"We are swift, and we are lethal. We are a poisoned dagger thrust into the heart of the foe. We are the hidden blade, the strike so sudden that the enemy falls before they ever know they are under attack."
- —Ybdriss Khael, Venom Steersman, Kabal of the Flayed Skull
The Venom is a small Drukhari skimmer that is the fastest and most agile aircraft in the Dark Eldar fleet. It is also used sometimes by Eldar Corsairs and Harlequins, both of whom may spend time in Commorragh and gain access to Drukhari technology.
The raids of the Dark Eldar rely above all else on the advantages of surprise and sheer speed. As a result, all Dark Eldar skimmers are extraordinarily fast and highly manoeuvrable in-atmosphere. The most agile of all Drukhari transports is known as the Venom, an arrowhead-shaped skimmer that carries an elite group of Dark Eldar warriors into battle.
Rather than present one obvious target, Dark Eldar strike forces attack in waves, with a veritable horde of their skimmer craft pouring out of the Webway portals they open in the tortured skies of targeted worlds. Although many of these Dark Eldar craft can still be intercepted by enemy antiaircraft fire, even a highly disciplined battery will prove unable to stop all of the craft in the black swarm that falls upon it. Additionally, it is always the largest and most populous of transports that draws the attention of well-drilled enemy soldiers.
Thus, the most devious Dark Eldar ride to battle upon aircraft no larger than the Vypers used by their Craftworld counterparts, or the sky-chariots once so ubiquitous in the skies of the planets ruled by the lost Aeldari Empire. Speed is always of paramount importance to the Dark Eldar -- should even one Venom penetrate enemy air defences it can be enough to prove the doom of the opposition, as its lethal passengers do their bloody work.
Though the Venom's booster engines and the anti-gravitic emitters implanted within its ribbing are similar to that found on other Dark Eldar skimmercraft, the transport is so agile and sensitive to the commands of its pilot that it can juke through a hail of incoming fire, its holographic Flickerfield confounding enemy snipers and Auspexes. A skilled Venom pilot can even manoeuvre his craft into those segments of the Webway designed only for the passage of a single individual at a time. It is for this reason that Venoms are very popular with Commorrite hunters and those Dark Eldar nobles of the Dark City's upper spires who enjoy running down their enemies as a form of vile sport.
Despite its small size, the Venom can carry a small squad of up to 5 hand-picked elite warriors who have been trained to enter combat as a coordinated unit. Though most Drukhari Archons and elite warriors prefer to lead their Kabalite Warriors into battle from aboard a larger Raider personalised to their specific tastes, this does not sit well with those especially arrogant Comorrites who do not wish to consort with mere footsoldiers.
Sometimes Venoms are used to transport only a single warrior to battle in unusual style. This is usually those Dark Eldar nobles so convinced of their own superiority that they believe they do not need bodyguards -- or those so paranoid that they fear them. Those amongst the forces of the Imperium who have seen the Dark Eldar in combat know that a single one of these malicious xenos warriors is sometimes all it takes--the true toxin delivered by a Venom is its passengers, not its weapons. However, the skimmer carries the following weapons:
- Codex: Drukhari (8th Edition), pg. 55
- Codex: Dark Eldar (5th Edition), pg. 43
- Imperial Armour Volume Eleven - The Doom of Mymeara, pg. 167