Been a bit of a hiatus between posts, as working 6 of the last 7 weeks will do. So I've been hanging out for the Abyss, and doing a bit of EFT warrioring / PYFAggotry, and catching up on SiSi.
If you want to do dives into the Abyss, my advice and it's no big surprise, use a Gila. Like, who's shocked? The tankiest highest DPS nerdboat in the game that doesn't have to rely solely on shit rats (looking at you VNI) to tank, will be the best choice for Abyssal dives.
Aside from that, and based on my viewing of TouTube videos (The Gentleman Gamer, Delonewolf, etc) T1 cruisers should be good up to a tier 3 filament if you can risk losing ship and pod every 10 or so dives from just bad luck and effects. But the surprise is that aside from the Omen (as shown by the above) the stand out T1 hulls are minmatar;
Dual rep ruppy
Dual rep Stabber
Armour tanked HML Bellicose (no shit, it's not that bad)
Faction cruisers obviously use a VNI, but did you know a passive shield Scythe Fleet is also up there with passive tank, application and actually having drones? Augoror Navy is also a good choice, but I'd avoid the Exec Navy and the SFI, to be honest.
Caldari boats seem to suck, but would be good for lower tiers. This includes all faction cruisers, as you just can't mount a decent active tank. Not 300 DPS plus without 120M in pimp, by which time you may as well be using a Gila let's be honest.
Yet to really look into the pirate cruisers but a dual rep battery Strat would be the pick (if expensive) and an Ashimmu would do great vs the drone swarms due to the long web range. The Phantasm will do OK but like any shield cruiser, pimping it enough to make it decent will be a spendy exercise, so if you want to throw down 600M ISK you'll want the rewards to be decent.
By the time you're getting up to the tier 4 and tier 5 filaments, you'll be diving for Leshak BPC's and mutaplasmids so you will probably be investing in HACs, which is where the Eagle might show some promise, or the Ishtar with the X-type XLSB battery fit. Other contenders honestly will be the active shield tanked Arazu and Lachesis, but really, you couldn't go past the Deimos either for ridonkulous tank and DPS.
And, a final note: ASB tanks will die, easily. AAR dual rep setups if you time your reload, will be OK, because paste has no volume whereas few cruisers can lug enough cap 400's about to make 20 minutes of tanking. There's also a point at which you have to fiddle your fit for 8 minutes of cap survivability, maybe with an injector, versus the holy grail of permarun. This is where cap injected Bellicoses will be a cost effective dive boat for lower tiers versus, say, Gilas.
I think there's two philosophies: the old "pimp it to make it easy" which usually works because you can DPS your way through things and make higher ISK per hour off bounties / salvage in wormholes, and the do it cheap and don't stress the losses. This is where the Abyss might prove unpopular for the EVE nerds inured to a 'pay-to-win' mentality; if the Abyss throws an effect cloud at you that fucks you up, you might lose your ship due to the timer running out. There's nothing certain and predictable about the specific encounters you'll face, so it could be too risky to chuck a billion ISK on the line and find your pimp is gutted by stacked environment weather and cloud effects. So you could just fly a cheap T1 hull and if you lose it, no biggie.
Finally, you'll want to be sucking drugs down before you go on a dive. It will be worth investing in 5M ISK of drugs to keep a 250M ISK boat alive, for the chance of making enough ISK to pay the drugs off and make a profit.
Implants? I'd say a 3% tracking implant or application implant, at 25M, is probably a worthwhile investment over a few days of diving. But a set of Asklepions or Crystals would be ballsy given you could just blow up and get podded out.
Who knows? I'll be getting my pee bucket ready for the day after patch day and hitting up a deepsafe in lowsec, and taking a dive...