in general, i prefer saddles that are harder because if they fit me correctly they'll put most of the pressure on my sit bones and after long periods in the saddle i find padding can cause discomfort from spreading out the area of pressure. so i generally use saddles marketed as "road" saddles for everyday riding, even if it's offroad. i get my shock absorption from padding in my shorts, fat tires, suspension etc.
in cross races, however, i'm never in the saddle for more than five minutes at a time and since i'm jumping back into the saddle i like a little padding. so for racing i've been using a mountain saddle and it's suited me well.