I learned Magic around 2004 when Darksteel came out. I worked for Rhino Video Games, a small retail store that eventually got bought out by GameStop. We carried a few trading card games like Dot Net and Yu-Gi-Oh. For some reason I remember all the employees got some free store credit, so I spent my on two Eight Edition starter decks. They were the green and red ones and they were great.
I loved the cards and I could sense the underlying strategy. I only played two games of them with another employee until I got hooked on Magic Online. Even though I thought I understand the rules, Magic Online really drilled the rules into my head. Learning all of the intricacies of the combat phase as well as tidbits of information like “lands are colorless” really takes time but it was really fun.
MTG Forge was originally designed to play Yu-Gi-Oh instead of Magic. I had a great Gameboy Advance Yu-Gi-Oh game that introduced me to world of trading card games. And while I never bought a single Yu-Gi-Oh card, it taught me many of the common rules like two main phases and creatures versus spells. And of course I eventually downloaded Shandalar and played it for many, many hours.
How did you learn Magic?