Ok, going from 3x10 to 1x10 and want to do it right from the get go.

Currently SLX chainring up front(42-32-24) . XT read shadow long derailleur rear. SLX shifter, SLX rear cog (11-36), SLX HG-74 chain.

29er FS for reference. A couple years of riding for current driveline wear. Haven't kept up on mileage.

Going to raceface 34T front for 1x10. Torque is my thing. Currently riding I'm in the 3-7 range in the back between climbs, normal pace, slight downhill. Occasionally touch the 2nd ring when completely spent, and on long downhills, I hit the bottom (10). All staying in the middle ring up front.

I think 34T up front will work for most of my riding as it keeps me lower in the rear rings, but debating on the praxis 11-40 cassette for the rear, which now brings up the question of the chain and shifter. Thinking I should do it all at once if I will go to a different rear cassette.

So 3 questions.

1. If I currently don't touch the top (lowest) 2 gears of the rear cassette, should I go for a new cassette with lower gears. Praxis is the option. The adapters pulls 2 of the gears I use most often.

2. If I get a new cassette, I, thinking it would be time for a new chain. Which would be the best as the only shimano pieces are the shifter and derailleur? Reading rough reviews on the XT (HG-95) chains.

3. Should I upgtade the SLX rear shifter to XT.

I've spent the last 3 hours using search, but I don't see this combination of questions asked, nor answered.

Opinions welcome. My first impression is to just swap out the front ring, yank the front derailleur, and roll with it (chain length correction as required). Other option is swapping out rear cassette, chain, rear shifter, and have it "done" in a longer term sense. As it stands I have no issues for what I ride but want to shed the weight and keep things simple with a little more ground clearance at the crank. I have slapped the top chainring on many logs at his point. Concerned with the front going from 32-34 I may need a deeper gear for climbing, but also am trying to fix my issues of downhills at high cadence and no more gear (without going to top chainring) in current state. I'm a lower cadence guy with a lot of torque (Clyde) in my riding style. As it stands I have yet to use the first cog in my chainring, but have used my top dog on occasion when riding on long downhills or the street. Looking for simplicity of 1x10, with weight and clearance gains, and a known top speed limit by doing the conversion.

Thanks in advance.