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Do substrates get any respect?

> > 1. light
> > 2. co2
> > 3. ferts
> > 4. algae consumers
> > 5. substrate

> gardeners.  I would move CO2 up to position 1 and lights
> farther down.  That's just for emphasis on how the money is

Just out of curiosity, why does substrate seem to always come last? After
reading here a couple of months, I get the impression that substrate is just
something to hold the plants in place. It seems that more time and money is
spent adding this fert and that nutrient and trying to maintain whatever
else isn't there because the plants can't find it in a natural substrate.
When I started my tank, the substrate came first, lights 2nd, CO2 3rd. I
used a flourite and florabase mix in an attempt to provide the best planting
medium, which I figured was the highest priority..  But I'm new at this so
what do I know? I'm just curious because it seems like people have to go to
a lot of trouble, and over time spend even more money and effort, just
because their substrate doesn't deliver what the plants need.