So what you really are saying about the Helion team is that they know each other because primarily, they have only ever worked with each other. And that previous work (if any) by team members was on small scale plasma concepts that did not really generate any interest in the main stream.
So again, I ask, why is it they do not have any of the top tier on their team? Slough, while knowledgeable in certain lanes, is really better at promises and marketing than product and advancement. What did happen with his (self promoted really) fusion engine?
I am not saying they are doing nothing, I am merely proposing that you think about if they are really doing as much as you think.
If you want to consider which fusion approach is best, then you need to put them all on the same ruler. Not cherry pick what you think are important singular points.
As Bob Hirsch pointed out, the best ruler on the table today is EPRI's.
To boil down his points into my framework: Stability, Materials, Economic Viability.
Any energetic compression, and especially cyclic compression approach is going to have issues with stability when attempting to reach Q>1 regimes. Instability = real dangers of significant down-times due to re-start requirements or machine failures resulting in reduced service life and / or repairs.
Materials is an issue that every project faces. In real, full scale, operating plants between radiation induced material dynamics, and simply the ability to materially handle the proposed primary and support system operating regimes, this remains the biggest hurdle in my mind. There are things we don't know that we don't know, and there are things that we do know, but don't know how to solve. The simpler the machine, the better of it is materially. The complexity of some approaches regarding core and supporting systems moving parts and extreme requirements is already a good indicator of the risk faced to ever achieve an actual sustainable functional design.
Economic Viability is its own issue, and is also driven by the first two. Bottom line, it is an engineering issue. Can we engineer a plant that will scale economically, in the simple balance of cost of goods sold verses market value.
I am not trying to change your mind, I value your inherent right to see things as you wish. I am only trying to address how I see you making your deliberations. I perceive that you have gaps in your processes based on how you present your arguments. Pick a theory / theories as a framework, determine an analytic model, collect real data to support addressing the needs of the framework and analytic model, conduct your analysis, present your findings. You tend to have gaps as far as I can see, unless you are pushed.
Take it or leave it, your choice.