Guess I'll throw my 2 cents in here as well. I have to agree that the Lizzies by far are the best race for anyone to use in this scenario, but I would have to say that just about any race will work IF you are AGRESSIVE. That is the key and many players just don't do that. They will bring out the usual support ships and try and build that economy as quickly as possible which leaves most open to an agressve players attack.
I personally try and mix my ships coming out of stardock and taylor my ships to who I see to be my neighbors, and who I decide of those neighbors will get to feel the wrath of Death (hopefully).
Many times this has worked for me, with a weak and unprepared or unsuspecting neighbor getting caught with their pants down.
It has been mentioned here that the taking down of the HW starbase is the key, but I have to disagree. I think it is more fun to trash the support ships and planets that feed that base, then attack the victim's SB after it is weakened due to no minerals, money and supplies flowing in.
As of late, I have become quite impressed with the Bird race. I have neglected them in the many years of game play since I had a bad experience with them early in my VGAP gaming days and never played them since. Now however I find them to be a fun and sneaky race with very powerful cloaked attack ships that can do some serious damage to those support planets and ships mentioned earlier. I'm still a bit green to playing them, but find them fun and am enjoying the game a bit more these days.
Well, guess I rambled on enough myself. I'll leave by saying that a Bird in the hand probably means there are two more in the bush....