– Team Up

Date Reviewed:
April 2, 2019

Ratings Summary:
Standard: 3.30
Expanded: 3.35
Limited: 4.25

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.

Reviews Below:

vince avatar

Time to prey with Aerodactyl (SM Team Up)! There have been several interesting cards in the set that it’s hard to put it all in one basket considering how tight the schedule is. Aerodactyl looks like there isn’t much to be excited about, but it should be because of one thing. But before I get there, I should go through the rest of the card.

Being a Stage 1 is a bit slower than being a Basic, due to taking additional deck slot and an additional turn for it to evolve. Thankfully, Restored mechanic has been retired, since Sun & Moon expansions didn’t reference any Restored Pokemon. Instead, it evolves from an Unidentified Fossil, which is an item card that acts like a Pokémon with 60 HP and is a Colorless type. Except that it has no attacks (although you can attach energy to it), cannot retreat (although it can be switched), no weakness or resistance. If an Unidentified Fossil is Knocked Out, your opponent does take a prize card. On the other hand, Ditto Prism Star can evolve into Aerodactyl, but if you’re relying on that, then you only get one chance, as well as giving up other Stage 1 opportunities.

Now we can get to Aerodactyl! Being a Colorless type – unfortunately – won’t be able to exploit any sort of weakness unless we mess with older cards, and we aren’t. It also doesn’t help that Necrozma-GX’s ability – Light’s End – makes it that it takes no damage from Colorless Pokemon. 130 HP is satisfactory for what is worth, though I’m no longer certain that any printed HP is safe from OHKOs. Being weak to Lightning is actually bad, as Lightning type support enable easy ways to deal extra damage. Electropower makes it an effective +60 against Aerodactyl! Fighting resistance can be helpful in tanking certain hits. And a retreat cost of one is manageable; Escape Board can shave it off.

Aerodactyl has two attacks. Supersonic costs C and makes the Defending Pokemon Confused. This special condition can be easily shrugged off by switching, leaving play, or flipping heads when trying to attack. Confusion is a pretty unreliable Special Condition because the consequences are too soft. That’s not why it has gotten attention, though. It’s next attack, Fossil Fangs, costs CCC for 90 damage, plus 90 more damage if you don’t have any EX/GX Pokemon in play. That makes it 180 damage for three energy, and it can be quickly met with Triple Boost Energy in a pinch; Choice Band ramps it to 210 damage, enough to handle all single-prize Pokémon, most Basic EX/GX and most Stage 1 GX Pokemon. Aerodactyl itself is a single prize attacker that can trade prizes favorably, and its 130 HP can help take small to mid-level hits.

No decklists featuring Aerodactyl at the moment, so let’s get down to the bottom line. It is important to know the limitations. Unidentified Fossil is not a Pokemon, so it can’t be searched. As an item card, it can be searched with Order Pad. If Necrozma-GX sees play, then you’ll need a reliable ability locker such as Alolan Muk SUM or Expanded Garbodor BKT to get past this obstacle. Item Lock can prevent you from playing Unidentified Fossil, so you only get one shot with Ditto Prism Star. Besides those roadblocks, this isn’t a card to forget about due to its potential to efficiently OHKO most Pokemon currently seeing play. Also, Aerodactyl isn’t reliant on Stadium cards, so it can get some type specific support if it really matters. Even better, Virbank City Gym and Hypnotoxic Laser can enable Aerodactyl to reach higher numbers, as high as 240!


  • Standard: 3.6/5
  • Expanded: 3.7/5
  • Limited: 4/5


This is another single prize Pokémon that can reach the level of competitive play, though it would’ve been better if it was a Fighting Type – due to being Rock type in the games – to exploit weaknesses. This is assuming you don’t use EX/GX Pokemon, otherwise, Aerodactyl would be – at best – a decent 2HKO machine.

Otaku Avatar

Aerodactyl (SM – Team Up 130/181) is a [C] Type Pokémon, so neither Weakness nor Resistance is going to matter because we’re not worried about the Unlimited Format (where [C] Weakness/Resistance exists). [C] counters/support is almost as irrelevant; Necrozma-GX is Standard-legal and has some competitive credentials, but everything else is Expanded (or even Unlimited) only and either isn’t or never was competitive. 130 HP is around the point when the odds of surviving an attack or being OHKO’d become even; not good but not bad, either. [L] Weakness is dangerous, though perhaps not as much as it would seem; Zapdos (SM – Team Up 40/181; SM – Black Star Promos SM159) doesn’t apply Weakness while Pikachu & Zekrom-GX are going to score a OHKO anyway BUT there are plenty of less famous attackers that still benefit from it, especially weaker attacks backed by Electropower. ANY Resistance is welcome, and [F] Resistance basically neutralizes the damage buff from Diancie {*}. A Retreat Cost of [C] is very good; easy to pay and Escape Board can eliminate it entirely!

Aerodactyl has two attacks, “Supersonic” and “Fossil Fangs”, and all Energy requirements for them are [C]. Supersonic needs just one Energy, and it Confuses your opponent’s Active. That’s all it does, which is actually a bit underwhelming. It can still be useful, however, buying time and/or forcing your opponent to burn through finite resources to deal with the Special Condition. Fossil Fangs needs three Energy and does a decent 90 damage, but it does an addition 90 (so 180 total) if you have no Pokémon-EX/GX on your Bench. It is difficult running a deck without any Tapu Lele-GX or (in Expanded) Shaymin-EX (XY – Roaring Skies 77/108, 77a/108, 106/108), and plenty of decks require a particular Pokémon-EX/GX to be competitive even when the deck isn’t actually built around it (like Bench-sitting Zoroark-GX). However, there are decks that intentionally avoid running Pokémon-EX/GX, or run very, very few while still being competitive. So I’d say Fossil Fangs is a good deal; you’ll want Choice Band, Professor Kukui, and/or Shrine of Punishment so you can threaten all but the largest Pokémon-GX with a OHKO or pseudo-OHKO, but this seems like a good Stage 1 to run in many decks…

…yeah, we didn’t discuss its Stage yet, did we? Aerodactyl Evolves from Unidentified Fossil, a Trainer-Item with an effect that puts it into play as if it were a Basic Pokémon, where it then has 60 HP and counts as a [C] Type. Unidentified Fossil also states it can’t retreat but that you can discard it from play (meaning while it is acting like a Pokémon) anytime during your turn before you attack.  It does give up a Prize when KO’d. It does not count as a Pokémon at any other time; if you want to search your deck for Unidentified Fossil, reclaim it from the discard, etc. you need to use something that works with Trainers, Items, or Unidentified Fossil specifically. You cannot play it as your opening Pokémon, either. All SM-era “Fossil” Pokémon Evolve from Unidentified Fossil, turning them all into a massive, branching Evolution line; potentially great for combos but also forcing them to compete for a very finite resource. In Expanded and Unlimited, things get really weird. The “Fossil” mechanic has changed multiple times over the years, but anything that still mentions “Aerodactyl” or “Fossil” in their effects still apply to today’s Aerodactyl. I think. I don’t believe everything can work “both ways”; Old Amber can bench today’s Aerodactyl, but Aerodactyl (BW – Dark Explorers 53/108) and Aerodactyl (XY – Fates Collide 76/124) cannot Evolve from Unidentified Fossil or Ditto {*}.

Old Amber Aerodactyl may be worth it, at least in Expanded; skipping Evolving via an Item is usually a good thing, even if it requires luck. Fossil Excavation Map is probably a must, as it lets you add a copy of Unidentified Fossil from either your deck or your discard pile. Ditto {*} gives you one chance use more traditional Pokémon search to get Aerodactyl up and running… and provides a way for Aerodactyl to slip into almost any deck. I haven’t been seeing this, however, because Aerodactyl’s Energy and Bench requirements do still matter. I have, however, run into a couple of solid Aerodactyl decks. Malamar (SM – Forbidden Light 51/131; SM – Black Star Promos SM117) is its usual partner, but I don’t have an actual list. The deck hasn’t managed to finish high enough at any event. This could mean it just is being crowded out of the current metagame, or won’t have a shot until some future release or shuffling around of the competitive scene. Maybe Aerodactyl/Malamar is a bad idea but something else can use it well, or maybe it’s a dead end. I think there’s something here worth remembering for Standard and Expanded Format play.

Definitely run Aerodactyl if you pull it and Unidentified Fossil at a Limited Format event, unless you pull a big, Basic Pokémon-GX worth running solo in a +39 (Mulligan) build.  While you won’t have a way to search out Unidentified Fossil you won’t have any Pokémon-EX and probably no Pokémon-GX in play, and enough time to manually power it up.  Your opponent probably won’t have more than one Pokémon ready to swing for a OHKO against Aerodactyl.  If Aerodactyl shows up early, it could sweep, but even late game it likely lets you get off a big OHKO (probably two).  I also want to discuss this card’s future potential.  We don’t have them yet, and the early translations I saw had different names for them, but we’ll eventually have Giovanni’s Banishment and Triple Acceleration Energy.  The former is a Supporter that lets you discard two uninjured Pokémon from your Bench, the latter is a triple Colorless Energy but only for Evolutions and discards itself at the end of your turn.  If the other new cards we’re getting don’t hurt Aerodactyl, these two could really, really help it. Especially if they become “general use” cards in their own right.


Standard: 3/5

Expanded: 3/5

Limited: 4.5/5

Aerodactyl isn’t crazy good, but it can deliver a solid hit if your Bench is free of Pokémon-EX/GX. We have some decks that can accelerate the Energy and operate without cards like Tapu Lele-GX or Zoroark-GX, and if they can handle Evolving from an Item, they probably should give Aerodactyl a go.  Once we get a few newer cards, Aerodactyl will be worth another look.  I am not sure it will stand up to scrutiny and actual testing, though.

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