General Information Edit
Current Smogon Movesets Edit
Aerodactyl @ Focus Sash
EVs: 252 Speed/252 Attack/4 HP
~Stone Edge/Rock Slide
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 Pokémon.
The choice of attacking moves depends on what you want to be able to hit hard. Earthquake and Rock Slide allow for a good Ground + Rock combination, which hits all of OU (excepting Bronzong, Breloom, and Flygon) for at least neutral damage. Rock Slide is a primary option due to its accuracy and potential to flinch, but Stone Edge is still more than usable if you like the power boost. Ice Fang can be chosen over Earthquake to hit Salamence and Gliscor, but Earthquake provides better coverage with a Rock-type attack.
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 good use 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.
Aerodactyl's job is simple. Get in, Taunt, Stealth Rock, survive, hit back, either faint or get out. It is remarkable at setting up Stealth Rock, and should you acheive that, Aerodactyl has served its purpose.
Aerodactyl @ Choice Band
EVs: 252 Speed/252 Attack/4 HP
~Stone Edge/Rock Slide
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 2HKOed 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.
Non-Choice Band AttackerEdit
Aerodactyl @ Life Orb
EVs: 252 Speed/252 Attack/4 Sp. Attack
IVs: 29 HP
~Aqua Tail/Ice Fang
~Stone Edge/Rock Slide
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 an 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.
Aerodactyl @ Leftovers
EVs: 80 HP/100 Attack/154 Sp. Defense/176 Speed
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 a 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.
Aerodactyl @ White Herb
EVs: 72 HP/216 Attack/80 Defense/4 Sp. Defense/136 Speed
~Stone Edge/Rock Slide
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.
Aerodactyl's Biggest Quality is its blazing speed, able to outspeed Azelf, Weavile, and the like. He also has a good Attack, and access to many moves that can provide a lot of coverage. Aerodactyl has immunity to sandstorm, which prevents from breaking his Focus Sash. He is possibly one of the best suicide leads out there. Not only that, his blazing speed allows him to Sub Roost, and stall Pokemon with Pressure, depleting them of their PP very, very quickly. With enough defensive EV's, HP EV's, and sandstorm, he even may be able to be BULKY, despite low HP and Defenses. Aerodactyl is that good. However, there are bad sides, he usually goes down quickly due to weakness to Stealth Rock with the choice band set, and most people only use him as suicide leads, so it goes down by either Turn 2 or 3. Mispredicting with Lead Aerodactyl can also cause him to go down quickly without ever laying either an attack or stealth rock.
How Aerodactyl is Used Edit
Aerodactyl is mainly used as a top suicide lead. Why? Because it has a very fast taunt to prevent the likes of Azelf, Metagross, Swampert and other leads from setting up their own Stealth Rock, Taunt, or other support move. This way, Aerodactyl has time to set up his own Stealth Rock, and once he has done his job, he can deal some damage with his attacks before going down. Another added bonus is that he is immune to sandstorm.
Other Options Edit
Aerial Ace: 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 and Breloom.
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).
Thunder Fang: 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: Double-Edge may seem tempting with Rock Head, but the type coverage is poor.
How to Counter Aerodactyl Edit
Swampert is arguably the best Aerodactyl counter; with a resistance to Aerodactyl's STAB Rock paired with high Defenses 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 make 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 Band boosted Stone Edges and threaten Aerodactyl with Surf. Cresselia can switch in without much risk on any move and either cripple Aerodactyl with Thunder Wave or 2HKO it with Ice Beam. Scizor, while not resisting Aerodactyl's attacks, packs reasonable defense and can dispatch Aerodactyl swiftly with its Bullet Punch, as long as it stays away from Aerodactyl's Fire-type attacks.
While it is not a direct counter, Stealth Rock will greatly cut Aerodactyl's lifespan, limiting its potential switch-in opportunities yet further.