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 Aerodactyl Analysis

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PostSubject: Aerodactyl Analysis   Sun Feb 15, 2009 2:11 pm

Aerodactyl
Pressure
Enemy attacks lose 1 extra PP. Increases wild encounter rate.
Rock Head
Recoil moves have no recoil.
Type Tier
Rock / Flying OU

Name Item Ability Nature
Support Lead
Focus Sash Pressure Jolly
Moveset EVs
~ Taunt
~ Stealth Rock
~ Earthquake / Ice Fang
~ Rock Slide / Stone Edge
4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
This set's purpose is to quickly set up Stealth Rock while simultaneously crippling common lead Pokémon such as Azelf, Tyranitar, Gyarados, Salamence, and Gengar. Since Aerodactyl is faster than every other common OU lead, it will almost always be able to Taunt to stop any kind of set up, and Focus Sash ensures that your own Stealth Rock will go up even if your opponent decides to attack instead of set-up. For this reason, Aerodactyl is strongly recommended for offensive teams with two or more Stealth Rock weak Pokemon.

The attacking move choices are all about preferences. Earthquake and Rock Slide allow for a good Ground + Rock combination which hits a lot of Pokémon for neutral damage. Rock Slide is a primary option due to its accuracy and potential to flinch, but Stone Edge is an option if you like the power boost. Ice Fang can be chosen over Earthquake to hit Salamence, and Gliscor, but Earthquake provides better coverage with the Rock-type move.

This Aerodactyl depends on outspeeding the opponent to effectively Taunt and lay down Stealth Rock, so running Jolly and 252 Speed EVs is a given. The Attack EVs allow Aerodactyl to deal respectable damage to leads such as Azelf, Gengar, Tyranitar, Gyarados, Infernape, and Abomasnow.

This set can also make a good user of Rain Dance or Sunny Day. Simply give it a weather inducing move over any one of its four moves, depending on what the rest of your team has covered, along with the proper weather-lengthening item.

Name Item Ability Nature
Choice Band
Choice Band Pressure Jolly
Moveset EVs
~ Stone Edge / Rock Slide
~ Earthquake
~ Aqua Tail
~ Fire Fang / Pursuit
4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Aerodactyl was used almost exclusively as a Choice Bander in ADV, and enough has stayed the same for the Flying fossil that it is still a viable use of Aerodactyl. D/P provided Aerodactyl with the 100 base power Stone Edge as its Rock STAB attack, though Rock Slide is still a decent option; Aerodactyl is certainly fast enough to make use of the 30% flinch rate. Earthquake covers Steel-types like Metagross and is Aerodactyl's most powerful attack against Tyranitar. Aqua Tail provides coverage against the bulky Ground-types such as Hippowdon, Donphan, and Rhyperior, though bear in mind the former two will never be 2HKO'd without some prior damage. Fire Fang will 2HKO Forretress, and it is Aerodactyl's most powerful option against Bronzong. It will also OHKO any Scizor that does not pack Defense EVs, though Aerodactyl must hit Scizor as it switch in, since Bullet Punch will easily OHKO Aerodactyl.

Pursuit is another excellent option, allowing it to hit slower defensively inept Pokémon such as Gengar and Azelf for what is, in many cases, an OHKO if they decide to switch. It also allows Aerodactyl to do some damage to Blissey as it switches out. If you have other methods of dealing with Bronzong and Forretress (namely Magnezone), then Pursuit is the superior option in the last slot.

Name Item Ability Nature
Non-Choice Band Attacker
Life Orb Pressure Hasty
Moveset IVs
~ Stone Edge / Rock Slide
~ Ice Fang / Aqua Tail
~ Fire Blast
~ Earthquake
29 HP
EVs
252 Atk / 4 SpA / 252 Spe
Given Aerodactyl's terrible defenses and its weakness to Stealth Rock, it will likely not survive any even modestly powered attack. This makes it a perfect candidate for the recoil-inducing Life Orb. Note that this recoil is not blocked by Rock Head, so pressure is the superior option since it has an effect which might be useful. Fire Blast is a better option than Fire Fang when you have Life Orb, as it will guarantee a OHKO on Forretress, a 2HKO on Skarmory and can do more to Bronzong than Fire Fang does, depending on whether it is running a more physically or specially defensive EV spread.

Without a Choice Band, Aerodactyl can attack a wide variety of types for super effective hits, and its Rock attacks will do considerable damage to most things that don't resist them. This, combined with the fact that it will outrun nearly every Pokémon without some sort of Speed boost, allows it to clean up late game if it is at high enough health to take a few hits from the Life Orb. The 29 IV in HP is in place to help with this goal, as it will minimize the recoil taken from Life Orb.

Name Item Ability Nature
SubRoost
Leftovers Pressure Jolly
Moveset EVs
~ Rock Slide
~ Substitute
~ Protect / Whirlwind
~ Roost
80 HP / 100 Atk / 154 SpD / 176 Spe
Although once known only as a Choice Bander, Aerodactyl is now finding more and more niches in today's shifting metagame. Among these is the SubRoost set, similar in play to the Zapdos set by the same name. However, Aerodactyl has a few tricks up its sleeve, namely its superior Speed and the Special Defense boost it receives in a Sandstorm.

With Pressure, Substitute, Protect, and Roost, Aerodactyl is able to quickly deplete many of its would-be counters precious PP (such as Bronzong's Gyro Ball), and can then either stall it out or force the opponent to switch around, causing damage from Stealth Rock and any other entry hazards you may have in effect. Rock Slide provides a generic STAB move to use, and although Stone Edge's high damage would be nice, 8 PP simply is not enough, and Rock Slide's 30% chance of flinching may come in handy once in while.

If the possibility of being phazed out by Swampert or another similar Pokémon is too much for you to handle, Whirlwind may be used over Protect. Not only does it allow you to phaze out a slower counter that can't deal much damage, but it also lets you scout switches and force out anything that tries to set up on you.

The EVs provide Aerodactyl with 321 HP (a good number for Leftovers + 1), 224 Special Defense, which gets boosted to 336 in Sandstorm, and 374 Speed, allowing you to outspeed all base 120 Speed Pokémon. For Rock Slide's sake, the rest go into Attack, although they could easily be placed in HP, Defense, or Special Defense, depending on how defensive you want Aerodactyl to be.

Name Item Ability Nature
Drugodactyl
White Herb Pressure Jolly
Moveset EVs
~ Curse
~ Stone Edge / Rock Slide
~ Earthquake
~ Roost / Taunt / Ice Fang
72 HP / 216 Atk / 80 Def / 4 SpD / 136 Spe
Aerodactyl possesses the oft-overlooked stat-up move, Curse. Curse allows Aerodactyl to gain one level of boost in Attack and Defense, at the cost of one boost level of Speed. However, White Herb negates the Speed drop, essentially giving Aerodactyl a single Bulk Up boost. This, in addition to the 1.5x Special Defense boost that Sandstorm provides, gives Aerodactyl some much needed bulk. If needed, later on in the match, you may turn Aerodactyl into a wall of sorts with Curse, as Aerodactyl's useful resistances combined with its Special Defense boost in a Sandstorm can make it difficult to take down.

Stone Edge with Earthquake is your generic Rock and Ground combination, obtaining great coverage on all but a few select Pokémon. If preferred, Rock Slide may be used for accuracy, PP and the ability to flinch the opponent. The final move in this set is Roost, to help you take hits and heal them off. Alternatively, you may use Taunt to stop phazing, set up, or status effects. Ice Fang helps versus Flygon, Gliscor, and even Salamence and Dragonite, since Stone Edge's relatively low accuracy can be troublesome.

The defensive EVs are set to have near equal Defense and Special Defense. The Attack EVs are for a rock-solid 300 Attack points, to put some force behind Aerodactyl's attacks, even before a Curse. The Speed EVs are to outspeed the 115 Base Speed Pokémon; due to the low popularity of the higher Speed members, more EV investment is not necessary.

Other Options

Aerial Ace is Aerodactyl's best Flying STAB move. At a paltry 60 base power, it is a rather poor option and when neutral, it does less damage than Earthquake, but it is useful for Heracross. Crunch offers a slightly more powerful—and more accurate—attack against Dusknoir, Cresselia (160 BP vs. Stone Edge's 150) and Claydol (160 vs. Ice Fang's 130). Similarly, if for whatever reason you do not feel comfortable with Rock Slide, Earthquake, and potentially Ice Fang to deal with your Water and Flying adversaries, Aerodactyl is able to learn Thunder Fang. It should be pointed out that Stone Edge has more power against most Water-types, so Thunder Fang is only worth considering if you opt for Rock Slide as your STAB move. Double-Edge may seem tempting with Rock Head, but the type coverage is poor.

EVs

Aerodactyl's Speed is its greatest asset, so you will generally want to use a Jolly nature (or Hasty if you are using Fire Blast) with max speed. If you want to drop your speed to throw some points into HP or Special Attack, then you can drop it to 373 to beat Alakazam and Sceptile. 384 speed is a largely insignificant mark to hit, as Weavile will commonly carry Ice Shard to bypass your speed advantage, and Swellow could not deal a large amount of damage to Aerodactyl even if it were common in OU.

It should be noted that should you desire to run Adamant Aerodactyl for the additional power, its max Speed now becomes 359, which can be lowered to 351 (220 Speed EVs) in order to outrun +Speed nature base Speed 110 Pokémon at 350 (Gengar, Tauros, Espeon, Jumpluff, and Froslass), while still outrunning Adamant Weavile and Swellow at 349.

You should always throw 252 EVs into your Attack score with either nature on the offensive sets since you really need the bulk of your EVs there in order to allow Aerodactyl to cause substantial damage to his opponents. The remaining EVs could go into either HP for general coverage, or Special Defense in order to increase the boost granted by Sandstorm.

Opinion

When it comes to a fast, fairly hard-hitting Pokémon, Aerodactyl is one of the better options OU has to offer. With an amazing 130 base Speed, Aerodactyl is able to outrun nearly every Pokémon in the game, although this Speed is not nearly as reliable as it has been in past generations. Users of Aerodactyl need to be extremely cautious of enemy Pokémon who could potentially be carrying Choice Scarf, as the Speed boost it provides is more than enough for many Pokémon to become faster than Aerodactyl and shatter its glass defenses. Another new move that Aerodactyl needs to combat with care is Stealth Rock, which does an obnoxious 25% to the Flying-type Aerodactyl. Scizor's popularity will also hinder Aerodactyl, as it is capable of stopping an Aerodactyl sweep easily with Bullet Punch.

Despite many of the negatives that the fourth generation has given Aerodactyl, it has gained several new toys to play with, most notably Aqua Tail, which allows it to get around many of its would-be counters. A physical Pursuit is also a useful weapon to have. While 105 base Attack is passable, with so many more top-tier Pokemon such as Salamence, Scizor, Metagross and Tyranitar having considerably larger Attack stats, Aerodactyl will often be passed over in favor of harder hitters. However, the popularity of hyper-offensive teams that rely on 'suicide leads' such as Aerodactyl has certainly bolstered the RBY fossil's usage.

Counters

Swampert is arguably the best Aerodactyl counter; with a resistance to Aerodactyl's STAB Rock paired with high Defenes to avoid taking significant damage from everything else. It can hit back with Hydro Pump or Waterfall. Other bulky grounds such as Donphan and Hippowdon can generally switch in with little or no risk, but take considerably more than Swampert from Aqua Tail. Gliscor is in a similar boat, but also has to watch out for Ice Fang. Rhyperior and Claydol can't take multiple Aqua Tails, but they makes a good switch into the Choice Band set as long as you can avoid that attack.

Bulky Fighting types can switch into Aerodactyl relatively easily, fearing only the rare Aerial Ace. Machamp and Hariyama are the two most common 'bulky fighters' in OU that can come into Aerodactyl and force it out, though the less common Poliwrath and Hitmontop (particularly those with Intimidate) can work just as well. Bronzong dislikes Fire Fang and Fire Blast, but takes laughable damage from everything else and can generally survive two Fire attacks anyway to OHKO Aerodactyl with Gyro Ball. Weezing can switch in without much risk and either burn Aerodactyl with Will-o-Wisp or threaten it with Thunderbolt. Some of the more physically defensive bulky waters can also switch in and force Aerodactyl out, most notably Suicune and Slowbro who can both easily survive two Choice Banded Stone Edges, barring a critical hit, and threaten Aerodactyl with Surf. Cresselia can switch in without much risk on any move and either cripple Aerodactyl with Thunder Wave or just hit it with Ice Beam.

Whilst not a direct counter, Stealth Rock will greatly cut Aerodactyl's lifespan, limiting its potential switch-in opportunities yet further.
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