But there's hope! After the jump, you will be introduced to perhaps the most fun means of playing Magic: the Gathering for any budget and any number of people.
What is "The Cube"? Well, it's typically known as a compilation of the best cards in Magic: the Gathering. Many enthusiasts of "The Cube" generally take fifty of the best cards cards of each color plus sixty of the best lands and best artifacts, which essentially creates a "balanced" format. There is hardly a quintessential cube in existence as everyone argues over what goes in and I have yet to see two cube lists that are identical. Nonetheless, the most famous lists out there are Evan Erwin's and Wizards of the Coast's.
That said, anyone can play the cube. With a struggling economy, the average person simply does not have the means to own a $900 Black Lotus, a $500 Ancestral Recall, a $70 Berserk and/or, hell, even a $20 Damnation. So what do you do? Well, the solution is two-fold: you can either proxy the cards out of lands, or you can just take the best cards (or favorite cards) that you own and make that your cube. I recommend the latter.
So, you've put together your cards for "The Cube". Now what? Well, you could split your cards into groups of 15 [ideally with an equal distribution of colors, lands and artifacts] and simulate a booster draft, but honestly, that blows because it's way to tedious. Instead, shuffle all the cards, put them all into one big pile and Winston Draft those suckers! Mark Rosewater of Wizards of the Coast does a much better job of explaining how Winston Draft works than I could ever do:
Where Mark Rosewater tells you to use booster packs, instead use your cube. This means of drafting goes really fast and can easily be done with just two people. At the same time, it still takes a lot of skill building your deck as you draft.
After Winston drafting "The Cube" with my good buddy last Sunday, I have nothing but good things to say about it. It's a blast. Of course, the better cards you have, the better time you'll have; but like I stressed earlier, it's not necessary. "The Cube" can be acquired through time, and unlike other formats, it allows you to play any cards that you want. That way, none of your cards are "unplayable" in decks, which is perfect for casual collectors. In my opinion, that's what Magic is all about.
Plus, unless you play Vintage, there is no other format of Magic that would let you get an opening hand with these cards:
That allows for this to come out on the first turn:
Now what are you waiting for? Stop reading this and go play "The Cube"!