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Hey Drew, as Jan correctly points below the surface finish of the plate axle is where the old gruppos differ from the x100 ones. One of my best friends has a bike shop, and we normally have wet winters here in Argentina. Stream crossings are normal when you ride in our local trails (nothing extreme, just a couple splashes and the water never gets to BB/hubs heights), and as a result most of the 12sp RDs end up with equally corroded pulley cage/clutch axles. I've heard of the clutches coming too tight from factory and almost dry, which would surely contribute to the premature wear on the plate axle because of water ingress.
I read at PB Shimano was shipping either new derailleurs or a replacement kit consisting of a new clutch cover, a new rubber gasket and the necessary screws.
Re. failing shifters: I will try to find out which brand of cables were used, but most of the ratchet issues I heard/saw happened on complete bikes, or in shifters purchased aftermarket, with their original cables already threaded in. However, the failure I'm describing isn't like the one you experienced. The one I brought in consists of the tiny spike/ratchet in the downshift lever becoming unable to grab the gear indexing plate because its tiny return spring is either too weak or breaks entirely, leading to a no-downshift shifter: You just push the downshift lever, but it never engages the indexing plate.
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