I don't think there's a real need to choose between Elites and Swarms at this stage in the game. The Dynasty card pool is so limited that you're going to have most of the same basic cards.
Yes. In dynasty decks, it's more just "which 1 or 2 characters are you leaving out, or which handful of characters are you running 2x". Dynasty deck construction will be a lot more interesting after a cycle.
I DO think that not being a slave to staying more honorable than your opponent opens a lot of doors as you're not stuck drawing only one card a turn.
But, but... you can't win by honor if you're not more honorable than your opponent... I dunno, I've been finding that if your opponent sticks to the silly strategy of always bidding 5 first turn, you can threaten an honor win by the end of turn 2 (assuming they're not Scorpion or maybe Crab). 3-5 honor gain per turn is not unreasonable in Lion.
I also prefer pilgrimage to shameful display, it frees you up from comitting to defense, you just need a token dude there to keep the province breaking and they dont get to trigger a ring even if they win. Honoring characters isn't terribly reliable so I usually skip on Stand Your Ground.
Yeah, it's not very reliable when you remove cards that honor your characters... Pilgrimage is pretty good, better than I think it originally got credit for, but I still like Shameful Display at least in Phoenix and Lion, but probably also in Crane and Scorpion, and unsure about Crab.