Is it not worth it to get the old cycles if the new ones are better?
I want to play competitively and am about to start going back to 1st and 2nd cycles to start getting chapter packs
There are some really great cards in the newest cycle, but that doesn't mean the older cards are obsolete. There are plenty of cards from every cycle that are still good and still see competitive play. Cards from the very first cycle were pretty powerful (it was also the last CCG cycle and the CCG saw a lot of power creep); a bunch still appear on the Restricted list.
Your best bet is to look around for someone auctioning off their collection. Someone often is and you can get caught up a lot cheaper that way. Alternatively, you can use an online deckbuilder (i.e., cardgamedb or agotcards) and just buy the packs you need as you build decks.
Myself, I doubt the Restricted list will shrink significantly the next time FFG updates it. We may see some changes, but they all but flat out told us last year they're going to use it as a form of soft rotation, so the most I think we can expect is for its contents to cycle some without its actual size changing a ton. But, then, no-one expected them to almost double the number of cards on it a year ago, either, so who can say for sure what they'll do?