Giant Spider was the longest-lasting member of the core set survivors—that is to say, it was printed in every core set from Alpha all the way to Magic 2012, lasting longer than any other card from the first set. It was left out of Magic 2013, returned in Magic 2014 and hasn’t been seen since. Personally, I think Spiders have gotten short shrift since Giant Spider’s exclusion from M13, with cards like Giant Mantis and Seed Guardian taking over Giant Spider’s spot in the curve (okay, Hitchclaw Recluse exists, but it’s really not the same!)
Well, it seems like someone at Wizards has decided to apologize to those of us who love to block flyers with enormous arachnids—and that apology has come in the form of Ishkanah, Grafwidow.
The first thing to note is that Ishkanah’s color identity for Commander is GB, meaning you’re not locked into a mono-colored deck. This is a good thing, because the 1/2s Ishkanah spawns play quite well with black’s sacrifice themes. Additionally, this means that you get to play Spider Spawning!
With Ishkanah’s delirium effect being so important for getting full value out of the card, filling the graveyard will be mandatory—and, as it turns out, that works pretty well for Spider Spawning.
For those of you who never got to live the dream back in M12 and draft this thing with some Giant Spiders and Arachnus Webs… well, this is not going to be quite the same, but it’ll still be a lot of fun. A deck can only pack 1 Arachnus Web, but luckily, Arachnus Spinner can spin that web right out of the graveyard and back onto the battlefield. Enjoy the green Arrest, albeit one with a moderate downside.
Nyx Weaver is nice enough to put cards into the graveyard for Ishkanah. If it ends up in the graveyard itself, it’s also an enchantment creature, which helps delirium. That won’t happen much, as its Regrowth effect exiles it, but happily that effect is powerful enough that I don’t think anyone will complain.
Reach is nice, but when the sky is full of Dragons, as it often is in Commander, sometimes you need an ace in the hole. When the table chatter turns ugly, Silklash Spider can be a nice way to clear the air.
This is already a fun trick when a lot of creatures are attacking you, but it’s even better when your creatures are predominantly Spiders—and the way we’re constructing this deck, that’s a near certainty.
You’ll have a decent amount of Spider tokens from cards like Ishkanah and Spider Spawning, so letting them die for profit shouldn’t be an issue, should it? Cards like Attrition and Vampiric Rites can help you find ways to make those deaths even more profitable as well.
Yep, that’s right, Swarmyard regenerates Spiders. Very few people actually remember what this card does, so it’ll be a fun surprise!
Deadbridge Chant fills the graveyard for Ishkanah and Spider Spawning while simultaneously adding some extra value to your upkeep. You’ll have to make sure to keep the card type spread wide enough for delirium to work properly, but that shouldn’t be too big of an issue.
Spiders are notoriously much tougher than they are powerful, so Assault Formation can help them get pumped up for an attack (or win combat on defense!)
Okay! If you’re as excited to have fun with Spiders as I am (and fun is the operative word here, since this certainly isn’t the most powerful deck ever) then you’ll want the deck list. Well, here you go!