Yes, it's nice not having your character autoattacking at 9m, then casting your Q and having to step 1m closer before you can cast your main spell!
Still - need to rework a lot of spells, cursed beam, desecrate are still useless on the W slot, grudge was overnerfed and could use a tweak.
Almost all the E skills could use some moderate to slight buffs too. IE 1H curse shouldn't be reflectable or damnation staff needs more base damage or lower cast time, right now it is very clunky even with a scholar robe.
And I concur with much of everything else you've said. Desecrate is awful. Cursed Beam, like most beam skills, just isn't worth using.
A lot of the Es don't need much:
Death Curse - I am liking this more now with the longer duration vile curse. It's not triggering moments after my curses fall off because the target moved out of range much anymore.
Great Cursed - A drop to 20 second on cooldown would make this much better. That or remove the need to channel it.
Lifecurse - Instant cast and it would be perfect.
The other E's may need more work.