Clad blades, albeit san-mai, warikomi, or ni-mai, have additional length wise layer(s) of steel on or around a hard core. There is nothing psychological about it's feedback being effected; it is a tangible physical reality. If you're neural network feels it, is another issue altogether.
Don't confuse yourself with an effectively arbitrary term. What one considers a workhorse, may not be to another. Consensus states a workhorse is a knife that you can pick up all day long & use on effectively anything. Do I consider my Kono & Suisin lasers workhorses? No, but I can say I use them all day long like a workhorse until something particularly daunting is poised on my board. Can I call my lasers workhorses? Well, by consensus logic I guess so, BUT I NEVER WOULD. I will, w/o doubt or question, categorize my san-mai Kanehiro AS gyuto as a workhorse, but I still won't split 2 dozen lobsters with it if I'm running a bouillabaisse that night.
It's semantics... don't fight it.
Some knives are more durable than others... period. Thickness, steel, taper, grind, heat treat, bevel angles... they're all factors."I still am very interested to know what others' strategies are for which knife for which task and how many knives are needed."
Are you kidding.?! How many knives are needed for what? Do you realize the Japanese have a knife to cut a cow, to cut an eel, to cut a blowfish, to cut a noodle, to sheet a vegetable, to bone poultry, to bone a tuna, to bone fish
, to slice sashimi, to cut maki, etc., etc., etc.? And what stategies for what knives to do what?
Furthermore, I saw you mention something about line knife vs. prep knife. This obviously has more to do with your kitchen & menu than anything else. If you prep in the back before your line shift, it would, for one, make sense that you would use a larger knife while prepping. If you prep on the line & have short boards, well your limited to a smaller knife. If you really don't do much on the line necessitating a 240/270 gyuto, it would make sense to have said gyuto for prep & a 150 petty or 180/210 gyuto on the line. Totally depends on your kitchen/menu. Maybe you only use a 210 gyuto... on the line a medium to medium-heavy duty 210 with soft steel might be appropriate while a hard steel 210 laser might be appropriate for your prep. But what if you prep butternut squash, pineapples, corn, etc., etc., etc.? A laser for prep would be foolish. And what if all you do on the line is slice cooked proteins for plates, produce special request vegetable cuts a la minute, cut sandwiches, portion items for presentation, etc? A heavy duty blade would be foolish... unless you were scared about breakage on the line.
There are so many unknown variables here it can be maddening.