Updated Mon, May 17, 2010 by Space Junkie
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.