Deep Cut

Deep Cut as it appeared in August 2023
Builder Liam Drew, Ryan McFarlane, Max Morningstar, Tom Jaeger
Driver Max Morningstar (January 2023, May 2023, August 2023), Ryan McFarlane (March 2023)
Team TRC
Weight Class 3lb
Body Material 7075 Aluminum, TPU Chassis
Weapon Horizontal Spinning Disk (AR500)
Weapon Drive VELOCE V2208 V2 2450Kv Motor
Drive Repeat Drive Max from Repeat Robotics
Power 3S Lipo
Lifetime record 1-7


Deep Cut is a 3lb robot originally conceived by Liam Drew and Ryan McFarlane of team TRC, which was later built by Drew, McFarlane, and new team member Max Morningstar for the January 2023 NHRL event. The core identity of Deep Cut, a horizontal spinner, was chosen by Drew after he suffered a loss to a similar style of robot in an internal combat robot competition held by TRC.

At the January 2023 NHRL event, Deep Cut was initially defeated by Frustration but bounced back, accepting a forfeit from FRC Who? (who failed to show up to the event) and taking a tapout win over a damaged Red Rocket. Deep Cut's bracket run was cut short after a devastating loss to Abomination in just 8 seconds, earning Deep Cut the dubious honor of being tied for 5th on the NHRL Fastest KOs-3lb list. Despite being eliminated, Deep Cut ended the day on a win after a dominant showing in a rumble with fellow TRC robots Stress Concentration and UH... foot.

Following the disappointing 1-2 performance at its inaugural event, Deep Cut was extensively redesigned for the March 2023 NHRL event by veteran TRC team member Tom Jaeger. Due to a scheduling conflict, the robot was built by the full Deep Cut team but was driven and pitted by only Ryan McFarlane. Featuring a 12oz weapon and a drivetrain sporting Repeat Drive Max motors, TRC was optimistic in Deep Cut's chances. However, an accelerated build timeline and lack of testing led to extensive electrical and mechanical issues not being diagnosed until after the team had already arrived to compete. While it was able to pass inspection, Deep Cut quickly fell to Poly whiip in its Challenger fight before being forced to forfeit its Last Chance fight to Ankylosaur.

The design for Deep Cut was further tweaked in order to solve some of the issues that lead to such a poor showing, based on feedback from McFarlane based on his experiences and observations at the March event. These modifications included splitting the top chassis plate into two pieces to make the electronics and battery more serviceable, as well as swapping out the weapon motor to one with a higher Kv to try and eliminate the weapons failures that had plagued the robot. Despite these upgrades, Deep Cut still went 0-2 at the May 2023 NHRL event, losing its Challenger match versus Kneebiter and falling to Rick Roller in its Last Chance match. Despite the poor record, the team considered the event to be Deep Cut's most successful, as the damage delivered to the opposing robots in both matches finally reflected a realization of the potential of Deep Cut's signature horizontal spinning weapon.

Following repeated failures to its aluminum frame at previous events, Deep Cut saw its most radical redesign since its inception, with its pizza-slice shaped frame being transformed into a T-shape to allow for more a more compact and rigid design. The frame material was also upgraded from 1/10" 6061 aluminum to 1/8" 7075 aluminum, for added strength, the wheels were swapped from 3D-printed PLA to FingerTech foam, and the chassis was increased slightly in height to make more room for electronics. Despite these improvements, Deep Cut once again went 0-2, getting knocked out by its Rival tier opponent Bot SLAYER and then losing a judges decision to its Last Chance opponent Flying Purple People Eater. As an additional blow, the Deep Cut lost a grudge rematch with Bot SLAYER after both robots were eliminated, bringing its unofficial record on the day to 0-3. The losses, due to issues with weapon belt tension and worn-out electronics that had been reused from previous versions of Deep Cut, were very disappointing, and since it did not compete in the September NHRL event the robot had to end 2023 with a dismal 1-7 official record after 4 competitions. In the face of such a hard end to the year, there was a silver lining: despite three hard matches, the upgraded aluminum frame suffered only cosmetic damage, reflecting the latest step in a clear, albeit incremental, improvement to the robot's design that had occurred throughout the 2023 season.

The name Deep Cut was originally suggested by Morningstar, who thought it could be entertaining to construct a robot branded around referencing obscure media. This can be seen in the January, March, and May 2023 pogs which featured an image from the little known 1981 TV movie Goliath Awaits, and the August 2023 pogs which featured an image of the automaton Tik-Tok from L. Frank Baum's 1907 book Ozma of Oz.

Deep Cut's win count by drivers (not including forfeits):

  • Max Morningstar 1-6 (2-7 including rumbles and grudge matches)
  • Ryan McFarlane 0-1

Fight History

NHRL January 2023

Deep Cut vs Frustration

In its first-ever fight, Deep Cut was driven by team captain and true rookie Max Morningstar. The robot faced Frustration, a vertical spinner designed by veteran combat robot builder Peter Garnache and driven by his sister Alicia Garnache, also a true rookie and member of Team Shreddit. Frustration was one of several "Peter Bar" robots competing at the January event as prototypes of a kitbot later released by Peter's company Repeat Robotics. Before the fight began, one of Deep Cut's wheels slipped off of its motor axle, killing half of its driving ability. Later review of team footage would show that this happened during a visit to the test box, but was not spotted at the time due to the team's lack of experience with the new robot. Despite entering the arena with only half of its drive functioning, Deep Cut was able to dodge several attack runs by Frustration, and deliver a few blows to Frustration's weapon mount and flanks. Ultimately, a weapon-to-weapon interaction ended up ripping the weapon and drive shaft out of Deep Cut, leading to a prompt tap out by Morningstar and earning Alicia her first ever win.

Deep Cut vs FRC Who?

After its preliminary fight loss, the Deep Cut team was slated to fight robot FRC Who?. However, the team behind FRC Who? was not able to make it to the competition in time to pass inspection, and as a result ended up forfeiting their fight, allowing Deep Cut to advance into the next round of the competition.

Deep Cut vs Red Rocket

With a rebuilt and reinstalled weapon shaft and new wheels, Deep Cut prepared to face Red Rocket, driven by combat robotics giant Jeff Waters. Seconds before the robots were placed into the arena to fight, Waters noticed that a fracture had opened up in the rear of Red Rocket, which rendered its rear wheel inoperable and thus left the robot unable to turn. Due to the tight fight schedule, Waters was unable to secure time to repair his robot. Since Red Rocket propels itself using its primary weapon, and since the primary weapon motor had died in Red Rocket's previous match against VLOOKUP(), Morningstar determined that if he could sufficiently damage Red Rocket's primary weapon then the robot would be left unable to drive and thus get counted out. With this strategy in mind, Deep Cut threw itself straight into the weapon motor of Red Rocket multiple times, sustaining heavy damage; the primary weapon, side and back panel of Deep Cut were knocked off the robot, and it began to trail its 3S Lipo battery. Red Rocket also managed to cut through the quarter-inch aluminum of Deep Cut's frame. Before more damage could be sustained, the weapon motor on Red Rocket indeed died, prompting Waters to tap out. While initially TRC believed this to be a result of the repeated impacts on Deep Cut's frame, further conversations with Waters revealed that he had attempted to reverse the direction of the propeller in order to turn the robot in lieu of his rear wheel, which had overwhelmed the main weapon ESC and prompted it to stop working as intended. Nevertheless, Deep Cut took the victory and advanced further into the single-elimination bracket.

Deep Cut vs Abomination

Having been previously defeated by Alicia Garnache earlier in the day, Deep Cut prepared to fight Peter Garnache and his robot Abomination, also a "Peter Bar" design. Before the fight, Garnache asked Morningstar and teammate Liam Drew if he should "take it easy" on Deep Cut. Morningstar knew that the team TRC robots planned to do a rumble later in the day, and, seeking to preserve the Deep Cut, informed Garnache that if he was able to remove one of the side plates or the weapon of the robot he would tap out. Drew, on the other hand, ordered Garnache to "give'em hell." Garnache acquiesced to Drew's request, running Abomination's weapon at full speed for the first time all day and demonstrating the power of the "Peter Bar" design after roofing Deep Cut, totaling the robot and knocking the battery loose in a fight that lasted a mere 8 seconds, tying it for 5th shortest KO in NHRL history and ending Deep Cut's bracket run.

TRC Rumble

Following its crushing loss to Abomination, Deep Cut was able to rebuild in time to participate in a 3-robot rumble with fellow TRC robots Stress Concentration and UH... Foot. All three robots were not running at 100% - Stress Concentration's battery had fused its leads to the drive electronics, meaning driver Tom Jaeger was unable to recharge it prior to the rumble. UH... Foot had suffered catastrophic destruction at the hands of David Small's robot Púca, which required them to rebuild using a spare PLA chassis instead of the TPU chassis they had previous run. Though its electronics were intact, Deep Cut's frame had been severely deformed after a hard hit from Abomination. With all three robots handicapped by their previous losses, it was anyone's guess who would come out on top during the rumble. Ultimately, Deep Cut was voted the winner by a less-than-democratic audience poll (in which Deep Cut was the only option) after Stress Concentration was largely unable to move on its weak battery and UH... Foot got high-centered on its new frame, leaving Deep Cut as effectively the only functioning robot. Despite the extenuating circumstances that contributed to this victory, the Deep Cut squad continues to lord this victory over their fellow teammates.

NHRL March 2023

Deep Cut vs Poly whiip

With primary driver Max Morningstar out of town mentoring at an FRC competition, Deep Cut would be driven by longtime TRC member and Deep Cut builder Ryan McFarlane. Plagued by mechanical and electrical issues, the newly redesigned and largely untested Deep Cut was unable to get its weapon up to speed. Despite this, it was able to sustain multiple hard hits from Poly Whiip before the nut securing the weapon shaft came loose, after which McFarlane quickly tapped out to prevent further damage to the robot.

Deep Cut vs Ankylosaur

Unable to fix the issues that had contributed to the weapon failure in its previous fight, Deep Cut's pit crew was attempting to find a potential solution when the weapon ESC, of which the team had no replacement, caught fire. Without a functioning weapon, the team decided to forfeit the fight to Ankylosaur, cutting short Deep Cut's day at a disappointing 0-1. Despite the result, the competition was considered a success by TRC and the Deep Cut squad, as the fight with Poly Whiip and subsequent troubleshooting process demonstrated design flaws that would be fixed in later iterations of the robot.

NHRL May 2023

Deep Cut vs Kneebiter

Prior to its fight with Kneebiter, while passing Safety the Deep Cut team was surprised to find out that the robot was two ounces underweight. This was unusual, since the team had made a last minute decision to swap from 3D printed PLU pulleys to aluminum pulleys for its weapon system, which should have put the robot overweight. The team accepted being underweight as likely resulting from a simple miscalculation, but the truth was that the wrong bottom plate had been installed on the robot when it was being built the morning before competition - an experimental plate, made out of thinner aluminum, had been used without the team realizing it. This thinner plate would ultimately the the Achilles' Heel of the robot during its fight with Kneebiter. After several strong weapon to weapon hits that sent both bots flying, Kneebiter was able to get a good shot in on the side of Deep Cut, twisting the thinner bottom plate so severely that the robot was no longer able to spin its weapon or get traction with the ground, causing driver Max Morningstar to quickly tap out and grant Kneebiter the win.

Deep Cut vs Rick Roller

Upon returning to the pits, the Deep Cut team quickly realized that the wrong bottom plate had been installed, and swapped the electronics to a backup plate of the appropriate thickness. This did indeed put the robot slightly overweight, so to shave off a few fractions of an ounce the team cut the front tip of both the top and bottom plates off, resulting in what the team jokingly referred to as a "snub nosed" version of Deep Cut. With the robot now the proper weight, the team came upon another issue: the radio receiver for the robot had stopped working, presumably as a result of the impacts from Kneebiter. This could have been the end of the day, since the pit team had forgotten to pack a spare, but luckily Ryan Clingman of Absolute Chaos Robotics generously lent the team one of his extra receivers for their remaining match. Amidst these repairs, Deep Cut's next opponent Rick Roller was grappling with some issues of their own: a hub had become caught in one of their drive wheels, and the team was unable to remove it using the tools they had on hand. Coincidentally, they happened to be pitted right next to Deep Cut, and after approaching the Deep Cut team for help, driver Max Morningstar was able to lend a hand and show how to remove the hub using the press in the NHRL shop, allowing both robots to make their Last Chance match on time and fully functional. Ironically, it was the wheels of Deep Cut that would be the robot's downfall in its fight with Rick Roller.

For the first minute of the fight, Deep Cut was able to deal extensive damage to the weapon and chassis of Rick Roller, knocking off the back plate of the robot. However, Deep Cut was once again hiding a fatal flaw, caused by yet another manufacturing error. The robot's wheels, 3D printed out of PLA, had been printed with the improper number of perimeters, resulting in them being weaker than intended. As a result, the axles on the powerful Repeat Drive Max motors Deep Cut used to drive ended up melting through their wheels, causing Deep Cut to lose the ability to drive. As a result of not being able to show controlled movement, Deep Cut was counted out for the first time in its history and once again from missed out on making the May tournament bracket. Despite the loss, the Deep Cut team was still thrilled with the robots performance, since in both of its fights the weapon system had remained reliable and dealt heavy damage to its opponents.

NHRL August 2023

Deep Cut vs Bot SLAYER

For the August NHRL event, and the first time since the creation of the new qualification match format, Deep Cut was seeded into the Rival tier rather than the Challenger tier. Its opponent, Bot SLAYER, was driven by David, a 9-year old who had competed at other combot competitions but not at NHRL. The match was a tough one for Deep Cut, who lost its its primary weapon after a few head-on exchanges with its opponent, and later lost most of its drive capabilities. After an unstick from Brett, one side of the drive briefly flared back to life, but shortly thereafter failed permanently. As a result, Deep Cut was counted out for the knockout, and fell into the Last Chance tier. Post-match diagnoses would reveal that Deep Cut's spinner had failed after the belt slipped off of its tensioner, becoming too loose to drive the weapon. The damage to the drive was more extensive: one side of the drive had failed because one of the leads had separated from the motor, while the other side had shorted out on account of the insulation being burned off the wires due to friction from the drive motor itself. Springing into action, Deep Cut's team worked frantically to correct both electrical issues, carefully resoldering, reinsulating, and rewiring both drive motors before the robot's next match of the day.

Deep Cut vs Flying Purple People Eater

After extensive repairs to correct the electrical issues suffered during its Rival fight, Deep Cut went into its Last Chance match feeling confident. The robot had drawn a heavily damaged Flying Purple People Eater, which was fresh off of a devastating loss to Jamison Go's Silent X and had undergone its own frantic repairs in preparation for the match. However, despite all the effort put into repairing Deep Cut, as soon as the match started it became clear that the primary weapon and half the drive were still non-functional. Even with this setback, Deep Cut managed to take Flying Purple People Eater the full 3 minutes, where it rightly lost a unanimous judge's decision and was eliminated from the August tournament.

Grudge (Re)match: Deep Cut vs Bot SLAYER

The postmortem for Deep Cut's Last Chance match made it clear that the electronics had suffered far more abuse than had been initially realized; the resoldered drive motor had failed again, this time with the motor's wire leads breaking directly off the motor coil. Deep Cut's pit crew surmised this occurred as a result of three competitions of abuse, both in combat and because of Deep Cut's limited electronics space. Additionally, the weapon failure Deep Cut suffered came from an overly-tight belt that had been incorrectly tensioned in the rush to prep the fight for the Last Chance match. TRC did not have any spare drive motors to replace the one that had failed, but luckily the team was pitted next to Event Horizon, a ring spinner that also uses Repeat Drive Max motors and had an extra on-hand they were willing to sell. With a fresh motor and a properly tensioned weapon belt, Deep Cut was approached by a now-eliminated Bot SLAYER, who offered a chance at redemption with a rematch of both robots' Rival match from that morning. Demoralized by yet another pre-bracket exit, Deep Cut eagerly excepted the grudge rematch, seizing on the chance to reverse the day's fortunes (at least spiritually).

Ultimately, the rematch played out much like the Rivals match did. After taking a few hits, Deep Cut's weapon failed and did not spin up for the remainder of the match. The drive however remained reliable, and so Deep Cut was able to last the full 3 minutes of the match. It lost an audience applause-based vote (in which much of TRC was present and actively voted for Bot SLAYER, who they had been enthusiastically cheering for throughout the match), after which Deep Cut driver Max Morningstar sheepishly but graciously surrendered his second pog of the day to Bot SLAYER's 9-year old driver.

Fun Facts

Big Names Beaten

Obscure Fight Statistics

  • Record versus vertical spinners: 0-7
  • Record versus BattleBots competitors: 1-2
  • Record versus Garnache siblings: 0-2
  • Record versus FingerTech beater bars: 0-4
  • Record versus Team Shreddit robots: 0-1
  • Record versus Peter Bar Kits: 0-2
  • Rumble record: 1-0
  • Grudge record: 0-1
  • Number of times roofed: 2 (Abomination in January 2023, Kneebiter in May 2023)

Fight Statistics Yet to Occur

This section is for various statistics that could be measured for Deep Cut, but represent situations that have not yet occurred (and may never occur). Once they do, these will be moved up into the Obscure Fight Statistics section.

  • Record vs D2 kits
  • Record vs SSP kits
  • King of the Hill record
  • Capture the Flag record
  • Record vs Team Honey Cracked robots
  • Record vs Golden Dumpster holders
  • Record vs Golden Brett holders



  • Rank: #356 in 3lb.
  • Last 5 fights: LLLLL
  • Current streak: L6 (5 KOs/KO'd)
  • Longest winning streak: 1 (1 KOs)
  • Longest losing streak: 6 (5 KO'd)
  • Avg fight time (seconds): 91.1


Year Events Fights W L % KOs KO'd
2023 4 8 1 7 0.125 1 6
All-Time 4 8 1 7 0.125 1 6


Date Fought as Reached Place Fights W L KOs KO'd
January 28, 2023 Deep Cut Round 3 3 1 2 1 2
March 18, 2023 Deep Cut Challenger 1 0 1 0 1
May 6, 2023 Deep Cut Last Chance 2 0 2 0 2
August 12, 2023 Deep Cut Qualifier Round 2 2 0 2 0 1


Opponent Fights W L KOs KO'd Last Meeting
Red Rocket 1 1 0 1 0 January 28, 2023
Kneebiter 1 0 1 0 1 May 6, 2023
Rick Roller 1 0 1 0 1 May 6, 2023
Poly whiip 1 0 1 0 1 March 18, 2023
Frustration 1 0 1 0 1 January 28, 2023
Abomination 1 0 1 0 1 January 28, 2023
Bot SLAYER 1 0 1 0 1 August 12, 2023
Flying Purple People Eater 1 0 1 0 0 August 12, 2023

Click "Expand" to see this table.

Full Fight History

Date Opponent Round Result By Points Fight Length (s) Video
January 28, 2023 FRC Who? Round 1 Win Forfeit 0.00
January 28, 2023 Frustration Preliminary Fight Loss KO -1.00 66
January 28, 2023 Red Rocket Round 2 Win KO 1.11 51
January 28, 2023 Abomination Round 3 Loss KO -1.00 8
March 18, 2023 Poly whiip Challenger Loss KO -1.00
March 18, 2023 RB Last Chance Loss Forfeit 0.00
May 6, 2023 Kneebiter Challenger Loss KO -1.00 25
May 6, 2023 Rick Roller Last Chance Loss KO -1.00 145
August 12, 2023 Bot SLAYER Qualifier Round 1 Loss KO -1.00 163
August 12, 2023 Flying Purple People Eater Qualifier Round 2 Loss Judges Decision -1.00 180

* Forfeits are not counted in a bot's W-L record.

For more information on how points are calculated for rankings, click here.

Click "Expand" to see this table.

Select Fights

Video links Coming Soon!


Robot Pictures

Deep Cut as it appeared at the May 2023 NHRL event
Deep Cut as it appeared at the January 2023 NHRL event
Deep Cut as it appeared at the March 2023 NHRL event

Pog Pictures

Deep Cut January Pog
Deep Cut August Pog

Fight Pictures

Max Morningstar (left) and Liam Drew (second from left) remove Deep Cut from the box after a defeat by Frustration and driver Alicia Garnache (second from right) in NHRL's January 2023 event. Alicia's brother Peter Garnache can also be seen (right).
Screenshot taken from the January 2023 NHRL stream showing Red Rocket, having suffered motor failure, about to tap out. A heavily damaged Deep Cut can be seen in the background.
Deep Cut driver Max Morningstar (right, gesturing) points out the debris from Deep Cut to Abomination driver Peter Garnache (left, in yellow) following their match in the January 2023 event. Deep Cut builder Liam Drew (center) and BattleBots finalist Mike Jeffries (far left) can also be seen.
Frame of slo-mo video capturing the instant Deep Cut was hit by Kneebiter leading to a Deep Cut tapout, May 2023.
Before their Rival match, Deep Cut driver Max Morningstar chats with David, driver of Bot SLAYER and only competitor to have defeated Deep Cut twice