

MTG Reanimate card

These commanders each bring their unique strengths to a Spider Tribal deck, ensuring you can tailor your strategy to your playstyle. Whether you prefer a graveyard-focused approach, forced combat, defensive play, or leveraging powerful new abilities from the Lord of the Rings set, there’s a tribal spider commander here for you.

Credit to EDHREC for compiling the current usage stats for the above cards in commander decks!

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Bryan - MCM
Author: Bryan - MCM

Magic player since Revised in 94. Still remember opening boosters of Revised, the Dark, and Arabian Nights as a kid. Watching it be a big deal (and then let down) when Fallen Empires dropped. Then Magic got it right again and really took off. While the current state of Wizards is debatable, I still enjoy playing with friends and my kids. I don't do tournaments much these days but I've played Draft, Sealed, Standard, Extended (not a thing anymore,) Pre-Release, Grand Prix, States Qualifiers, and Teams tournaments. Though I'm not a judge, I'm the one the friends turn to when there's a rules question, and if I don't know it, I find it. Please, ask me anything, comment on posts, and share Magic with your friends and family!

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