As I've probably already mentioned far too many times by now, I actually first learned Magic through the original Portal set, which was an attempt at simplifying the game. It had no artifacts or enchantments, no nonbasic lands, and instead of having instants, there were certain cards with "sorcery" as a type that had rules text indicating when they were to be played. Artistically, the set was beautiful. It had some strong cards that players would continue to use even after becoming experienced. But it had major problems as an introductory product and was pretty much doomed to failure. I did acquire some cheap older cards, and then started to get a feel for Magic outside of the Portal environment after I obtained a Fifth Edition two-player starter product, which came with a neat rulebook. I wish I still had that rulebook. My favorite part was that in the glossary section, which mostly provided concise definitions for game terms and some popular lingo, had a silly easter egg. The entry for "Enduring Renewal" read "see Fallen Angel." The entry for "Fallen Angel" read "see Ornithopter." The entry for "Ornithopter" read "see Loop, Infinite." And the entry for "Loop, Infinite" read "see Enduring Renewal." I learned the rules, kind of, but was still pretty clueless about deckbuilding and such. Presumably, gradual experience would eventually have enlightened me, but the product that really changed everything for me were the Urza's Saga theme decks, which I would guess I got as a birthday present or something. My first two were "Tombstone" and "The Plague." I later bought the other two on my own. Playing with the "Tombstone" deck may have been one of the biggest influences on my approach to the game. The deck itself isn't particularly powerful, but it showcased interactions that I wasn't familiar with, and I began modifying it into my first control deck, or something like a kind of proto-control deck, anyway. And then there was "The Plague." 7 Plains 12 Swamp 3 Drifting Meadow 2 Polluted Mire 1 Blood Vassal 3 Disciple of Grace 1 Flesh Reaver 1 Sanctum Guardian 1 Silent Attendant 3 Unworthy Dead 3 Voice of Grace 3 Wall of Junk 2 Disenchant 2 Expunge 2 Humble 1 Befoul 1 Corrupt 1 Opal Acrolith 1 Pariah 4 Pestilence 2 Rune of Protection: Black 1 Sicken 1 Worship 2 Urza's Armor For an experienced player, even as a casual deck, that list is pretty mild. But the theme decks were generally built at a very low level of power, and this was one of the strongest. In particular, it packed a punch by having four copies of Pestilence. I don't know how many decks I built over the years that included Pestilence. A lot. Nearly all of them also employed the Urza's Armor tech that I first discovered with this theme deck.