Thank you for sharing the excellent video. It was really enlightening. A few of the points he made that stuck-out to me:
1. A good-quality queen needs to mate with at least 12 drones- optimally 20.
2. That the size of the queen cell itself impacts queen quality (to your point about properly provisioned colonies).
3. That a queenless colony has competing priorities- a high-quality queen versus a queen available sooner.
His discussion regarding queenless colonies often choosing 3-day old larvae to raise queens from was very insightful relative to the dichotomy outlined in item 3 above. Gives one much to think about.
I set-up two nucs this year at the advice of a local beekeeper to have one nuc on-hand for every two production hives (still seems like good advice) utilizing the pauper method you outline above.
My biggest mistake (in my opinion) is that I waited until early July to do so. Based on what I saw this year, seems like I might have had better success starting a month earlier.
While I am still thinking through next year's priorities relative to nucs, I am inclined to lean more heavily on splits rather than nucs to build the apiary given the ability to supply more resources to the resultant queenless colony.
That said, I am still learning what works and will likely make a bunch more mistakes before I stumble on what is successful here.
Thanks again for the advice- I really appreciate it!