Welcome to the other side! I have a reef that I'm taking down and converting to a planted tank in my son's room. Perhaps we can work together on this?
I too have metal halide, calcium reactor, skimmer, chiller, sump, aquacontroller and extensive flow making mechanisms such as a closed loop on a powerful pump and a tunze stream. Actually even have a Wave2K.
Most of the above is not needed. However, as you mention, this does not equate to being easier than a reef. I find it to be a fine art that is learnt overtime. I will be setting up my son's this weekend inspite of not having the right plants in hand. I'll post my progress and why I do things to see if it helps you. Please ask any questions you may have.
Like in a reef, algae is always a threat in the beginning. This is what we watch out for.