Welcome back to Uncommon Sense! I’m excited today to be talking about not just a great uncommon but a great card, a real stand-out among utility creatures – the Burnished Hart! One of my personal favourite cards from Theros block, and in fact one of my all-time top cards, the poor unfortunate Hart gets nowhere near the love it deserves. I’ve had games against friends where I’ve played this card, only to find the responses are inevitably both puzzled and negative. Why are you playing that? It’s rubbish! A clunky little artifact in a format fuelled by huge creatures and crazy combos? It’s a wasted play.
So reader, answer me this; what makes this card so good? If you answered “Um…not a lot?” then fear not – you may be wrong, but you’re certainly in the majority on that count. Like so many of us I originally picked up Magic in a 60-card format, and all too often struggle to shake off habits of thought learned during that time. Looked at through those eyes, Burnished Hart really is nothing special. It’s land ramp, but it’s slow and expensive land ramp, costing a total of six mana for two (tapped) basic lands. The cost is not worth the investment.
But this ain’t your grandpappy’s Magic. This is Commander. We can’t simply splash green and run four copies of Rampant Growth for our ramping needs. It’s a slower format that demands access to far more mana than an average 60-card game, and it’s here that the Hart finds a perfect home. I honestly don’t run a single deck that dislikes this card; Ob Nixilis, Unshackled is an impressive mana-hog and is built around a sacrifice theme, making the Hart a two-for-one that both drops land and triggers a variety of useful effects. Sharuum the Hegemon uses it to ramp far ahead of the curve by blinking herself and ressurecting the Hart repeatedly for two additional land drops per turn. Even Nylea, God of the Hunt, which is essentially a ramp-ramp-ramp-SMASH deck, runs the Hart because even in mono-green the opportunity for two forests going directly onto the battlefield rather than into the hand is worthwhile. The card can slot into literally any deck, thanks to its colourless nature, and there are very few decks that wouldn’t welcome two additional lands for a six-mana payment.
So, to sum up;
- Colourless, allowing it to slot into any Commander’s deck
- Activates any number of death triggers when ramping (Harvester of Souls, Falkenrath Noble, Death’s Presence) for additional utility
- Can be used in the endgame as a chump blocker if necessary
- Both a creature and an artifact, neatly fitting into the two cards types most easily recurrable to allow repeated usage
- Ramps for not one but two basic lands, and puts those lands directly onto the battlefield
- Cheap enough to be a potential turn three play with a turn four activation, making for a possible seven mana on turn five even without the use of other ramp cards
- Works like gangbusters in any deck exploiting Landfall triggers – Rampaging Baloths on the board will pay out with two 4/4 tokens in addition to lands, and that’s no bad thing for only six mana
How many decks are there that really wouldn’t want to accelarate two turns ahead? One of Magic’s major limiting factors is the one-land-per-turn cap, and Burnished Hart busts right through it, whatever the deck. Give it a try, and when opponents try to sneer at you for wasting a card slot, just smile and think of your incoming turn five Giant Adephage.