For me it would simply be based off needing stereo or not.
Personally if you like the distressor, I would take a stereo pair over the MC UNLESS you have a few stereo comps already.
For me, why do I need it ALWAYS beats out what do I want. I also have an original 1176 and LA2A so I understand what you are aiming for, and I would still keep a stereo pair. Its not like you cant use a distressor instead... But I have never used or heard one so Im not a good judge of the unit.
Plus if you are buying that much gear, you should be able to afford to correct this shortcoming relatively soon either way and have both.