Spawn of Thraxes is a Dragon creature card in Magic the Gathering that can do a ton of damage in a Mono-Red deck. Of course, for Standard play, a seven mana casting cost was far too much for Red Deck Wins to muster. Still it wasn’t hard to see the Spawn seeing Commander play. Indeed, after being a decent Limited bomb, this Dragon found his way into a lot of Mono-Red Commander decks.
Being able to deal damage equal to the number of Mountains you control to a creature or player makes the Spawn’s effect versatile. He can take out a problem creature or deal a substantial amount of damage to an opponent. This isn’t necessarily an efficient way to spend 7 mana in most Constructed decks. But, in Commander, you’re not going to mind paying 7 mana to deal a ton of damage late in the game after you’ve played most of your Mountains.
Also, in Commander, Spawn of Thraxes doesn’t cost 7 mana most of the time in a dedicated Dragon deck. This is partly because creatures such as Dragonlord’s Servant and Dragonspeaker Shaman exist to greatly reduce the casting costs of Dragons. There are also many Enchantments that benefit you whenever you have a Dragon come into play, making Spawn of Thraxes even more valuable in the context of a dedicated Dragon tribal deck.
The two Commanders that took full advantage of Spawn of Thraxes’ ability right away were Feldon of the Third Path and Zirilan of the Claw. Feldon can create token copies of any creature card in your graveyard. This means you can create a Spawn token for only 3 mana as many times as you want. You get that effect and also a 5/5 creature token with flying and haste for that turn.
Zirilan can search him right out of the deck for three mana. In this case, he also gains haste. However, he has to be removed from the game at the end of the turn. In both cases, one summon of the Spawn is almost always going to be worth it.
Since then, Spawn of Thraxes has found a few more homes in other Dragon Tribal decks led by Lathliss, Dragon Queen, who creates a 5/5 Dragon creature token with flying every time a nontoken Dragon comes into play. Drakuseth, Maw of Flames has become another popular Mono-Red Dragon Tribal Commander who also has played Spawn of Thraxes, although there isn’t really any synergy between the two Dragons.
Two other Commanders who have included Spawn of Thraxes in a high percentage of their lists are Ilharg, the Raze-Boar and Purphoros, Bronze-Blooded. Ilharg is a particularly potent Commander for the Spawn, since Ilharg’s attack trigger puts a creature from your hand into play tapped and attacking. The creature then returns to your hand at the end step. That means you can keep putting Spawn of Thraxes into play, dealing lots of damage to a big creature or an opponent’s face.
The synergy between Purphoros, Bronze-Blooded and Spawn of Thraxes isn’t as perfect as it is with Ilharg. But, Purphoros does something similar to Ilharg, in that for just 3 mana (2 generic and 1 Red) you can put a red or artifact creature card onto the battlefield, but it’s sacrificed at the end step. The good news is that Purphoros gives all of your creatures haste, so you get to attack with the Spawn before he’s likely sacrificed. However, Purphoros, Bronze-Blooded also happens to play Feldon of the Third Path, so there’s that interaction in the deck, too.
How much is Spawn of Thraxes worth? Being a promo that had a high supply and relatively low demand, Spawn of Thraxes’ price is probably never going to escape the dollar bin at local game stores. Still, this Dragon is a great addition to many Dragon Tribal decks.
Spawn of Thraxes may not win the game on his own, but he can deal a great amount of damage for often as little as three mana. This card is worth picking up on the cheap for your collection, especially the foil alternate art promo version from the Journey into Nyx prerelease. As more Dragon tribal commanders are released, he’s sure to find a few more homes.