Alternative to tesselation... Reverse LODs?

I’m stuck in a weird place, and I’m not sure where to go. I’m wanting to do some organic deformation in materials, but I need extra verts to support it. Normally I would just use a tesselation shader, but UE has dropped support for that without anything taking its place. I know there have been other posts, but none of the options there are acceptable for my usecase.

I can’t use nanite because I’m targeting VR which benefits from a forward renderer, something Nanite doesn’t support yet. And even if I could, nanite with WPO for organic looking deformations looks awful (Nanite WPO - The Best Feature of Unreal Engine 5.1 (For Foliage & so) - YouTube)

So I guess if I want to use UE for this project, I’m going to just bake the subdivisions into all of my meshes. Which, isn’t ideal, but not the end of the world. However, not every object needs to be deformed at the same time. Ideally I would have a version of the mesh with extra geometry to swap it out whenever the effect is applied. But spitting out two versions of every asset manually every time is updated seems painful.

Then I thought this could possibly be solved by the LOD system, just in the other direction. Is it possible to add redundant vertices for mesh LOD generation? That way I can have a normal fidelity asset when it’s not being interactive and switch it with the “reverse” LOD when I’m applying the effect to it.

Of course, I could just only export a very high subdivided mesh, and rely on its lods to get back to reasonable vertex counts for the noninteractive time, but I feel like there’s potential for lost information.

It seems like there really isn’t an answer here. Would it be possible to reenable tessellation?

Afaik in unreal 5.3 you can re enable it in the engine.ini, idk why they hid it like that

If this is true, you will have made me so happy. Do you have any links to commits or release notes? Searching on github doesn’t yield anything fruitful, and in the 5.3 news I’m seeing tesselation/displacement but for nanite heightfields.