Best Tech Two Ships In EVE Online
Tech two ships are the fine wine and cheese of EVE Online. While some are interesting stepping stones on the path to better ships, many represent a sort of end-game to EVE Online PvP. They are the kind of high-performance ship that players will happily specialize their characters in flying. Though the skills needed to effectively fly these can take months to train, and maxing out can take years, players persevere for the extra edge that flying these ships can provide. This guide is a survey of the best specimens from amongst the most popular tech two ship types.
Where tech one ships are generalized and often have glaring weaknesses, tech two ships like the Vagabond or Zealot represent the pinnacle of their specialized roles, and far exceed the capabilities of their tech one counterparts. There are also many specialized tech two ships that have no real tech one counterparts in their role. For example, stealth bombers have capabilities that are completely unlike any other ship type in EVE Online.
Amongst the many glittery tech two hulls, some are more effective, and others are almost never flown. Eagle, I'm looking at you. This article will cover what I believe to be the best ships of each of the most prominent tech two ship types, and why. Sometimes it is a clear choice what ship is "best," and sometimes it's a bit murkier or subject to preference. My hope is that by providing my rationale, new players will take away an improved understanding of how to assess what ships that want to fly.
The ships below were chosen because they excel at their specialization, they have a clearly superior tactical value, or because they are just plain great to fly. If nothing else, this should show newer players something to look forward to.
Best Stealth Bombers: The Hound
The hound is the best stealth bomber because of the massive explosive damage its bombs inflict.
When dealing large amounts of damage all at once, as bomb launchers do, explosive is the best kind of damage to inflict. This is because well-used bombs from more than one bomber inflict their damage more or less simultaneously, and explosive damage is the hardest type to buffer tank against, especially for battleships. Bombs are meant to be used against large fleets, which tend to be mixed, so a generally superior damage type is best for most bombing situations. I guess the exception would be if you were targeting a homogenous fleet, perhaps of drakes or dominixes, but this is incredibly rare.
Stealth bombers are not especially hard to train for, though already having trained the missile support skills is handy. Because of the popularity of tech two minmatar frigates, training the Minmatar Frigate skill to level five is no great burden for most pilots. Torpedo launchers can make a heck of a dent in battleships and battlecruisers, meaning that they are useful additions to fleets, no matter how few skillpoints their pilots have. Their ability to warp while cloaked allows them equal proficiency at scouting for a fleet or getting tackles on slow-to-react targets during roaming operations.
Nothing else has the amazingly specialized, amazingly useful role of being able to warp while cloaked, nor lets relatively new pilots drop bombs that put such a huge dent in enemy fleets. For being the best of this strangely useful breed, the hound is the all-around best stealth bomber.
Best Interdictor: The Sabre
Interdictors are somewhat mysterious to many high-security space dwellers. Their primary role is to drop interdiction fields which temporarily prevent warping out within their radius. Using "dictor bubbles," as these fields are sometimes called, is the most effective means of tackling large enemy groups. Unfortunately, their interdiction sphere launcher modules cannot be used in high-sec or low-sec, making them the exclusive purview of null-sec and wormhole space.
Without interdictors in fleet fights, ships would constantly warp in and out of a battle, and have a much better chance to repair, regroup and rejoin the fight. Interdictors are usually on the most kill mails, though their fragile nature also tends to make them the number one target.
From this essential ship class, the Sabre is an easy pick. Though the hull costs more than the other interdictor options, it does more damage, is faster, and is more survivable than the other interdictors. Being the tech two version of the amazingly effective Thrasher destroyer, it should come as no surprise that this is such a great ship. It can win solo against almost any frigate-class ship, with a few exceptions in the faction frigate category.
For being the best of an essential ship class, for being able to kill most frigate-class ships dead, for being agile and fast, and for being such an appealing PvP option, the best interdictor is clearly the sabre.
Best Recon: The Falcon
There are two classes of recon ships: the force recons, that can fit Covert Ops Cloaking Device II modules and therefore are able to warp while cloaked; or the combat recon, which packs a heck of a punch but are only able to use Improved Cloaking Device II modules, and therefore is not able to warp while cloaked. Both varieties include excellent ships. Unlike most ship classes in EVE Online, there are really no lemons amongst the recons, though the Gallente recons have seen better days. The thing about recons is that, if the cloaking were not enough, they all have really interesting bonuses.
The falcon is the best e-war support ship in EVE and has more influence on the outcome of a battle than any damage-specialized ship.
As a force multiplier, the falcon can't be beat. It warps in at a goodly distance while still cloaked, waits until a ruckus begins, and then decloaks and turns off its enemies' weapons with ECM. One falcon is worth three damage dealing ships in small engagements, and in larger fleet battles they are the bane of the enemy fleets' existence. Unlike ships like the remote-repairing Scimitar, a critical mass of them is not necessary for full effectiveness, and they do not need to be in the thick of things to remain effective. Falcon pilots simply appear out of the mist, help their buddies win fights, and if things take a turn for the worse they can just cloak up again or warp off before anything has a chance to tackle them or put a scratch on them.
For pure effectiveness, for unrivaled survivability, and for getting on a ton of killmails, the best recon is definitely the falcon.
Best Heavy Assault Cruiser: The Vagabond
There is little question that best HAC is the Vagabond. One could even make the case that it is the generally best tech two ship. Nothing out-ganks a vagabond. Nothing that actually engages a ship is as survivable as a vagabond. Nothing chews through small, fast ships or large, well-tanked ships with as equal proficiency as a vagabond. The vagabond is the solo PvPer's workhorse, and the endgame ship for the majority of small-scale PvPers. At least, the ones with deep enough pockets to afford them.
End-game PvPers will regularly faction fit their vagabonds and use incredibly expensive implant sets. With max-skilled characters, their performance as a small-scale combat machine it is basically unrivaled. It is exceeded only by tech three cruisers, and even then only by a small margin. The vagabond's greatest strength is its survivability. It can kill anything that can threaten it, and it can disengage and run away from anything that it can't kill. Though especially famous for ganking the carebear-est of ratting ships like Ravens and Drakes, the vagabond also sees use in HAC fleets, including the now very popular long-range HAC fleets.
For pure gank, for being the king of tech two ships for years, for having the unbeatable record for converting live pilots into dead pilots, the best heavy assault cruiser is the vagabond.
As ever, if you disagree with any of these picks, feel free to argue your case on the Ten Ton Hammer forums.