So I'm a hopefully returning playing that used to play super casually for a few months at the time of New Phyrexia. This means my collection is very small. As the holiday season is approaching I'm wondering what sort of gifts I could ask for from relatives to help get me going as well as to build my collection since while I understand that you can just buy singles to make the decks you desire (which I'm doing for an edh deck) I feel like it would be nice to have somewhat of a collection so that if I get a new deck idea I don't have to go out and get all the cards for it because I might have some lying around.
Two great places to start are the "Holiday Gift Box" and the "Deckbuilder's Toolkit".
Each of these are superb for getting a small collection started. Both come with lands, cards, and a place to start storing them. The Gift Box is best for the storage, and having a decent chance at opening a good pack of the newer sets. The Deckbuilder's Toolkit is best for getting the basic pieces to start building decks.
How good of an idea would it be to get packs so like a fatpack/booster box? I'm currently building an edh deck to play with friends but other than that I want to try to get a bit into standard or modern but not sure how or if it's worth it because I've heard they are really expensive to get into.
It honestly depends on how much you can or are willing to invest, and what your all-told goals are.
Are you looking to play casually or competitively?
Are you looking mainly to start a collection or build specific decks?
It's basically a question of Quantity vs Quality.
Collection and more casual play prefer the Quantity side of things. Buying the gift box, toolkit, fat packs, and booster boxes will bulk up your collection quickly, and offer a lot of interesting options for kitchen table magic and casual play. Then you can slowly trade for what you need.
Competitive play or more specific decks prefer the Quality side of things. They need specific cards depending on what you're wanting to play, so buying a random assortment (whether packs or boxes) won't give you all the specific cards you're looking for. In this case, you are much better off buying individual cards and focusing on just building decks you want to play.
You can, of course, go somewhere between with Standard, specifically. Buy a box/fatpack/etc and use it as a basis of making the Standard deck you want. Especially if you're not sold on one specific Standard deck. You can use its contents to start the decks, pick up anything cheap you're missing, and then slowly work towards finishing it with the more expensive cards. This is one of the best way to get into Standard on a budget, honestly.
Once we hit Modern and Commander, however, we definitely have to start committing to the Competitive vs Casual / Quality vs Quantity debate.
If you're going casual and collection, then you're still fine buying bulk. The decks here will take a hard hit on their viability, but you can easily supplement them up a notch or two on a budget.
If you're looking for a Competitive Deck in either format, however, buying boxes or packs will give you very little return on what you need. Perhaps even none at all. The card pool here is infinitely more vast, Standard cards see only minor play, and decks are very specific about what they want. As such, the only real option is to go with individual buys. Even if you have to start off with a budget-friendly version and work you're way up, you're better off avoiding bulk.
If I were starting off, I would split the decision. Competitive for Standard, Casual for everything else.
Buy a bit of bulk, whether packs, fatpacks, boxes, or giftboxes. Whatever you can afford, while still holding back a bit of money to finish off decks. Use the bulk to start off some EDH or other casual decks, and flesh them out with budget friendly options. It's not hard to finish them off cheaply. The price difference between the best card and the second best card can be staggering. At the same time, if the bulk you're buying is Standard, you'll inevitably get some good Standard cards. From this, you can build a semi-competitive Standard deck, and invest the bulk of the extra money into getting it top notch.
First, to double check I understand, I should aim for casual in most things but at least somewhat competitive in standard? Also I should start off with a mix so say getting a booster box then seeing what I can put together from those cards then buying the singles I need to finish them?
Also to clarify I'm aiming to be mostly casual for stuff like edh. My play group is a few of my close friends who play relatively cheap decks, not weak but nothing that is super high tier. Also in the case I buy some sort of packs/bundle of packs whether a fatpack or whatever what set should I get?
I wrote a Magic gifting article on just this very topic over the weekend. By all means, check it out and let me know what you think.
That said, from doing the research and breaking things down, the conclusion I came to is the Guild Kits just cannot be beat. The value WOTC crammed into those boxes is insane when you think about it. The decks are actually playable, have some really decent reprints and come with some valuable standard cards to help ease you into a new deck if you wished. Add in little extra like the pin, sticker and don't forget those alt art lands which are beautiful and sure to go up in value. 25.00 MSRP is way too low if you ask me.
Deck builder toolkits are neat for super new players, but in the long run, the influx of commons and uncommons it mostly contains aren't helpful. If you just want cards then a Booster Bundle may be best. 10 packs, a spindown and a storage box ain't bad when you are getting back into the game.