Starter and BoosterpacksThe difference between the different packs is very easy to tell.
- Starterpacks contain 60 cards, including basic lands and are (compared by the price per card) a bit cheaper than boosterpacks. Starterpacks are available from Fourth Edition and Ice Age.
- Boosterpacks on the other hand do not contain any basic lands and have a slightly better rate for rare/uncommon/common cards; they are available for every expansion set.
When you start playing magic you need to buy some starterpacks, just to get enough basic
lands to use in your decks. Usually you will need to buy 4-6 starterpacks to get enough
land from every color to play that color on it's own.
After that you should buy boosterpacks, to avoid being flooded with those nasty commons.
If you are really into Magic and are spending a lot of money on it, you might want to ask for special rebattes for displays. A display is a big box of Boosterpacks, it usually contains 36 to 45+ packs, depending on the edition. Most shops will offer some rebatte if you ask. Just try.