I hear often that Vendilion Clique is one of the best one on one commanders, but I haven't seen them in action so I couldn't vouch for that.
Also, if you're going up against a mono color deck Iona, Shield of Emeria is just plain mean.
Of course, these are just from my experiences playing commander. I mostly play group games, or just reuse group decks against other group decks in 1v1. Our group doesn't really build solely on 1v1, but I hope something I suggested helps get the brain churning!
August 29, 2016 6:09 a.m.
If you want to really know, I build both multi-player and 1v1 decks, Some of the best are.
Vendilion Clique it plays like a legacy deck
Rafiq of the Many almost the most broken deck ever
Kaalia of the Vast is really tough
check out my Rafiq deck, Rafiq, Army of One
August 29, 2016 8:28 a.m.
I think Kaalia of the Vast is certainly one of the most powerful Duel Commanders. Got a friend at locals who uses that whenever he plays people he doesn't like or just wants a quick game, as it can win unreasonably fast and is very difficult to stop.
Kurkesh, Onakke Ancient is only considered tier 3, but built right, it can be a very fast and unforgiving combo deck. The only thing it really has to worry about is having a token generator for the aggro matchup, and being clever enough to play around Vandalblast effects.
August 29, 2016 9:36 a.m.
Finding what's "best" is highly meta dependent. Certain Tier 2 decks can easily be Tier 1 against certain matchups, but would also still lose to other tier 2 commanders. Unsurprisingly, the most competitive decks in general are either fast combo or stax control as both have ways to close out games in the span of a single turn or lock the opponent out of the game.
IMO, the strongest stax generals would be Teferi, Temporal Archmage and Brago, King Eternal. They have all the tools they need to be successful, and like any stax deck, if they get ahead of you even by a little they can lock you out.
Most consistent combo decks are probably Jeleva, Nephalia's Scourge(storm), Prossh, Skyraider of Kher(usually foodchain combo, Karador, Ghost Chieftain(can also be foodchain, but more often than not has + combo with Karmic+Reveillark backup) and either Scion of the Ur-Dragon/General Tazri ( Hermit Druid combo usually).
August 29, 2016 11:25 a.m.
Among others to add to what has already been said, Sigarda, Host of Herons and Geist of Saint Traft and very solid 1v1 because the hexproof and Sigarda's sacrifice clause make the very hard to deal with, and the white makes sure they can interact with lots of what the other deck is doing. Both have their different built in advantages, and going toe to toe they're very good.
From my own experience, Rafiq of the Many, Narset, Enlightened Master and Derevi, Empyrial Tactician are probably the best. Derevi stax is so hard for one player to get out from under, Rafiq can be ramped and evasioned out for crazy quick kills and ramped out Narset just means the other players don't get to do much.
August 29, 2016 1:15 p.m.
Also, Narset, Enlightened Master if you build her right.
Then there's Iroas, God of Victory for stupidly fast ass whuppins.
Even a finely tuned Gisa and Geralf zombie-themed deck is smashface enough to perform some gruesome, wholesale slaughter 1v1 or multiplayer.
August 29, 2016 2:58 p.m.
Any legendary creature if you build it right. But that is my opinion.
However, if you wish, there are multiple Commanders by Tier lists:
August 29, 2016 3:18 p.m.
Wasn't expecting this much feedback thanks so much. Will take all into consideration.
August 29, 2016 3:49 p.m.
Consider running a general that offers a fast amount of aggro along with offering potential elements for control. Running angels can offer a sense of control over other players with cards likeAngel of Despair
and of course, Iona, Shield of Emeria
These cards have particularly high mana costs, but the output of having them on the field can be constricting and devastating to a game's outcome.
Consider angels that provide aggro, and can do an immense amount of damage when left together on the battlefield:
what a pest these would all be if you couldn't remove them from the board... speaking of which...
moving on to demons, which for a high mana cost will provide effects that could end up winning for you in the long run...
Need a tutor and some damage in the same turn? Rune-Scarred Demon.
Dragons will provide you with an immense amount of destruction and damage power, which is what cards like
are all for...
Now, how the HELL are you going to mana ramp to actually build a board full of creautres like this without running at an absurdly slow pace?
Kaalia of the Vast, that's how.
Kill spells, aggro, life link, tutors, an ENORMOUS selection of potential creatures... Seriously, what else can you ask for from an aggro commander in such a colour scheme?
I personally am EXTREMELY biased for Kaalia of the Vast becuase she is my personal go to when I play 1v1 EDH games. She's a TIER TWO on BOTH lists that were provided by Eiti3, and she is an extremely potent general considering you can properly protect her from counter, kill, and removal spells...
which is what cards like Lightning Greaves and many others are VERY useful for.
Kaalia is my favourite commander to play in 1v1 becuase she develops so quickly, and with only one opponent across the table, she can be crushing, as one person (usually) can't have all the removal that is required to keep her off the board. Come on, she only costs
... With a proper mana base and sufficient ramp, tutors, and manipulation with cards like Aurelia, the Warleader, you can swarm the board with up to THREE, sometimes FOUR creatures that cost up to CMC to cast... Imagine the possibilities of playing FOUR creatures in late game that total to a CMC of 24... You could rule the board easily, and with my personal Kaalia deck, I don't often find a counter that can stand against her in the same price range that is tier 1 or tier 2.
I know I sound like I am trying to sell it to you, but I really think Kaalia of the Vast is a general that provides the potential to continually expand on a deck with three prominent creature types (demons, dragons, and angels) that are printed in nearly every set that comes out recently. She is a commander who is not only fierce, but one who will ALWAYS be evolving. And, if built properly, I believe she is the most fun, as well as on of the most powerful EDH generals in 1v1.
I really think you should consider looking into her, becuase she is so diverse and fun, as well as destructive...
AND FLYING STUFF.
Come on dude... Do I need to say anything more?
Check out my Kaalia of the vast deck if she appeals to you at all.
The funnest part is, no two kaalia decks are built the very same, they're all very different and diverse, so she really does become YOUR personal commander as well as a deck build that is unique and individual to yourself.
Look around at other people's interpretations, and see how you appreciate them, because they are all unique and different.
August 29, 2016 7:32 p.m.
For 1v1 I have to agree with Kaalia of the Vast or Animar, Soul of Elements. Both can combo very quickly and make miserable games out of any 1v1 game. Imagine on turn 6 casting, for free or for 1, Emrakul, the Aeons Torn? It can happen with Animar. Kaalia casting something like, I dunno, Avacyn, Angel of Hope or Balefire Dragon on turn 4 with her attack? Yeah...crazier things have happened, and a board wipe or making everything indestructible is...yeah. It is almost a guaranteed win.
August 29, 2016 8:18 p.m.
What do you mean when you say, "Normal" ban list. Do you mean the multiplayer Commander ban list? Because that's apparently what most shops use even in 1v1 play. The easiest way to tell is if you're able to use Sol Ring or not. If you can use Sol Ring, they're using the traditional/multiplayer ban list in 1v1 play. If you can't, then they're using French rules.
August 29, 2016 9:32 p.m.
I'm genuinely shocked no one is representing my personal favorite musician, Yisan, the Wanderer Bard. Once people get past the "ew, mono-green" stage, they realize that he really is the most consistent commander in the game.
His endgame might be a turn behind the hardcore combo decks like Jeleva or Zur, but by nature of his specialty being toolbox strategies, he can find a way to make nearly any matchup favorable.
In a multiplayer setting, he typically draws a ton of hate by having an immense board state by turn 3 or 4. In one-on-one play, the opponent feels severe pressure from the very beginning, and often just gets overrun if they can't produce a turn 3 wrath. I know many commanders have "turn 3 combos" under ideal conditions, but these are also 3 color commanders, who depend more on the luck of having all the necessary ramp, color fixing, AND tutors/combo pieces in their opening hand. Yisan needs...birds?
Literally all Yisan needs is a bit of turn 1 ramp to ensure he comes out turn 2 (which is super easy between fast mana artifacts, enchantments, and all of the best mana dorks green has to offer), and then you can put your opponent on a tidy 3 turn clock using NO SPELLS FROM YOUR HAND, and oftentimes no more than 3 or so lands total.
Other decks are so linear they have to worry about silver bullets ruining their strategy...well, Yisan, the Wanderer Bard is about as Silver-Bullety as it gets.
August 30, 2016 1:44 a.m.
I love Yisan, the Wanderer Bard as part of the 99 in any green deck really. He does so much work in my Ezuri, Claw of Progress elfball deck with Intruder Alarm and Seedborn Muse. He's great, but I don't like his one activation per turn without outside help to be the commander.
August 30, 2016 9:59 a.m.
Between Seeker of Skybreak, Quirion Ranger, Scryb Ranger, Umbral Mantle, Rings of Brighthearth, Seedborn Muse, Quest for Renewal, and possibly Copperhorn Scout, there are always ways to activate Yisan multiple times a turn, often in response to your opponent trying to make a grab at the win.
August 30, 2016 11:07 a.m.
The problem with Yisan, versus Zur, at least in my opinion, is that eliminating Yisan resets the whole chain and forces the player to take an additional turn or two in order to win. For example, a Zur player can continue to sculpt his hand for the perfect Ad Nauseam into Lab Man win, and simply swing Zur to get Imprisoned in the Moon or Darksteel Mutation to put a stop to Yisan's shenanigans.
Yisan's still stupidly powerful, don't get me wrong, and it's right up there with Zur and Derevi even if its a turn slower, but being forced to utilize all of your mana in untap chains or protection chains (and Yisan's best protection one drop, Sylvan Safekeeper, doesn't stop Zur from enchanting it with Imprisoned or Mutation since they don't target) hurts it quite a good deal when considering the strongest 1v1 Commander. If Yisan can get out and tutor out Sakura-Tribe Scout or Scryb Ranger, then Zur can already have hit him with an aura and gained a turn or two of breathing room to combo off.
I still think Zur is the most absurdly powerful 1v1 Commander if you're allowed to use him. Admitting, if you can't use him, then you can't use Yisan, either, but they're both very good choices. Zur is the best option for players with an unlimited budget, Yisan is probably the largest bang for your buck if budget is a concern. No budget was specified, though, so I think the only real answer is Zur. He can can be used to pull Necropotence to sculpt or answer other top tier Commanders like Animar, Yisan, etc., with Imprisoned in the Moon, and can even Voltron if the situation calls for it (Jester's Cap off an Arcum, I guess?). He's versatile, powerful, and lends himself to the best combo deck in the format. At least in my opinion, he does.
August 30, 2016 5:38 p.m.
Yeah, you got me on that. Id have to agree with you in that zur is the single most powerful vacuum considering it can be control, combo, stax, voltron, basically everything a toolbox deck aspires to be. In my personal experience (Yisan v. Zur), there are times where I can get out Nullmage Shepherd and blow up the enchantments as fast as they come...but there are also many times when I just sit with my hands folded watching a turn 4 Ad Nauseam unfold.
August 30, 2016 6:14 p.m.
I'd have to agree that Rafiq is hard to beat 1v1, although I also think that tasigur is a beast. I've long since learned that a good general is actually Phenax, God of Deception. A lot of people play creature heavy combo decks, so I figured that it would be hysterical to run a deck that was basically tutor/counter/removal.dec, with the general win con of mill, which negates the draw, infinites, and whatnot of opponents. My build was uber control with a sub theme of zombie beats. While I took it apart some time ago, and haven't had the time to rebuild it with the newer cards included, it was already hysterically good. All the tutors, yard value, leyline/helm and Eater of the Dead/phenax combos, it was a brutal matchup. I once milled someone at infinite life from 68 cards in deck to zero on t7, after he infinite life comboed, and killed him with a draw step. And, that was with an elesh norn out. I had to go two cards at a time. It helped that I had cast mind funeral the previous turn. If all else went wrong, I ran Conspiracy and the blue version Xenograft, and also ran a number of zombie tutors, and some zombie synergy with Rooftop Storm and Future Sight and Endless Ranks of the Dead, Zombie Apocalypse, etc.. I had a pretty good time of it. Particular hilarity is stadardize and Corpse Harvester. Too must synergy and too much fun.
August 31, 2016 10:14 a.m.
The above posts are exactly why I like Lyzolda, the Blood Witch for 1v1. Load up on 1 and 2 drops, land, hand, and creature removal. By the time your opponent can do whatever annoying combo crap they're playing or cast their 6 cmc commander again, they're already dead. Flowstone Flood is a sweet card.