I haven't had much experience with specialty stithes to form much of an opinion for this question. The only specialty stitch I've done so far is the Algerian Eyelet and French Knots. I didn't particularly enjoyed the Algerian Eyelet for it can be quite a chore to complete one compared to good old cross stitch but I do like the different effect it lends to a piece. As for French Knots, I used to hate it but after I've learnt to tackle it, I'm fine with it but if a particular project contains dozens of French Knots, I think I'll more than likely replaced them with beads. Beads gives a better 3D effect and looks nicer anyway. Does backstitch count as specialty stitch? I love doing it for it's fast and as you stitch, the whole design just pops out and suddenly everything finally makes sense.