You don't need the Sun JavaEE deployment tool to deploy on JBoss AS.
Deployment on JBoss AS is as simple as copying your application (ex: .war file) to the JBOSS_HOME/server/< servername>/deploy folder. The other way to deploy the application is through the admin-console (http://localhost:8080/admin-console)
I can see that can be used Eclipse with some adons, I have lost like all my day yesterday trying to configure Eclipse, but still not finished.
If you are using Eclipose, I recommend that you install the JBoss Tools plugin and read through the JBoss Tools documentation - they contain many tutorials on using Toolks to develop and deploy applications.
Personally, I recommend that you do not use any IDEs, tools or wizards and instead use only a text editor (using Eclipse as a text editor is fine) to edit all files, inlcuding source files and configuration files. Then use command line tools (javac, jar, etc.) to build, package and deploy your apps. I guess that it would be alright to use Ant or Maven to do some of that for you, provided you understand exactly what they are doing. Only after that would I say that you are ready to do Java EE development with Eclipse. I say this because at this point is appears that you are fighting with Eclipse rather than accomplishing your goal of developing Java EE apps.
But I just search to not loose to many time creatind ear and war archives, instead to use a tool to do this more quickly, and to use the time effectively for developpement.
But anyway, important is to start one time.
Then use Ant or Maven. Using Eclipse to do that is just guaranteed to bring frustration. I never let Eclipse build anything.
Well, for basic beginners usage I personally would strongly suggest Eclipse: if used properly, it creates clean project templates and builds an archive which simply works ;-). But it can also cause a lot of "fun", because the WTP team time by time manages to add really nasty bugs...
And using Eclipse (or another IDE) could probably reduce the number of "strange xml validation error on deployment" in this forum to zero ;-).
Anywell, the best tool will fail the "reality test" - users manage to break everything ;-)..
By the way: I fully aggree that the final goal should be "understanding the why and what and where" of EJB development...