Spawn of Thraxes is a Dragon creature card in Magic the Gathering that can inflict significant 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. In any case, thanks to the popularity of the Dragon tribe in Commander, it wasn’t hard to see the Spawn seeing play somewhere. Indeed, after being a decent Limited bomb, this Dragon found his way into several Mono-Red Commander decks.
What makes Spawn of Thraxes particularly interesting is the versatility of its enter the battlefield ability, being able to deal damage equal to the number of Mountains you control to either a creature or player. This Dragon can either 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 the Mountains in your deck.
Also, Spawn of Thraxes doesn’t cost 7 mana most of the time in a dedicated Dragon Commander deck. 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 the Spawn 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.
Most recently, Spawn of Thraxes has become an interesting tech card in Florian, Voldaren Scion decks. Florian’s ability cares about how much life opponent’s have lost before your postcombat main phase. Since the Spawn can deal substantial damage to a player, often as much as seven or more simply by entering play, Florian can dig that many cards deeper to find a card to exile and play that turn. This may not seem like a perfect synergy, but Florian also plays Olivia, Crimson Bride, who can reanimate Spawn of Thraxes from the graveyard, therefore triggering the Dragon’s enter-the-battlefield ability. The deck sometimes also plays Bladewing the Risen to much the same effect. While it’s not the primary strategy used with Florian as a Commander, it does show that Spawn of Thraxes can fill this sort of niche for even Commander decks that aren’t primarily focused on the Dragon tribe.
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, as well as other Red decks that care about his ability to deal a big chunk of damage at once.
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.