As one of the most symbolic permanents in game, the Golden Hourglass is often considered to be a very vital permanent in any Time deck, due to its simple ability. Hasten allows the player to draw an additional card when activated, thus increasing a player’s draw rate per turn. While many decks generally end up with a total around 30 cards, the Hourglass allows any player (with quanta) the ability to draw more cards out of their deck, thus ‘shortening’ a bigger deck in the long run.
The Golden (or Electrum) Hourglass is an almost unique permanent in the sense that it has an activated ability that can be used each turn (excluding rare weapons). Although many decks revolve around having around 30 cards to increase the chances of finding what they need, Hourglasses extend that number to higher quantities, thus giving you more draws to play more creatures, spells, or other permanents to control the battlefield. Because it has an activated ability, playing the Hourglass places a 1-turn ‘wait’ for you to use its ability (similar to creatures with activated abilities). However, once that turn passes by, you’ll be able to use Hasten on each subsequent turn (once per turn) to draw needed cards to help you win. Because of the massive gain of drawn cards per turn, having multiple Hourglasses on the field will allow the player to draw multiple cards from the deck to either play them or save them for special combos – of course, if you are unable to play these cards based on your quanta pool, you may risk placing yourself in a position where you may have to discard a card (overdrawing).
Unlike Sundials, Hourglasses are a mono-type card and do not require quanta in order to gain use of the Hasten ability. But unfortunately, they are somewhat expensive. For an initial four quanta, a player may potentially increase their draw rate for the entire course of the battle. Unupgraded, the Hasten ability costs 2 quanta to use, making it an even more expensive card when used continously – if you upgrade it however, Hasten is reduced to only 1 quanta, making it easy to fuel for any deck with a Time Mark. From this fact alone, the Hourglass is a figurative ‘heart’ of various larger rainbow decks that require multiple cards from different elements, pumping in cards to maintain a steady flow of quanta generation (drawing pillars and towers) and quanta usage.
There are of course other weaknesses with Hourglass. Aside from overdrawing, the Hourglass is one of the most well-known (and potentially threatening) permanents in any game, especially against the A.I. (specifically False Gods). Player and computer opponents alike may tend to use permanent control to either take or destroy an Hourglass away from the player, thus denying them the ability to speed up their deck as a whole. False Gods specifically aim for your Hourglasses before everything else (including shields, pillars, and sometimes even weapons). The reason is simple: if you can increase your draw rate to their amount (two cards per turn) or more, then your deck can be potentially just as dangerous as theirs. Because of this, it’s important to either take counters to permanent control, or simply be cautious of the quanta they have from each element to determine if your Hourglass will be rendered useless.
Another concern is the possibility of decking yourself out – if you draw too many cards with your Hourglasses too quickly, you may find yourself with fewer cards than the opponent, which may end in your loss against a stalling deck – in other words, you’ll lose by not having any cards left to draw. In addition, using Hasten while having zero cards left will result in an automatic loss (deck out), which can occur if you’re not careful where you’re clicking. Eternity (or the spell Rewind) helps prevent this issue by rewinding your creatures back into the deck to avoid deck-out.Despite the above issues, Hourglasses are often used in various decks that have 40-60 cards in them to avoid the issues of not having the cards you need in hand to play. In fact, because of its very nature, Hourglasses are generally good in stalling decks where you use defenses or other cards to delay your opponent from killing you outright – Phase Shield and Sundial are exceptional cards to use in combination with Hourglasses for that. Finally, should you face a tough opponent with generous permanent control, playing an Hourglass to bait those spells may allow you to safely play other more vital permanents (shields and weapons) without them being at risk for destruction.