I totally understand. If you're writing a long post, I'd generally suggest copying it before hitting submit, because this forum has a nasty habit of not posting right (or at all) if you take too long to type up your response.
Even after I spend $10 to get to VIP3, the pointy sticks wielded by those with one or more deities (True Shadow, Hera, Pandora, etc), or that one person on a different server who has an entire team of them, will be incredibly numerous, so the smash path would still probably be an iffy idea for me. So, at least in the short run, I'm leaning toward the Power Puzzle.
On to the questions!:
-I've mostly been playing the ranger (with some occasional switches to Lethal Asphyxia assassin for dealing with some PvP matchups), bcause the triple shot in most PvE and MBA in world bosses has been giving me the most success.
-Because he's not going anywhere any time soon and lasts the longest, I've been building with a primus main.
-If I know what I'm building toward and I'm not completely gimped in the mean time, winning in the short run can take a back seat.
-I suppose either subversion or divide and conquer. Attrition doesn't seems like a reliable strategy for me at present, and I'm not even sure what a classic fantasy build style would be.