I cannot speak for how they compare to other pets in PVM because I have not done extensive testing on this, but for PVP taking melee away form pets like shadow minions has really hurt them.
Personally I kind of liked having the option of them going in for melee and magic (increased dps) but having higher risk of taking aoe damage or staying back and casting (lower dps) but lower risk of taking damage. The previous mentioned increase speed to cast animations had a noticeable benefit for these pets before but now less so.
I kind of liked that some pets would be full mage, some would be melee, and then these and some others were a hybrid.
Edit: similar, the idea of a an eldritch drake or dragon never using their teeth or claws to attack seems silly to me. I prefer their being an option to turn on melee with risk of increase damaged received but dealing higher dps.
Honestly other than bosses and terrors, 1 slots can be managed easily. I never really felt like they needed special treatment for aoe damage. We should have a reason to use bigger pets to handle taking big hits in my opinion, but I guess if big pets dos is closer than 1 slots handling aoe damage is to make there be some reason to boss with them?