Aerodactyl's typing and Speed allows it to perform multiple roles on a team. Aerodactyl is a great pivot for offensive teams thanks to its typing, which grants it resistances to common types such as Fire- and Normal-type attacks; it also has reliable recovery with Roost, so it can take advantage of any lull in a battle.
The Rock / Flying typing is a double-edged sword because it leaves Aerodactyl vulnerable to common Water-, Ice-, and Electric-type attacks. A weakness to Stealth Rock means that Aerodactyl will need support from its team to reach its full potential, otherwise Stealth Rock will be a constant annoyance by draining Aerodactyl's health. Aerodactyl's Speed and high offensive pressure makes it a fantastic presence on heavy offensive teams, but its utility on more defensive teams is a bit limited due to its frailty. Although, combining the power of a Life Orb or Choice Band wielder with the Speed of most Choice Scarf users is a beautiful thing to have. Finally, don't use Aerodactyl as a dedicated lead; its glory days as a DPP OU lead are far behind it.
This set combines all of Aerodactyl's positive traits to maximize its potential. With its high Speed, Aerodactyl can act as a backup revenge killer for offensive teams that cannot afford to have an additional Choice Scarf user. Slower, defensive teams enjoy Aerodactyl because it's a non-Choice item revenge killer, and can break down stall that lacks its counters. Aerodactyl's Speed is so great that it can even outspeed some Choice Scarf Pokemon, such as Emboar and Braviary. Thanks to its typing, Aerodactyl can switch into them directly, although it must be careful of coverage attacks. Aerodactyl's function on an offensive team is to wallbreak and act as a pivot that can switch into Fire-types like Moltres and Entei and outspeed them while threatening to hit them with Stone Edge. This variant of Aerodactyl is self-sufficient, barring its Stealth Rock weakness, because it can take down its own counters with Fire Blast.
Stone Edge is Aerodactyl's strongest Rock-type STAB, but it has shaky accuracy. Earthquake is a strong attack with great coverage to hit grounded Fire- or Poison-type Pokemon such as Entei or Drapion without relying on Stone Edge's accuracy. Fire Blast is used to take down the Pokemon that could otherwise withstand Aerodactyl's attacks, particularly Ferroseed, Tangrowth, and Steelix. Fire Blast 2HKOes the mentioned counters, and with the given EVs always OHKOes Escavalier and Durant. Double-Edge is a great alternative neutral attack that takes advantage of Rock Head and offers a perfectly accurate attack for Aerodactyl. Roost finalizes the set by granting Aerodactyl reliable recovery to mitigate damage upon switching in and Life Orb recoil.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
This set is more singular in focus, and can attack while switching in with minimal damage taken. In addition, team support is crucial to this set's success, due to Aerodactyl's Stealth Rock weakness and frail defenses. The hit-and-run attitude of this set emphasizes smart prediction and switching; it is best to switch Aerodactyl into Ground-type, weak neutral, or resisted attacks. This set works differently than other Choice Band users thanks to Aerodactyl's high Speed, which lets it almost always attack first, and its useful resistances.
Stone Edge is Aerodactyl's strongest Rock-type STAB. Earthquake is a great neutral attack to hit threats like Entei, Qwilfish, and Aggron, although you must exercise caution, as Levitate or Flying-type Pokemon can capitalize on Earthquake. Aqua Tail rounds out Aerodactyl's coverage by hitting Ground-types such as Rhydon, which would otherwise be major annoyances. Double-Edge provides great neutral coverage and is a great fall-back for Aerodactyl due to its perfect accuracy, and it also takes advantage of Rock Head.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
The options above are Aerodactyl's best sets, but Aerodactyl does have other attacks to surprise its opponents. Aerodactyl can try its hand at utilizing Hone Claws, which would definitely help with Stone Edge's accuracy, but its frail defenses will make it difficult to consistently set up. The combination of Power Herb and Sky Attack can surprise Grass-types like Tangrowth and Amoonguss, but it's a one-time use. Aerodactyl has all the elemental fangs at its disposal, but they all have paltry Base Power, and Fire Blast is better in every instance for its ability to take out Tangrowth and Steelix in addition to Ferroseed. Aerodactyl can utilize Sunny Day and Rain Dance with the respective weather Rock, which can work thanks to its high Speed and the ability to disrupt its opponent with Taunt. Toxic can be used to surprise some walls like Slowking and Quagsire that would otherwise force Aerodactyl out. Aerodactyl can utilize RestTalk in conjunction with Whirlwind or Roar, which gives it the ability to phaze very quickly with Sleep Talk.
Checks and Counters
Aerodactyl is a bit difficult to beat because its high Speed means it will get two attacks on a switch-in before fainting, so a Pokemon that can consistently take a beating is your best bet to take it down. Tangrowth will be impossible for Aerodactyl to bypass if it lacks Fire Blast, and Tangrowth can use Sleep Powder, heal with Leech Seed or Synthesis, or simply wear down Aerodactyl with its attacks. Physically defensive Slowking will be very difficult for Aerodactyl, and the only way for Aerodactyl to take it down is to get a critical hit with Stone Edge. Slowking has a multitude of options to handle Aerodactyl with; Thunder Wave cuts Aerodactyl's Speed, Scald will KO, and Trick Room can be used to start a counter sweep with Slowking. Quagsire is a great choice to take down Aerodactyl with Recover and Scald. Choice Scarf Pokemon can be used to revenge kill Aerodactyl but you need to make sure that they are faster than Jolly Aerodactyl, otherwise it will be for naught. Choice Scarf users like Rotom or Lilligant are good choices because they can take out Aerodactyl quickly and can always reliably outspeed it. Priority is another method to take down Aerodactyl: Aqua Jet from the likes of Kabutops, Feraligatr, and Carracosta can quickly take care of Aerodactyl. Sucker Punch from Pokemon such as Spiritomb and Absol is another choice to take out a weakened Aerodactyl, but they need to be careful Aerodactyl doesn't use Roost.