I am trying to wrap my head around all of this but for right now, based on what you know about this, if I want to use TWRP now on stock/rooted 036 (to make nandroids for example), will touch work for me?
My path was:
New phone (7.1.1) -> immediately took OTA (on the phone) to 9.0 (091) -> followed OP to root w Magisk 16.7 -> updated Magisk to 17.1 (via direct thru app) -> Grabbed 036 boot image from OP and patched it w/Magisk and copied to computer -> Sideloaded OTA (from Essential's www) -> rebooted directly to bootloader and "fastboot flash" patched boot image -> Reboot to rooted 091, nothing else changed.
You predict touch working on TWRP or do I get and OTG to connect a mouse?
I don't think you can make normal nandroid backups with TWRP on the Essential as you can with most other phones, due to the A/B partitions.