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Magic: The Gathering

I can't believe Magic: The Gathering came out 17 years ago!  I remember playing it with one of my friends who got me hooked on the game, though I was never very good at it.  The interest kind of waned for some reason, and since it was only the one friend I played with, I ended up selling my cards when I stopped playing.

While I was aware that the game was still going strong, I never really payed that much attention to it.  Until I did my post asking for XBLA Arcade suggestions.  That's when Rack suggested getting the XBLA version of Magic: The Gathering and playing that.  Now I'm kind of hooked on that, though I haven't played it online yet (I'd like to unlock all the decks first).

Sadly, this card isn't in the game, but it should be!

 

I'm worried, though.  I know how expensive the hobby can be, and reading up on it, I doubt I'm ever going to get serious about it.  Getting involved in Magic fandom looks to be a complete lifestyle choice!  And just playing it with friends and not getting involved in all that stuff requires friends who are playing the game.

Who am I kidding?  That requires actual friends in the first place.

But I feel the urge pulling at me a bit.  It's saying "You want to go buy a starter deck and return to the fold.  Do it. DO IT!!!!" (are they even called "starter decks" anymore?)

So I take a look around the web, and I am just totally baffled at how I would get started in the first place.  Which is probably a good thing, as it's keeping me from getting started!  There are so many expansion sets, new editions (up to 9 now? with a new core set on the way?) and other things that just add to my confusion.

How does a newbie get started?  And it is something you even want to start to begin with?

I need your input.  Convince me that I either should or shouldn't dive in and never come up for air.

Also, as a side question: are the two expansion packs for the XBLA game worth getting?

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