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Jason Slate

Five Questions – Chewie of Monday Night Magic and The Mana Pool

Editor’s Note: Five Questions is a new segment we will be doing with different members of the gaming community. Check back every week for a new Five Questions

If you’re a fan of Magic podcasts, then surely you have heard of Monday Night Magic and, or, The Mana Pool. Led by Jason “Chewie” Slate, these podcasts have been on the “airwaves” for several years. And, since our publisher is a fan of these shows, he thought it would be neat to kick off our Five Questions segment with Chewie. Thankfully, Chewie was kind enough to oblige.

  1. The Mana Pool and Monday Night Magic have been on “air” for a long time now, how have you been able to keep theseforge selfie shows going for so long?

Sheer stubbornness.No really. Looking back to some of the insane technical difficulties we had in the early days of the show (Skype problems, recording problems, computer problems, scheduling problems) I sometimes wonder how we monstered through it and kept going. Part of it was probably because we had enough of a fan base to keep us from just giving in to the frustration. That always helps, having people that want to consume your content. Another big factor is that we had all been friends for years before starting the show and this gave us an excuse to keep in touch, which is actually one of the reasons I started the show in the first place. Speaking just for myself, after a while it stopped being “work” and became a part of my normal routine. Then during the Dark Times a few years ago it became the only good part of my week, so I just HAD to keep it going for my own sanity. Now it’s just what I do. The Mana Pool is my baby after all!

Monday Night Magic is a different story actually. I took over MNM with episode 282 because Chris Otwell (then owner of MTGCast) came to me and asked me to. I didn’t actually WANT it, and I had to think really hard about whether or not I wanted the extra work and responsibility. But I took it in the hopes that I could help keep the flagship show of the MTGCast network going and make it a quality show while I was at it. During the aforementioned Dark Times, I thought seriously about giving it up, but I couldn’t find anyone that I thought could do it justice. Anyone that explicitly said “I’ll do it!” gave me the vibe that they wanted it for their own good rather than the good of the show itself. So I just knuckled down and kept at it until I got out of the Dark Times. Now it’s just part of the routine too and I can’t imagine not doing it every Monday night.

  1. Obviously, you play Magic, what are some other games you enjoy and why?

I think everyone might be a little disappointed in this answer, but I don’t actually play Magic all that much. I go to Prereleases every chance I get, and on extremely rare occasion my cohost dorks and I get together and play a crapload of EDH and it’s awesome. But that’s about it really for Magic. I’ve never been terribly interested in tournament Magic, plus I can’t even afford that. And I’ve had enough bad experiences playing casually with random people at card shops and stuff that I’d actually rather just not play than have more bad times. And when I do manage to go to events I’m usually so busy wandering around making more content that I don’t take the time to play. It’s a weird problem to have.

As for other games I’m currently playing, I play a LOT of Hearthstone. And not just for videos on my YouTube channel (TheManaPoolTube), I play for fun on a daily basis. I also recently got into Rocket League on Steam, which is stupidly awesome. I’m not safe from the mobile busywork game addictions either, as I play Final Fantasy Record Keeper on my iPad.

I’ve been a video gamer since I was 7, so I’ve had a long string of games that I’ve desperately loved. Here’s an abbreviated list just for fun:

Final Fantasy 1, 4, 6, 7, 9 & Chrono Trigger

Batman Arkham Asylum & Arkham City

GTA 3, Vice City, San Andreas, 4, Red Dead Redemption, Bully


Fight Night series

Halo Wars

XCom Enemy Unknown

Rock Band 3

Resident Evil 4

Tony Hawk series

Legend of Zelda & Link to the Past

Super Mario games up to Galaxy

Various & sundry fighting games throughout the history of the genre

Pinball FX 2

Maybe that was less abbreviated than I thought. I kept remembering things I used to love!

3. Your first name is Jason, but everyone seems to know you as Chewie. How did you get the name, Chewie?

So this one’s a little weird. My freshman year of high school I signed up for one of those elective classes that freshmen take because they don’t know any better and less academically driven (*ahem*) upperclassmen take because they need one more credit to graduate. One day in this class I was sitting there reading a Star Wars novel waiting for the bell to ring. One of those upperclassmen said, “Hey man, yew look kinda like Chewbacca dontcha?” Bear in mind this was before any facial hair or anything. I didn’t actually look like Chewbacca, he was just a moron. So he started calling me “Chew” or “Chewie” all the time, and his fellow morons picked up on it. There were a couple other freshmen in that class that I had all my core classes with, and they picked up on it too, so it sort of spread throughout the rest of my classes. One day the teacher of the elective class asked “So…should I just be calling you Chewie?” At that point, I decided that it would be better to just accept it and it became a nickname roughly 50% of time that stuck with me.

Then I went to college. Freshman year I decided to be done with silly nicknames and just be Jason. I’m a college man now, I’m growing up, time to be more serious. So I was Jason. Then sophomore year I moved into my dorm room and there was a Jason next door, a Jason across the hall, and TWO Jasons in the same room at the end of the hall. So I scratched Jason off the door and wrote Chewie, and I’ve been Chewie ever since. Most people in college never knew me as anything other than Chewie. Even professors and girlfriends called me Chewie. And now that’s just how everyone knows me!

4. The anonymity of the internet can allow for some nasty comments and trolls. As someone who puts themselves out there all the time, how do you deal with it?

This one’s easy. I ignore them. They’re sad strange unhappy little people and I feel bad for them. Hell, I wish I had the time to just sit around and be a dick on the internet, but I’ve got work to do.

You may find this hard to believe, but I was a dorky kid (I know I know, your mind is blown). But being a dorky kid, I was picked on frequently and even bullied a bit more than my fair share. But rather than letting it get me down, I developed my wit to use as a counterattack. I got pretty good at snappy retorts, making those less intelligent that decided to pick on me look stupid. I also realized the power of self-deprecating humor. After all, it’s no fun to pick on someone who can do it better than you can. As for the bullies, I had to actually stand up to some of them before people realized it was a bad idea to try bullying me. After I busted a couple of noses the bullies realized that they should probably stay out of arm’s reach, leaving them to rely on just verbal abuse, which I could handle without a problem.

So why did I tell you all that? Because after growing up dealing with plenty of people who were face to face with me that could actually physically hurt me, internet trolls are a joke. They can’t hurt me, they’re not saying anything that actually matters, and most of the time they don’t actually know what they’re talking about. I wouldn’t be surprised if most of the time they weren’t just dumb kids who think they know everything. So while I pay attention to feedback and try to take criticism into account, I just ignore the trolls.

  1. If you had to pick one game and it was the only game you were allowed to play for a month, what would that game be?

Oh no, my YouTube content! But I’ll ignore the responsibilities of a content creator and all the daily quests & nonsense related to other games and take the question in its intended spirit. That makes it really tough, though. Hmmm…

So I went away for a few minutes, watched a YouTube video, and let my brain run in the background for a while. What I came up with surprised me. As much as I love Hearthstone and Rocket League, I’m pretty sure I’d get sick of them after a month solid. A game I never got sick of, even after a RIDICULOUS amount of playtime, was Skyrim. I never actually finished the main story of the game and I never even started the Dragonborn DLC. So with a month of playing only one game, I could totally start a new story and make a nice dent in it. Or I could pick up my old save and finish off all the stuff I haven’t done yet!

You know, I think I want to play some Skyrim now.

Thanks again, Chewie, for taking the time to answer our Five Questions. For those of you interested in checking out Chewie’s podcasts, they can be found at any of the links below.

Click here for the latest episode of The Mana Pool

Click here for the latest episode of Monday Night Magic

You can also find them by going to http://themanapool.com/

As mentioned before, you can check out The Mana Pool videos here

If you’re already a fan and want to show The Mana Pool some support, you can become a Patreon member by clicking here.




© 2016, Patrick Cossel. All rights reserved.

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About Patrick Cossel,

I am a journalist and gaming enthusiast.

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