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Can someone explain precisely what this means (i.e. all the technical details)? I'm referring to cards like Containment Priest and Hallowed Moonlight. I don't understand this mechanic at all.

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It means exactly what it says, if a creature would enter the battlefield and it wasn't cast it will get exiled instead. It doesn't matter how it was cast, or where it was cast from, as long as it was cast instead of just being put onto the battlefield.

Some examples of things that will cause a creature to be exiled due to those abilities are Rise from the Grave and Æther Vial. These cards put creatures directly onto the battlefield without casting them, thus they will get exiled.

Some examples of things that will not cause a creature to be exiled due to those abilities are casting your commander from the command zone, casting Gravecrawler from your graveyard using its ability, and casting cards with Suspend that had their last time counter removed.

Note that Containment Priest specifies nontoken creatures, and Hallowed Moonlight does not. This means that the Priest will never exile token creatures and Hallowed Moonlight always will, since while you can cast a spell that produces tokens like Lingering Souls the tokens themselves were not cast.

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  • Thank you. This confirms what I originally thought. I got confused because my friend told me that you could, for instance, do the following: the enemy casts a generic creature; you put Hallowed Moonlight on the stack right above it; it resolves and exiles the creature. This is illegal because you cannot cast Hallowed Moonlight in this case, right? (Because of the "and it wasn't cast" requirement.)
    – anon
    Commented Jul 9, 2015 at 15:18
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    @IAmFailure You can still cast Hallowed Moonlight, but it will not exile a cast creature. You will still get to draw a card though.
    – diego
    Commented Jul 9, 2015 at 15:20
  • Oh, right; I meant to ask about Containment Priest. But I suppose it's the same thing: you could play it, but it wouldn't do anything.
    – anon
    Commented Jul 9, 2015 at 15:21
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    @IAmFailure They could still cast the Priest, but it will still not exile a cast creature.
    – diego
    Commented Jul 9, 2015 at 15:22
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    Obviously the best usecase for this is gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?name=CHEATYFACE
    – corsiKa
    Commented Jul 9, 2015 at 15:35

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