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Probably too late to matter but Apostate is way better at dueling unless you are a god tier coder for jester. I was able to be pretty decent with apostate with just nexus and some simple aliases with color coding their cures.
I could never ever accomplish anything with jester. Neither class will get very many kills in raids but in small groups you can probably pull off some great stuff depending on how well you can coordinate. Jester was way more fun in groups though for me. Star tarot for infinite meteors, hangedman tarot, fools, empress, mickeys, concussion bombs... you can do a lot of fun things. But won't kill. And you'll be targetted first.
You asked what I would choose, and I would choose Apostate, for a nice long list of reasons - although the deciding factor for you, in my opinion, should be what seems like the most fun and natural for the character you're interested in roleplaying. If you prescribe to the concept of RP being loosely tied to class (RIP guilds) then you'd probably see a pretty huge difference in how one would roleplay a jester vs being an apostate of evil.
Jester doesn't really take a lot of coding, just remembering aliases. I don't have a lot of code for jester, it mostly boils down to what venoms I want to throw for juggling and when to use gallowshumor. Other than that, it's pretty much all aliases for me. I'm not the best, mind you, and I could code more and become more 'optimized' but jester doesn't really need that much coding. Just my experience.
On the other hand, apostate can get by using pure manual, and is a very strong class. You'll get more kills than jester (unless you're spec'd to do big damage throttles) due to sicken and catharsis.
I'd still pick jester because if you ever do leave Mhaldor, that's a lot of lessons down the drain. Jesters are accepted anywhere, and the RP opportunities as a jester are actually pretty fun.
Jester used to require some complex-for-the-time-scripts to be effective - mostly around doll management.
With the addition of short names and other quality of life changes Jester is one of the classes that require little to no scripting to utilize the class.
Jester does have some big downfalls that need to be considered. The biggest three for me are lack of tankyness in groups, automatically being a high priority target in groups, and not having a great way of getting kills in groups.
Throttle helped a bit for getting kills but IMO if your Jester is consistently/defaulting to damage instead of supporting they are losing out on a lot of potential.
It can be a SUPER fun class but you have to treat it like you're a support character in a MOBA - you hold your team together but also die a lot and secure less kills. IMO Jester needs a way to get experience in groups (come on can we have assist xp already??) that doesn't require balance or is super short like throwing a juggled axe.
juggled throwing would be a big plus in mhaldor's lock-heavy group strats.
I wouldn't even say Jester dies a lot these days if they know what they're doing. Especially if they have particular artifacts. Pretty sure both Mizik and Farrah used it pretty regularly.
You can throw stuff from adjacent to supplement afflictions, use vodun summon/travel to help allies/get out. Jester is pretty damn slippery even without vodun travel. Hermit, BHS, somersault, built-in leap... Then we have bullshit like WoR, Lyre, Branch etc.
Of course, if you're not very artied then Jester probably is not the best for groups. Compared to something like Alchemist or Sentinel. I dunno if Apostate is either; you're fucked if you get focussed. But you can probably live longer than Jester at least.
Apathy or any of the numb clone abilities are god-tier for deathball melee groups. For small skirmishes (2-4 per side) apostate has great on-demand aff access, beckon, cath, etc. I'd be apostate in a heartbeat if I was Mhaldorian. Great 1v1 and group potential and imo low investment required. Bashing isn't great as others have noted since you'd need trait reset to trade out nimble and quick witted depending on what you're doing. You can just deadeyes but the dps is lower than quick witted decay and unless it's been changed the wp drain is quite large.
I like the mechanics of Jester but I struggle with the flavour, so I cast my vote for apostate.