Japanese Name: チルタリス (Chiruttasu)
Classification: Humming Pokémon
Weight: 45.4 lbs
Gender Ratios: Male 50% – Female 50%
Base Stats: HP 75 / Atk 70 / Def 90 / SpAtk 70 / SpDef 105 / Spd 80
Altaria is known quite infamously for being “the little Dragon that could”. While not being as overpoweringly strong as his cousins in the OU and Uber tiers, Altaria is an aesthetically pleasing Pokemon that functions well in team support roles with his impressive base 105 SpDef and base 90 Def, and can perform offensively with his access to Dragon Dance and more modestly with his Special Attack. Altaria has access to a number of decent support moves, including the coveted Roost, and has two abilities that aid his supporting nature, Natural Cure and Cloud Nine. All in all, as far as the UU tier is concerned, Altaria is a sturdy Pokemon that can aid a team to no small extent.
Altaria’s stats leave something to be desired when you first notice it. A base 70 in Attack and Special Attack can turn people off at the start, but Altaria does get the obligatory Dragon Dance to help boost itself on the Attack front. Dragon Dance also helps its modest base 80 Speed, helping to outpace type threats. Base HP 75 is okay, considering that Altaria absorbs some damage through its defenses, but it is still something to keep in the back of your mind when playing one. Be aware, though, that Stealth Rock eats up Altaria and does damage regardless of defenses, so having a Rapid Spinner to aid him will work splendidly.
Altaria’s movesets are wide and varied, though they have specific synergies that can make predicting a set remarkably easy. Dragon Dance, as stated above, gives Altaria a way to reliably boost its rather poor Attack stat while boosting its usable Speed stat, making a set with Dragon Claw or (if you have one from 4th Gen) Outrage viable. Altaria also learns Roost as an Egg Move, giving him a way to recover damage as well as halving his 4x weakness to Ice for a turn (if you can outrun your opponent). Altaria can also learn several buffs and debuffs, such as Featherdance and Cotton Guard, both of which can have their uses, but are often axed in favor of other moves. The special pool on Altaria is somewhat interesting, giving him access to moves like Draco Meteor, Flamethrower and Ice Beam, but in general, Altaria’s a much better physical attacker with Dragon Dance in his set. Altaria also has access to the move Haze, which can be used to devastating extent on teams that rely on boosting, but if one carries it, it is easy to predict a support Altaria rather than an offensive one. Altaria can also learn Sunny Day and Rain Dance, both of which can be used to aid a lower-tier weather team.
Speaking of weather, though, Altaria’s abilities make it a rather flexible Pokemon, which is a shame considering his stat pool and the subsequent lower-tier assignment. Altaria’s ‘natural’ ability, Natural Cure, allows Altaria to heal himself from harmful conditions such as sleep, poison, burn, and paralysis upon switching out, greatly improving his survivability and overall usefulness to the team, being able to absorb predicted Thunder Waves and Will-O-Wisps. His Dreamworld ability, Cloud Nine, gives him the ability to bring an end to all forms of weather while he is on the field. Slightly less useful, considering his tier, but still an interesting ability nonetheless for a support role.
Altaria’s got a decent moveset, he’s got interesting abilities, great defenses, workable speed… but unfortunately cannot compete at higher levels consistently due to his weaker stats and typing, which leave him wide open to a number of attacks that have the very real chance of overwhelming him. Still, Altaria does have a number of aces up its cotton-style sleeves, and is a Pokemon that should never be taken lightly.