Jeremy casts spells in between his careers as a chemical analyst and campus manager.
What Are Spiders in Magic: The Gathering?
In Magic, spiders represent a creature subtype generally scattered among the green faction, occasionally dipping into black or red. Spiders come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and while they generally have low power, their high toughness and reach abilities make them excellent blockers against flying units, helping balance green's usual land-based creatures.
10 Best Spider Cards
Some arachnids also brandish graveyard effects or traits that damage flyers, but with dozens of eight-legged predators running rampant, which monsters reign supreme? These are the ten best spider cards in Magic: The Gathering!
- Dragonlair Spider
- Stingerfling Spider
- Deadly Recluse
- Nyx Weaver
- Ishkanah, Grafwidow
- Hatchery Spider
- Arachnus Spinner
- Thantis, the Warweaver
- Obelisk Spider
CMC (Converted Mana Cost): 4
Like many spiders, Blightwidow draws on forest lands for fuel. Its 2/4 stats are only decent for its size, but like most arachnids, it carries reach, skillfully blocking even aerial attackers.
More than that, Blightwidow brandishes the valuable infect trait, dealing damage to creatures as -1/-1 counters and to opponents as poison counters (players lose when they collect ten). Unlike regular damage, -1/-1 counters don't wear off at the end of a turn, meaning anything Blightwidow guards will be permanently weakened if not killed outright, and its infect works well alongside other powerful diseased cards.
9. Dragonlair Spider
Dragonlair needs red's mountain lands alongside forests, and he takes a sizable chunk of mana, but remember that green's mana ramping spells can field titans sooner than usual.
Dragonlair's easily understood, carrying a fierce 5/6 stats and reach. Additionally, whenever your opponent casts a spell, you simply create a 1/1 green insect token, giving you some nice throwaway blockers. I wish the tokens counted as spiders and had reach, but still a nice way to swarm your arena.
8. Stingerfling Spider
2/5 isn't terribly impressive on a five-cost creature, but Stingerfling's reach makes it another handy anti-air tool for green. More than that, when Stingerfling enters the field, you can destroy a target creature with flying, letting this potent arachnid serve as a handy creature/removal combo.
It's as simple as that; use Stingerfling to destroy an airborne enemy and guard against any who remain. Note that the destruction is optional, preventing you from having to destroy your own flying unit in the rare cases where you control one and your opponent doesn't, although you can nuke your own troop if for some reason you want to.
7. Deadly Recluse
The aptly named Deadly Recluse only carries 1/2 stats, but he's inexpensive and harbors both reach and deathtouch, letting him kill any enemy he strikes regardless of their toughness. It's as simple as that; keep Recluse untapped and ready to block any assault, land or sky, hopefully killing something more expensive in the process.
6. Nyx Weaver
As an enchantment creature mix, Nyx qualifies for numerous supports—but also removals. He wields a respectable 2/3 stats and carries both the green and black colors, so mix some swamps in with your forests.
In addition to reach, Nyx also mills the top two cards from your deck into your graveyard during your upkeep, stocking your graveyard with fuel for abilities like spell mastery, threshold, and flashback. Additionally, you can spend three mana and exile Nyx to return a card from your graveyard to hand. Thanks to your milling, you should have plenty of recycle options, and this handily chains to a removal that would eliminate Nyx anyway, giving some final bang for your buck.
5. Ishkanah, Grafwidow
A rare legendary spider, Ishkanah can serve as commander in EDH format, and he carries a decent 3/5 stats for his price. He's also got reach and a nice delirium effect: by having at least four different types of cards in your graveyard, you create three 1/2 spider tokens with reach when Ishkanah enters the field.
You now have several handy blockers who can deter any type of attack, and Ishkanah's final effect spends seven mana (including one black) to decrease an opponent's life by one for every spider you control. A rather expensive ability, but counting Ishkanah and his tokens, you'll sap at least four life, making this a nice way to finish off injured foes.
4. Hatchery Spider
Our most expensive arachnid, Hatchery needs seven mana but carries a great 5/7 stats and reach. Like many eight-legged beasts, he rewards you for stocking your graveyard with creatures, which his late entry should give you plenty of time to do.
When cast, Hatchery's undergrowth trait reveals X cards from your deck, where X is the number of creatures in your graveyard. You may place a green permanent with a CMC of X or less onto the field, randomly moving the other spells to the bottom of your deck. This works similarly to the cascade ability, essentially giving you a free unit when Hatchery hits the field! Just watch out for cards like "Bojuka Bog" that can exile your graveyard and weaken the effect.
3. Arachnus Spinner
5/7 stats look even better on a six-cost creature such as Arachnus, and he can of course block flyers thanks to reach. Beyond that, this monogreen creature can tap any untapped spider you control to search the aura enchantment "Arachnus Web" from either your graveyard or library and attach it to any creature!
Web castrates a unit by making it unable to attack, block, or activate abilities; however, Web destroys itself at the end of the turn if attached to a creature with four or more power. Thus, I appreciate that Spinner can either find it from your deck or recover it from your graveyard, letting you easily field it despite its potential self-destruction. And since Spinner's ability doesn't actually include the tap symbol, you can even use it the turn you summon him despite not having haste.
2. Thantis, the Warweaver
Thantis is expensive and a bit risky, but this legendary creature accesses green, black, and red, useful if you want a multicolor spider EDH deck. Thantis wields a nice 5/5, complemented by both reach and vigilance, letting him swing without tapping.
Additionally, Thantis forces all creatures to attack when able. This includes your own, so make sure you're prepared for war before casting Thantis, but it baits opposing utility units into unwanted combat. It also stacks with Thantis's last trait: he gains a +1/+1 counter whenever a creature attacks you or a planeswalker you control, fortifying himself for battle as your opponent is forced to fight you.
1. Obelisk Spider
Obelisk may not be legendary, but this lets you field multiple copies at once, and he offers a tempting boost for just three mana. 1/4 stats aren't bad on a three-cost creature, and of course Obelisk bears reach. More than that, whenever he inflicts combat damage to a creature, you place a -1/-1 counter on them!
Thus, Obelisk hits for his usual one damage plus a lasting -1/-1 counter that won't wear off at the end of the turn. This beautifully combos with his next trait, stealing a life from each opponent whenever you put one or more -1/-1 counters on a creature. Use Obelisk and other debuffs to rapidly drain life from your opponent while crippling their monsters, and note it even works if you place the counters on your own troops.
Obelisk's potent defense and ongoing life drain make him one of my favorite black and green cards who has won me several matches, and I especially appreciate how cheap he is, often costing less than a single dollar!
How to Build a Spider Deck in Magic
As great as spiders are for blocking aerial assaults, not many rely on other spiders, so they're often best used as supports for other subtypes, like elves or zombies. Still, remember that Ishkanah rewards you for swarming with his life drain, and the green instant "Arachnogenesis" creates numerous spider tokens and temporarily negates battle damage by non-spiders. "Hidden Spider" is a cheap enchantment that becomes a 3/5 spider with reach when your opponent casts a flyer, offering even more anti-air countermeasures.
But for now, as we eagerly await Wizards of the Coast's next expansion of arachnophobia-causing cards, vote for your favorite creature and I'll see you at our next MTG countdown!
© 2018 Jeremy Gill
Jeremy Gill (author) from Louisiana on February 08, 2020:
Rotwidow debuted in Modern Horizons, which released after this list was originally made. I'll update it sometime, but I go back and forth as to whether Ishkanah or Rotwidow is better; currently I think Rotwidow in standard, Ishkanah in commander.
Also, if someone manages to pull off an infinite mana combo while they control Ishkanah, that should be game (he'll just keep draining life until opponents lose).
Jorge on February 06, 2020:
I built a spider deck intent on basing it off ishkanah grafwidow, but the delerium hardly ever worked and the mana ability of making my opponent lose life for each of my spiders was expensive. So instead i put for copies of rotwidow pack into my deck to replace my ishkanahs that i took out. It gives you the same mana ability of making your opponents lose life for each spider you control, except the mana ability is cheaper and creates more spiders in the process. I think that rotwidow pack is essential to anyone making a spider deck and im surprised its not on this list
Rex H on November 17, 2019:
I have a deck with Nyx Weaver. It allows me to “search” for a card (hint: Nemesis of Mortals). It also combos beautifully With Nemesis of Mortals, which costs 1 less to cast for each creature in your graveyard, and its monstrosity ability also costs 1 less to cast for each creature in your graveyard. Because of Nyx Weaver, I can almost always play him and make him monstrous for only 4 green mana. A 10/10 for four mana usually wins me the game pretty quickly. Especially since I have 3 of them in my deck.
zeff on May 20, 2019:
I got two watchers in the web, which are five cost creatures (2/5 Reach) that have the ability to block eight creatures
Alexis on October 20, 2018:
Just got a Hatchery Spider during a draft and really like it. Building a spider deck could be fun.