Using Aerodactyl as a Competitive Pokémon in "Pokémon X and Y"
The Fossil Pokémon
Ability(s): Rock Head/Pressure/Unnerve
Special Attack: 60
Special Defense: 75
Aerodactyl was the quintessential lead Pokémon in the 4th gen competitive metagame. You couldn't go two matches without seeing one as soon as the battle started. Aerodactyl was a fantastic lead that almost always got the job done. It could set up Stealth Rock reliably and was a perfect fit for offensive teams as well as balanced ones that needed residual damage. Aerodactyl was more of a tool than a Pokémon, and it was so important to have one that it was worth essentially giving up a slot on your team for it. That's how important it was to have Stealth Rock set up in 4th gen. Not only that but Aerodactyl has a respectable 105 base attack stat with which to dent or even KO some of the weaker leads at the time.
X/Y and ORAS have given Aerodactyl new hope in the form of a Mega Evolution, which increases its offensive potential exponentially. Aerodactyl's utility really shines through with its Mega Evolution thanks to increased bulk and Speed. Aerodactyl's new form is exactly what it needed to jump from merely being a tool or gimmick to being a full-fledged offensive Pokémon. It may seem at first glance that Aerodactyl's mega evolution is just a bump in all of Aerodactyl's stats, but that's actually not true. Mega Aerodactyl's stats grant it a new level of versatility in addition to the existing utility its base form has.
Aerodactyl's days as a reliable Stealth Rock lead may be long gone, but Mega Aerodactyl's time in the metagame is just beginning.
Special Attack: 70
Special Defense: 95
Mega Aerodactyl can do everything base Aerodactyl can, but better, naturally. The most obvious boon besides the stat in crease here is Tough Claws. Tough Claws gives a 33% damage bonus to all attacks that have physical contact. This means that moves like Fly and Iron Head are especially deadly with Mega Aerodactyl. The added bulk also lets you set up Stealth Rock much more easily against a multitude of Pokémon, or set up with Tailwind or Taunt opposing walls or stall Pokémon.
Mega Aerodactyl performs best when doing double duty, since limiting it to just one role, attacking or utility, is not using it to its fullest potential. Taunt, Stealth Rock, and Tailwind are great ways to disrupt your opponent's strategy and support slower Pokémon on your team, respectively. Not only that but Rock Slide and Fly are a great way to eliminate weakened Pokémon on your opponent's team or clean up in the late game. Speaking of which, momentum and timing are a big concern with Mega Pokémon. Sometimes you need to eliminate certain threats before you can even bring out the base Pokémon to mega evolve, other times you need to capitalize with you Mega right away. Mega Aerodactyl has the advantage of having very high speed from the start, so its really up to you as to when you think its best to send out Aerodactyl, and when to Mega Evolve.
Yes, Mega Aerodactyl works well in both the early and late game. Early on if you predict well and lead with Aerodactyl you can reliably set up your own Stealth Rocks or taunt your opponent's lead and U-turn into a more advantageous position. In the late game, If you've preserved your Aerodactyl from early on, or just waited until the opponent's team was weakened you can clean up thanks to Mega Aerodactyl's massive Attack stat.
Movesets to Consider
Tough Claws (AKA "These Hands")
Ability: Pressure/Tough Claws
EVs: 252 ATK/252 Speed/4 Def
- Fly/Aerial Ace
- Rock Slide/Stone Edge
- Iron Head/Roost
This set is fairly straightforward. Fly received a hefty boost after 3rd gen, which a lot of people might not know, since it's rarely ever used, especially in competitive battling. It also receives a boost from Tough Claws, making it that much more of a devastating move considering Mega Aerodactyl's 135 Attack stat. If two-turn attacks aren't your thing, you can substitute Fly for Aerial Ace. You lose a considerable amount of Power with Aerial Ace, but the upside is having an instant Flying attack as opposed giving your opponent a free turn if they can predict you correctly. It really comes down to personal preference and team composition, however. Fly is such an uncommon move that your opponent will most likely waste the free turn they get while you set up Fly. Earthquake is standard for any Steel types that resist both of your STAB moves. Finally, Iron Head is another Tough Claws-boosted attack that takes care of Fairy types and opposing Rock-type Pokémon that aren't KO'ed by Earthquake.
Anyone who has used Aerodactyl in the past knows that your three biggest weaknesses are Water-type attacks (mainly from Water-type Pokémon), Ice Beam, and Rock-type attacks. Since this moveset focuses on offense above all else, you'll want to make sure your weaknesses are eliminated, or at least covered. You might be faster than just about every other offensive threat in the game, but a well-timed Aqua Jet or a bad switch can ruin your entire plan. What's more, is that even 135 Attack isn't enough to ensure a KO on some bulkier Pokémon such as Azumarill or Tyranitar. Both of which can potentially One-hit KO Aerodactyl with their STAB Water or Rock-type attacks, respectively. In short, you want to eliminate those threats early on with your teammates, or have Aerodactyl clean them up after they've taken residual damage.
Ability: Pressure/Tough Claws
EVs: 212 HP/44 ATK/252 Speed
- Stealth Rock
- Aerial Ace/Toxic
This moveset lends itself to more creativity. Mega Aerodactyl has decent bulk and such high speed that you'll be able to get the jump on just about every Pokémon except Mega Alakazam. Stealth Rock is fairly standard on this set, but if you have a Pokémon that can set up Rocks you can easily replace it with Toxic or U-turn, depending on your team's needs. This set excels at stopping your opponent's support Pokemon and pursuit trapping Pokemon like Latios/Latias or Alakazam. If you wanted to get extra turns out of Toxic, or are playing a slower, more stall based game, you can use Fly instead of Aerial Ace.
There aren't many other Pokémon besides opposing Aerodactyls or Magic Bounce users that you have to worry about stopping you. Aerodactyl can outspeed any support Pokémon with ease and land a Taunt without the worry of being KO'ed itself. You should watch out for any of the things mentioned above, and Ferrothorn's Gyro Ball. Prankster Pokémon such as Sableye or Thundurus can ruin your day with status so its best to avoid them completely as you have very little to combat them with.
- Magnezone: Magnezone not only covers Aerodactyl's Rock and Electric-type weaknesses, but it can counter any Steel-type that Aerodactyl can't handle. Scizor and Ferrothorn can be troublesome for Aerodactyl, and Magnezone can make short work of them both. Not to mention that it can be an excellent partner to utilize a Volt Switch/U-Turn combination with. Magnezone's great bulk is also a good compliment to an all out attacking Aerodactyl, but it also appreciates having Stealth Rocks set up. Magnezone is one of, if not the best partner for Aerodactyl.
- Latios: Latios is similar to Magnezone in execution. Latios is there to counter Water-type Pokémon that can stop Aerodactyl in its tracks. Latios is a good offensive partner that can eliminate Water-types so you can more easily pick off weakened Pokémon in the later parts of the game. It can also use Defog to get rid of Stealth Rock which Aerodactyl does have trouble with. However, since it doe get rid of your own entry hazards it might be wise to have Latios out in the early game and pave the way for Aerodactyl to set up Rocks or sweep more comfortable without the fear of entry hazards.
- Terrakion: Terrakion appreciates Aerodactyls support with dealing with opposing Flying and Fighting types as much as Aerodcatyl benefits from Terrakion getting rid of Rock and Steel-type Pokémon. Terrakion and Aerodactyl are a good offense based pair, so they fit well together on an offense or even hyper offense style team. While the two perform well together when it comes to poking holes in the enemy team, they both suffer from the same Water weakness, so keep that in mind if you choose Terrakion as a teammate.
Which Mega Pokémon should I cover next?
Mega Aerodactyl is an underutilized Mega Pokémon, quite frankly. Its increased bulk and utility. not to mention sweeping potential, make it a versatile part of any team. Its blazing Speed and very high Attack make it a threat to anything it can hit for at least neutral damage. If you want a Mega Pokémon that can not only poke holes early on in a match, but provide support throughout a game or clean up at the end, then look no further than Mega Aerodactyl.