Thanks for the course. I enjoyed seeing your workflow here. Learned more than a couple new things.
I've been experimenting with a similar workflow. Doubt I will ever do any songwriting in Luna, but I didn't hate using it to mix and master from stems. But if you thought version 1.1.2 was funny, version 1.1.3 regularly freezes/crashes my whole computer.
I took a track I finished last year, coincidentally written while following along with your IDM course, and imported the stems into Luna. The stems had been normalized, so I had to use the track gain quite heavily to avoid overdriving the Studer tape emulation. You are definitely right about not wanting to normalize the stems in this new workflow. Am not used to pre-fader metering, either. The results sounded better. It's subtle, but I set up a blind comparison test and picked the Luna mix over two previous versions of the mix.