Crouch/Extra Plating etc are very good moves. Especially if you are faster than your opponent, netting an extra turn of protection. Also very useful on critters, since they really can’t be stunned to lose a turn of protection.
Shell is a very useful move, but as you say on hard hitters it won’t matter much.
The others, I feel, are a bit more pet dependant.
Rake, this always feels damn annoying when I get this move done to me, essentially a crouch turn with damage. Can be very powerful if timed right. I feel that Cats(and the magic “cats”) can make the best use of this defensive move, but that is probably much dependant on which breed you got, since it might be more useful with Screech. The Monkeys will have to trade their most damaging attack away, and probably have a cooldown problem since Rake has 2 turn cooldown, well unless you want to do Roar or Barrel Toss. Might just be that I have not actually tried this, but just looking at it to go without the power of Smash, no. Same problem with the Dragonhawks, they have to trade their nuke, Conflagrate, for a one turn defence. Perhaps could be worth it once in a while, Conflagrate does have an even longer cooldown. Skunks, which have to trade away their Perk Up heal, but Rake might actually work very nicely with hit reduction of Stench since Rake will always apply to the next actual hit. Finally Twilight Fiendling will also, like monkeys, trade away their big spammable hit, and won’t actually have much fun to use while waiting for the cooldown.
Squawk. I think Chickens can make very good use of this, their only, defensive move. They really don’t “need” the speed boost from Adrenaline Rush since they don’t have any moves that get bonuses from speed. The Crow, trade away Call Darkness, you kidding me? The Gryphon Hatchling I believe will get more use of the speed boost than Rake, since it’s a bit squichy and will need to hit faster and get more use out of Lift-Off. Turkeys, sure thing, they are really speedy as is, but if you are afraid of losing flying racial and not going first with food coma, then it’s better to go with Gobble Strike. Wildhammer Gryphon Hatchling and Wind Rider Cub both actually can trade away their slot one spammable basic attack since they both got Slicing Wind in second slot, so perhaps could be useful. I have used it quite a bit on the Rocket Chicken, mostly paired with Extra Plating which means your opponent will hit really weak. Harpy Youngling, Lift-Off seems more useful.
After the recent buff Spiked Skin is much more useful to reduce DoT damage. I find it quite useful on both Death Talon Whelpguard and Untamed Hatchling, especially against multi-hit opponents. Can’t see myself using it on Purple Puffer or Tiny Red Carp. And well, I don’t see myself using the Porcupette/Hedgehogs/Quillrats at all.
Darkmoon Curse it actually very needed to make some damage with Laser from the Eye(well unless facing fliers), problem with the curse is the four round cooldown compared to the two turn duration. They eye feels like it could use a little boos here to be able to cast the curse more often. Also when I used it I felt like I got more use out of Interrupting Gaze than the curse, so no contest really.
Weakness could be useful to the Infinite Whelpling to go first for the next turn, but you will have to trade away a huge heal. Don’t think I would go for that. Don’t have Mini Diablo so can’t really theorise about it. Viscidus Globe could use it as a nice bird hunter trick to make them slower and then hit it hard, haven’t tried it myself so I guess I just have to check it out.
PvE, I use Shell on a few trainers. Nothing outside that.