Altaria is often known as the "UU Dragon" because it's simply outclassed by Dragonite and other Dragons in OU. While it is outclassed in OU, it has a very interesting niche in the UU metagame. Being able to resist many of the most common attacks that are used in UU (Grass, Fire, Water, and Ground) as well as resisting common priority moves (Aqua Jet, Vacuum Wave, and Mach Punch), Altaria makes a great special wall and bulky Dragon Dance sweeper. Altaria's Special Defense is often high enough to even take Ice-type attacks after a Roost.
While Altaria is a great defensive Pokemon, it's often held back by its mediocre offensive stats. Draco Meteor and Outrage compensate for this to an extent; however, even with these moves Altaria has trouble dealing enough damage to sweep without Dragon Dance boosts. After a Dragon Dance, however, with perfect coverage granted in two moves, decent Speed, and a 120 Base Power STAB attack, Altaria will be able to devastate unprepared teams.
This set moves away from Altaria's defensive prowess and focuses on its decent Speed, movepool, and Dragon Dance. Altaria reaches 388 Speed after a Dragon Dance, which outpaces everything (without a boost) in UU minus Electrode. After a Dragon Dance, Altaria will OHKO a good portion of the metagame as well. For example, Venusaur, who is fairly bulky, is easily KOed by a +1 Outrage.
Earthquake grants Altaria perfect coverage with Outrage, since there are no Skarmory or Bronzong in UU, and it allows Altaria to take out its counters before it lets loose with Outrage. Roost takes advantage of Altaria's natural bulkiness and is especially useful to avoid Sucker Punch. That said, Fire Blast is a decent option to hit Steelix harder than Earthquake would on the switch, but reduces Altaria's long-term viability substantially by cutting out Roost.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Solid defenses allow Altaria to set up on many of UU's weaker attackers and get several Dragon Dances under its belt before smashing through teams with its nearly unresisted STAB Dragon Claw. This Altaria set has two uses: it can serve as a cleric with Heal Bell and as a check to many of UU's threatening special sweepers throughout the match, and also set up a sweep for itself near the end of the match.
Dragon Claw is chosen over Outrage as Altaria's attacking move for several reasons. Altaria is designed to serve as a supporting Pokemon for the majority of a match, but Outrage leaves it vulnerable to revenge kills if it has to attack without any gathered Dragon Dances. Dragon Claw also lets Altaria alternate between attacking and Roosting to bring down foes without recovery. This Altaria set is expected to get multiple Dragon Dances, so Dragon Claw's power loss is not as detrimental to Altaria's sweeping chances as Outrage's confusion. Heal Bell lets Altaria support its team by curing all status afflictions, but Safeguard is the better choice for improving Altaria's chances of setting up. Safeguard protects Altaria from sleep attacks and only needs to be used once every five turns; Heal Bell's 8 PP can be stalled out quite easily by an opponent spamming Toxic.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Altaria's great typing and access to rare supporting moves make it a valuable addition to any defensive team. Altaria boasts resistances to Fire, Water, Grass, and Fighting, and an immunity to Ground. In addition to this, Altaria has access to an instant recovery move in Roost and pseudo status immunity from its Natural Cure ability.
To maximize its support options, Altaria only has space for one attacking move. Using Altaria's Dragon STAB is recommended due to its excellent neutral coverage. Altaria has equal attacking stats, but Dragon Claw is preferred over Dragon Pulse because most of the Pokemon Altaria prefers to take on, such as Venusaur, Houndoom, Mismagius, Espeon, and Sceptile, have lower Defense than Special Defense. Aerial Ace is another option because it hits Grass- and Fighting-types such as Venusaur and Blaziken for super effective damage.
Roost grants Altaria reliable recovery and lets it reduce its quadruple Ice weakness to a double weakness and gain a resistance to Electric-type attacks for a turn. Heal Bell supports the entire team by healing all status afflictions. If you already have a cleric, Earthquake can be used in the third slot to hit Steel- and Fire-types. In the last slot, there are three options to use against stat-up Pokemon: Perish Song, Roar, and Haze. Perish Song is very helpful on stall teams for dealing with the last Pokemon scenario, when the foe can no longer be phazed. Roar has the advantage of causing the opponent to immediately switch; however, it is useless in a last Pokemon situation. Haze is the most reliable option for eliminating stat boosts, but it doesn't encourage the opponent to switch nearly as much as the other two options (which means less residual damage).Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
At first, it may seem odd to attach a Choice Band to a Pokemon with middling Attack and Speed stats. However, Altaria's Attack stat is sufficient to smash through many common defensive Pokemon, while its lower Speed stat is counterbalanced by bulk that frailer, more powerful sweepers can only dream of. Altaria's true strength lies in the excellent neutral coverage of Dragon-type attacks. While it cannot claim to 2HKO every single Pokemon in the tier with "the right attack," this is a strength, not a weakness—for the most part, there is no need to predict which Pokemon the opponent will switch in.
Outrage is Altaria's primary attack, and the one it should be using the majority of the time. Since there are no levitating Steels in UU, Earthquake hits every Pokemon that resists Outrage for super effective damage. Even though there are only three Steel Pokemon in the UU metagame, predicting a switch-in with Earthquake can enable you to more easily spam Outrage later in the game. Sleep Talk makes Altaria a more offensive reaction to Venusaur. If Venusaur puts Altaria to sleep with Sleep Powder, Altaria would ordinarily have to switch out in order to wake up with Natural Cure, which would give Venusaur a free turn to set up or attack. Sleep Talk means that Altaria has a high probability of attacking Venusaur in its sleep, at the very least ensuring a free switch-in for a teammate on the next turn as Venusaur heals with Synthesis. Dragon Claw is usable over Sleep Talk since it gives Altaria a secondary STAB move if you're afraid of locking Altaria into Outrage, but it misses out on many significant OHKOs and 2HKOs. Finally, Rest heals off damage taken from attacks or Stealth Rock, and is particularly effective against stall teams.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
This set, while functioning similarly to the above set, takes advantage of Altaria's 120 Base Power STAB Outrage and the way it functions with Sleep Talk. If Sleep Talk picks Outrage, the move functions normally, but its negative secondary effects are ignored. This means Altaria can get away with using Outrage without worrying about being locked in or affected by confusion. With Rest over Roost, Altaria can heal and recover from status both in one turn, as opposed to being forced to use Roost then Heal Bell. This gives Altaria a chance to smack the opponent with a hard boosted Outrage on the switch. The premise of this set is simple: use Dragon Dance until you are forced to Rest, then hit the opponent with boosted Outrages.
The EVs on this set are more offensively-oriented because of Altaria's natural bulkiness and because it's important for Altaria to hit hard with Outrage, since the opponent will likely switch to their best counter once Altaria uses Rest. The 36 Speed EVs are all that is needed to outpace all Moltres and other base 90s after a Dragon Dance.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Although Altaria's Special Attack stat is mediocre, it is still strong enough to pull off a Choice Specs set by abusing its Dragon STAB. Since many of Altaria's usual switch-ins, such as Rhyperior and Donphan, are lacking in Special Defense, Altaria can lure them in and crush them with a powerful Choice Specs-boosted Draco Meteor. With opposing physical walls severely damaged, physical sweepers of your own will have a much easier time sweeping.
Draco Meteor is Altaria's main STAB, and even with Altaria's pitiful base 70 Special Attack, it can still punch surprisingly large holes in the opponent's team. Fire Blast hits Steel-types that resist Draco Meteor, capable of 2HKOing Registeel after a layer of Stealth Rock and Spikes. Dragon Pulse is a more reliable STAB option than Draco Meteor, but Sleep Talk allows Altaria to switch into Venusaur's Sleep Powder with ease. Rest is used in the last spot so Altaria can instantly recover any health it has lost, switch out to remove sleep with its ability, Natural Cure, and and come back in later in the battle to continue pounding the opposition.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
A mixed set works great for Altaria as well, since it doesn't need to worry about Calm Mind Pokemon setting up on Draco Meteor. However, Altaria simply isn't strong enough to abuse both its Special Attack and Attack with the same set. A Toxic stalling set could also work on Altaria, since Altaria boasts impressive defenses and Roost. However, Moltres outclasses Altaria in this regard with Pressure and a much more powerful Fire-type STAB attack.
Checks and Counters
If Altaria doesn't carry Earthquake or Fire Blast, any Steel-type will have an easy time beating it, though Registeel and Steelix need to be careful when facing the Sleep Talk set because it can heal off the damage they cause and set up Dragon Dance. Altaria also has an easily exploitable 4x weakness, so bulky Water-types who invest in Special Attack should have no trouble walling and KOing Altaria.
Regirock and Donphan make great checks to the Sleep Talk Dragon Dance set, as they don't take much damage from Outrage and can easily 1-2HKO with Stone Edge and Ice Shard, respectively.