I have $25. How does a novice, casual player get a solid deck?

  • Will you play only at home with friends?

    • Yes, I'll play at home with people I know.
    • Do you prefer actually playing the game or building new decks yourself?

      • Deck-building is more important to me. — Buy the Deckbuilder's Toolkit. $20 for 285 cards of all colors, lands included.
      • I just want to play.
      • Would you like to play longer complex games with three or more players together?
        • Yes, I like complex rules and multiplayer games. — Buy a Commander 2015 deck for each of the players. $25 per deck.
        • No, I just want to play normal 1-vs-1 games. — Buy any of the Duel Decks sets. $20 for two balanced decks.
    • No, I'd like to play also with other people at the local game store.

    • There're different Magic formats. They're largely defined by what cards can be used in a deck and how many cards are used. Start by asking what format is played at your LGS.

      Do you want your cards to remain valuable and playable after two years?

      • No, I'm OK with buying new cards again and again just to keep playing. — Congratulations! You can play Standard. Battle for Zendkiar Event Deck is a good start for $30. If you can afford a little more ($50), start by buying individual cards for one of the budget decks
      • Yes, I'd like my cards to remain playable forever.

        • Do people at your local game store play "Pauper"?
        • Yes, they do! — You're lucky. Start by buying individual cards for one of the Pauper decks. If you're in Europe, you may buy them at MagicCardMarket.eu.
        • Nope, they never heard of it. — There're other options...

          • Do they play "Modern"?
          • Yes, of course they do. You have to spend at least $50-100 to start playing with them. Your options are a ($70) or one of the ($50-100). More expensive upfront, but you will be able to play (and sell) these cards even three years later.
          • Do they play "Commander" and would you like to play long and complex multiplayer games?
          • Yes, they do. Buy yourself a Commander deck. Commander 2014 and Commander 2015 decks are around $25 per deck now.
/r/magicTCG Thread