unsummon + rancor

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hi. if i cast an unsummon in response to my opponent casting rancor, will they get their rancor back? why or why not?
It won't.

Here's how and why:
1 - Your opp casts rancor on one of his creature, the aura spell thus targets it.
2 - In response, you cast unsummon on the targetted creature.
3 - Unsummon resolves, returning the targetted creature to its owner's hand.
4 - When Rancor tries to resolves, all of its targets (the targetted creature) have become invalid, thus countereing the spell, rancor is put in its owner's graveyard.

Because Rancor is put in the graveyard from the stack, its ability won't trigger... because it never hit the battlefield.

Rules Advisor

The Basic rulebook, read it! A lot of basic questions are answered there!

How to autocard :
Type [c]Black Lotus[/c] to get Black Lotus.
Type [c=Black Lotus]The Overpowered One[/c] to get The Overpowered One.

Short answer: No, because Rancor is put into the graveyard from the stack, not from the battlefield.

Rules Advisor

Please autocard: [c]Shard Phoenix[/c] = Shard Phoenix.

zoldberg, tanks; you explained it well!

i knew that casting an aura required a target, but didn't know it also can fizzle if its targets become illegal/nonexistent, just like with instants or sorceries! that rule about auras having targets was a bit more tricky/nuanced than i realized! 
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