Jesper Myfors. Genius? Madman? Wizards of the Coast Art Director?
I have heard all these claims and more. Suffice to say he is responsible for some of the most iconic cards in the primordial Magic: the Gathering soup.
Imagine if Wrath of God had been a common. I'll tell you right now, It would have gotten no respect, no respect whatsoever. The same was true for Pestilence, at least at first.
In EDH, there is definitely something to be said for showing someone the stick you plan on hitting them with.
While a carefully hidden hand might mean something in Constructed Land, EDH especially in a multiplayer setting requires the rattlesnake to make a little noise. That way they know you're serious.
I love enchantments such as Seal of Fire and Seal of Doom. The way to look at Pestilence is taking these same spell effects to the next level.
What spell effect do you get with Pestilence? Worst case scenario, its a simple Earthquake you can use to clear the board.
But here's the best case scenario…if you have a large creature already on the board, Pestilence is more like a repeatable Pyroclasm. You can blow up utility creatures again and again almost effortlessly.
Sure, you lose a little life…but you start with 40!
Pestilence has long been a black control staple, and a common sight in the first prototypes of the dreaded blue/black deck. What better way to control the board than with a Pestilence waiting patiently on the board until you chose to wipe things up and start over with your opponent at the disadvantage!
A must for EDH, and certainly for my EDH decks. My version is the first, best one. The one we have Jesper Myfors to thank for. He didn't design it, but he did give us the weird shriveled gammy-eyed freak I know and love in the art box.
More about Jesper Myfors, Master of the "Horrific Gauche" here.