For a long time I have been under the impression that, as the Internet says, clerics (and druids) are better fighters than the fighter.
They have a plethora of spells they can use to buff themselves, and on the defensive side they're pretty good, I must admit, but offensively? I'm now under the impression that there are some feats that are so good despite requiring almost useless prerequisite feats that no spell can make the cleric a better fighter than someone who's not feat starved.
I am talking about Leap Attack and Shock Trooper mainly, but Combat Brute also seems to be a staple for melee builds I see in my games.
Sure, I can persist or quicken Visage of the Deity, greater, and Divine Power plus Righteous Might and Divine Favor, I can even gain access to Shapechange and turn into an arcane giant or a pouncing leonal, but... without their damage multipliers, how am I better at being a fighter than a raging barbarian with a few fighter levels (only 2 Str below my arcane giant form) or a fighter with a lot of feats?
Sure, they need to have contingent spells of air walk to be able to charge where they otherwise couldn't and some even use contingent spells of wraith touch to avoid taking Shock Trooper, but that's just because our characters usually face only a single big encounter each day... which should favour the caster, shouldn't it?
So I've been looking into it and the sources I've found (admittedly just a few, seeing how GitP forums are down right now) say that CoDzilla, for the cleric part, is just two persisted spells: divine power and righteous might.
Well, the only thing that was suggested other than that was a full-fledged Twice Betrayer of Shar (a completely theoretical build where enemy goddesses Shar and Mystra grant the cleric the power to keep their magic buffs in both antimagic fields and dead magic zones), and thinking about it I have seen people in my games build clerics surrounded by a selective1 antimagic field in order to debuff their enemies but not themselves.
I don't like the idea. It looks like cheese to me so my question is, is it the only real way to make a melee cleric effective, when measured against ubercharger builds? Is it even enough?
1) yes I know they are still vulnerable to a lot of magic attacks with that literal hole in their defenses but both the cleric and the fighter will die to a maximized empowered twinned force orb and its quickened sister, so it's a moot point.