Pool is the core resource of the game. The more the better: more pool means more life and more minions. All efficient decks have at least a basic bloat module: a group of cards designed to get pool back. Getting blood on uncontrolled vampires amounts to bloating, as the blood can easily be taken back using a few transfers.
Getting pool back by taking blood from one’s minions — commonly known as leeching — is the most widespread way to bloat. This technique makes use of the following Master cards:
- Minion Tap
- Blood Doll
- Tribute to the Master
- Grooming the Protégé
- Powerbase: Cape Verde ()
- Wasserschloss Anif, Austria ()
It does take some Master cards slots out in a deck, and it leaves your minions somewhat weakened. Still, a vampire may act and use all its disciplines even with only 1 blood left. The two trifles, Villein and Vessel, are appealing as they do not use up a Master card slot, but they are a bit less efficient thant their plain counterparts.
Villein has seen its card text change in June 2018: it now has an upper limit of 5 blood, which was not the case before. Be careful when reading an older deck list, as it may use Villein where Minion Tap would be a better fit nowadays.
Decks that use this technique may improve it by including some cards to regenerate their vampires blood, as it has effectively become a source of pool. Hunting Grounds can be used – there is one for almost each clan, plus more generic hunting grounds or cards that have a similar effect:
- Giant's Blood
- Jake Washington
- The Coven
- The Rack (needs to be defended)
- Papillon (City titled vampires)
- Carfax Abbey (Anarch)
- Twilight Camp (Anarch)
- Swiss Cut ()
- Acquired Ventrue Assets ()
- Weeping Stone (Black Hand, costly and fragile)
- Life in the City
- Procurer (costly and fragile)
- Threestar Cab Company (costly and less efficient)
Finally, a handful of cards can augment the blood amount vampires get from hunting, which is another way to regenerate their blood:
- Inbase Dicoteck Frankfurt
- The Anarch Free Press (Anarch)
- Hospital Food (Anarch)
- Festivo dello Estinto (Sabbat)
- The Hungry Coyote (Sabbat)
Another alternative is to let the minions use their blood as they see fit and focus on generating pool directly using Master cards. A few cards allow this:
- Ashur Tablets (uses up a lot of Master slots, best in an MMPA archetypes like Girls Will Find Inner Circle)
- Powerbase: Montreal (needs to be defended)
- Powerbase: Barranquilla (needs to be defended)
- Tend the Flock ()
- Ventrue Investment ()
- Mbare Market, Harare (Laibon)
- Tower of London ()
- Great Symposium ()
- The Church of Vindicated Faith (Imbued)
- Generic investments Secret Horde and Protracted Investment are rarely played, as they need many Master actions and Ashur Tablets are generally preferred when one has enough master actions to play them.
5 clans give access to a unique location generating pool:
- Arcane Library
- Art Museum
- Gang Territory
- Nosferatu Kingdom
Fast decks can rely on the fact they should score their first Victory Point early and use Momentum's Edge and Gambit Accepted.
Finally, those ready to pay the price can even sacrifice some vampires to get some pool back with Golconda: Inner Peace, Khobar Towers, Al-Khubar () or Redeem the Lost Soul.
The last alternative is to use actions directly to bloat. This is excellent if the action has a powerful alternative, like the infamous D Govern the Unaligned or R Enchant Kindred and Scouting Mission, or if the bloat is a side-effect of a useful action, like R Legal Manipulations and Social Charm, or E Kindred Spirits.
Actions getting blood on uncontrolled vampires with no alternative are less efficient. They can still come in handy when used in swarm constructs to get many vampiers out quickly, as is the case for Art Scam and Black Hand Reunion Kamut, but otherwise they are only used sparsingly. Founders of the Ebony Kingdom and Khabar: Glory deserve a special motion, as they are unusually high on blood gain.
Most standard actions only generate bloats between 1 and 3 points. Some political actions, however, can produce higher bloats if they get through. They are so efficient, virtually every political oriented deck include some of them:
- Consanguineous Boon
- Autarkis Persecution
- Parity Shift (Prince or Justicar)
- Ancient Influence and Political Stranglehold (Big capacity vampires)
- Black Forest Base (Sabbat)
- Benefit Performance ()
Most bloat modules are focused on Master cards. This entails that countering those masters with Sudden Reversal, Wash or Bleeding the Vine is a valid offensive strategy. Technically, they amount to an indirect bleed: preventing one's prey to get three pools from Minion Tap or Liquidation is equivalent to removing three pools from her using a bleed. The same logic applies to stopping pool generating political actions with Delaying Tactics.